This Week in CFD

Tecplot Released Tecplot Chorus 2012

Tecplot announced the release of Tecplot Chorus 2012, the latest version of their new product for simulation analytics. This second release of their new product includes improved project setup, better data management tools, macros for data extraction, and a wider range of tools for creating reports. Tecplot Chorus is designed to bring together multiple CFD simulations for easy and rapid comparison including identification of trends, outliers, and missing bits.

Also, Tecplot is hosting a webinar on Analysis of Exploratory CFD Data Using Tecplot Chorus on Tuesday 28 February. During the webinar they will show how Tecplot Chorus can be used to analyze and compare CFD results from the AIAA’s High Lift Prediction Workshop.

  • Registration page for Tecplot’s webinar

How to Lose Races with CFD

Marussia F-1 Team

That’s the title of a blog post by Evan Yares which is topical because of an ongoing exchange of comments on another post here about the barriers to wider adoption of CFD. Quoting from the article “While the big lesson here, for engineers, is that CFD isn’t a panacea, there’s a more subtle lesson: you need to help managers to understand the capabilities, and limitations, of advanced technologies such as CFD.”

Altair Released AcuSolve V1.8b

Altair Engineering announced the latest release of their AcuSolve CFD software. Version 1.8b includes AcuFieldView, an OEM version of Intelligent Light’s FieldView CFD postprocessor. The new software also includes edge-based surface mesh extrusions and improved parallelization that can reduce preprocessing time by a factor of 15.

Also from Altair, Dr. Farzin Shakib completes his three-part video series on CFD with a discussion of AcuSolve’s  speed and robustness for solving complex CFD problems.

  • Altair’s video CFD FAQ Part 3

Ripple Tank Applet

CFD News

  • CFD helps make container ships more environmentally friendly.
  • Not strictly a CFD application – Interference is an online Java applet that simulates a ripple tank with controls for interacting with the simulation.
  • SGI’s ICE supercomputer set performance records on a SPEC benchmark.
  • Up your nose with CFD – researchers use CFD to aid nasal drug delivery. (with apologies to Vinnie Barbarino)
  • ANSYS made a lot of money in 2011 – $691.4 million to be exact. More importantly, their prediction for 2012 is up to $826.6 million, a year-to-year increase of nearly 20%.

OpenFOAM Training in Australia

Wikki Australia announced the scheduling of three OpenFOAM training courses, two introductory and one advanced. The courses will be taught by Wikki Australia’s Dr. Darrin Stephens and Wikki’s Dr. Hrvoje Jasak. Topics covered will include use of OpenFOAM as a CFD solver, an overview of the OpenFOAM library, and OpenFOAM in use.

CFD Jobs

Shark Skin Reduces Drag and Increases Thrust

Close-up of denticles on shark skin, from Science News.

A soon to be published study from Harvard University shows that ridges, called denticles, on a shark’s skin not only reduce drag but increase forward speed by 12%. Biomechanics researcher Frank Fish (not making that up) says test like the ones in the study haven’t been run before. Because sharks move so efficiently through water, understanding denticles can lead to the development of coatings for water turbines and other devices.

Fluid Simulation with Turing Patterns

You can do some interesting things in a web browser these days. I’ll just quote from the author: “This is a 2D GPU fluid simulation on a 512×256 pixels texture buffer mixed with another 1024×512 texture feedback loop for the Reaction-Diffusion “Turing Pattern” skin dot synthesis simulation.” Just start it running and use your mouse to stir things up. (Requires WebGL. Worked for me in Firefox, worked better in Chrome.)

Screen capture of WebGL-based fluids simulation

Fluids Simulation with Turing Patterns by Felix Woitzel

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13 Responses to This Week in CFD

  1. In regards to barriers to CFD, I don’t understand why more people don’t help out.

    Here is an example of a fun analysis, /Forums/main/97853-flow-through-material.html (Note: you’ll need to add www . cfd-online . com to the beginning of the URL)

    Yet, in general, I don’t see CFD vendors, big and small, asking questions and helping out. However, they seem to spend lots of time and money marketing their wares, i.e. creating pretty pictures and beautiful words. Maybe, the sum average of the managers, sales, marketing, and engineers in the company are incapable of helping out. And those who can, if they do exist, are just saturated. I thought vendors would be falling over themselves to show off the capabilities of CFD.

