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.

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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)

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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.]

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This Week in CFD

News & Software

  • Altair is planning an IPO. [Exciting news for a cool company.]
  • From Flow Science comes stress-reducing CFD practices. “Patience is a virtue, especially in the CFD world.”
  • ENGYS released HELYX V3.0.0 with GUI, meshing, and adjoint solver improvements.
  • EDEM 2018 was released for discrete element modeling.
  • Here’s a blurb from the local paper about NASA Langley’s new computing center to be used for CFD and other computations. [Everyone’s seen Hidden Figures, right?]

Arizona State’s winning entry in the 2017 Simulating Reality Contest. Image from MSC Software. See link below.

News from Pointwise

  • Pointwise Version 18.0 R4 was launched with the ability to dock a user’s Glyph scripts to a toolbar for 1-button access to automated macros and templates.
  • Pointwise will be in Tokyo next week participating in the VINAS Users Conference. This annual event from our partner in Japan will feature a presentation by Dr. Rick Matus (Pointwise executive vice president) on alignment of our product development strategy with the NASA CFD 2030 Vision and a workshop by Ms. Carolyn Woeber (manager of technical support) on the latest advancements in our hybrid meshing technology.
  • Join us in Daejeon, South Korea, on 16 October for Efficient Meshing With Pointwise, a workshop that will cover marine and aerospace applications of meshing as well geometry model preparation. This event is being facilitated by TAEYANG IT Co., Ltd., our partner in South Korea.
  • On 4-5 December, we invite you to join us in Stuttgart, Germany for the Pointwise Meshing Technology Conference. This conference, held in partnership with CFD Beratung, our distributor in the regions, will delve deeply into the tools and techniques for structured and hybrid mesh generation, high-order meshing, geometry cleanup, and applied meshing for specific types of applications.



Lawrence Livermore National Lab used their expertise with the Cubit meshing software to develop p-fiber, an automated preprocessing tool, for Proctor & Gamble’s use in simulating the performance of paper products. Image from [This is very cool.]

  • CFD and meshing are mentioned in this brief introductory article about how parallel, multi-core computing is making FEA and CFD much faster. [I think it’s a bit Freudian that instead of “meshing” the article includes a tiny typo that reads “This messing [sic] and resulting solving of the Navier-Stokes equations…” Yes, meshing is a mess but you don’t have to keep rubbing it in.]
  • CFD was used in the design of a Carrousel Rave tugboat. [In which I learned that a carrousel tug has a central ring that rotates around the boat’s superstructure. Seems kinda cool, but what do I know from boats?]
  • CFD was used in the design of an underwater autonomous vehicle.
  • Tecplot shares their approach to comparing different datasets on different grids in Tecplot 360.


Interesting Stuff

  • The OpenFOAM Foundation has announced the availability of fee-based maintenance plans to cover the €250,000 annual cost of bug fixing, testing, deploying, and improving the software. Four prioritized maintenance tiers are offered: Free; Bronze €1,000; Silver €5,000, and Gold, €20,000.
  • Here’s an interesting opinion from Simxon [pronunciation unknown]: it’s time for all of us to standardize on ParaView for CFD post-processing. Their position seems to be based on two arguments. First, ParaView is open-source and free. Second, “The big vendors have yet to offer technology which enables a solution from one system to be displayable together with a solution from another system.” Their first point is obviously true. I cannot judge the factual accuracy of their second point and invite those of you who are more knowledgeable to weigh-in. Even if the second point turns out to be true (and I’m not saying it isn’t), are those two points sufficient for their standardization argument?

Triangulating and Triangulating and Triangulating and…

What do you get when you apply Triangulate (an online tool to “make triangle designs from photos”) on an image of a mesh? And what if you do it again? And again? I expect you to explore this and related questions for the rest of the day. I know that’s what I’ll be doing.


Screen shot of Triangulate in action. See link above.

Here’s my original image:


Here’s the first pass through Triangulate:


Here’s the second pass through Triangulate:



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I’m Brian Zdeb and This Is How I Mesh

Brian Zdeb, Technical Support Intern.

I’ve lived in a few different places so far in my life, but Illinois and California most define where I’m from.

I was born, raised, and will forever be a Chicagoan. I grew up in the Northwest Side (specifically in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood) playing baseball, basketball, pick-up football, riding bikes around the streets, and sitting on my friends’ porches. As I got older, my closest friends and I explored what the city had to offer inside and out. Downtown, Lake Michigan, festivals (Lollapalooza, The Taste), parades (St. Patty’s Day mostly), Cubs games/Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, Edison Park, North Park, Lake-Shore Drive, friends’ new apartments, etc. We were always meeting new people and going out.

