news headlinesA very quick update to share some news I think is really exciting: ANSYS is merging with Reaction Design, maker of solutions for modeling and simulating certain types of chemical reactions. CHEMKIN, Reaction Design’s flagship products, is used by designers in auto, aero, materials and other verticals for the conceptual development of combustion systems — think engines, fuel efficiency and emissions, and you’ll start to see why this is a big deal.  This stuff is far outside my area of expertise, but I have been told several times that CHEMKIN is arguably the best product for automotive combustion simulation.

Reaction Design also has a CFD solution, FORTÉ, but I can see ANSYS looking to combine CHEMKIN with Fluent to really goose the combination to the next level.

I had been hoping that the big CAE vendors would get further into chemical modeling because it’s an exciting area that is today where CFD was perhaps 10 years ago, able to grow rapidly because of better mathematical models; more available, cheaper compute resources; and better user experience design. If an Altair, ANSYS, MSC or SIMULIA promotes it, it’ll grow that much faster.

The press release has a few more details, but nothing about price, or why it’s a merger and not an outright acquisition. We’ll learn more officially after the transaction closes in January 2014, but I’ll update if I can find out anything else before then.

Reaction Design has been around for 15 years and has been a strategic partner of ANSYS’ since 2009 when Reaction Design delivered a version of CHEMKIN that was optimized for Fluent. Reaction Design says it today has “more than 400 customers in the commercial and government markets around the world, including many Fortune 1000 companies”. It’s likely that these are already ANSYS customers, so this merger is purely about the technology and the brains behind it. Assuming everyone joins ANSYS, Reaction Design will bring chemists with experience in molecular modeling — and who knows where that might go?