This Week in CFD

Structured Grids

[Yes, structured grids. No, it is not 1997.]


An example from Envenio of a structured grid, part of their article on the benefits of such grids. Image from See link below.

  • Envenio cites six benefits of structured grids relative to unstructured and hybrid meshes. #4 Data locality leads to “better usage of memory bandwidth.” [Full disclosure: Pointwise provides Envenio with a preprocessing solution.]
  • Alert reader Thomas shares another example of structured grid generation, this time from the aspect of overset grids used by ONERA for a simulation of a drone. See image below. [Full disclosure: The grids were generated using Pointwise. No, I did not rig the articles to both have that tie-in.] [The article is in French which I can’t read. People who can speak three languages are called tri-lingual, those who can speak two languages are called bi-lingual, and those who can speak one language are called American.]
    • Update 18 Nov 2017: The mesh generation and CFD solution were performed by Andheo for ONERA. Sorry for any confusion and consternation.

Overset structured surface grids on a drone for a simulation performed by ONERA. Image from See link above.




CFD image of the week. This absolutely gorgeous image (colored by velocity) is from a simulation conducted collaboratively with NASA and Boeing. Image from See the full article here.

  • Use of CFD for keeping up with “the ever-changing environmental regulations that are in effect one day and repealed the next” related to NOx burner retrofits.
  • Singer and Williams Advanced Engineering used CFD to improve the aerodynamics of a 1990 Porsche 964.
  • CFD was applied to the Mars Curiosity Rover to determine the rover’s influence on its environmental sensors.
  • Use of CFD to study windage effects on superstructures helps ensure they won’t roll over in high winds. See image below.
  • CFD and NASCAR
  • CFD was used to validate the designs for the vortex impeller in a dredger. [Other than the use of CFD, this article is notable for two things. First, the product name Slurrysucker. Second, the decision in the article’s title to capitalize “Mark II” as “Mark Ii.” Even accounting for my previously noted language deficiencies, I’m fairly certain that’s not good Latin.]

Velocity profiles around the Damen’s FCS 3307 as the ship encounters a wind gust. Image from See link above.


  • The SimCenter at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga upgraded their parallel file storage capabilities to support CFD and other HPC applications.
  • Scientific Computing World published this article about ANSYS’ approach to “democratizing HPC.”
  • A similar story appears in Digital Engineering magazine about how TotalSim is moving toward Simulation as a Service.
  • Deep learning to accelerate CFD.

CFD solution of airflow in an urban environment as computed by SimScale. Image from Read the full article.


  • Tecplot 360 2017 R3 was released with improvements to slices and isosurfaces, new Python scripting capabilities, and more.
  • The ProLB Lattice Boltzmann CFD solver will now be distributed worldwide by Powersys.
  • Mentor’s FloEFD was recently upgraded and includes new free-surface capabilities.
  • Calling it “IP security,” Core Technologie added a Simplify module to their 3D Evolution geometry model tool that, among other things, can strip out all interior detail while leaving the exterior surfaces as a solid model.

Good Reading

  • Tech-Clarity has produced another report worth reading, Close the Engineering Skills Gap, about “preparing new graduates to be real-world ready.” Especially for all you professors.
    • While I have only scanned the report so far, something did catch my attention. Regarding the desired level of experience with engineering software tools, 75% of survey respondents ask that new graduates have experience with “practical applications to use software to solve problems” and 16% (the next highest category) wants “an understanding of the ‘picks and clicks’ to use the software.” Because in my mind both of those desires focus on the use of a specific piece of software I will repeat myself by saying an undergraduate engineering education is not a trade school. IMO, students shouldn’t learn how to use any particular CFD code (for example). They should learn in general how CFD codes are applied and how to use their own general engineering judgement to validate the answers. But that’s just my opinion; I could be wrong.
  • NAFEMS’ online resource center includes many articles on physics, numerical methods, and other topics that are freely available – no membership required.
  • Gas Compression Magazine includes a nice profile of our friends at Convergent Science. [Friends despite this “never generate a mesh again” business. Oh, wait – they’re calling it “autonomous meshing” now. I can live with that.]
  • The CFD Israel blog makes predictions about CFD in 2030.
  • A New Subgrid Characteristic Length for Turbulent Simulations on Anisotropic Grids
  • Here’s a cool story from alert reader Alberto about a mathematical hobbyist who discovered four pentagonal tilings not included in a 1975 Scientific American article, to be confirmed only recently by a computer-assisted proof.
  • Visualizing Data presents their best of the visualization web for September 2017.

