Multiphysics simulation software enables the user to represent the interaction between physical systems which, in isolation, would be represented by quite different mathematical models. For example, to model Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI), such as that involved in aeroelasticity, it is necessary to employ software which uses fluid mechanics to model the airflow, and solid mechanics to represent the (hyper-)elastic deformation of appendages interacting with the airflow. In principle, it is possible for a multiphysics solver to contain Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) code in the same package.
In March 2009, Steve Nevey, Business Development Manager and Technical Consultant at Red Bull Racing, said that Red Bull Racing were looking to develop a multiphysics simulator. In December of 2009, Racecar Engineering interviewed Steve Nevey about Red Bull's technical partnership with MSC Software, purveyors of, amongst other things, multiphysics simulation software. Steve was asked where he saw the greatest potential for future development, and this is the answer he gave:
The use of composite materials continues to dominate much of the F1 car, and although the computational modelling is already sophisticated, further improvements in defining lay-ups, representing material performance, and modelling failure analysis are anticipated over the coming seasons. Multi-physics or multi-discipline simulation is another important area in which we anticipate further progress. Using MSCs latest MD (multi-discipline) software versions of Nastran and Adams, we already combine mechanism and deformable finite element simulations. We also increasingly use aerodynamic output directly from CFD analysis to generate more accurate loads for the structural simulations. There are rule restrictions to limit this, but multi-physics coupling of these effects allows us to legally enhance the performance of deformable components, for example to optimise down-force and drag characteristics for flexible wing components. Chaining the various analyses stages is time consuming and prone to error.
All of which may explain the following in August 2010:
Amid mounting speculation that the lower front wings observed on the Red Bull Racing and Ferrari cars are being put into use through clever flexing of the car's floor...the FIA is to introduce extra tests on the underside area of the car...From the Italian Grand Prix it is understood that the skid block can comprise of no more than two pieces, and that no piece of the skid block can be less than one metre long. A number of teams are understood to use several sections of skid block on the underside of their floor. To further ensure teams are not deflecting the floor, from Monza all joints, bearing pivots and any other form of articulation must also be fixed. Autosport.com, 26th August 2010.