This Week in CFD

*** Lucky Friday the 13th Edition ***


  • Tecplot released Tecplot 360 2017 for CFD visualization including a Python API. You can read more about PyTecplot on the company’s blog.
  • OpenVSP 3.10.0, the parametric aircraft geometry tool, was released.

Screen shot of a video introduction to Tecplot 360 2017. See link above.

Looking Back

  • Did you know the FYFD blog was in the New York Times last year? Learn more and see the top posts of 2016 [and maybe consider helping FYFD by becoming a patron].
  • Speaking of 2016 wrap-ups, read on CFD and others… how a military coup and CFD interacted.
  •’s top articles of 2016 includes an overview of simulation technology.
  • Symscape shares 2016’s lessons in CFD.
  • If you, like me, have gotten behind on the Talking CFD podcast, now is the time to get caught up. You’ll hear from Sandip Jadhav (CCTech), Robin Bornoff (Mentor Graphics), Mark Seymour (Future Facilities), Darrin Stephens & Chris Sideroff (Caelus), Franjo Juretic (Creative Fields), Nicolas Tonello (Renuda), and Kelly Senecal (Convergent Science).

A neural network learns how to do fluid simulations. video

Events & More

Twisty Passages

The creators of the text-based game Adventure [that reference should give you a clue to my advanced age] probably didn’t have structured grids mind when they wrote the line “you are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike” but when you’ve generated as many structured grids as I have your dreams often look like the work of Peter Kogler.

As first seen by me on Colossal, Kogler’s installations would be perfect for the hallways of any CFD or mesh generation company’s headquarters.


Peter Kogler, DIRIMART Gallery, Instanbul, 2011. Image from Colossal. See link above.

Bonus: “The hegemony of English-language science…

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I’m Luiz Fernando Silva and This Is How I Mesh

Luiz Fernando Silva, Professor at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Luiz Fernando Silva, Professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and I am the eldest of three boys. We lived in the north region of the city, called Tijuca, which is very close to America’s largest urban forest, Tijuca’s Forest. When I was six years old, I wanted to be a soccer player like most of the boys in Brazil. However, my legs didn’t agree with me when during the games I would get hit by the ball and stumble while running. After this, I accepted that being a soccer player would not be my specialty. In fact, I was terrible…so back to the books! In all, it was not hard to figure out that I always liked technical and science subjects.

I started my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). During the second year of the course, I joined a research laboratory as a scientific intern. The term “scientific intern” is a Brazilian government program designed to encourage young students to learn more about science. So I joined the Thermo-fluid-dynamics laboratory and learned the basics of scientific programming and numerical methods applied to hyperbolic equations. I realized that I wanted to learn more about transport phenomena and numerical methods. Therefore, as soon as I finished the bachelor course, I registered for a post-graduation course in the same laboratory.

The topic of my Ph.D. thesis was the implementation of polydisperse multiphase flows using moments method because at that time commercial CFD codes did not have this modeling approach implemented. At first, the task involved writing an in-house code from scratch, but I soon realized the effort of meshing and numerical methods would be considerable. Instead, I checked the release of a new open-source CFD code named OpenFOAM and as I studied the code I realized I could focus on the implementation of the multiphase modeling. After all, the meshing, numerics and post-processing were already included on the software. This is the story of how I started using OpenFOAM.

I assumed a professor position at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro one year after my Ph.D. defense. From that time, I assumed several disciplines, mostly related to Transport Phenomena and Numerical Methods, and had many undergraduate students. I’ve been working with multiphase flow and general CFD development and plan to focus on compressible flows and optimization moving forward.

My former Ph.D. supervisor and I noted that an open-source approach to the CFD market would be important and prominent in Brazil, especially high quality services which include CFD simulations and development using OpenFOAM. Considering this, and together with former students, we founded Wikki Brasil in 2013 with partnerships with Wikki and Pointwise. Wikki Brasil was founded within the UFRJ Company Incubator program which is an incentive for starting companies in Rio de Janeiro. It is an important support helping Wikki Brasil face the Brazilian economic and political crisis nowadays.