Events & Jobs

  • The 10th International Conference on CFD (ICCFD10) will be held 9-13 July 2018 in Barcelona. The call for papers is now open with a due date of 15 January.
  • The Future CFD Technologies Workshop, to be held the weekend prior to AIAA SciTech in Orlando, has published their agenda. Registration for this event is still open.
  • Unilever seeks a CFD Engineer in the UK.
  • There’s still time to register for the Pointwise Meshing Technology Conference in Stuttgart on 4-5 December. Register today, come meet us, and let’s talk technically about:
    • elevating linear meshes to high polynomial degree
    • preparing geometry models for meshing
    • learning from the 1st AIAA Geometry and Mesh Generation Workshop
    • understanding the benefits and drawbacks of meshing strategies on CFD results for two specific simulations
    • generating structured grids
    • applying hybrid meshing techniques to complex geometry

Would you pay $450,000,000 for this painting?

By now most of you have heard about the record-setting sale at auction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting Salvatore Mundi for $450,000,000 ($400,000,000 for the painting, $50,000,000 to Christie’s). We could have fun debating (?) whether or why it’s worth that much.

But more to the subject of this blog is Robert Delaunay’s Windows Open Simultaneously, shown below. This painting truly is an abstract representation of a tangible object so take a moment to ponder it before clicking the link in the caption. We could have another fun conversation about the motif of windows in painting (e.g. Diebenkorn, Scully).

I’ll just ruin it all by pointing out that the triangles in the painting certainly don’t meet the Delaunay criteria (you’d think he’d know better). Plus I’m certain that one of you is thinking that instead of Windows Open it should be Linux Open or Windows Closed.

Windows Open Simultaneously (First Part, Third Motif) 1912 by Robert Delaunay 1885-1941

Robert Delaunay, Windows Open Simultaneously (First Part, Third Motif), 1912. source

Bonus: Alert reader Ray shared with me the Void Rug. How I’d love to have one of these in front of my desk. Alas, they’re not currently for sale.


The Void Rug will keep people on their toes. Image from See link above.

And one last thing: Next week in the U.S. we celebrate the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday and take Friday off to recover from the celebrating. This Week in CFD will therefore be taking next week off. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Posted in Applications, Events, Hardware, News, Software | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This Week in CFD

*** Special “Happy 23rd Birthday to Pointwise” Edition ***

Industry News

  • The ASSESS Initiative, a industry-wide effort to increase the availability and effectiveness of engineering simulation, announced a membership program (starting at $200/year) to provide access to the initiative’s events and work products.
  • Congratulations to Polygonica, makers of mesh processing software, for being recognized with the TCT Technology Innovation Software Award.
  • ANSYS launched a Startup Program to provide new businesses with simulation software at a low-cost.
  • Our friends at ANSYS also logged a record-setting $45 million deal in Q3, contributing to their 4% revenue increase.
  • Altair’s IPO seems to have gone off quite well with share price up one-third.

Pointwise News


This screen capture from a video from EKATO Research and Development shows Pointwise in action generating a mesh for a mixing vessel as part of the company’s CFD work. 

  • Our Meshing Technology Conference in Stuttgart is filling up. The two-day event (4-5 December) features deep dives into the methods and techniques used in our software for structured, hybrid, and high-order meshes; geometry modeling; and the influence of the mesh on the CFD solution. Register today.
  • We’ll be announcing an upcoming webinar very soon. In the meantime, enjoy the recorded webinar Towards Mesh Adaptation.

CFD application of the week. Use of FLOW-3D to simulate archeological hydraulic systems. Shown above (image from is a simulation of “aquifer drainage at the moat at Tiwanaku (Bolivia).” [Have I mentioned that at one time I wanted to be an archeologist?]


  • OpenMDAO 2.0 (a Python-based, open-source, platform for multi-disciplinary optimization) was released. This “clean slate” rewrite has shown 10x performance improvement.
  • Beta CAE released v17.1.3 of their software suite.
  • Siemens PLM Software launched SimCenter V12 with new surface wrapping capabilities for flow simulation and general preprocessing enhancement (among many other things).
  • New in STAR-CCM+ v12.06 is a “zip” feature that unites a geometry surface with a matching hole in a geometry model creating a watertight solid. [How could I resist the “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” Disney reference in the article’s title?]
  • Tecplot touts their SZL file format’s load time and performance gains in this case study with a NASA user.
  • The new version of 3D Evolution includes a simplification technique that removes the internal details of a geometry model leaving only a watertight description of its exterior.
  • Mentor updated FloEFD with new geometry and visualization capabilities.

