This Week in CFD

altair-edemThe past two weeks have yielded two “must see” CFD articles. The first is on the data management and visualization aspects of using pressure sensitive paint in wind tunnel testing of NASA’s Space Launch System. The second delves into splines which are so essential to geometry modeling and meshing. There’s lots of other news too, including the anouncement of Altair’s acquisition of DEM Solutions. The image shown here is a screen capture from a video about the acquisition showing one application of EDEM.


  • Sometimes fluid dynamics pops up in unexpected places. For example, printer company Oce has an entire webpage dedicated to fluid dynamics.
  • In case you missed it, Siemens is offering (registration required) a white paper from Tech-Clarity on Addressing the Bottlenecks of Simulation. In this report we read that 38% of simulation time is spent on preprocessing and of that 38% two-thirds is geometry model cleanup and meshing.
  • CFD firm WindSim will strategically partner with Shanghai Electric Wind Power Group for the development of new wind-power software.
  • NUMECA and coupledNumerics announced a joint venture to further develop and commercialize the latter’s pressure-based flow solver. [Two observations. First, a joint venture seemed inevitable from their names alone. Second, the article mentions the “Energetics” industry, a term that’s new to me.]
  • The OpenFOAM Foundation launched their funding drive for 2020.
  • Altair has acquired DEM Solutions and their EDEM software for discrete element modeling and bulk materials simulation.

MUST READ: Come for the meshed car, stay for an introduction to splines, “the lingua franca of the design, engineering, and manufacturing industries.”

CFD for…


IMAGE OF THE WEEK: Visualization of unsteady loads on the NASA’s Space Launch System obtained from pressure sensitive paint in the wind tunnel.  


AIAA CFD Workshops



Not CFD, but I thought a SIMULIA simulation of lightning striking an aircraft was cool enough to include. That and the novel design of this particular aircraft with its tail mounted dual props. And it does make me wonder whether aircraft with electric propulsion systems would be more vulnerable to lightning than convention propulsion.


  • ParaView now supports something called an explicit structured grid for geophysical applications and I’m wondering why no one came up with this before.
  • Siemens release Webapp Server 2019.2 for “democratizing access to system simulation models.”
  • DEVELOP3D takes a look at the new KVS QuickSurface 1.0 for working with scan data including converting it into surfaces to be exported to a CAD system.
    • These are the same folks that brough you Mesh2Surface for Rhino.
  • Learn more about Screenplay, the animation capability for post-processing results from Simcenter STAR-CCM+ 2019.2.
  • 3D-Tool CAD-Viewer and Converter Version 14 was released.
  • Again, Siemens Digital released the latest updates to STAR-CCM+ including combustion modeling and more.
  • When I think of turbulence, astrophyics and the formation of new stars is not what first comes to mind. Regardless, behold the world’s largest turbulent simulation EVAR (1 trillion grid elements, 45 million CPU hours, other large numbers).
  • ENGYS released HELYX v3.2.0.


  • Save the dates. The 11th International Conference on CFD will be held on the island of Maui on 13-17 July 2020. Abstracts are due 03 February 2020. [Did I mention it’s in Hawai’i?]
  • Monica Schnitger shares some thoughts based on the recent Altair Technology Conference. “The world isn’t a single-physics problem, so we need a range of solvers to help us understand it. We don’t all have a 3D model to analyze, yet still need to make decisions, so tools that span from 0D/1D to 3D are essential. Not all firms have analysts; there is a place for designer-calibrated simulation tools in this market.” Read more here.
  • Next year’s 3D Collaboration and Interoperability Congress (3DCIC) will be in Golden, Colorado on 12-16 October 2020.
  • A wrap-up of the CAESES Users Meeting 2019 including downloads of all the presentations.

Screen shot of the new Pointwise Viewer in action, providing at no-cost mesh viewing, slicing, dicing, and examining capabilities. See link below.

News from Pointwise

  • We have a new case study from researchers at Auburn University about the use of CFD to evaluate truck platooning.
  • We recently launched the freely-available Pointwise Viewer that you can use to visualize and measure virtually* any mesh.
    • *There’s always a catch, right? Meshes must be of types compatible with Pointwise’s current data structures and for which a reader exists or can be written using Pointwise’s Grid Import Plugin SDK.
    • Software is no-cost, registration is required.
    • Free software is free like a puppy is free.
  • If you prefer software you have to purchase a license for, we have a new, on-demand webinar about the new features in Pointwise V18.3 including hex-core meshing.

Enhancing Reality Through Meshing

Thank you to alert reader Andy for introducing me to digital artist Andy Walker (no relation). The latter Andy has an interest in the interplay of color and shapes and now uses “hand-drawn colored triangles” to “enhance the vibrancy and intensity of my original photographs.”

Read that again. The mesh enhances reality.

He’s “flooding the world with color, one triangle at a time.”


Andy Walker, Simplon Pass, Switzerland. Image from See link above.

P.S. Today’s post was written under the heavy influence of DayQuil so all typos are the medicine’s fault.

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