This Week in CFD

The Big Picture

  • ENGINEERING.com presents their summary of the recent Analysis, Simulation, and Systems Engineering Software Summit (ASSESS) which includes
    • The desire to leverage simulation in the pre-CAD stage of design.
    • The vendor community’s need to conduct long-term research but yet the trouble they have in justifying the long-term expense.
    • The difficulty of keeping up with the latest advances in computing technology.
  • TechNavio’s forecast for the CFD market (18.23% CAGR through 2019) implies that the market will see significant moves toward cloud-based and CAD-integrated CFD tools.
  • Speaking of CAD-integrated CFD, the nice folks at Siemens PLM share the top 5 simulation issues addressed by NX CFD. #3 Analysis and simulation before CAD. [Sound familiar?]
NX simulation results. Image from Siemens PLM.

NX simulation results. Image from Siemens PLM.

Computing

  • Slides and video from the recent NIA CFD seminar on “Towards Aerospace Design in the Age of Extreme-Scale Supercomputing” are now available online.
  • NASA’s Pleiades supercomputer has been upgraded and should be able to achieve 5.35 petaflops on its 210,000 cores and 719 TB of memory. Prior to this upgrade, Pleiades was ranked 11th on the list of the world’s fastest computers.
  • Cloud computing provider UberCloud announced the availability of ready-to-use packages for ANSYS Fluent, ANSYS CFX, CD-adapco STAR-CCM+, and OpenFOAM.

Events

  • The call for abstracts is open through 17 April for the 15th FLOW-3D European Users Conference to be held 2-3 June in Nice, France.
  • Baseball and CFD fans unite: the keynote speaker at March’s STAR Global Conference will be the man behind “Moneyball” speaking on “new approaches to stagnant systems.”
  • Keynote speakers for the NAFEMS World Congress include representatives from BMW, Old Dominion University, MIT, Volvo, and Continental.

Applications

Screen capture from a video about Autodesk Fusion 360. See link below.

Screen capture from a video about Autodesk Fusion 360. See link below.

Jobs

Software

ANSYS 16.0 was released with major improvements and new capabilities for CFD. Image from ANSYS. Click images for article.

ANSYS 16.0 was released with major improvements and new capabilities for CFD. Image from ANSYS. Click images for article.

  • ANSYS 16.0 was released. [In the image above, exactly what the heck are they cooking on that stove?]
  • ParaView 4.3.1 has been released with many new features and a completely revamped user’s guide document.
  • Applied Math Modeling released CoolSim 4.4 for data center cooling.
  • OpenVSP 3.0.3 was released. This release is primarily a bug-fix version of the parametric aircraft geometry software.
  • New to me: ZephyCFD, open source software for wind energy.
  • C3D Labs released version 16 of their geometry kernel.

Reading

Open the Door to Meshing

If you ignore my poor attempt at a provocative section heading, you’ll be open to the faceted wonder that is kinetic artist Klemens Torggler’s Evolution Door. The door consists of two quad panels that are diagonalized. With just the lightest touch the door transforms to open or close the path to the next room. See the artist’s website for more information but you must absolutely watch this video of the door in action. Soon my office will be too full of faceted objet d’art.

The Evolution Door by Klemens Torggler. Image from LorenzLammens.com.

The Evolution Door by Klemens Torggler. Image from LorenzLammens.com.

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This Week in CFD

Special “Just the Facts” Edition

CFD simulation of a skydiver superimposed on a photograph of same. Image from AL.com. Click image for article.

CFD simulation of a skydiver superimposed on a photograph of same. Image from AL.com. Click image for article.

A twitter bot claims to allow you to polygonize yourself. Image from Visual News. Click images for article.

A twitter bot claims to allow you to polygonize yourself. Image from Visual News. Click images for article.

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ASSESS Software Summit – Quick Notes

The post-event press conference just finished for the first Analysis, Simulation, and Systems Engineering Software Summit (ASSESS 2015). I thank the organizers for allowing me to listen in.

ASSESS grew out of an idea broached at 2014’s colocated NAFEMS World Congress and Collaboration and Interoperability Congress; the idea being that an event dedicated to discussing issues pertaining to the use of simulation software in engineering design was warranted.

Cyon Research’s Brad Holtz and intrinSIM’s Joe Walsh proposed ASSESS and were overwhelmed by the positive response from the simulation community. Very shortly they found that interest in the summit was exceeding the capacity of the event site. In the end, 41 ambassadors from across the simulation world were invited for a full day dedicated to assessing the challenges we collectively face.

