I’m Cannon DeBardelaben and This Is How I Mesh

I’ve always had a passion for all things aerospace. One of my earliest memories is going up in a biplane where we proceeded to do barrel rolls and loops. As a kid I read every aircraft or space encyclopedia I could get my hands on. Going to high school in Franklin, Tennessee (a suburb of Nashville), my aerospace passion went somewhat on the backburner, as I got caught up in school and extracurricular activities (mainly rock climbing and soccer). Sometime in my junior year of high school, as I was having the same “what do I do with my life” that most people have during that time (does that ever go away?), a friend mentioned their dad was an aerospace engineer. In my mind everything just kind of clicked. That’s a thing? Of course that’s what I need to do!

About midway through my mechanical engineering degree at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), I stumbled upon CFD and grid generation through one of my professors who worked at the SimCenter, which recently moved to Chattanooga from Mississippi State University. That is where I started using Pointwise and have been using it ever since.

  • Location: Fort Worth, TX
  • Current position: Development Intern at Pointwise
  • Current computer: Intel Core i7 CPU @ 2.80GHz with 8 GB RAM running Windows 10
  • One word that best describes how you work: Methodically

What software or tools do you use every day?

What does your workspace look like?

Usually pretty clean besides my notebook, water bottle, headphones, and cup of coffee/tea depending on the time of day.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently updating some of Pointwise’s grid importers and exporters using Pointwise’s Plugin SDK.

What has become your meshing specialty?

I’ve enjoyed learning Pointwise’s Glyph scripting capability, specifically the new Python API.

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

If you’re very new to Pointwise, I’d recommend watching some of the introduction videos on the Pointwise YouTube channel to familiarize yourself with the terminology and interface before going through the Tutorial Workbook. Another very helpful resource are the Pointwise Webinars, in particular “Reduce CFD meshing time and improve accuracy with hexahedral boundary layer meshes” and “Reduce wind turbine meshing time by combining structured and unstructured meshes.” These webinars are available for free on the Pointwise website. They walk through the entire meshing process in Pointwise, starting from the geometry.

My other recommendation is to add your most used scripts to the toolbar. My favorite scripts are CreateOH and ConGeometricAutoDimension. Both are available on Pointwise’s GitHub Page.

What project are you most proud of and why?

My senior design project at UTC was to build a remote-controlled aircraft for the AIAA Design Build Fly Competition. Although numerous setbacks kept us from being able to go to the competition, I am still extremely proud of the plane we created. One of the coolest experiences for me was getting to use CFD in the design process. One of the requirements of the competition was to carry at least 4 stores (nerf footballs) under the wings. In order to determine the impact of these stores on the wing’s lift, I was able to quickly create a few meshes in Pointwise with the stores at various distances below the wing, and run the model through a flow solver at takeoff conditions. It was very cool so see how something as intangible as a computer simulation could help influence real life problems. This is of course likely second nature to 99% of the people reading this, but I think it is important to think of things on this level sometimes, as it can often put things in perspective.

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

Does stack overflow count?

What are your plans after you complete your internship?

After my internship, I am starting my Master’s degree at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

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

Outside of work I enjoy rock climbing and backpacking and playing or watching soccer (YNWA!). On the hotter summer days, I enjoy reading science fiction, playing FIFA, and watching BBC nature documentaries on Netflix.

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

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”

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

For dinner – Brewhaus in Chattanooga, TN. Get the King Ludwig, and add an egg, with spaetzle on the side. Coupled with a beer of your preference (my personal recommendation is the Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen).

It’s not a dinner place, but I would be remiss if I did not shout out Neidlov’s Bakery in Chattanooga, TN. You cannot go wrong with any of their sandwiches or pastries, and their coffee is some of the best I’ve ever had.

About Travis Carrigan

A Pointwise engineer helping other engineers solve their meshing problems.
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1 Response to I’m Cannon DeBardelaben and This Is How I Mesh

  1. Steven DeBardelaben says:

    Empressive !!! Praying with you! Grandpa

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