As a professor at a federal university, my role at Wikki Brasil is only as a non-administrative associate. This means I don’t actually work on company projects, but I can help instruct Wikki Brasil associates as an external consultant. Considering this, I am very proud to be part of Wikki Brasil.

  • Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Current position: Professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Current computer: MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013) 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5 and 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 (El Capitan) and a desktop with Gigabyte X99, Intel Core i7 5820K (3.30 GHz), 32 GB RAM DDR4 2400 MHz, Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4 GB GDDR5, 120 GB SSD and 2 TB HD (CentOS 7).
  • One word that best describes how you work: Dedicated

What software or tools do you use every day?

I use a MacBook Pro (El Capitan) on a daily basis as my productive computer. I use it most of the time for general tasks like accessing the internet and e-mail, as well as reviewing and writing material. The applications I use most often are:

  • Macports to install and maintain Linux command-line applications and libraries.
  • Safari and Google Chrome for internet and Apple Mail and Gmail (web interface) for my e-mails.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader (activating the Comment option) or Skim for reviewing papers and documents.
  • LaTeX (MacTex package) and TeXnicle IDE for writing technical documents and presentations.
  • Apple Calendar to keep my appointments organized, Things to organize my to-do list, Evernote to save and organize all my notes and bookmarks. I use Mendeley Desktop to keep articles and reference material organized.
  • I use several cloud services for data synchronization like Dropbox, iCloud and Owncloud.
  • I use Skype and WhatsApp (on my iPhone) to communicate with my friends and colleagues.
  • I also use Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with CFD news and related material.
  • And lastly, Spotify is always on with my Rock Classics playlist.

I have installed Pointwise, OpenFOAM, foam-extend and ParaView on both my MacBook Pro and Linux desktop. The MacBook is my first choice for small projects. For serious simulation and code development, I connect remotely to my Linux desktop from the MacBook using ssh. For code development, I use vim (Linux and MacOS) and TextMate (MacOS) with gcc and clang compilers.

What does your workspace look like?


I work at the School of Chemistry at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. It is located on the E Block of the Technologic Center of the university. Professors’ offices on E Block are somewhat distant from the research laboratories. Considering this, I recently left my old office and moved to a small office inside the CFD Laboratory. My motivation was mainly to be closer to students and, despite the smaller size, I really enjoy working at the new office.

The CFD Laboratory (LabCFD) is administered by four professors, including me. We have several Ph.D., master’s and under-graduated students dealing with several topics related to CFD and transport phenomena. The laboratory also has experimental activities that provide data to validate simulations. There are several pieces of equipment there, but I would say that the most important of all is broken at the moment – the coffee machine. Just kidding…

My office is small but I find it very cozy. I have scattered some gifts from places I have traveled all over the place. My desk is minimalistic as I keep only essential office and computer material within reach. I use a 29” widescreen monitor connected to both my MacBook Pro and Linux computer. I can use the wide area of the monitor to organize the working application windows side by side and let the MacBook screen be used for e-mail, calendar and to-do list programs. I also chose this configuration instead of multiple monitors mostly to maintain a simple and clean desk.

What do you see are the biggest challenges facing CFD in the next 5 years?

Transport phenomena alone is not an easy subject and requires a lot of dedication to understand the theory and how to use it for practical cases. The same applies to numerical methods applied to fluid flow, coupled equations, and meshing procedures. Add scientific computing (parallel processing, data communication, scientific visualization, etc.) to the formula and you might have the basis for CFD theory. CFD is a multidisciplinary area and it is not easy to keep yourself up to date on all subfields. There is a need for long term dedication and some effort studying the theory.

It may seem a bit tendentious for a professor, but I am quite sure education will be a challenge. From what I see, many engineers use simulation tools as “automagical” solutions to their problems. After all, it is easy to enter some parameters and promptly get a solution. When starting to use CFD, it is easy to get lured by all colors and pretty pictures. I recognize that the accessibility of a user interface is important, but people are heavily relying on it to solve complex problems. Thus, the challenge of education is to provide a balance of software and CFD knowledge.

