This Week in CFD



A mesh from Pointwise Version 18 illustrating quad-dominant surface meshes, hexahedral layer extrusion, and a source for tetrahedral mesh clustering control.

  • Congratulations to Stuart Rogers and his team at NASA Ames for the selection of Pegasus 5 as 2016 NASA Software of the Year. Pegasus 5 is used to assemble overset grids prior to simulation in an overset CFD solver. See image below. [Pointwise’s overset grid assembly capability includes a direct interface to Pegasus 5.]
  • Pointwise Version 18, released earlier this week, includes quad-dominant surface meshing, unstructured hexahedral layer extrusion, and tetrahedral clustering sources.
  • Meshing is only one aspect of recently released Simpleware 2016.09. Be certain to watch the video.
  • The SolidSmack blog delved into SIMIT, the new, open-source, simulation language mentioned here previously. Again, be certain to watch the video.



This overset grid for the space shuttle’s external tank is typical of the complexity of cases that Pegasus 5 can assemble. It is impossible not to love a grid image like this. See article link above. Image from NASA.

  • The Ahmed Body is back in a paper by Envenio that compares performance of their EXN/Aero solver with the performance of ANSYS Fluent and STAR-CCM+.
  • On Engineers Rule, you can read about CAD data exchange and some of the issues involved. If you’ve never thought about the details of this before, it’s worth a read. [One nitpick: “I have always considered IGES to be more of a wireframe protocol.” I may be IGES’ last defender on the planet but IGES is a robust standard for surfaces and solids (i.e. B-Rep Solid Model Object, entity 186) if written correctly – which experience has shown me most software does not do.]
  • Resolved Analytics wrote a comparison of popular CFD software packages.
  • Do you work with valve stems? Here’s an article describing how to simply generate brick meshes for them.
  • OneSails Australia uses CFD in the design of sails for yachts.

News & Reading


Visualization of an ANSYS Mechanical 17 simulation from the article below about workstation performance. Image from DEVELOP3D. See link below.

  • Desktop Engineering magazine is now Digital Engineering.
  • FYFD blogger and fluid dynamics maven Nicole Sharp will give a 24/7 lecture at this year’s Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony. [A 24/7 lecture involves presenting your material twice – first in 24 seconds, then using only 7 words. How could we do this for meshing?]
  • You have a little less than two months to submit your entry for the ANSYS Hall of Fame.
  • The Femap blog shares information from a recent study that reveals how top performing companies use simulation.


  • Despite being about FEA and not CFD, DEVELOP3D’s article on workstation performance for simulation is a worthy read. Using ANSYS Mechanical 17 as a benchmark, their conclusions (if I understand them correctly) are: solid state disk is a no-brainer, RAM is worthwhile, but don’t get seduced by CPUs.
  • Cray and LS-DYNA offer a white paper (registration required) on a fan-off simulation of a jet engine.
  • The Piz Daint supercomputer is being used for CFD, specifically one of the entries for the Gordon Bell Prize. [In case you had the same question as I, Piz Daint is a mountain peak in the Swiss Alps.]

Mickey-Mesh Mash-Up

You know by now that I am easily amused (in other words, I suffer from chronic shiny object syndrome). In particular, I enjoy when two or more of my interests get mashed-up. The image below is a vintage animation of Mickey Mouse and a grid. I’m fairly certain (because I don’t remember where I found the image) it’s from the Disney film Thru the Mirror from 1936. If you go to that link and read more, you’ll find another image of Mickey and a grid near the end.


Even Mickey Mouse is into grids.

Note: Please remain calm, but due to travel, the Pointwise User Group Meeting 2016, and the International Meshing Roundtable, there may not be another This Week in CFD until October. I will see you at two of those events, right?

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