This Week in CFD

cuneiform-tablet-depth-mapLetting 3 weeks of CFD news pile up in my bookmarks made writing this post a slog, but not as tough as the one you’ll have trying to read it all. So to help you make it to the end, there’s a chance to win $1 million, A LOT about accuracy, archaeology [yes, really, see image], and someone’s tenth anniversary. 

News from Pointwise

  • Pointwise’s SBIR Phase II proposal “High Order Mesh Curving and Geometry Access” has been selected for negotiation by NASA, meaning that we just have to dot the i’s and cross the t’s in the legal documents before beginning work. [Thank you to for the blush-worthy coverage.]
  • has been totally redesigned to better organize its content for your browsing pleasure. [I told myself I’d never write a “we have a new website” post but here I am.]
  • The Pointwise User Group Meeting – which you absolutely must attend – will be held this November in Fort Worth. Details coming soon.



Foundry Management and Technology has an article about casting software featuring FLOW-3D. Registration required. Image from

  • How Haas Formula 1 has focused their US operations on CFD development. Which may be why they were pegged early on as the 2018 season’s “dark horse.”
  • A bit about aero design of the NASCAR Camaro ZL1.
  • CFD for sunglasses? Yes.

ONERA’s CFD code elsA is one subject of an R&D magazine article on their plans to meet 2030 milestones. Shown above is a DNS simulation of an airfoil near stall. Image from

More Applications


Not just two rocks. Computational geometry proved that these two cuneiform tablets, held in different museums, could indeed be joined together. Image from See link above.


  • Congratulations to Convergent Science on the company’s 10 year anniversary. Read about the company’s first decade in a post by co-owner and VP, Kelly Senecal. [I forgive Kelly for his aversion to meshing.]
  • Win $1 million by creating a personal flying device that is safe, useful, and thrilling. Enter GoFly.
  • Aviation Week and AIAA share the 2018 roster of 20 Twenties, a group of students to keep your eye on.
  • I have not yet had an opportunity to read all 124 pages of the UK government’s report on Computational Modelling: Technological Futures so I’m hoping one of you will and post a summary here.
  • Congratulations to all of AHS’ award recipients and a special nod to CFDer Roger Strawn for his Technical Fellow recognition.
  • How Tech Soft 3D undergirds the CAD industry. [Note: not undergrids.]
  • Yes, yes, yes. “One of the base challenges [the PLM] industry faces is terminology.” Read about terms in the model based enterprise. [Or as Socrates put it, the beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.]
  • OnScale received $3 million in funding to launch their “solver as a service” platform for CAE and other disciplines. [I’m not mentally limber enough to keep straight all the companies that are named on-this and scale-that.]
  • Another example of something I haven’t read in detail yet is Envenio’s CFD survey results. Things that jumped out upon scanning are spending too much time meshing [OK, OK, I get it] and 22% using cloud-based CFD.

CFD simulation of the flowfield around POC Ventral’s new cycling helmet. Image from I had no idea these things cost $290. 


On Accuracy

  • Sorry if this is a repeat post, but Keith Hanna’s article The Right Answer in CFD is worth revisiting, especially in light of the “D word” – democratization. I’ll recast one of the article’s major points in this light: “[Democratization] must not impact negatively on the need to produce reliable & accurate results.”
  • In a preview of his talk from this summer’s CAASE event, an FAA specialist talks about certification by simulation noting that the FAA certifies parts, not simulation software.
  • The Simcenter blog shares an article on validating CFD for use in medical in vitro flow analysis, in this case for an intracranial aneurysm. See image below.
  • “If a model is characterized properly, simulations should reside within several percent of reality.” [And according to this chart, several means 5-10%.]

STAR-CCM+ simulation of an aneurysm colored by velocity magnitude with impingement jet direction noted by the arrows. Image from the Simcenter blog. See link above.


  • SimCenter STAR-CCM+ v13.02 includes many new capabilities, but two of them stood out for me in this article: review your mesh quality by walking through your model using VR, and CAD robustness studies.
  • Unity is a “3-D development platform” used primarily for game development but it seeing more and more interest from engineering applications. For example, NASA used it to model a Mars rover. Unity just announced a relationship with PiXYZ whose software streamlines the conversion of NURBS to facets which is what Unity and other platforms primarily use.
  • High Speed WebGL from CAD Software Solutions provides speedups of 10-100 for loading and rendering 3-D CAD assemblies.
  • The FluidDyn project‘s documentation is online.
  • Tecplot 360 2018 Release 1 includes an EnSight file loader, new functions in the Python API, and more.
  • PTC launched Creo 5.0.
  • FloMASTER‘s latest release includes enhanced CAD integration.
  • ENGYS released HELYX V3.0.2.

From the mountains to the prairies to the oceans…

…white with OpenFOAM?


TinyMtn offers “accurate miniatures of the most dramatic and majestic landscapes on the Earth.” These 3-D printed scale models of mountains, canyons, cities, and more would likely be great conversation starters. Screen capture from Shapeways.

stuart williams1

Stuart Williams, Luminous Earth Grid, 1993. Image from


Miguel Rothschild, Elegy, 2017. This suspended seascape first seen on Colossal. Image from

Bonus: Prove to yourself the truth of the statement in the caption of this mixed cell 2-D mesh. As first seen on Futility Closet.


“If squares are drawn on the sides of a triangle and external to it, then the areas of the triangles formed between the squares all equal the area of the triangle itself.” Image from Futility Closet. See link above.

Double bonus: Can every n-dimensional convex body be covered by 2n smaller versions of itself?

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2 Responses to This Week in CFD

  1. Must the center triangle be a right triangle as implied in the image? Still working on a solution.

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