When I wasn’t at school or with friends, I was working with my hands in programs my father enrolled me in such as Boy Scouts and woodshop. He also had me help with house projects or car fixes (he was a mechanic). These experiences I appreciated the most, as they are what set me on the path toward wanting a Mechanical Engineering Degree.

Currently, I am pursuing this degree at Caltech and will be a senior in the coming fall. Caltech is an awesome fit for me since everything, even our downtime conversations, focus on science and engineering. The myriad of exceptional and intelligent people there make this environment possible, they are always willing to share their ideas or help you get a concept down-pat. Of course, the classes aren’t a breeze. I’ve never worked harder, slept less, and stressed more. Looking back however, I also never learned faster and retained as much information in such short time. The most important thing I’ve taken away from Caltech, though, is the will and capability to learn things on my own.

I was first introduced to CFD through my ME 50 class at school, where we had to mesh and run simulations on an airfoil, beam, plate, and an engine part. Now that I’m interning here at Pointwise, I’m excited to learn all about the quality meshing side of CFD!

  • Location:Fort Worth, TX
  • Current Position: Technical Support Intern
  • Current Computer: HP Pavilion, Intel i7 @ 2.5GHz, 8GB RAM
  • One word that best describes how you work: Piece-wise (setting incremental goals)

What software do you use every day?

  • I mainly use Pointwise when I’m at work to mesh whatever I need, or to practice meshing techniques and scripting.
  • I use Notepad currently for anything script related and for recording notes.
  • Outlook is my main email client.
  • I use Spark and Microsoft Teams to stay connected and talk to anyone I need at Pointwise.

What does your workspace look like?

Simple, most of what I need is on the computer, in my pockets, or in my backpack.

What are you currently working on?

I recently just finished meshing the horizontal axis CX-100 wind turbine blade. Pointwise’s 2D T-Rex surface meshing technique was used to march anisotropic triangles from the leading and trailing edges of the blade until they reached isotropy. This technique helps provide accurate curvature resolution while keeping the cell count low compared when with pure isotropic based curvature refinement. A nearfield block was placed around the blade to produce an unstructured block and better resolution. This block was then rotated twice to generate the three blades. A nacelle with a tower was created, meshed, and attached to the blade hubs. Finally, a farfield, unstructured block was formed around the blade blocks, nacelle, and tower. This wind turbine mesh will be part of a mesh automation project that will be presented at the upcoming NAWEA 2017 Symposium.

In the next steps of the wind turbine project, I will be helping write and test scripts for mesh automation. My other current responsibilities include assisting with quality assurance and testing of new features that will be implemented in the upcoming Pointwise V18.1 R1 & R2. Also, I am updating HTML scripts which will be integrated into the Pointwise website.

What would you say is your meshing specialty?

I think I need more experience to specifically say. Because I used 2D T-Rex to resolve the geometry of the CX-100 blade and 3D T-Rex to initialize the nearfield volume, I would say that I am probably now more effective at generating a quality, hybrid mesh.

Any tips for our users?

  • If you’re attempting to use Assemble Domain multiple times with nothing happening, it’s probably because structured was chosen instead of unstructured.
  • Trying to perform a simple action without success might mean a feature tab is still open.
  • I would definitely encourage using the Layer Manager and being conscious of what you’re putting in each layer. Even with small projects it can make work a lot easier as I’ve already seen.
  • The built-in tutorials provide a good amount of practice and are definitely worth working through. Additionally, Pointwise’s YouTube channel includes many videos demonstrating feature use and meshing techniques.
  • If worse comes to worst, the Support team will always have your back at 1-800-4PTWISE or

What project are you most proud of?

Since I haven’t been here long, the CX-100 is the mesh that I’m most proud of. It’s my first project here and the meshing process has taught me to not be scared to test the many features Pointwise has to offer.

A school project for my ME 72 class involved teams of five and the design and fabrication of three robots to participate in a relay-obstacle course. In this course, the first robot had to navigate a pylon field and pass a ball to the next robot. Robot 2 would then traverse a ramp, pick up a weight, and drop the ball down a ramp where robot 3 would pick it up, open a gate, and deposit the ball in a goal. This required the integration of many types of engineering, and I’m proud my team and I were able to build all three robots and compete.

Another thing I’m most proud of isn’t a project, but is academic related. I was the recipient of the Questbridge scholarship for Caltech. Questbridge is a program that matches underprivileged students with colleges across the US, and the financial assistance granted acts as a full ride scholarship. Basically, if I did not receive this I would not have been able to fund any college education, let alone somewhere like Caltech.

What CFD solver and postprocessor do you use most often?