    BTW, on Feb 22nd I asked Mentor Graphics a technical question about their FloVENT code. Other than being told the question will be passed to a product specialist and being asked for more information about myself, I have not heard back from them. Whatever.

  2. John Chawner says:

    I can’t get that URL to work. I’ll infer from your post, however, that the URL refers to some benchmark or other CFD problem to be solved. One practical reason for not participating in such things is simple availability. Companies just may not have employees who have the time. I’ll further infer that you’ll say that instead of spending time marketing, participation in such events is preferable to standard marketing. Point taken. Another reason is that folks don’t want to get in comparative situations where the results of codes A and B can be compared and a “winner” identified. This makes the success of AIAA’s Drag Prediction and related workshops all the more wonderful.

  3. www . cfd-online . com /Forums/main/97853-flow-through-material.html

    The spaces need to be removed. People are using, or want to use, CFD for food storage. The material that flow is flowing through is food.

  4. John Chawner says:

    OK, I was able to get the URL to work. But at the risk of sounding like a jerk I’ll say that responding in detail to every question posted on CFD Online’s Forums is probably a losing proposition. I’m certain the poster in question is legit, but the view accepted by many forum participants is that the majority of posts come from people with illegitimate licenses. It also goes back to the time issue – folks are probably too busy working with inquiries through their normal channels to harvest additional work off of this forum. (Which is why sometimes people have to suffer with answers from me to meshing questions.) Probably the best approach would be to post something that says “Yes, we can do that.” with a link perhaps to a published case and urge the poster to contact you via phone or email for 1-on-1 consultation. I certainly hope you don’t expect us to start generating and posting meshes of bananas and carrots in response to this type of query.

    I think events like the AIAA drag prediction workshop and related events are a good way for CFD vendors to participate with the CFD community on problems of mutual interest.

  5. Sorry. My intent was not to say that vendors should reply to every post. Nor do I feel that Pointwise should be griding bananas and carrots. The question posed was directed to vendors of CFD codes and not grid generation codes.

  6. John Chawner says:

    We’re no different than a solver vendor so there’s no need to cut us any slack. And my issue with CFD Online is knowing which of the posts to reply to, especially in light of the fact that we vendors are happy to talk to folks or call or email us directly.

    But I do understand your point. Direct engagement with the community is often superior to brochures.

  7. I’m not going to cut anyone any slack. Well, I’ll cut Pointwise some since this blog is great, and, in the past I felt Pointwise was a great company. I assume it still is, but I haven’t had direct dealing with Pointwise since I left NEAR.

    But, wow, maybe I miss something that only now is truly sinking in. It’s sinking in that the CFD vendors are targeting the big guys, for obvious reasons, where the CFD modelers and the aerodynamicist are uncoupled. Sort of like the old days when engineers and drafters were two different professions or the aerodynamicst and WT operators were two different professions. Granted there is overlap, but the skill sets are different.

    I was confused about your comment that “but the view accepted by many forum participants is that the majority of posts come from people with illegitimate licenses” I don’t think that is true under the “Main Forum” They are usually tied to CFD in general, theory, and modeling questions. Granted, some of the questions come from iffy countries.

    I hope that CFD vendors realize that as computers get faster and codes get easier to use, the customer base will change to include individuals and small groups who can not have the same level of experience as an aerodynamicst or a CFD modeler alone. These individuals do not have time to just pick up the phone and call someone who may or may not be able to help. And then they are stuck dealing with that one person knowing no one is looking over their shoulder to inject better ideas or provide corrections. Nor do they have time to wade through all the noise. Nor do they have time+money to go to a conference and talk with people, regardless of how much they would love to and know they should. I’m just a small guy, and Mentor Graphics has not called or emailed me back. I did see that they had the time to look at my web page a couple of times. I should go back to my logs and see how much time they spent doing that rather than actually answering my question.

