This Week in CFD

Pointwise Events

  • Join Pointwise in Stuttgart on 4-5 December for the Pointwise Meshing Technology Conference, a deep dive into our technology for geometry modeling; high-order, structured and unstructured meshing; and lessons learned about mesh effects on CFD results from our participation in recent workshops and conferences. The event is free but registration is required.
    • A special presentation on High-Quality Scalable Meshes will be delivered by Georg Scheuerer, Managing Director of iSimQ.
  • Pointwise will be in Daejeon, Korea on 16 October for a 1-day workshop on Efficient Meshing with Pointwise. Marine and aerospace applications will be discussed with a focus on mesh effects on CFD results. Also on the agenda are geometry modeling and a preview of new capabilities being developed for the software. This workshop is free but registration is required.

Applications & More


Iso-surfaces of velocity are shown from a CONVERGE CFD simulation of a car body passing through a paint bake oven. Image from Convergent Science.

  • Mentor will be recognizing excellence in electronics thermal design with the launch of their FloTHERM Delta TJ Award, to be awarded in September to an entry judged to be the best application of their technology (see announcement for criteria). Entries are due 25 August 2017.
  • Envenio seeks respondents to their CFD survey – how you use it and where you think the challenges are. They promise prizes. [Including a magnum of  Veuve Clicquot champagne.]
  • GE is using CFD to design better 3D printers for metal.
  • CFD was used to simulate the external aerodynamics of what will be Istanbul’s tallest building, the Kucuk Camlica TV tower. [Please pardon the lack of diacritical marks due to my laziness.]
  • Here’s an article describing application of Exa PowerFLOW to aeroacoustic simulation.

SAE shares an article describing variable aerodynamic devices (aka active aero) on a Lamborghini Huracan. Image from SAE.

Software & More


This U.S. Dept. of Energy exascale timeline is part of an article about the storage and I/O components of these future machines. Image from

  • Tecplot released Tecplot RS 2017 for visualizing reservoir simulation results in the oil and gas industries.
  • PLOT3D v4.1 has been updated with new capabilities for CFD visualization and is available through NASA’s technology transfer program. [PLOT3D was the first CFD viz software I used way back in the late 1980s. To see this former winner of NASA’s Software of the Year award still being updated says a lot about its utility.]
  • The OpenFOAM Foundation released OpenFOAM 5.0.
  • CONSELF seeks applicants for a CAE analyst position in Italy.
  • DesignPro seeks a CFD partner for simulation of small-scale river turbines for power generation.
  • Tech Soft 3D shares their perspective on CAD data re-use. “Leverage the BREP [boundary representation] – BREP (geometry and topology) is the starting point for CAD data reuse. The quality of the BREP is critical for many workflow[s].”

Facets, Real and Virtual

I was impressed by Denver’s art scene during my visit to the city this past summer for AIAA Aviation. So this article from the Denver Post about public displays of art caught my eye, especially Sandra Fettingis’ faceted mural, Gem City.


Sandra Fettingis, Gem City. Image from the Denver Post. See link above.

Bonus Video:


Screen capture from the animated short film L’oiseau qui danse by Jean-Marie Marbach. I like the juxtaposition of the faceted bird and flower within a setting that’s very liquid in appearance. Image from Cartoon Brew.

Bonus: How do you go about 3D printing just about anything while ensuring it can stably spin? Spin-It.

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New Issue of The Connector Coming Next Week

The 2017 Q3 issue of our email newsletter, The Connector, is due to be published next week. Subscribe today for an email notification when it is ready to view.



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End of Summer for Intern Christian Atwood

Christian Atwood, an intern in our Technical Support team, gave his end-of-summer presentation today before heading off to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to begin his freshman year.


Intern Christian Atwood and his mentor, Carolyn Woeber  – manager of technical support, at Christian’s end-of-summer presentation.

Yes, that’s right. Christian is a high school senior and will only be starting his college experience in a few weeks. So, what can a high school graduate accomplish at Pointwise? In his own words:

I worked on a CX-100 wind turbine mesh to be used in a “checkerboard” wind farm simulation. I started with the horizontal axis wing from the CX-100, applied a surface mesh with anisotropic tetrahedral extrusion (T-Rex) and built a near field block around each wing. This block was then periodically rotated around 120 degrees for a complete turbine. It will be used with a script that loads the turbine and places multiple instances of the grid on a plane. The completed wind farm will be presented at the North American Wind Energy Academy Symposium in September.

