This Week in CFD

tcu-bb-court-3-cropThis week’s CFD news begins with a long read about visualization which is followed by an equally long read about computational thinking. There’s news about OpenFOAM’s new governance structure and glimpses of several cool meshes and facetings including the one shown here. Plus all your usual software and event news.


  • One of the most widely shared CFD articles in my recent memory is Willem Toet Explains CFD Post-Processing (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). This professor and former head of aero at several F-1 teams uses race cars to illustrate what post-processing is, what it reveals, and tips on how to best use it. For example, tip #3: “Think critically [see below] – question your results – if something is too good to be true it probably is just that – be sceptical and check.” [After reading this article I’m wondering about how Prof. Toet feels about Rainbow Color Map (Still) Considered Harmful.]
  • In Visualizing Data’s article on 10 significant visualization developments from the second half of 2018 we find Byrne’s Euclid for fans of geometry.

Use of animation to show the differences in two flowfields. Image from See link above.



Have you thought about the eyeball? This exquisite, meshed human eyeball is from an article about use of COMSOL to study presbyopia [which I suffer from.] Image from

At Pointwise


  • In Do We Really Need Computational Thinking? the author delves into what exactly that means and why it’s important. For educators, I found this quote most valuable: “The most valuable acquisition in a scientific or technical education are the general-purpose mental tools which remain serviceable for a lifetime. I rate natural language and mathematics as the most important of these tools, and computer science as a third.” (See the article for citations.) That quote jives with my viewpoint that an undergraduate engineering education is a not a trade school and learning specific skills (i.e. software package A) should be de-emphasized relative to the ability to think and learn critically, i.e. a mental tool that serves throughout your career. But I digress. I have actually heard high-ranking members of industry seriously state that they wish universities would produce more graduates who know how to run software package A, a viewpoint which I consider to be very shortsighted. And because I serve on the advisory board for my alma mater you might be concerned. But I digress further.

Thank you to alert reader Joe who pointed me at The White Hole on display at The Digital Studio. Screen shot from a post on Instagram by parametric.architecture.

CFD for…


Flow velocity in the aeration system of a wastewater treatment plant. Image from See link above. [Suddenly, two-phase flow sounds like a less appealing problem to study.]

Tessellated Frog

Sometimes tessellations are right in your own backyard but because you’re not a basketball fan it takes 3+ years before you notice them and then only by a fleeting glance at a TV that was showing a game.

The court surface at TCU’s Schollmaier Basketball Complex has a faceted motif meant to invoke the skin of the school’s mascot, the horned frog. Of course, to me it just looks like a mesh.


Design of TCU’s basketball court surface.


Photo of the court surface being applied.


The court surface as it appears on TV.

So now I need to reach out to someone at TCU to see if they’ll share the back story of how the actual tessellation was designed.

Bonus: Abstract painter Robert Ryman died this week at age 88. Here’s one of his works with an overt grid motif.


Robert Ryman, Study for Five, 1964. Image from

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