  8. I’m starting to understand this more.

    www . symscape . com /blog/how-to-lose-f1-races-with-a-wind-tunnel-and-cfd

    I guess CFD vendors are depending on knowledgeable fluid dynamicists to be leading these CFD modeling teams. And, I guess, they are depending on someone else educating them.

  9. John Chawner says:

    Martin – Where to begin?

    Regarding my categorization of CFD Online’s forum participants, I believe I mentioned earlier that I was going to sound like a jerk. ;-) What I mean is that a large percentage of the requests one sees on CFD online regarding commercial software are, in my opinion, from people trying to get support when their license (or lack thereof) may not entitle them to it. You get the “solve my homework” type of questions or the “send me the documentation” or “give me the example files” or the outright “does anyone have a license for…” My point being is that this makes the forums a less than fertile ground to sew the seeds of CFD. That doesn’t stop me and Simon Pereira from ANSYS and many others from trying to answer questions when we have an opportunity. But when you offered the forum post about ventilating fruit as an example of something CFD vendors should get involved in I felt it necessary to say that the forums have issues that sometimes turn off commercial folks, especially in light of the fact that commercial folks are busy responding to request that come in through the front door if you know what I mean.

    Of course, many of the posts on the forums are 100% legit. But one wonders why I’d post a question about Fluent, for example, on CFD Online instead of just calling or emailing Fluent’s tech support. (I suspect I know your answer so don’t take the bait.)

    I also wouldn’t categorize all/most/many CFD vendors as only interested in the “big guys” by which I infer that you believe that vendors scrimp on support because they think their customers are experts who don’t need their help. I think most CFD vendors are genuinely interested in ensuring their customers are as productive as possible. But I think if you are using CFD software it’s fair for the vendor to assume that you’re going to assume some of the burden for learning about the field. Of course, we’ve almost trained customers from scratch over the phone. (We could talk about the business model for providing tech support all day if you want to.)

    You and I seem to be going in a Catch-22 circle. You go to the forums because the vendor’s support is “lacking.” But the vendor isn’t looking at the forums because they’re busy supporting other folks.

    The scenario is why I posted somewhere the link to the video about Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma. I think CFD is ripe for this type of change.

  10. I hope I didn’t give the wrong message. I do believe people should contact their vendors. Leverage everything you have available. Don’t be shy.

  11. I hope you don’t mind John, but, thinking it is the right thing to do, I would also like to thank, on this blog, Robin Bornoff from Mentor Graphics for answering my question at cfd-online. I do wish the cfd-online model would take hold. John, I do hear what you are saying. It is also repeated by my colleagues in industry, DoD, NASA, and universities. (OK, some have very valid ITAR type reasons for not posting online) I don’t want to rely on calling alone, but if that is the way it is, so be it. Unfortunately who I call is based on my biases which in turn are partially fueled by my ignorance.

  12. John Chawner says:

    Martin, there’s absolutely no problem in acknowledging anyone from anywhere in CFD here. Glad you got your problem solved.

    Let’s ignore the ITAR problem for purposes of this discussion. (Egads, it’s almost as bad as the sloppy CAD problem.) What you’re saying is that you’d prefer an online support model similar to CFD Online’s forums for resolving issues with CFD software. I suppose that would be good for the vendors because some of the issues could be solved by other forum participants instead of having to rely on the vendor’s staff. But your first choice for CFD tech support would be a forum. Am I understanding you correctly?

  13. Yes, in general, it is my first choice. Of course, depending on the course of the conversation, it becomes more one on one. Not everything can be discussed in public. However, there is a trade off between protecting intellectual property and time to market.

    But, I might be an abnormality. I wear many hats. And all the online information for others fields is so wonderfully productivity enhancing. To be able to google it and find it is great. But, overall, considering input from various areas, I am doubtful that CFD and forums work well with one another.

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