I’m Lorenzo Alba and This Is How I Mesh

Hello! I was raised in Richardson, Texas. Although my home town is known as a hub for companies in the information technology and electronics industries, my father’s background as a mechanic resulted in me being raised as a grease monkey. Along with a fascination with math and all things technology, this led me to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington. I look forward to graduating in May 2019. Although I grew up passionate about everything mechanical, I have become equally interested in computers and their role in driving the engineering of mechanical systems through CAD and simulation.

  • Location: Fort Worth, TX
  • Current position: Technical Support Intern
  • Current computer: Dell Precision T3500, Intel Xeon 3.2 GHz, 24 GB RAM, NVIDIA Quadro 4000, Windows 10
  • Current computer (Personal): Intel i5-7600k 4.7GHz, 16 GB RAM, Asus Radeon RX 480 8GB, Windows 10
  • One word that best describes how you work: Persistent

What software or tools do you use every day?

I spend much of my time here using Pointwise either working on improving my meshing skills or helping my colleagues carry out test plans. As far as communication, I use Outlook for email and Spark for chatting.

What does your workspace look like?

As an intern, my desk is pretty simple. While my workspace doesn’t have anything special, I am neighbored by desks with Linux and MacOS systems that I use to run tests and sometimes generate larger meshes.

What projects are you currently working on?

I just finished helping create an unstructured viscous mesh around a hot air balloon that includes components such as the basket, ropes, and burners. Pointwise’s T-Rex algorithm was used to march hexahedra and prisms off a quad-dominant surface mesh to represent the viscous region and then transition to an isotropic tetrahedral mesh in the volume. My current task is assisting in the creation of an automated hybrid volume mesh for a topographical geometry of the Sandia Mountain Range. Instances of the hot air balloon mesh will then be inserted in the air over the mountains. When finished, the resulting grid will be submitted to the 27th International Meshing Roundtable (IMR) Meshing Contest being held this fall in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

What has become your meshing specialty?

I definitely haven’t been using Pointwise long enough to call myself a “specialist” in anything. Working on the IMR hot air balloon project has made me quite familiar with complex geometry cleanup and model assembly.

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

For new users, make an effort to read the User Manual section for each feature as you use it. This is especially useful when working through the Tutorial Workbook, as it reinforces what each feature and function does and how you may use it in the future for your own work. If you are still confused looking at a section in the User Manual, see if the section includes a video demonstrating the feature. In addition, visit Pointwise’s YouTube Channel. There you will find not only the videos embedded throughout the User Manual, but a whole range of demonstrations and tutorials for Pointwise. These range from the tidbits found in the Tutorial Tuesday series to much more in depth tutorials and solutions to common issues.

What project are you most proud of and why?

I am certainly most proud of the work I have done meshing the hot air balloon geometry for this year’s IMR. Although the mesh I created could certainly use some additional improvements, I have surprised myself with how much I have learned throughout working on the project.

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

I can’t say that I have been reading any technical papers recently, but, along with the other interns here at Pointwise, I have been reading “Stuff You Don’t Learn In Engineering School” by Carl Selinger. It is a compilation of the “soft skills” that are important when working as an engineer and how to improve them, such as communication, decision making, and negotiating.

What are your plans after you complete your internship? 

I will be going back to school for the fourth and final year of my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. After that, I hope to go on and pursue a master’s degree.

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

In my free time I enjoy reading sci-fi and fantasy novels as well as playing video games. I also enjoy getting outdoors whether it’s hiking, playing a set of tennis, or going fishing.

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

Although not specifically related to engineering, I always recall the phrase, “Never stop learning.” It’s a reminder that education doesn’t stop outside the classroom. There is always new information or new experiences to help grow your knowledge and skill set.

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

Although my favorite food is home cooked Mexican cuisine, I always recommend Babe’s Chicken for some great barbeque chicken.

About Travis Carrigan

A Pointwise engineer helping other engineers solve their meshing problems.
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