This Week in CFD

*** Special “Happy 23rd Birthday to Pointwise” Edition ***

Industry News

  • The ASSESS Initiative, a industry-wide effort to increase the availability and effectiveness of engineering simulation, announced a membership program (starting at $200/year) to provide access to the initiative’s events and work products.
  • Congratulations to Polygonica, makers of mesh processing software, for being recognized with the TCT Technology Innovation Software Award.
  • ANSYS launched a Startup Program to provide new businesses with simulation software at a low-cost.
  • Our friends at ANSYS also logged a record-setting $45 million deal in Q3, contributing to their 4% revenue increase.
  • Altair’s IPO seems to have gone off quite well with share price up one-third.

Pointwise News


This screen capture from a video from EKATO Research and Development shows Pointwise in action generating a mesh for a mixing vessel as part of the company’s CFD work. 

  • Our Meshing Technology Conference in Stuttgart is filling up. The two-day event (4-5 December) features deep dives into the methods and techniques used in our software for structured, hybrid, and high-order meshes; geometry modeling; and the influence of the mesh on the CFD solution. Register today.
  • We’ll be announcing an upcoming webinar very soon. In the meantime, enjoy the recorded webinar Towards Mesh Adaptation.

CFD application of the week. Use of FLOW-3D to simulate archeological hydraulic systems. Shown above (image from is a simulation of “aquifer drainage at the moat at Tiwanaku (Bolivia).” [Have I mentioned that at one time I wanted to be an archeologist?]


  • OpenMDAO 2.0 (a Python-based, open-source, platform for multi-disciplinary optimization) was released. This “clean slate” rewrite has shown 10x performance improvement.
  • Beta CAE released v17.1.3 of their software suite.
  • Siemens PLM Software launched SimCenter V12 with new surface wrapping capabilities for flow simulation and general preprocessing enhancement (among many other things).
  • New in STAR-CCM+ v12.06 is a “zip” feature that unites a geometry surface with a matching hole in a geometry model creating a watertight solid. [How could I resist the “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” Disney reference in the article’s title?]
  • Tecplot touts their SZL file format’s load time and performance gains in this case study with a NASA user.
  • The new version of 3D Evolution includes a simplification technique that removes the internal details of a geometry model leaving only a watertight description of its exterior.
  • Mentor updated FloEFD with new geometry and visualization capabilities.

Alexander Calder, Feathers, 1931. Seen on a recent visit to the National Gallery of Art, East Wing. Included here because tetrahedron.




Parametric support geometry is used in CAESES to automated structured grid generation for a volute. Image from See link below.

  • On the CAESES blog, we read about how they automated structured grid generation for a volute by including “parametric support geometry” in the model. See image above.
  • The folks at TENZOR wrote an article to help you Know Your Mesh. [They include an image of a mesh generated in Pointwise that I don’t even recognize. Not that I’ve seen them all.]
  • TwinMesh 2017 was released for meshing rotating machinery.
  • Research at the University of Kansas seeks to untangle meshes using locally injective mappings.
  • GridPro wrote about the art and science of airfoil meshing. See image below.

From GridPro’s Art and Science of Airfoil Meshing. Image from See link above.


Senseless Meshing

The American Museum of Natural History is currently hosting the exhibition Our Senses that offers immersive experiences that challenge your trust in your senses.


I can only infer from the graphic shown above that they believe that being immersed in grid generation can cause you to lose your senses. Which, from personal experience, isn’t that far from the truth.

Bonus: Kim Keever turns physics into art by pouring pigments into a tank of water and photographing the (somewhat unpredictable) results. In one of the most oblique references to CFD I’ve ever read (this is in WIRED magazine), Keever’s experience at NASA is summarized as “researching how fluids bypass solid objects at high speeds.”

Bonus x 2: I challenge you to not let this ripple tank simulator ruin the rest of the day’s productivity.

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