In general, the engineering bachelor degree may not be enough to train a CFD specialist. Usually, under-graduate students have their first contact with CFD using commercial software and simple cases. Further training and personal effort is also necessary. What worries me is that the fast CFD popularization is providing button pushers without motivation to understand what is beneath and criticize the solution.

As I was writing this post and I found that Darrin Stephens has a similar opinion.

What are you currently working on?

As a professor, I am supervising some Ph.D. and master’s students working on several subjects related to CFD modeling and development. The majority of themes are related to polydisperse multiphase flows. To pick one example, one of my Ph.D. students is finishing his research project on hydrate formation modeling using a multivariate population balance approach coupled with a multiphase flow code in OpenFOAM.

I have a meshing related task scheduled for the next few weeks where I will generate a grid for a cyclonic valve which has a very complex geometry. At the moment, I am cleaning the geometry using some solid modeling hints and I am already expecting to put some effort on the meshing procedure. In other words, fun time!

What would you say is your meshing specialty?

I don’t think I have a meshing specialty, but rather I am meshing enthusiastic. Let me explain.

I began playing with meshes a long time ago with ANSYS ICEM CFD and found it a very difficult task. At that time, there were no good manual tools for blocking strategies and vertices associations, and Octree was “automagical” for a beginner. After that, I began playing with OpenFOAM and meshing tools available within, i.e., blockMesh. That was the time when I was pretty sure meshing was not my thing.

It took me a long time before I dealt with serious meshing again. I started using Pointwise for very simple meshes and it was surprisingly easy to use. Once you understand the relation of connectors and domains and how to control every aspect of these entities (using Dimension, Distribute and Solve panels, for instance), you gain the confidence to mesh more complex geometries. This is just one step forward to deal with more complex meshing tools like extrusion, T-Rex and Overset techniques.

Despite having a preference for structured meshes, I also work with unstructured meshes for general CFD cases. At the moment I’ve been playing with Pointwise V18 and unstructured meshes (Advancing Front Ortho algorithm with triangles and quads) coupled with T-Rex. In the end, I can’t say I have a mesh specialty as I am still learning several aspects of meshing. To be honest, I have found that meshing is quite fun.

Any tips for our users?

I had the opportunity to attend a Pointwise standard training course at the company’s headquarters in Fort Worth. The training course was very important to begin understanding the Pointwise methodology for mesh generation and start my own projects. At the same time, I was able to meet several Pointwise employees: Travis Carrigan, John Dreese and Claudio Pita from the technical team, and Heather McCoy and Rick Matus from the sales team. So, my first tip is to keep in touch with Pointwise and the team of distributors. They can (and will) help you to use Pointwise and improve your knowledge on meshing strategies with the software.

In addition, if you can’t attend the training, there are several tutorials and webinars available on Pointwise’s channel on YouTube. The beginners may find videos explaining different aspects of the software, from basic meshing to examination of mesh quality. Even if you are an expert user, you can find more advanced material presented in the webinars and webcasts. So, this is a tip for Pointwise users of different levels of expertise. Go get some popcorn and watch the videos.

For a last tip, several details (even small ones) that can improve your mesh are described in the manual. Thus, consider it for serious power when meshing.

If you are from Brazil and want to know about Pointwise, get in contact with Wikki Brasil.

What project are you most proud of and why?

None of my work projects come to my mind when I think of an answer to this question. Instead, I think of all the students I have supervised and their personal and professional evolution. From the first steps using C++ and numerical methods, to fully coding a complex OpenFOAM solver, until realizing they are actually enjoying all of it, their evolution is notable. In the end, it is not hard to see that they are now much more proficient in specific topics than I am (or was). This is what I am proud of most of all.

What CFD solver and post-processor do you use most often?

I use OpenFOAM and foam-extend for my research projects and to prepare teaching material. Not often, I also use ANSYS Fluent or CFX due to some student or client restriction. For post-processing I use ParaView and gnuplot.

