This Week in CFD

vee-bee-strainerThis week’s CFD news is dominated by applications of all sorts, from cars, cars, cars, to boats, filtration (Vee Bee’s strainer shown here), rockets, ducting, and skyscrapers. There’s also plenty of event news from CAESES, Metacomp, OpenFOAM, ENGYS, and Pointwise (of course). 

Vroom, Vroom – Car Stuff

  • The 1st Automotive CFD Prediction Workshop will be held at the University of Oxford in England on 11-12 December 2019. Participants need to submit data by 25 November. The test cases are the SAE Notchback, DrivAer Fastback, and DrivAer Estate.
  • The physics of NASCAR, in which we learn that drivers age half a nanosecond less than the spectators during a race due to relativistic effects.
  • McLaren is building a new Formula 1 wind tunnel which can do things with “molecular resolution” and overcome CFD’s “accuracy and efficiency” limitations.
  • CFD simulations – supported by wind tunnel testing – have shown that the 2021 Formula 1 concept car only loses 5% of downforce (versus 45%) when in another car’s wake.
  • Roll Top, a drag-reducing tarp system for tractor trailers, reduces fuel consumption by nearly 5%. [Yes, that’s truck stuff not car stuff.]

Boat Stuff

  • This article about the use of CFD for racing yachts – from Forbes of all places – is actually well written and gives the layperson a good intro to CFD and the Navier-Stokes equations. [It also includes a meshing analogy that I’ve never heard before. “Similar to how strings of bulbs outline the shape of a Christmas tree, a mesh of cells encompasses the geometry of a ship.”]


  • Simulia has published a white paper on the use of simulation to design eVTOLs, electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles.
  • Two things in Monica Schnitger’s report on Altair’s Q2 results caught my eye.
    • Q2 software revenue was up 20% and Q3 is forecast to be up 24%. Yet their stock took a 10% hit. [Tariffs and international trade.]
    • “SimSolid usage has grown 10x in the last 5 months.” [Congrats, Ken. The wordsmith in me is hoping Monica’s use of “solid” in her article’s title was an allusion to this SimSolid news.]
  • Siemens seeks a “software engineer – advanced – meshing” in Austin.


ANSYS X43 IsoView Schlieren Temperature Pathlines

Analytical Graphics will integrate ANSYS’ simulation technology into tools for the development of missile defense systems. Image from 

Software & Visualization & Hardware

  • If you’ve ever wondered about what you can do with Code_Saturne and Neptune_CFD here’s a 4-minute video introduction.
  • Rhino3D Medical offers the capability to go from medical images to CAD.
  • Nogrid Points 6.7.0 has been released for CFD simulation of free surface flows (and more).
  • Tecplot released Tecplot RS 2019 R1 for visualization of reservoir simulation results.
  • nTopology’s nTop software helps in the design of medical devices for additive manufacturing.
  • Here’s Visualizing Data’s best of the visualization web for June 2019.
  • Cray will be building an exascale supercomputer for Lawrence Livermore to be delivered in 2022 at a projected $600 million cost.

Flow visualization of Antarctic ice derived from SAR interferometry. Image from


Weaving a Wooden Mesh

When you’ve seen as much “mesh like” art as I have you start to see some general themes repeated in your perception of it and the artist’s intention for it. The faceting is often an allusion to the digitization of modern life which is contrasted with the use of traditional materials or a traditional context. That’s not to say I’m trying to put all these artists into a neat and tidy mesh box, just that these are the patterns I’ve observed. And my observations could be way off base.

Such is the case with Martin Puryear (see Brunhilde below). Wood is his medium which ties his sculptures to the natural world. The form is voluptuous despite the rigid faceting. The openness of the weave gives the piece a great deal of weightlessness despite appearing to have stable heft.


Martin Puryear, Brunhilde, 2000. Image from See links above.

One of Puryear’s works, Ladder for Booker T. Washington, is a signature piece in the collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. A curator told me the sides of this 36 foot tall sculpture are crafted from a single tree branch split down the middle lengthwise.


Martin Puryear, Ladder for Booker T. Washington, 1996. Image from See link above.

Bonus: The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus is a math textbook by Ahmose in Egypt from 1550 BC on which 84 examples of fractions, geometry, and other computations are documented. Or maybe the professor said you could bring one sheet of notes to the final exam. Either way, very cool.


Detailed view of one section of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus from the collection of the British Museum. Image from See link above.

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