Alexander Calder, Feathers, 1931. Seen on a recent visit to the National Gallery of Art, East Wing. Included here because tetrahedron.




Parametric support geometry is used in CAESES to automated structured grid generation for a volute. Image from See link below.

  • On the CAESES blog, we read about how they automated structured grid generation for a volute by including “parametric support geometry” in the model. See image above.
  • The folks at TENZOR wrote an article to help you Know Your Mesh. [They include an image of a mesh generated in Pointwise that I don’t even recognize. Not that I’ve seen them all.]
  • TwinMesh 2017 was released for meshing rotating machinery.
  • Research at the University of Kansas seeks to untangle meshes using locally injective mappings.
  • GridPro wrote about the art and science of airfoil meshing. See image below.

From GridPro’s Art and Science of Airfoil Meshing. Image from See link above.


Senseless Meshing

The American Museum of Natural History is currently hosting the exhibition Our Senses that offers immersive experiences that challenge your trust in your senses.


I can only infer from the graphic shown above that they believe that being immersed in grid generation can cause you to lose your senses. Which, from personal experience, isn’t that far from the truth.

Bonus: Kim Keever turns physics into art by pouring pigments into a tank of water and photographing the (somewhat unpredictable) results. In one of the most oblique references to CFD I’ve ever read (this is in WIRED magazine), Keever’s experience at NASA is summarized as “researching how fluids bypass solid objects at high speeds.”

Bonus x 2: I challenge you to not let this ripple tank simulator ruin the rest of the day’s productivity.

Posted in Applications, Events, News, Software | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m Amy Harris and This Is How I Mesh

Amy Harris, Administrative Assistant.

I have over 10 years of experience in Business and Office Management and a B.A. in English. I only recently joined the Pointwise team in June of this year as the Administrative Assistant and I am responsible for creating and revising systems and procedures alongside Carrie, the BAS Manager by analyzing operating practices, record-keeping systems, and personnel requirements. My family consists of a wonderfully talented IT professional you might know, Randy, who also works for Pointwise, our 7 year old daughter Scarlett, and our 3 year old son Elliott. From school, to daycare, to college, to work, and running a home, these three keep me running pretty much all day.

I grew up in a very small town just south of Fort Worth called Keene, Texas. There I enjoyed a childhood rich in culture due to the local university where people from all around the world sought for their education. This is the same university that I would go on to eventually graduate with my degree from, Southwestern Adventist University. I moved to Fort Worth during my final semester of college and decided that teaching high school English was not the role that I wanted to take on after all. I quickly advanced through a career in Property Management for Multi-Family Housing. Then after having our daughter I decided to switch gears and join Childcare Management and had the opportunity to run both a successful Preschool and School Age/Summer Camp program over the last 5 years. I have come to realize that spending time with my family and being more actively “present” with them is the thing I was previously lacking in my life, and so I made a change. I have taken on a less demanding role, although certainly still very important, where I am able to have the best of both worlds and work/life balance. I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to join the Pointwise team and look forward to our growing future.

  • Location: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Current position: Administrative Assistant
  • Current computer: Dell Precision T3500 w/ Intel ® Xeon ® @2.40GHz with Dual Monitors so I am able to open at least 15 different windows at one time. *Possibly more-I haven’t tested the limits just yet, but this will happen, SOON.
  • One word that best describes how you work: Energetically

What software or tools do you use every day?

My new BFF- QUICKBOOKS! This is a new system that I have learned to use since I started mid-June of this year. I also use Sage CRM, Outlook, Spark, and the many other software pieces of Microsoft Office.

What does your workspace look like?

Let me see if I can get the greeting down correctly, “Hello, and Welcome to the Pointwise Spa!” (Did I get that right, Claudio?) I enjoy decorating and feeling the comforts of a home-like work environment. So when I moved into my workspace- I REALLY moved in. My work area is on the street level of the Bicocchi Building and is backed by a lovely original brick wall and wonderfully large windows which look out to Jennings Ave. You will likely notice an aroma of either peppermint or spearmint in the air which is from my oil diffuser and ambient music which is most likely the Relaxation Station on Pandora. I have a sitting area for visitors located inside the original store-front windows. I like my workspace to be appealing to the eye while still very functional. I am an “everything has a place and everything in its place” kind of person; and so organization is vitally important for me.

