This Week in CFD

tenzor-image-6This week’s CFD news has a lot of new software releases including another highly automated, design oriented, multi-physics tool. We begin with some survey results about brand awareness in the simulation market that I’m certain will make many folks go “Hmmm.” And perhaps in an over-reaction to having to write about something that’s “mesh free” you’ll find a lot of mesh images such as this one from a Tenzor blog post.

Reading, Reading, Reading

  • Desktop Engineering’s Brand Awareness Survey is very much worth taking a look at. But before you scroll down to page 34 to see the ranked responses to the question “Which companies come to mind as providers of CFD analysis and modeling software?” take a moment to guess who the top 3 are. [No, it’s not us. 🙁]
  • Here’s Visualizing Data’s best of the visualization web for December 2018. (Be certain to click through to see The Elements of Euclid.)
  • In a post on LinkedIn about CFD accuracy and robustness we read that [spoiler alert] we can’t have both, the general reputation of CFD is bad, and open-source codes are typically more accurate than commercial codes.
  • On the Tenzor blog we read Part 1 of Know Thy Mesh – Mesh Quality and learn [spoiler alert] “there is no decisive answers for a one and inclusive “best practice” when it comes to mesh generation.”
    • My current thinking on this comes down to a mesh’s “fitness for a particular purpose” where that purpose will cover everything from desired output and fidelity to computing resources and the idiosyncrasies of the flow solver to be used. The good news is that the Tenzor article touches on how it’s easy to tell whether a mesh is bad but hard to identify its degree of goodness. And the automatic versus manual meshing argument is completely orthogonal (pardon the pun) to the issue of fitness.

CFD solution around a car body from Pirkl’s post on LinkedIn (see link above).

Pointwise Stuff


  • There’s a new version of Mesh2Surface, a Rhino plugin for converting STLs and scan data into a CAD model.
  • Here’s a LinkedIn article that provided me with a good overview of HPC software containers based on Docker.
  • New [to me] is Particleworks, “particle-based simulation software for CAE” for which meshes aren’t required. [It hurt to type that.]
  • TwinMesh 2019 was released for CFD of rotary positive displacement machines.
  • Altair introduced Altair SimLab sT (the “sT” seems to relate to their SolidThinking product) for “turn-key” multi-physics simulations.
    • Also see the announcement on TenLinks.
  • Creative Fields released CF-MESH+ 2.2.
  • ANSYS released ANSYS v2019 R1.
  • Simcenter 3D 2019.1 was released and touches on generative design, additive manufacturing, digital thread, multidisciplinary, and more.

Mesh image from Altair SimLab sT. Image from See links above. [I needed a good mesh picture to compensate for “meshless” above.]

CFD for…


An ANSYS mesh using their (patent pending) Mosaic technology on the contest geometry from last year’s IMR. See link above. Image from

Events and Aerodynamics

Jackson Pollock, Physicist?

Thank you to alert reader Carolyn for pointing me to an article on Ars Technica citing research that identified Jackson Pollock and other painters as “intuitive physicists.”

First, let me state that I enjoy reading Ars Technica and their articles are often very insightful. Second, I am a huge fan of Pollock’s work and despite his pejorative nickname of “Jack the Dripper” he both claims and exhibits great control over his application of pigment to the canvas. And aside from being what some might call 100% abstract, his works are often highly figurative. “I’m very representational some of the time, and a little all of the time.”

But the research cited is, IMO, a bit of a stretch. While I believe an after-the-fact analysis of how Pollock’s paint moved from brush or stick to canvas can be cast in terms of fluid phenomena like coiling instability, calling it the use of “science to create timeless art” is a an unwarranted complication. It’s like calling a baseball pitcher an intuitive aerodynamicist. True, the phenomenon created by the painter and the pitcher involves physics but neither is a physicist. I lot of physics will be involved when I drive home today but that doesn’t make me a physicist, intuitive or otherwise.

We could have quite a different discussion about painter Josef Albers who specifically uses elements of color theory and perception to create effects in his paintings. Albers’ book Interaction of Color is excellent and I highly recommend it to anyone who makes color images or presentation slides (which likely includes everyone reading this). But I digress.

BTW, Mural (see below) is in the collection of the art museum at the University of Iowa and I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to see it when visiting campus. There’s a reason Mural has been credited with launching abstract expressionism.


Jackson Pollock, Mural (detail), 1943. From an article calling Pollock and other painters “intuitive physicists.” Image from See links above.

Bonus: From Futility Closet, prove that in every tetrahedron there is a vertex such that the three edges meeting there have lengths which are the sides of a triangle.

This entry was posted in Applications, Events, News, Software and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply