I’m Spencer Owen and This Is How I Mesh

The grandson of two engineers, the son of an architect and banker, and the brother of a physicist. I have always hopelessly been destined for a career in math and science. Raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; known historically as the home of the Reynolds family (or more specifically Camel cigarettes), I spent most of my time growing up surrounded by my family and church. Apart from school; my free time was filled with classical guitar lessons, church youth and scouting activities, as well as the occasional drama production.

I received a MS in Mechanical Engineering this past spring from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and am currently tackling a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, also at UNCC. I have finished the majority of my coursework and passed my qualifying exams; all I need to do now is finish up the thesis. My graduate research is focused on CFD predictions of losses within transonic turbine cascades.

My interest in Pointwise began at an ASME Turbomachinery Conference in 2017. I stumbled upon the work of a few fellow engineers who were able to produce impressive, high quality grids around a complex turbine stage. As meshing is a fundamental component of high-fidelity CFD, and this brief experience was closely related to my current graduate research, Pointwise seemed a proper fit to gain some insight into quality grid generation.

  • Location: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Current Position: Intern, Applied Research
  • Current Computer: Intel i7-2600 CPU, 32GB RAM, MS Windows 10
  • One word that best describes how you work: Efficient

What software or tools do you use every day?

Outlook, Firefox, Pidgin, Vim, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and last but definitely not least, Pointwise.

What does your workspace look like?

Typically cluttered with notes, papers and coffee mugs. Anything I need to get the tasks of the day completed!

What projects are you currently working on?

Recently finished up mapping high order elements from CGNS to VTU file formats. Currently; involved with the development of a glyph script that receives a CAD file and user defined defaults then produces a robust baseline grid.

What has become your meshing specialty?

Pipeline grid generation. My current work at Pointwise, along with my experience in graduate school, have provided me with a strong basis for what is needed for a robust semi-autonomous gridding approach. Thus, this may be my current meshing specialty; however, I am still learning and nowhere near a full understanding.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share with our users?

Before you begin anything, be sure you fully understand your problem and what you are trying to find out or do. Nothing like devoting time to something only to realize you were going in the wrong direction.

What project are you most proud of and why?

As I have only been with Pointwise a short time, my project base is somewhat lacking. However; I am undoubtedly proud of all the work I have been able to complete while here.

Are you reading any interesting technical papers we should know about?

Steve Karman, a member of the Applied Research team here at Pointwise recently produced a highly enlightening work on high order mesh curving. For a detailed understanding of the process, or at least a good start, I recommend this publication.

What are your plans after you complete your internship?

Finish my PhD. I have passed qualifying exams, completed the majority of my coursework (two classes to go) and have a general project outline. Just need to wrap it up!

What do you do when you’re not generating meshes?

Typically, you’ll find me outdoors; whether playing disc golf, hiking through the woods or just hanging out at a local brewery. I enjoy spending time exercising, chatting with cool people and always learning.

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

There are only two categories of things you should know: 1) what you know in your head, and 2) where to find the rest.

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

Anywhere there’s Brisket! Coming from North Carolina where the BBQ is mainly pulled pork, Texas Brisket is something of a delicacy. So if they have good brisket, sign me up!

About Travis Carrigan

A Pointwise engineer helping other engineers solve their meshing problems.
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