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

No, not really. At this time I am studying compressible flow theory in order to apply it for supersonic equipment for gas separation. As a chemical engineer, supersonic flows are not usual and so the theory is not approached during bachelor’s studies. So I am getting back to basic steps and increasing the complexity as study advances. The references I am using are:

  • Fox, R. W., McDonald, A. T. and Pritchard, P. J., Introduction to Fluid Mechanics, John Wiley & Sons, 6th ed., 2004. (Chapters 11 and 12)
  • Oosthuizen, P. H. and Carscallen, W. E., Introduction to Compressible Fluid Flow, CRC Press, 2nd ed., 2014.

If you have any tips about this subject, would you please leave a comment? Thank you in advance!

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

I am still depending on the release of funds from projects and research agencies in order to plan these activities. I would like to attend the OpenFOAM Workshop to keep up to date with recent news and developments. In addition, I would like to attend the next Pointwise User Group Meeting.

Also, I have gathered a team to organize the Brazilian OpenFOAM User Group Meeting in 2017 which will take place in Rio de Janeiro. I am on the organizing committee of Brazilian Congress of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CBCFD) and we will start to organize the congress this year, despite happening in 2018. If you want to know how the 2016 edition was, click here.

What do you do outside the world of CFD?

Besides the CFD world, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. My mother lives close so I visit her very often. I also enjoy taking a long walk with my dog, Sherlock, and my wife. Rio de Janeiro is a wonderful city and the weather is perfect for outside activities.

I have been a video game fan since I was a boy. Considering this, I have evolved from an Atari system to PS3. Even so, I am so busy at the moment that there is a long period of time when I don’t play anything. I consider an exception only when my goddaughter visits me. She enjoys playing PS3 games and wants (requires) me to play with her. During some pauses, I usually play indie games on iOS.

I have a collection of TV series and movies to watch on Netflix. I usually like to watch all seasons/episodes of each TV show at a time, but recently I have been breaking this rule. I am following Neil deGrasse Tyson in Cosmos and watching the last season of Black Mirror. In addition, I am also watching the Sherlock TV series. And before you ask, no, I am not following the Game of Thrones series. Instead, I am reading the fourth book of the collection.

Speaking of which, I also have a book collection. Most are historical romances, such as The Pillars of the Earth and Saxon Chronicles, but recently I have been interested in science history and scientific facts about unsolved mysteries.

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

Uncle Ben, from the Spider-man comic books, once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” He didn’t know at the time, but he was talking about CFD.

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

Rio de Janeiro is a big city, with several options for restaurants. So, this is a difficult question. Considering that I really like seafood, I know a restaurant that serves a varied menu including many dishes of fish, shrimp, crab, lobster and more. Really, the menu is so diverse that you may even find a sushi bar there (yep, Japanese food is included). The restaurant is called “Casa da Ostra na Brasa” which means Grilled Oyster House. Still, be aware that it is not the cheapest restaurant (approximately 22.00 U.S. dollars), but did I mention it is all-you-can-eat?

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Rotorcraft Hub Wake Analysis Using Overset Meshes

From the 2016 Q4 issue of The Connector:

figure2b_gridResearchers at Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Laboratory share an overview of their ongoing work involving overset grid CFD simulations of an incompressible rotorcraft hub they performed using the overset meshing tools available in Pointwise. Preliminary CFD results show good agreement with empirical rotor hub wake measurements. Pointwise has become an integral part of these researchers’ toolset as they continue their investigations into important flow phenomena for their sponsors in the rotorcraft industry. (more)

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Summer Internships at Pointwise

Are you a college student majoring in engineering, computer science, or something similar? Do you have an interest in CFD and mesh generation?

An internship at Pointwise might be a great way to spend your summer.

We have three open internships: one each in applied research, product development, and technical support.