Front-end Documentation was developed for commands in the File menu in Pointwise. Using the user manual text, and making appropriate additions, I created an HTML document for each of the Pointwise commands I worked on.  The end goal is to create an online manual that users can access for information about the software. Also, this process taught me how to effectively capture GUI elements to create web pages that are concise and display only what they need to, aiding in user understanding.

I worked on testing the new Examine, Filter command coming in V18.1, that allows the user to set specific conditions for examining the quality of a grid. I was able to identify several issues that the Product Development team fixed.

I created a yacht mesh for the International Meshing Roundtable meshing contest. This mesh proved to be challenging due to cells with high aspect ratios and small volumes.

We wish Christian the best of luck at ERAU.

If you’re interested in an internship at Pointwise, watch our website: We usually post summer internships in January.

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This Week in CFD



NASA Simulation of ocean currents. Image from insideHPC. See link above. [Does this image remind anyone else of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, even just a little bit?]



Exploring simulation data sets with Tecplot. Image from Digital Engineering. See link above.


  • SimScale shares simulations on tractor-trailer aerodynamics.
  • Use of GPUs for less invasive diagnosis of gastrointestinal issues. [Just because I rarely see the words “GPU” and “bowels” in the same headline.]
  • You don’t often see CFD mentioned in Bloomberg Business week but it is, at least obliquely, in this article about supersonic aircraft.
  • MIT has developed a CAD plugin called InstantCAD that helps optimize designs by automating the exploration of a parametric design space in the cloud. [I found this news item and the teaser from ANSYS below to be eerily similar.]

Does anyone have any idea what ANSYS has up their sleeve? Click here for video with more (?) details.

Meshing on My Mind

Alert reader Chris shared with me Juame Plensa’s wire mesh sculpture of a young girl’s head called Wonderland. The artist’s intent is for viewers to get inside the meshed head and think about dreams and future possibilities. But what if meshing is inside your head leaving no room for dreams?

As first seen on Colossal, also seen at My Modern Met. See the artist’s website here.

Bonus points for the tri mesh on the building in the background.


Juame Plensa, Wonderland. “I believe the architecture of our bodies is the palace for our dreams.” Image from Colossal. See links above.

Bonus: My most recent faceted find (at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art) is the reddish object in the background of the photo below. Can you guess what it’s supposed to be used for?


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You Should Be Bidding at AIAA Foundation Silent Auctions

Why aren’t you buying more of this treasure?

Since SciTech 2016, the AIAA Foundation has held silent auctions at the AIAA’s major forum events (SciTech, Aviation, Propulsion and Energy, Space).

I continue to be surprised at the variety and quality of items available. There have been aircraft and spacecraft models, books, software, flags, plenty of signed items, and more. The four things I’ve been lucky enough to win in the auction are shown below.


Clockwise from upper left: model of a B-17, signed Buzz Aldrin photo (signed book not shown), vintage book, and a signed artist’s print of the Space Shuttle.

But how is it possible I could win that Buzz Aldrin photo as the SECOND bidder? I wasn’t even present on the last day of the auction. And I know for a fact that astronaut photos are priced for retail sale quite a bit higher than what I paid. And I got a signed book too for essentially nothing.

Although it works against my bidding strategy, I’d like it if more people participated in the silent auctions. Here are five reasons why.

  1. Silent auctions are easy.
    1. Visit the AIAA booth in the exhibit hall at any time and browse the available items.
    2. Write your name and your bid on the paper in front of each item.
    3. Return throughout the conference to see if you’ve been outbid.
    4. If you’ve been outbid, return to Step B.
    5. On the last day of the exhibition, return to see if you’ve won.
  2. The auction items are donated by aerospace companies from around the world and are perfect for aerospace geeks like you’ll find at the AIAA Forums. People like me. And you. Or maybe you know a geek who would appreciate an aerospace-themed gift at your favorite, upcoming, end of year holiday.
  3. The AIAA Foundation is a worthy cause.
    1. The Foundation promotes our profession and STEM in general at the K-12 level.
    2. Scholarships and competitions are sponsored at the collegiate level.
  4. Tax deduction!
  5. Did I say they have cool stuff? At a recent auction they had an F-15 model signed by Chuck Yeager to commemorate his 1989 flight celebrating the 65th anniversary of breaking the sound barrier.

