Has anyone experimented with using consumer 3D software to do CFD-like aerodynamics simulations?
Specifically, I was thinking:
Setup the bike on a trainer (with rider)
Take a series photos, and plug them photos->3D model software (something like AgiSoft PhotoScan or such as any of these free applications)
This would hopefully give you a reasonable 3D model of the bike. Would likely require some cleanup, and possibly modelling of smaller elements if they are relevant (like spokes/chain)
Bring the model into a 3D package with a fluid solver (e.g SideFX's Houdini)
Simulate fluid (air) flowing around the bike model
Somehow extract useful numbers, measurements or possible position-adjustments from the simulation
With my limited knowledge of Houdini, I manage to make something kind of interesting looking, using it's fluid-solver's velocity visualiser:
What use could all this be? For example, could this method be used to:
see the impact various riding positions have on the flow of air (although I guess this is slightly hard to verify without a wind-tunnel)
you could theoretically estimate CdA by seeing how much the object is pushed by the fluid. This could be verified relatively easily with a power-meter, e.g with the Chung Method
Could there be any worthwhile insights gained from this? Could it be any more effective than the more elegant method of using a power-meter?