Each position gives you the opportunity to take a deep dive into mesh generation for planes, trains, automobiles and more. You may be adding a new feature to the software, customizing the software for a particular type of usage, or testing new features to ensure they meet the design goals. Some of the positions include running your meshes in a CFD solver to verify their performance. You will be an integral part of the teams and work directly with professionals on the real product.

Want to know learn about some of our recent interns? They’ve been profiled on our blog in the This is How I Mesh series.

Tips on Resume Success

How can you get an internship?’s article Winning Strategies to Land That Great Engineering Job has a lot of good tips.

Tailored Resume AND Cover Letter

First, “having a resume and cover letter that are tailored for the position you’re applying to is essential.” Here’s what that means to us.

Do not send us a resume with an objective declaring your goal of obtaining a position in thermal simulation, automotive design, underwater puppetry, or whatever. That’s the fastest way to the rejection pile. Why? We’re a software company writing mesh generation software for CFD. Who are we to stand in the way of your puppetry dream?

Understand the difference between “experience” and “expertise.” If you claim expertise in C++ (for example), the interview questions can get interesting. There’s nothing wrong with having only experience with a subject (i.e. you used it in a class); you’re still a student.

A cover letter does not consist of the body of the email (“I’m interested in an internship. My resume is attached.”). Write a real cover letter that makes us want to read your resume. Think of it like this (especially for you undergrads): you and every other student has taken virtually the same classes and therefore has about the same background. What makes you unique? Are you doing undergraduate research? Participating (or leading) an activity like Formula SAE? Did you have a cool internship last summer?

Simple Things Make a Difference

Second, the article talks about “dealing with applicant tracking software.” Pointwise’s applicant tracking software is real people who read, sort, reply to, archive, and otherwise manage the hundreds of applicants. Here’s how you can help.


Proofread, proofread, proofread. Your resume and cover letter are treated as the first bit of work you produce for us. If you can’t be bothered to fix common spelling and grammar errors, we sigh heavily and move your resume to the reject pile. There’s no excuse. Period.

And it may seem like a small thing, but several hundred resumes all named “resume. pdf” are a pain to manage. Throw us a bone and name your resume “Susan-Smith-Internship-Resume-2017.pdf” or something similar.

Read Your Email

Third, advises “post-application: follow-up or fall behind.”

How about you actively monitor the email account you used to submit your resume? Here’s a statistic that may surprise you. Half of our internship applicants don’t reply to the email we send upon receipt of their resume in which we ask a few simple questions. Half. Don’t. Reply. And we don’t bother reviewing the resume until we get a reply. Just by replying to that email you double your chances.

And get a professional appearing email address, please. Something like I always wonder about resumes received from or (seriously). And frankly, any resume from

Send Your Resume Today

We really do want to find fabulous student engineers and make them part of our team. You can help us and improve your chances by following a few simple guidelines.

Check out and email your resume today. We look forward to hearing from you.
Apply Today

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This Week in CFD

*** Last Post of 2016 ***




Symscape shared a round-up of their CFD simulations of 2016. Image from Symscape.


  • The biggest traditional news item of the week is MSC Software’s acquisition of Software Cradle, makers of the SC/Tetra, scSTREAM, and scFLOW solvers.
  • On a related note, Software Cradle released scFLOW 13 with Oculus Rift support and improved preprocessing.
  • Speaking of acquisitions, Digital Engineering writes that Siemens’ acquisition of EDA software from Mentor Graphics makes the company the “first to offer mechanical, thermal, electrical, electronic and embedded software design capabilities on a single, integrated platform.”
  • An MIT Digital Fellow claimed “Platform beats product every time” at the recent Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE forum. While ostensibly about IoT, the essence of a platform is building a community (aka ecosystem) around a product suite that amplifies the benefits and experience by creating new pathways for interaction. [My interpretation, not his.]


Art of the Grid & Grids IRL

Let’s end the last blog post of the year with an explosion of mesh-related visuals from the art world and the real world. [In other words, I’m cleaning out my bookmarks.]