Now I’m not guaranteeing that you’ll walk away with something like Neil Armstrong’s lunar rock sample bag (including moon dust).

The next auction (see this web page under the Special Events heading) is coming up at Space on 12-14 September in Orlando.

If you have something to donate to be auctioned (I’m talking to you, huge Aerospace Corporation), let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the appropriate people at AIAA. I’d love to see some flown items (stuff carried on Shuttle missions?).

For the rest of us, plan to do a little bidding for a good cause. You’ll be happy you did.

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This Week in CFD

These Headings

  • Lifecycle Insights is collecting data via their 2017 Simulation Study Survey which is said to take only 10 minutes. Why not spend a little time, have your voice heard, and receive the final survey results?
  • On a related note, is studying how engineers stay informed. [By reading This Week in CFD, of course.] The survey comes with a pretty nice preamble for what they’re looking for. Please help them out.
  • DCS Computing has an immediate opening for a model & software developer for their open-source CFDEM software.
  • The video of SIGGRAPH’s Real-Time Live demos includes several fluids-based animations that make me [you?] wonder, “How’d they do that?”
  • On a related note, RealFlow’s Cinema 4D 2.0 was released and it too includes some cool-looking fluids capabilities.
  • Here’s Visualizing Data’s best of the visualization web for June 2017.

You know why I’m posting this photo of a PNY PREVAILPRO mobile workstation based on NVIDIA GPUs. Image from DEVELOP3D.

Have Little Relation


SimScale shared this CFD simulation of wind loading of a tank farm.

To The Content

  • Our friends at ANSYS continue to earn revenue at a nice pace with $264 million in Q2, an increase of 7% (as reported by Monica Schnitger). Read more in this article from TenLinks.
  • Speaking of ANSYS, DEVELOP3D presents a detailed look at ANSYS Mechanical R18 with a promise to do the same for their CFD products next month.
  • According to, the new IndyCar aerokit (designed with the aid of CFD) performs well. On a related note, NASCAR needs more CFD to understand proposed changes to their aerokits.
  • SimScale explains verification and validation. [My summary: Verification tests whether your software is correctly solving your mathematical model. Validation tests how accurately your software’s results match reality.]

They Precede

  • The OpenGL 4.6 specification has been published “including the capability to ingest SPIR-V shaders.” [I’d be much obliged if someone could explain the quoted text to me. My next goal is to use the word “ingest” in one of our product announcements.]
  • Beta CAE released v18.0.0 of their software suite.
  • What’s new in FloTHERM via
  • Autodesk promotes their mesh automation in a video titled Never Run a CFD Mesh Sensitivity Study Again. Registration is required to view the video.
  • FEAforAll opens the proverbial Pandora’s box by answering the question Which CAD format is best for CAE? [Short answer: the one your software imports most accurately. I’m not being flippant. There is no “best” format; they’re all equivalent.]

Voronoi in the Park

I should stop being surprised when tessellations manifest themselves IRL (in real life for the non-l33t). Rod Bogart created a Voronoi diagram of people enjoying the sunshine in a park.  I first saw this posted to where this diagram was said to illustrate the parkgoers’ personal spaces.


Voronoi diagram of people in a park. Image by Rod Bogart, first seen on See links above.


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I’m Sydney Wood and This Is How I Mesh

Sydney Wood, Business & Administrative Services Intern.

Hey there! My name is Syd; I am from Fort Worth and am currently a student at Texas Christian University, studying Entrepreneurial Management and Sociology, which might have you wondering how I ended up at Pointwise. I am spending the summer going into my senior year a bit non-traditionally. I have the opportunity and pleasure of spending this summer working with 12 other TCU students, welcoming the incoming class to TCU by directing Frog Camp. This program takes up most of my summer; however, I have two weeks off and I thought what better way to spend it than seeing how I can learn from and mesh with a bunch of engineers. As you can probably guess, my knowledge and understanding of meshing is slim to none, but I think the idea of being able to understand and operate this kind of software is amazing. Thankfully, I have the opportunity to learn from some brilliant people at Pointwise and get a better understanding of what it is they’re so passionate about here.

