This Week in CFD

simulia-xflow-motorbikeICYMI (and how could you), we begin this week’s round up of CFD and CAE news with articles about PTC’s announcment that they will acquire Onshape and bring the latter’s “CAD as a service” alongside Creo and their other “on premise” CAD sofware. (Onshape, on cloud, on premise, onward.) Also, IGA software provider Coreform acquired meshing software provider csimsoft. But the news isn’t all business. There’s a cool simulation of an aircraft taking off in a crosswind and the Xflow simulation of a motorcycle with rotating wheels shown here.

M&A (not Meshing & Analysis)

  • PTC will acquire Onshape for $470 million, the next logical step in PTC’s transition to a recurring revenue business model.
    • Reaction from “PTC stands to get its CAD mojo back.”
    • Reaction from DEVELOP3D: PTC will get Onshape’s 5,000 users.
    • Reaction from Beyond PLM: “Onshape technological foundation and experience in building cloud SaaS platforms are what PTC is looking for.”
    • Reaction from SolidSmack: PTC has a “need, nay, desire, to have something ready-made and ready to compete against Siemens, Dassault, and Autodesk, who already have 3D modeling Cloud/SaaS apps.”
    • Reaction from Monica Schnitger: (quoting PTC) PTC will be positioned “to capitalize on the inevitable industry transition to SaaS.”
    • Reaction from WorldCAD Access: (quoting Onshape) “today is perhaps the biggest moment I’ve experienced in our industry.”
  • Coreform will acquire csimsoft.
    • Coreform writes spline-based simulation software for FEA.
    • csimsoft writes mesh generation software Trelis and Bolt.
    • “The addition of csimsoft’s robust, high-end mesh generation technology provides Coreform customers with the first complete workflow for using spline-based FEA technology.”

In case you have yet to discover this resource, Flow Visualization is Dr. Jean Hertzberg’s course at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The website is replete with fantastic examples of flow visualization. Shown above is Kailey Shara’s entry for Fall 2019 Best of Web, a Schlieren image of pressured water exiting a soda bottle.


  • The preCICSE Workshop 2020 will be held at the Technical University of Munich on 17-18 February 2020. Abstracts are due by 15 November. (“preCICE (Precise Code Interaction Coupling Environment) is a coupling library for partitioned multi-physics simulations, including, but not restricted to fluid-structure interaction and conjugate heat transfer simulations.”)
  • ICOSAHOM 2020 (the International Conference on Spectral and High Order Methods) will be held 6-10 July in Vienna. Abstracts are due by 15 March.
  • Presentations from the Converge User Conference 2019 are now online.
  • The International Conference on Geometric Modeling and Processing 2020 will be held in Okinawa on 13-15 May 2020. Abstracts are due 13 December and full papers are due 20 December.
  • A workshop on LES for Smooth Body Separation will be held the weekend prior to AIAA SciTech 2021. They are now collecting “intent to participate” emails.

Pointwise News


Pointwise announced the availability of  Pointwise Viewer, a freely available viewer and examiner of meshes from various formats. (Registration is required.)

Some Reading, Some Jobs

  • Slate shows us 33 examples of computer code that changed the world. [Thanks to alert reader Eric for this tip.]
  • CFD Support’s Lubos Pirkl, the self-proclaimed “Indiana Jones in the Jungle of CFD” shares some thoughts on what happens to CAE during economic down-times. There’s a lot to think about in here.
    • “R&D departments are among the first who face budget cuts [in a recession.]” The implication is that CAE software expenses will be cut. However, another way to view this is that during a recession it’s more important than ever to maximize the use of simulation tools in order to mazimize the efficiency and effectivenss of product design.
    • “The annual-renewal business model of simulation software is, in fact, a way of renting. The end users have pretty much no choice but purchasing the same software year after year.” One might argue that perpetual (aka paid-up) licenses are the ones that imply lock-in whereas an annual license provides an annual opportunity to reevaluate and perhaps make a change. A bigger lock-in factor is the infrastructure an organization builds around a suite of tools (training, V&V, best practices, archive of cases, etc.).
  • Rivian Automotive has an opening for a vehicle aerodynamicist (CFD).
  • Thornton Tomasetti has an opening for a CFD engineer.

I applaud the paint scheme on this L-39NG trainer aircraft for the Czech air force by Aero Vodochody. source. See also here.

CFD for…


CFD has been used to study the differences in aerodynamic environments experienced by an aircraft’s engines on takeoff in a 40 knot crosswind.


  • Artificial Intelligence has been applied to mesh generation (“one of the most prevailing problems in CFD”) and has produced meshes that are 5-10 times more efficient than ones generated manually.
  • What is a mesh you ask? SimScale answers.
  • Convergent Science release Converge CFD 3.0 with a new meshing capabilities that complement the software’s autonomous meshing, improved parallel scaling, and more. [Yes, I am trying to get a reaction from my “never make a mesh again” friends at Converge by mentioning them under the Meshing heading.]


Eliminating “I gridded this.”

Ellsworth Kelly’s work has always fascinated me. His ability to create strong visual effects with relatively simple compositional elements is the source of my fascination. While the work shown here, 1951’s Colors for a Large Wall, isn’t unique (many other artists employ arrays of colored squares or circles and even Edward Tufte uses the technique of small multiples for data visualization) the sentiment behind Kelly’s work got my attention.

You could label Kelly as a post-pianterly abstractionist meaning that he was not interested in painterly effects such as brush strokes and complex layers of material. Instead he said “I want to eliminate the ‘I made this’ from my work.”

And that’s precisely what we want to do with grid generation – remove the ‘I made this,’ the manual and studied interaction.

Let’s hope post-mesherly gridding produces results at least as pleasing and effective.


Ellsworth Kelly, Colors for a Large Wall, 1951. source

Bonus: October 18th (10/18 or 1018) was Exascale Day. How did you celebrate?

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