What are you currently working on?

I work on our Accounts Payable and Receivables on a daily basis, and depending on the date will also team up with my manager Carrie Jefferies to reconcile our End of Month/Quarter/Year Reporting. I also take care of Purchase Order processing under Heather McCoy in the Sales & Marketing Department. Another project I am a part of is our company’s Wellness Team and just this last month we were able to certify our company as a Blue Zones Project Approved™ worksite.

What would you say is your specialty at Pointwise?

Taking a project and running with it. I enjoy a task based work environment-being able to check things off of my daily task lists allows me to feel accomplished at the end of the day. Working for a small company requires flexibility within my role- so whatever the day hands me I take and make it work to the best of my knowledge and ability.

Any tips, tricks, or advice for our users?

Become familiar with all of the Pointwise resources that are available to you. Reach out and ask for assistance or guidance if it’s needed. The whole company is full of knowledgeable and happy to assist personalities.

What project are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of joining and assisting the Pointwise Wellness Team to reach our goal of becoming a Blue Zones Approved Worksite for the City of Fort Worth. Being a part of the Wellness Team allows the more creative side of my mind to stretch and take over for a while.

Have you recently read any books or articles we should know about?

I recently started reading The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness, by Emily Esfahani Smith as a suggestion from a former colleague. I have found it thus far to have a transparent view of the predicament that most go through when searching for happiness. Smith follows a similar thought process to that of Vicktor Frankl in that we are striving to find meaning in our life and that is our driving force. They both deal with the process of finding what it is that you are passionate about, really sharpening your skills, and then at that point you are able to turn and assist those around you in finding their own fulfillment in life.

Do you plan on attending any conferences or workshops this year?

Most likely not, unless I am able to stow-a-way with Randy down to Austin in October for Spiceworld.

What do you do when you’re not surrounded by engineers making meshes?

You will likely find me at home having family time during the week and running around with them on the weekends for whatever errands need to be completed. Randy and I give each other a night off every week and so Tuesday evenings I can be found enjoying dinner with a friend or out for Nerd Game Night-a small group of friends that get together and play card games (my personal favorites are Batman Fluxx and Munchkin).

What is some of the best advice you’ve received?

If at first you don’t succeed…Just sit down and eat CAKE! Then try again.

If you had to pick a place to have dinner, where would you go?

Pointwise Holiday parties have spoiled me over the last seven years, so it would be a toss-up between Del Frisco’s, because their steak is delicious and they have a wonderful wine selection, and Saint Emilion for their dessert menu.

Posted in People & Places | Tagged | Leave a comment

Report from the 1st AIAA Geometry and Mesh Generation Workshop

From the 2017 Q3 issue of The Connector:

badge-gmgw1-180x180The 1st AIAA Geometry and Mesh Generation Workshop was held in Denver, Colorado on 3-4 June 2017 prior to the AIAA Aviation Forum. The goals of this new workshop were threefold: to assess the current state-of-the-art in geometry preprocessing and mesh generation as applied to aircraft and spacecraft systems, to identify areas of needed improvement, and to develop a foundation for development of best practices. In particular, the NASA High Lift Common Research Model Wing-Body was meshed and the meshing process document by workshop participants. (more)

Posted in Applications, Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

This Week in CFD


  • Why do engineers hate their current CAD system? According to an survey featured in an Onshape blog post there are four main things to hate. #2 “It is too difficult to import/export files.” Interoperability rears its ugly head again. [When you read their list, remove the word “CAD” and see if those reasons could apply to other CAE software in your arsenal.]
  • AIAA announced the 2018 class of Associate Fellows. [If you know someone on the list, why not send them a congratulatory email?]
  • There’s plenty of time to register for the Pointwise Meshing Technology Conference in Stuttgart on 4-5 December. As the name implies, this event is all about sharing the details of meshing techniques, geometry handling, mesh effects on CFD solutions, and more.

Comparison of old and new meshing strategies in Moldex-3D R15. Image from See link below.


