Virtual Mechanics

What happens if... Or, being clever ahead of time

Whenever we take a seat in a car, train or airplane, horror scenarios are rare. We take a ride in a car without being badly shaken about until we get seriously carsick or end up with black and blue marks. We travel by train without getting derailed, and in a plane we land without having the fuselage and wings break apart.

So that systems like cars, trains and airplanes can function faultlessly, they have to be designed properly, which means that their components are stable and lightweight, and elements like springs and shock absorbers are carefully adjusted and synchronized with the entire system. This can't be accomplished by intuition or trial and error. How many cars would have to be reduced to a scrap heap in dangerous crashes before the optimal model was developed?

Simulation programs containing the necessary physical principles and mathematical methodology simplify this work. With their help one can safely, rapidly and without great effort calculate how a system is going to move and when it will become dangerous. Get acquainted with one of these high class simulation programs in action and test it out. Afterwards, you'll know how dangerous it can be if everything is not just right in a car, train or airplane!

A train broke a world record in 1955 with a velocity of 331 kilometers per hour, and seriously damaged the tracks in the process

The reason was that the train's chassis was not designed for that speed. Because it moved unsteadily, lurched and swayed, the tracks were damaged. A disaster was around the corner, the train was about to derail! Today much higher speeds are no problem for chassis and tracks, because undercarriages are properly designed with the help of simulations. The more accurate and rapid the simulation system, the better one can optimize with their help the safety, reliability and performance of even highly complex, technical systems. An important focus of current research at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen is further developing such simulation systems, especially in the area of vehicle system dynamics.

How can I safely judge the risks?

Find out how fascinating it is to work with SIMPACK. That's a professional simulation program even used by the automobile, rail and aircraft industries. Tell this program how your system is constructed and then see it take over and run on its own. You'll be surprised to see how SIMPACK carries out the calculations for your particular system, and even shows you the result in moving images!

Further information: Simulating multicomponent systems or, even faster, more accurate, more realistic

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