  • Location: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Current position: Intern, Business & Administrative Services
  • Current computer: Dell Precision laptop
  • One word that best describes how you work: Diligently

What software or tools do you use every day?

The most useful tools for me have been Outlook or Spark IM as well as Sharepoint.

What does your workspace look like?

I consider myself a minimalist when it comes to my workspace. I like everything to be neat and organized whether that be the paper and pens around me or the documents on my computer. Everything should have a place, if not, I find one for it. One constant that you’ll find on my desk is my planner. I don’t think I could survive without it!

What are you currently working on?

When I’m not organizing marketing files or downloading and scanning documents at Pointwise, I am dedicating my time to the program I am directing at TCU. Frog Camp is a part of the extended orientation program on campus and is an enjoyable way for incoming students to meet each other, get acclimated to Fort Worth, find adventure, acquire the skills they need to be successful in college, and understand what it means to be a Horned Frog. The program has 13 camps throughout the summer that take place in 3 states and 3 countries. My specific role in Frog Camp is being one of three directors of a camp called Challenge, which is one of our camps located just outside of Waco, Texas. Challenge is most similarly compared to a typical summer camp, which involves outdoor activities, campfires, and s’mores, but also has some additions unique to TCU. Challenge happens twice over the summer, once at the beginning and once at the end. Right now, I am working on finalizing our schedule, gathering the necessary supplies, and making sure our facilitators (mostly current sophomore and junior TCU students) are trained and prepared for the upcoming camp.

What would you say is your specialty at Pointwise?

I’m not sure I have a specialty at Pointwise yet. I am just taking time to learn as much as I can in as many areas as I can so that I gain the most out of my short time here. However, I am a very organized person and enjoy taking on projects that involve structure and order. I have focused on making sure that everything I work on is as organized and as easily accessible as possible for the people who need it. As simple as that is, I guess you might consider that my specialty.

Any tips, tricks, or advice for our users?

Take advantage of the people at Pointwise. Everyone here is extremely willing and capable of helping you in any way they can. What I’ve learned from my short time here has been to not be afraid to ask questions because someone will always take the time to answer them.

What project are you most proud of and why?

I am hoping the project I am most proud of is yet to come, which might sound strange. As I mentioned, most of my summer has been consumed by Frog Camp. I am in the process of planning my second camp for TCU that will take place in August and will be attended by a combination of over 400 incoming students and staff. I am proud of the risk I have taken by being in this position and the growth I have had so far over the summer and know I will continue to have before it is over. Although I am addressing the camp as a whole multiple times, most of my work is heavily behind the scenes and allows me to watch the amazing impact this program has on students, (another reason I enjoy being a part of Frog Camp). No matter how many things may go right or wrong, I know I will be proud of this camp because of the effort I have put in and the impact the camp will have on everyone who attends. This project has taken the most dedication and hard work of anything I have done so far; however, it has also been the most rewarding.

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

Neither of these are engineering related so bear with me and give them a chance.

Two of the most intriguing and inspiring books I have read recently are Life is Not an Accident by Jay Williams and Love Does by Bob Goff. The more unexpected of the two, given to me on a whim, was Life is Not an Accident. This book was written by Williams, a former Chicago Bulls player, and is centered on what to do when life doesn’t go as planned. The book focuses on William’s journey of recovery both physically and mentally, after his devastating motorcycle accident. The other book, Love Does, follows the life of an extraordinary man, Bob Goff, as he creates a business, raises his family, and makes a difference in the world. The book is told in stories, each focusing on a certain individual that influenced him in some way and the lessons he learned.

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

For the most part, I like to listen to music and create playlists to fit any mood or at least the one I’m in at the time. Being from Fort Worth and attending TCU has allowed me to stay close to my family so I spend a good amount of my free time with them. I also like to spend time reading and I am always looking for new suggestions.

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

“Try something hard. See for yourself. Challenge what you know.”

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

Angelo’s for BBQ or Kincaids for a burger… yum, I’m hungry.

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