  • Razvan Apetrei provides a nice summary of the recent Royal Aeronautical Society CFD and MDO Conference. [I‘m not saying that just because the NASA CFD 2030 Vision is mentioned.] You can read the full conference agenda online.
    • Mesh adaptation is cited as the technique for reducing the preprocessing burden.
    • Interoperability arises here too in terms of facilitating the exchange of data from CFD solver to postprocessor.
    • What I missed seeing was a mention of high-order meshing (i.e. non-linear elements) for RANS simulations (versus LES or DNS as high-order techniques).
  • The 2018 Code_Saturne User Meeting will be held on 5-6 April at the EDF Lab Paris-Saclay and will include news on both Code_Saturne and a multiphase flow solver. Registration is not open yet.
  • Flow Science has made available online the proceedings of their 2017 FLOW-3D Americas Users Conference. It appears that registration is required.
  • The 6th European Conference on Computational Mechanics and the 7th European Conference on CFD (ECCM ECFD 2018) will be held 11-15 June 2018 in Glasgow. Abstracts are due 15 December.



Screen capture from a video included in a very cool article about the use of Converge CFD to simulate gas turbine relight for GE.

Geometry Made Real

Photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto (I’ll always think of him as a photographer despite his other works) has produced a series of Mathematical Models by machining aluminum into mathematical formulae. These and others would be interesting to try to create via 3D printing.


Hiroshi Sugimoto, Hypersphere: Constant Curvature Surface Revolution of Hyperbolic Type, 2012. Image from the artist’s website. See link above.

Bonus: If you’ve read Neal Stephenson’s novel Seveneves [and if you haven’t I recommend it but you might not want to click the link to avoid a minor spoiler] you should check out this simulation of the plot’s main catalyst.

Double Bonus: The lowly tetrahedron has a property that’s quite unique; each face shares an edge with every other face. The only other shape known to exhibit this property is the slightly more complex Szilassi polyhedron, comprised of seven hexagonal faces.

Posted in Applications, Events, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pointwise Aids Bid to Make World’s Fastest Bike

From the 2017 Q3 issue of The Connector:

badge-human-power-team-This-One-Really-Is-180x180The Human Power Team is comprised of students with a shared goal: to build a highly advanced recumbent bicycle capable of breaking the world record for the fastest human alive. We will put our bike, the VeloX, to the test for the seventh time in the annual World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Battle Mountain, Nevada. This year the Human Power Team will focus purely on the world record for women, which was set at 121.81 km/h by Barbara Buatois in 2010. (more)

Posted in Applications, Software, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

This Week in CFD

Lucky “Friday the 13th” Edition


  • ICYMI, Digital Engineering featured the article Removing the Meshing Bottleneck in which they list seven avenues of development for simulation software that seem to be pursued by many software vendors. #4 Solution adaptation. [Full disclosure: I am quoted in that article.]
  • ANSYS AIM 18.2 features time-dependent flows and discrete particle modeling.
  • New features coming in 2017 Q4 to COMSOL Multiphysics 5.3a include turbulent inlets, coupled plasma, and 3D Connexion device support.
  • With all the recent news involving Lattice-Boltzmann CFD codes, I’ve just learned about a code I hadn’t heard of before: ProLB.




Typical hullform CFD results from DNV GL’s Virtual Trial. Image from See link below.

  • It looks like DNV GL’s new Virtual Trial CFD tool is a highly automated, cloud based, RANS solver for hull designs. See image above.
  • A Verification and Validation Study of CFD Simulations for the Flow Around a Tug (registration required)
  • CFD contributed to the development of Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan engine for the FAA’s environmentally-friendly aircraft program.
  • CFD influenced the design of Kabuto Aeroblade-5 motorcycle helmet.
  • Our friends at Intelligent Light are featured in this article on CFD in Formula 1.

Elysium’s CAD Doctor is used to prepare high-fidelity geometry models for simulation of Formula 1 aerodynamics. Image from See link above.


Pointwise News

Mesh Warpage

OK, so maybe the mesh itself isn’t all that warped but the effect of these floor tiles from Casa Ceramica will certainly give the effect of a warped floor. Let the walking hilarity ensue. They’re “eating their own dogfood” as the expression goes by installing this in their studio. I wonder if it helps or hinders walk-in traffic? As originally seen on Colossal. Inquiries have been sent for pricing.


Not just another example of a weird flooring effect. You can actually buy the tiles to create this warped effect from Casa Ceramica. Image from Colossal. See link above.

Bonus: Grid Poems, a book of poetry in which poems are arranged in a 3×3 array of lines such that different meanings result depending on whether you read left to right or top to bottom. The poetry is coupled with grid-like, discrete illustrations to further enhance the effect. [I entered the contest for a free copy. Did not win.]

Posted in Applications, Events, News, Software, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment