This Week in CFD


Screen capture from a video illustrating a FLOW-3D solution of Combined Sewer Overflow. Image from Flow Science.

Screen capture from a video illustrating a FLOW-3D solution of Combined Sewer Overflow. Image from Flow Science.



  • ESI’s financial results as commented upon by Monica Schnitger look good and the income from OpenCFD and CyDesign appears to be in the 1 million euro range. One factoid that caught my eye is that ESI’s top 20 clients account for 46% of their revenue while for ANSYS that percentage is only 5%.


  • The March 2014 issue of DEVELOP3D is 100 pages of 3D printing goodness.
  • On a related note, Scan&Solve for Rhino now supports 3D printing materials for your simulations.
  • The SolidWorks World 2014 proceedings are now available online including CFD and simulation topics.
  • From Aerospace America comes Ready, Set, Export (PDF) on the pending changes to export regulations for defense related articles (i.e. ITAR and AECA). [IMO, the changes described are good but only the first steps required to make export regulations less burdensome while also providing the desired protections.]
  • In the article Closing the CAD to CAE Gap, we read about how several organizations are moving more and more simulation from dedicated analysts to designers. For example, Northrop Grumman reports that the ratio of designers to analysts has changed over the years from 6:1 to 1:1.2. In other words, everyone’s doing simulation.
  • The secrets of CFD are revealed on the Secrets of Science website with their Introduction to CFD.
This image id described by The Secrets of Sciences as a Fluent solution on a polyhedral mesh for a Formula 1 car.

This image id described by The Secrets of Science as a Fluent solution on a polyhedral mesh for a Formula 1 car.


  • At the STAR Global Conference, CD-adapco president Steve MacDonald announced that over the next year they’ll be adding FEA to STAR-CCM+.
  • AeroDynamic Solutions released ADS Release 6.0 for turbomachinery CFD.
  • Design World shares three free CAD programs for engineers: IronCAD COMPOSE, AutoCAD Inventor Fusion, and Solid Edge 2D Drafting. [I know there are others. Please include your favorite in the comments.]


  • From Today’s Medical Developments comes news that Menges Roller won an award for their use of CFD to design heat transfer rollers.
  • Build2Design is a new service for ship builders to ensure that their ships perform as designed. Even though optimized using CFD during the design phase, there can actually be wide performance differences in the as-built products.
  • The University of Oslo has an opening for a PhD Research Fellow in fluid mechanics.

The Grids of Agnes Martin

How can engineers not like the work of Agnes Martin? After all, imagine the reams of green quadruled graph paper we’ve all used during the course of our careers. Engineers will also probably be the first to dismiss her work with the cliché “I could do that” retort.

As Agnes Martin said, her paintings have nothing to do with geometry. They’re about finding perfection which can only be found by reading between the lines. Keep in mind that she was strongly influenced by the same desert southwest landscapes that also influenced Georgia O’Keeffe. The amazing comparison there is how the two painters expressed that influence so differently on canvas.

Agnes Martin, Leaf, 1965

Agnes Martin, Leaf, 1965

P.S. If “you can do that,” I really, really wish you would.

*Buy is not a recommendation, just wordplay. You don’t want stock tips from me.

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3 Responses to This Week in CFD

  1. jstults says:

    I’ve played around a bit with BRLCAD. The boolean ops are rock-solid compared to some of the other free / open-source offerings. The developers are helpful too. The legacy user interface is a command line, but there is a new graphical user interface called Archer that is a useability improvement in the right direction. High-quality STL export (and wide variety of geometry format conversion in general); I have successfully printed models from this program.

    FreeCAD is the closest I’ve found to something that is similar to commercial offerings, but the underlying OpenCASCADE library is a bit unreliable with the booleans, and there are some licensing issues that prevent it from being included in strict FLOSS linux distros (which motivated me to use BRLCAD). STL export is a bit rough sometimes.

    OpenSCAD is neat too, and comes with plenty of built-in examples to get you up to speed quickly. Good for exporting STLs for 3D printing; I have successfully printed models from this program.

  2. Many thanks for the nice post, it was very interesting and informative.

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