Top 9 Challenges Facing Simulation

Through a process that began with 104 topics contributed by the ambassadors, subsequent collation and consolidation into 24 topics for voting using a 7-point system, the resulting top 9 topics are (in reverse order):

  • software licensing models
  • myriad technical issues labeled “unsexy” [meshing has to be in here]
  • achieving adequate turnaround for a desired level of fidelity
  • use of heterogenous models
  • knowledge capture and re-use
  • web, cloud, and mobile
  • ease of use, usability, user experience
  • design-centered workflows
  • conducting simulation with pre-CAD (i.e. conceptual design)

So to be clear, use of simulation during conceptual design was considered the top issue. This dovetails with an answer Joe Walsh provided during the Q&A in which he said the group has the sense that simulation is at an inflection point where the number of designs is exploding and physical testing is proving inadequate by itself.

Hidden Challenges

In response to another question during the Q&A, Joe Walsh identified other so-called hidden challenges (i.e. ones that arose only after the ambassadors had spent some time working through the other list as opposed to the ones everyone brought with them).

  • Software vendors are challenged by the ability to keep pace with next generation computing hardware; the computers that will introduce major programming paradigm shifts.
  • Usability issues that require close collaboration between users and vendors and have to be solved often before the ROI is known.
  • Vendors find it difficult to fund large, long-term deep research efforts – the kinds presumably needed to make substantive progress on these big issues.

Commonality with NASA’s CFD Vision 2030 Study

At first glance there are a couple of places where the summit’s top issues overlap those of the CFD Vision 2030 Study (about which I’ve written copiously).

First, the need to be able to fully exploit advanced computing architectures when they become available for production use. Since it’s hard to predict the future, perhaps the best bet is to architect our software products in a way that anticipates the need to change algorithms in the future.

Second, the need for improved usability. I find a parallel with the study’s labeling of mesh generation as “onerous” and the desire to make it invisible. Obviously, meshing is just the tip of the iceberg [or is it the huge part below the water?] when it comes to simulation usability but I think everyone recognizes the need to eliminate as much of the manual burden as possible.

Next Steps

There will be a 2-hour, special session in advance of COFES 2015 at which  “we’ll present an overview of the summit, present many of the top items raised at ASSESS, and which will lead to a discussion of the issues.” COFES is a for-fee, invitation-only event but the fee will be waived for those interested in attending only this special plenary session. Contact Brad Holtz if interested in an invitation.

Also, acknowledging that the ranking of issues by the summit’s ambassadors may be skewed toward the software vendor viewpoint, the organizers plan to put the list of 24 issues up for ranking by non-vendors and see how, if at all, things change.

P.S. To be explicitly clear, I did not attend the summit, only the press conference. I have already registered for COFES 2015 and look forward to the follow-on discussion. Any inaccuracies, misunderstandings, or outright errors in this article are entirely my fault for taking poor notes during the press conference; after all, it was my first.

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This Week in CFD

News

Congratulations to our friends at CD-adapco for their image on the cover of the January 2015 issue of Aerospace America which features cover story on CFD.

Congratulations to our friends at CD-adapco for their image on the cover of the January 2015 issue of Aerospace America which features a cover story on CFD.

Events

  • The 15th European Turbulence Conference 2015 will be held on 25-28 August 2015 in Delft, The Netherlands. (The call for papers is already closed.)
  • MeshTrends 10, The Symposium on Trends in Unstructured Mesh Generation, will be colocated with the 13th U.S. National Conference on Computational Mechanics, to be held in San Diego on 26-30 July. Abstract submission is open until 15 February.
  • Keynote speakers for SolidWorks World 2015 have been announced and include celebrity physicist Dr. Michio Kaku.

Software

Applications

Screen capture from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison's winning entry in the ANSYS 2015 Hall of Fame Competition. Image from ANSYS. Click image for video and details.

Screen capture from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison’s winning entry in the ANSYS 2015 Hall of Fame Competition. Image from ANSYS. Click image for video and details.

  • ANSYS announced the winners of their 2015 Hall of Fame Competition. One of the academic winners, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, simulated a swimming sea turtle. See image above.
  • Modeling gas turbine enclosures with CFD.
  • Intelligent Light shares a case study in which the FieldView XDB capability in the VisIt software allowed for in-situ visualization of Kestrel CFD results.
  • CFD, specifically Mentor Graphics’ FloEFD, is contributing to understanding the thermal environment within LED car headlights. See image below.
  • Here’s a case study from Software Cradle on the use of CFD on motorcycles.
  • With a desired reliability of 99.999%, datacenters must be effectively and efficiently cooled. CFD has become a best practice in understanding this thermal environment.
Top view of a car headlight showing temperature distribution and flow streamlines. Image from ElectronicsWeekly.com. See link above.

Top view of a car headlight showing temperature distribution and flow streamlines. Image from ElectronicsWeekly.com. See link above.

Dancing With Your Mesh

This week I share with you not one, not two, but THREE fun, visual, mesh-like experiences.

Hakanaï is a dance performance featuring interaction between the dancer and projected digital images. Quoting directly from the artists’ (Adrien M  / Claire B) website, “In Japanese Hakanaï denotes that which is temporary and fragile, evanescent and transient, and in this case something set between dreams and reality.” To a certain degree, one might say this is an apt description of mesh generation. Watch the video.

Hakanai by Adrien M and Claire B. Screen capture of video of dance performance. Click image for website.

Hakanai by Adrien M and Claire B. Screen capture of video of dance performance. Click image for website. 

H OM E OMOR PH ISM is a audio/video projection based on the abstraction of natural forms into primitive geometry, inspired by the topology and landscape of New Mexico. Think of it as a distillation of the geometric information contained in natural images. Watch this video too.

H OM E OMOR PH ISM_Dome A/V Performance. Click link for video.

H OM E OMOR PH ISM_Dome A/V Performance. Click link for video.

And finally, what else would you do with reclaimed wood other than use it to make mesh-like geometric installations? That’s precisely what Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels does with her site-specific installations.

Reclaimed wood crystalline installation by Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels. Image from Visual News.

Reclaimed wood crystalline installation by Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels. Image from Visual News.

 

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Analysis & Simulation Roundtable in NASA Tech Briefs

The December 2014 issue of NASA Tech Briefs included this year’s edition of their annual Analysis and Simulation Software Industry Roundtable in which several company executives are interviewed about the coming year.

You should read this article. Click the link above or the image below to access the article.

tech-briefs-analysis-roundtable

I was a bit surprised that the article opened with an exploration of 3D printing‘s influence (positive) on the use of simulation software. I had to think for a minute [a rare occurrence] on why that might be so. The consensus seems to be best summed up by CD-adapco’s David Vaughn who said that anything like 3D printing that reduces the time required to create a physical prototype necessarily requires more use of simulation early in the design process.

I was not surprised at all that the second topic covered was “the cloud.” Maybe it is just me [probably] but “the cloud” apparently means different things to different people. Is it the convenience of on-demand licensing? Is it the easy access to a big computing resource? Is it easier to use? Is it cheaper to use? Siemens PLM Software’s Mark Sherman seems to share at least some of my thinking as evidenced by his quote “…there’s nothing better for interacting with a large FEA model than local high-performance hardware.” [Mark, sorry to lump you in with my sorry lot.] I’m not nor do I suspect Mark is a Luddite, but we must have clear, consistent expectations with our customers about what we want to accomplish in “the cloud.”

Simulation data management was the third topic explored and rightly so. As simulation software has matured, the simulations have gotten bigger and more numerous. The manual, often visual, inspection of results to find the “needle in a haystack” has to be shelved. I just wish the magazine had included representatives from CFD postprocessing experts Tecplot, Intelligent Light, and CEI because they have all been making advances in the automated, simultaneous interrogation of multiple datasets.

MSC Software’s Dominic Gallello sums things up quite nicely, “2015 is the year that users should poke their heads up from their work to see what is out there. I think they will be amazed with the leaps forward.”

What do you think? Include your comments in the Reply area below.

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This Week in CFD

Please enjoy this first post of 2015.

Everyone Else’s News

Pointwise’s News

  • Dr. Steve Karman, formerly of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga SimCenter, has joined Pointwise’s applied research team.
  • You can meet Steve in his new capacity along with several others of us at AIAA SciTech next week in Orlando.
  • Pointwise is looking to add other folks to our team. We have job openings for an Applications Engineer and two engineering interns for the summer.

Another Fine Mesh News

The fine folks at WordPress sent me an email with some stats about this blog’s performance during 2014. I thought I’d share them with you.

Let’s hope we can continue to deliver content that you find educating and entertaining [edutaining?] in 2015.

Faceted Drawing

Mark Nagtzaam graphite drawings are a bit of a paradox: “Filling in all the negative fields in his drawings with graphite himself, the works are saturated, to the point of hyperbole, with time. For all their seductive systematic severity, they abundantly testify to a human presence, paradoxically conveying that despite the artist’s methodically engineered absence, he was nevertheless there, doing, as it were, his due diligence, he was there, drawing.”

Mark Nagtzaam, Black Kawasaki, 2013

Mark Nagtzaam, Black Kawasaki, 2013

 

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CFD in AIAA’s 2014 Year in Review

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite issue of AIAA’s Aerospace America magazine is the annual Year in Review issue. It is, in fact, the only issue I keep and have every one of them since 1980, the year I joined AIAA as an undergrad at Syracuse University.

