Three scientific approaches to examining and explaining physical and chemical phenomena are possible: experimental; theoretical; and computational plus intuition – this latter approach is actually based on old Japanese Zen principles called kufu. The IR4TD has extensive experience and expertise in scale modeling, using both experimental and theoretical approaches, but also the kufu approach. Scale modeling helps to:
- Imagine the full scale phenomena
- Understand mechanisms which control full scale phenomena
- Validate numerical model predictions
- Develop new products or improve on the performance of existing products
The heart of the modeling process is the desire to revise one’s current model in light of new evidence that does not fit into one’s current way of thinking about the situation or is inconsistent with the results of one’s model. In other words: all models are wrong but can be very useful. However, modeling is not inherently useful or may not be useful by itself. Modeling is useful because it enables the ability to express, test and revise a current way of thinking as reflected by the model that is designed. For these reasons, the kufu approach is important and can be useful for explaining and understanding physical and chemical phenomena.
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