I’ve only had experience using ANSYS Fluent for fluid simulations and ANSYS Static Structural for FEA simulations. This was in my ME 50 class, where after we compared the simulated data to actual experiments using water tunnels, UTMs (universal testing machines), strain gages, and PIV analysis. It was definitely a cool and worthwhile comparison to see the accuracy simulations can offer.

Are you reading any interesting technical papers we should know about?

The last few papers I read were unrelated to CFD, but were interesting nonetheless. I took a class on nano-fabrication and my final presentation dealt with microfluidic device use in gene therapy. In my search, I found the paper: “A vector-free microfluidic platform for intracellular delivery.” Written by Armon Sharei et al., the device described was the most exceptional, yet simple, out of other papers I read.

A couple other papers relate to the summer research I did back at Caltech on creating a computational model to predict debris flow occurrences. I read “A model for fire-induced sediment yield by dry ravel in steep landscapes” by Michael Lamb et al., and “The physics of debris flows” by Richard Iverson.

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

Probably not. I went to the AGU (American Geophysical Union) conference last year to present research and that was a lot of fun. If there are any CFD conferences near me I would definitely try to attend them though!

What do you do when you’re not generating meshes?

  • I love listening to my music and finding new songs to add to my various playlists.
  • I like to work-out a decent amount during the summertime.
  • I binge watch shows like crazy. Recent series I’ve enjoyed include Westworld, Silicon Valley, and Rick and Morty.
  • I like to dabble with cooking (so I can get better at it).
  • Hanging with friends is always great too.

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

Something along the lines of “The best way to learn CFD software is to break it.”

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

If I were around Chicago, I’d go to Gene and Jude’s to grab the best hot dog ever. If an awesome Italian sausage/beef combo with an Italian ice is more your style, Johnnie’s Beef is the place. For deep dish pizza, you can’t go wrong with Giordano’s or Lou Malnati’s.

If I’m back at school in Pasadena, I would suggest Long Xing Ji Juicy Dumpling in San Gabriel, CA. The name doesn’t lie, they’re the juiciest dumplings I’ve ever had. For a great sausage, Wurstküche in LA is fantastic. Or for a late night snack, the breakfast burrito at Lucky Boy in Pasadena is the move.

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Pointwise Coming to South Korea and Germany

From the 2017 Q3 issue of The Connector:

Badge-180x180- LTM _BadgePointwise is bringing its Let’s Talk Meshing series of events to South Korea in October and Germany in December. We will be showing how Pointwise makes CFD analysis more efficient and trouble-free, and giving examples of Pointwise applied to real life engineering problems. There will also be plenty of time for questions on meshing and CFD. Both events are open to anyone and there is no charge, so we hope to see you there. (more)

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Pointwise Becomes a Blue Zones Project Approved Worksite

BZ-approved-worksite-sealWe are proud to announce that Pointwise has been recognized as a Blue Zones Project ApprovedTM Worksite!

Blue Zones Project® is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier in Fort Worth through permanent changes to environment, policy, and social networks. When our entire community participates – from worksites and schools to restaurants and grocery stores – the small changes add up to huge benefits for all of us: lowered healthcare costs, improved productivity, and ultimately, a higher quality of life.


Pointwise received Blue Zones Worksite Approval at our September staff meeting. From left to right: Rick Matus (executive vice president), John Chawner (president), Yolanda Harper (Blue Zones Project), Carrie Jefferies, Carolyn Woeber, and Jim Colby (our Wellness Plan Committee).

Pointwise is playing an important role in this well-being initiative by achieving Blue Zones Project Approved status. Some of the initiatives we have implemented to earn this designation include creating a Wellness Team, attending a plant-based cooking class, initiating standing meetings, and sponsoring a team of employees and family members in a community walk/run annually.

Our staff participation in these efforts, such as signing the Blue Zones Personal Pledge, helped us reach this designation. By implementing these healthy evidence-based options, Pointwise is helping our employees and everyone who lives, works and play in Fort Worth live longer, better lives.

City Council Picture

Pointwise and other organizations were recognized at the Fort Worth City Council Meeting on 26 September 2017 for achieving Blue Zones Approval.

Taking the Blue Zones Personal Pledge is just the first step to living a longer, better life. If you took the pledge, you should already be receiving monthly updates about Blue Zones Project activities happening across our community, timely tips for making healthy choices easier, and links to recipes, information, and resources that will help you improve your well-being. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in variety of activities that will help you move naturally, eat healthier, find your purpose, and stay connected.

Want to learn more about Blue Zones Project?

  • Read about the original Blue Zones areas in Dan Buettner’s best-selling book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who Have Lived Longest.
  • Follow Blue Zones Project on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Discover volunteer opportunities where your passions align.

If you haven’t already taken the Personal Pledge, we encourage you to visit, take the pledge, and join the movement to improving your own well-being.

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