This Week in CFD

hamburg-workshop-smIf Discovery Live has you jazzed about the potential of real-time simulation, there’s an article you have to read about what makes it possible. We at Pointwise announced a new case study on best practices for propulsion aerodynamics and a workshop on marine and wind energy applications to be held in Hamburg in September. Plus there’s all sorts of other news from the CFD world and beyond.

From Pointwise

  • You may have heard that the Pointwise User Group Meeting 2018 will be in Fort Worth on 14-15 November. Here’s my tribute to DEVELOP3D [i.e. I borrowed their words] for why you ought to attend.
    • In our own words: Learn. Influence. Share.
    • The list of presenters has been announced.
    • We are accepting entries for The Meshy Award until 26 September. Trophy, t-shirt, trash talk – you know you want to win.
  • Our latest case study distills our experiences generating meshes for the two most recent AIAA Propulsion Aerodynamics Workshops into best practices that you can begin applying today.
  • We will be in Hamburg, Germany on 18 September conducting a workshop on Marine and Wind Energy and how meshes generated with Pointwise can benefit those applications. The workshop is free; registration is required.

One of the grids generated with Pointwise for the recent AIAA Propulsion Aerodynamics Workshop.

Real-Time Simulation

  • ANSYS’ Discovery Live and PTC’s integration of it into Creo has the simulation world buzzing about real-time simulation. Case in point – the article Speeding Up Simulation from Digital Engineering. At the core of the matter is the use of parallel processing in the form of GPU or CPU to make the computations significantly faster.
    • “The coding part [of parallel processing] has been insidiously difficult.”
    • “Customers are looking at how much they want you to change your code vs. how much do I want you to keep it stable?”
    • “A lot of software is built on this old code, and you can’t just take out a few pieces and substitute GPU code and expect big performance gains. You really have to start from a blank page and write from scratch to leverage the GPU.”
  • Our friends at ANSYS continue to perform well [an understatement] financially with $294 million in total revenue including $161 million of license revenue, the latter up 8%. There were 35 orders this quarter in excess of $1MM.

I like this image from the website for a seminar on hydrodynamic modeling of coastal models using Delft3D Flexible Mesh. Image from



CADfix 12 is now available for production use. It includes a mesh-CAD comparison tool (shown above). Image from 



When setting up a range of design parameters for an optimization, CAESES provides a tool to check the robustness of the resulting geometry models. Image from 

  • A preview of preprocessing enhancements in Femap version 12 describes the point editor, beam centerline finder and more. Be sure to watch the video.
  • CFDTool for MATLAB is now freely available from the MathWorks File Exchange. If I understand it correctly, the entire FEATool Multiphysics is built upon open-source software such as OpenFOAM, FEniCS, DistMesh, Gmsh, and Triangle.

A Faceted Reflection

Thanks to alert reader Joe, we have the facets of Anish Kapoor’s Untitled 2012, currently on display at MASS MoCA, to ponder.


Anish Kapoor, Untitled, 2012. Photo credit: Joe.

Kapoor’s work has been featured here before. In the summer of 2015 we wrote about Sky Mirror which had recently been installed at AT&T Stadium (aka Dallas Cowboys Stadium, aka Jerry World, aka The Death Star). Sky Mirror is a 35 foot diameter,  stainless steel, concave dish that’s been polished to a mirror finish.

On a smaller scale, Untitled takes that concept a bit further by replacing the smooth finish with a faceted one as seen in the closeup below. I have reached out to the museum to find out more about how the faceting was designed and created.


Anish Kapoor, Untitled, 2012, closeup. Photo credit: Joe.

Facets within facets, meshes within meshes. Notice the 3-D effect. I believe most of us have seen visual effects like this and therefore stating that this work truly activates the space it occupies won’t be seen as too controversial. As one moves around the work, the reflection crinkles in unexpected ways. Even stationary, as shown in the photo above, the gallery’s reflection is discontinuous. All art is experiential; this piece makes that abundantly obvious.

Here’s where I’ll push the interpretation. CFD is like the smooth reflection in Sky Mirror; the real world is reflected, albeit with a slight distortion. (Perhaps influenced by the fact that Sky Mirror is mounted on a black pedestal bathed in constantly recirculating water.) The effect of meshing is like Untitled; if not done well, the real world becomes very distorted, even fragmented.

Bonus: Alert reader Niels recently visited Reykjavik and was intrigued by the layers and types of faceting employed by the architects of the Harpa Concert Hall and I can see why. I found some photos on Hyperallergic that are worth looking at, one of which is included below.


Interior view of the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. Image from 

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