Gilkes invests in new computing cluster

28 September 2020

Gilkes has announced it has installed a new high performance computing (HPC) cluster for running CFD simulations, marking a major upgrade to its fluid flow analysis capability and providing the company with the resources to analyse its hydro-turbines and pumps in greater detail than ever before.

“When we first started using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) at Gilkes eight years ago, improvements were relatively easy to find.  However, as we seek to develop our products further we need to look more closely,” explained CFD consultant at Gilkes, Dr Jo Scott. “The new cluster gives us the ability to vastly increase our model size with a consequent increase in resolution and accuracy; or where we’re happy with the accuracy of the existing models to simulate many more designs.” 

The hardware purchased from HPC specialist OCF comprises two Dell PowerEdge R840’s each with four Xeon Gold 6242 chips giving a total processing power of 128 cores and over 700Gb RAM.  It replaces old workstations running older generation chips that had a maximum capability of 32 cores in parallel.  On the software side Gilkes analysis capability is built around the market-leading ANSYS products.

CFD analysis falls within the Product and Innovation Team at Gilkes, where typical applications include: design of hydro-turbine runners for increased efficiency, performance mapping of centrifugal pumps, and understanding of pump NPSHr and priming. 

“As we gain confidence in our simulations the breadth of application grows,” added Dr Scott. “The new cluster opens up new areas of research that were impractical before.  For example; when we first tried to simulate pump priming some years ago the simulations took 3 weeks to run.  Now we can revisit this application and use CFD to support our in-house test facility.”

Simulation of a side-channel pump showing contours and streamlines of relative velocity

Predicted passage of water through a twin-jet Turgo turbine



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