The issue consists of articles written by each of AIAA’s technical committees summarizing noteworthy accomplishments from the previous year. I like to read them all and see where CFD or things closely related to CFD are mentioned.

yir-cover

So here’s where I found CFD in the 2014 Year in Review.

Multidisciplinary Design Optimization

NASA’s OpenMDAO and the University of Michigan’s MDOlab collaborated on a satellite design optimization benchmark. In a journal article on their work you see an illustration of the satellite orbiting part of the Pointwise logo the earth.

Image from the U. Michigan paper cited above.

Image from the U. Michigan paper cited above.

Non-Deterministic Approaches

While there is nothing about CFD in their article (seems to be mostly about materials and manufacturing), I’m wondering whether they can contribute to the goal of quantifying uncertainty in CFD analysis as called for by the CFD 2030 Vision Study. “it has become increasingly important to quantify the uncertainties within these models and the impact they have on the accuracy of the models’ predictions.”

Spacecraft Structures

False alarm. the “fixed-mesh” reflector is actually a weight-saving antenna/dish design.

Applied Aerodynamics

The first sonic boom prediction workshop was held at SciTech 2014 in order to assess the state of the art in this particular area. Grid refinement and alignment techniques were of particular interest.

The DoD’s CREATE-AV program released Kestrel 5.0 (for fixed-wing aircraft) and Helios 5.0 (for rotorcraft).

AFRL and Lockheed Martin began a collaborative CFD study of aircraft distributed propulsion systems (i.e. 30 inlets and nozzles).

Fluid Dynamics

Advances in numerical methods led to a new volume of fluid approach for simulating fuel spray atomization for fuel injectors in gas turbine engines.

In the area of LES computation of turbulent flows, a new wall model has been used to predict both attached and separated high Reynolds number flow.

Ground Testing

NASA completed testing of Rotating Wake Improvement on the Advanced Noise Control Fan rig for the purpose of providing data for validation of computational aeroacoustic simulations.

Meshing, Visualization and Computational Environments

Advances cited in the field of mesh generation include strand meshing (Utah State, NASA, Army), integrated meshing and overset grid assembly (Pointwise), various improvements to CREATE’s Capstone.

In the area of visualization, FieldView evolved to better handle large datasets, Intelligent Light worked with VisIt, and Tecplot’s Chorus addressed the simultaneous visualization of multiple datasets.

AEDC continued their work on a computational environment for multidisciplinary simulations.

The MVCE technical committee is very committed to the aspects of the CFD Vision 2030 study that are within its sphere of influence. Accordingly, a panel discussion on this topic will be held at SciTech 2015.

Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems

NASA’s arc jet testing of ADEPT, a semi-rigid aeroshell entry system, showed excellent comparison with pre-test CFD.

History

If you’ve ever wondered what to do with your potentially valuable documents and artifacts, don’t leave them for your heirs to sort out and avoid the temptation to do it yourself. A trained archivist should look them over with you.

[Whose documents from the CFD world would you like to see?]

Legal Aspects

A sigh of relief as CFD isn’t mentioned here.

Management

3-D printing is cited here as an affordable method for manufacturing with challenges in the areas of cost, time, and material properties that have to be addressed to determine how the technology can be best applied.

Computer Systems

Alas, the works cited here pertain to devices flown in aircraft and spacecraft, not number crunchers like we need in CFD. Although, I wonder if the latter are within this committee’s charter?

Intelligent Systems

Researchers From U. of Michigan, Iowa State, and Stanford are developing more accurate turbulence models with information derived from “big data” (higher fidelity simulations).

Hypersonic Technologies and Aerospace Planes

Better turbulence modeling has been cited as critical need for more accurate simulation of shock wave interaction with boundary layers in hypersonic flows.

High-Speed Air Breathing Propulsion

NASA’s Vulcan-CFD package now supports vibrational non-equilibrium and subgrid scale models.

Propellants and Combustion 

AFOSR’s efforts to collect experimental data on turbulent combustion at conditions normally encountered in aerospace systems will provide a great resource for validating and expanding the use of simulation for engine development.

Closing Thoughts

If you saw any CFD references that I missed, please cite them in the comment section below.

Based on 34 years of reading AIAA’s Year in Review issue, CFD is explicitly cited less and less. I actually think this is a good thing. Before, use of CFD was noteworthy because it was new, exotic, and cool. Now, it’s just another tool.

The lack of URLs to the works cited was extremely frustrating. Paradoxically, as much as I prefer reading paper magazines and books, I really want to have links to additional online content.

Each year I marvel at the breadth and depth of high-quality and exciting work being done in the aerospace industry. I recommend AIAA membership and, almost more importantly, active participation on a technical committee as your opportunity to help advance the field.

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