Tessellated Origami by Goran Konjevod. source


Faceted Prosthetic Limb. source


Free Form Brick Structure. source


Wireframe Animals by Mat Szulik. source


Carrie Secrist Gallery’s booth at Expo Chicago. source


Uncertain Journey  by Chiharu Shiota. source

Happy New Year, everyone.

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This Week in CFD

*** Special Christmas Eve Eve Day Edition ***


  • Intelligent Light announced the release of FieldView 16.1 for CFD results visualization and postprocessing and including the most resolved issues and feature requests in any recent FieldView release. See video below.
  • Beta CAE released v17.0.3 of their software suite.
  • CPFD released Barracuda Virtual Reactor 17.1 with performance improvements, both computational and setup time.
  • 3D online modeling platform Vectary is now out of beta. The software combines “mesh modeling, subdivision modeling, and parametric design.”
  • Open-source quadrature-based moment method code OpenQBMM has an updated website.
  • MSC Software announced Easy5 2017, the latest version of their “advanced controls and systems simulation” software.
Screen capture of FieldView 16.1 in action on a dataset from FOI. Click image for video. See link above.

Screen capture of FieldView 16.1 in action on a dataset from FOI. Click image for video. See link above.


A beautiful grid pic from CFD-Based Droplet Size Estimates in Emulsification Equipment. Image from Click image for article.

A beautiful grid pic from CFD-Based Droplet Size Estimates in Emulsification Equipment. Image from Click image for article.


  • You have until 23 January to cast your vote for Tech Briefs magazine’s reader’s choice product of the year award. There are four CAE-related candidates: ANSYS AIM 17.2, MSC Software’s MARC 2015, Tecplot 360 EX 2016 Release 2, and Wolfram Mathematica 11.
  • Here’s Visualizing Data’s best of the visualization web for October 2016.
  • Autodesk is EOLing (end-of-life-ing) T-Splines and 123D.
  • Happy 1st birthday to Onshape.
  • SimScale announced their academic program with on-demand courses and a special academic 6-month plan.
  • Finland’s Aalto University has an open post-doc position in CFD modeling of dual fuel combustion.
  • How close are we to CAD on portable/mobile devices? About 60%.
  • CFD and production-level supercomputing.
  • Read how Engility delivers HPC capabilities to its government customers.

From Pointwise

Aerospace and Defense Technology was kind enough to use a Pointwise V18 unstructured quad/hex mesh on their cover.

Aerospace and Defense Technology was kind enough to use a Pointwise V18 unstructured quad/hex mesh on their cover.

After a brief delay, we were informed that our poster for this year's International Meshing Roundtable (combining the two contest geometries: a computer exhaust fan and the White House) was selected as Meshing Maestro.

After a brief delay, we were informed that our poster for this year’s International Meshing Roundtable (combining the two contest geometries: a computer exhaust fan and the White House) was selected as Meshing Maestro.


Mesh Plotter

Alert reader Jacob discovered a tool that seems perfect for drawing meshes, the AxiDraw V3 pen plotter. I’m old enough to remember when all printers were pen plotters and usually huge enough to draw blueprints. But now for a few hundred bucks you can have one on your desktop. Be sure to watch the video at the AxiDraw website to see all this plotter can do.

The AxiDraw seems perfect for drawing your meshes and their dual too. See link above.

The AxiDraw seems perfect for drawing your meshes and their dual too. See link above.

Bonus: The Life Upfront blog is ending. [In which we read that I should be fired. For more reasons than mentioned.]

From our friends at TwinMesh. Click image for article.

From our friends at TwinMesh. Beautiful. Click image for article.

Want to see more fun Xmas-related CFD imagery? Check out the #SimulationFriday hashtag on Twitter.

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Mesh with Pointwise at AIAA SciTech 2017

badge-scitech-125x125AIAA SciTech 2017 (formally known as the AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition) will be held in Pointwise’s backyard this coming January, just north of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in the city of Grapevine, Texas. Because of the locality, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to meet, mingle, and converse with Pointwise staff including technical papers, the exposition hall, and a reception.

Read more in the 2016 Q4 issue of The Connector.

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