This Week in CFD

simscale-london-windIf we can do design without CAD, what does that acronym even mean? Lifecycle Insights delves into this topic in an article from last year. In other CFD news, Altair’s AcuSolve got a 6x performance boost from GPUs. And join Pointwise next week for a live Q&A on meshing. This and all the CFD news of the past week is here as is this Simscale CFD simulation of London’s wind.


From Pointwise



In’s preview of Creo 7 (due out next week) we learn that it will feature Creo Simulation Live Plus with both internal and external flow simulation. Image from

CFD for…


From DEVELOP3D comes this story of 6x speed-up of Altair’s AcuSolve using NVIDIA GPUs. Image from

Hodge Podge

  • While not CFD, additive manufacturing requires some new approaches to design. In this article from Teton Simulation, we learn that topology optimization has to account for the particular type of AM to be used.
  • Lifecycle Insights asks whether we can skip CAD in design. [Have you heard the phrase “the tyranny of CAD”?]
  • Did you know there’s a mesh generation Wikipedia page? What do you think of it in terms of accuracy and completeness? Now, while many folks are at home, would be a good time to contribute. [For the record, I created a Wikipedia account years ago but never bothered to learn how to edit pages.]
  • From Visualizing Data comes the best of the visualization web for January 2020.

Celebrating Geometric Abstraction

I like learning about new (to me) artists. Odili Donald Odita, Nigerian born, Philadelphia based, is one of those new artists. I can’t recall whether I read about him in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. Regardless, his geometric abstractions got my attention.

But what kept my attention was his use of color and how color is inextricably tied to shape. In Divide (shown below) that flatness of the colors is activated by the arrangement of the abstract geometry with what appears to my eye as a continuous waterfall motion, unarrested by the horizontal gray bands. Odita said about color that it has “the possibility of mirroring the complexity of the world as much as it has the potential for being distinct.”

See more of Odita’s work at the Jack Shainman Gallery and the artist’s website.


Odili Donald Odita, Divide, 2017. Screen capture from See links above.

Holiday Greetings: Happy Easter and Happy Passover to those celebrating.

This entry was posted in Applications, Events, News, Software and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to This Week in CFD

  1. Greg says:

    First line on Wikipedia for CAD states, “Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computers (or workstations) to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design.” Sounds to me like using topology optimization or bringing a point-cloud dataset into Geomagic and fitting organic NURBS surfaces are still *computer-aided* design.

    That aside, I don’t think it’s really about whether we need CAD, as defined by LI, but really a question about whether you need engineering. If I needed to reverse engineer a legacy component at work, yes I might use surface or CT scans to help make measurements, but you better believe I’m not going to use the raw Geomagic results and immediately start cutting parts. I’m converting “kinda like a fillet” features into “is a fillet” features, “almost a circular hole” into “is a circular hole, “almost a flat surface” into “is a flat surface”. I’m determining and assigning tolerances to the features. If you need to do these things then you probably need to do engineering design — you can either do the design with pen and paper (old-school) or you can use a computer to aid the design (modern). If you don’t need to do these things, then you probably don’t need to do engineering design and so probably don’t need to use LI’s idea of “CAD.”

    You don’t need CAD or engineering to handcraft a guitar or a bookend. You need engineering and, if you want to remain employed, should probably use a computer if you need to reverse-engineer a “Jesus Nut”, or design a heart stent, safety release valve, or tail hook.

    • John Chawner says:

      Ah, the “Jesus Nut.” When I was fresh out of school I shared an apartment with a guy who worked flight test for Bell Helicopter and he introduced me to that term.

      I rather got the impression from the article and from other discussions that the predominance of CAD in the CAE world places geometric design over functional design whereas engineers ought to largely be considering the object’s function and let the shape be what it may. Generative design and additive manufacturing are influencing this perspective. (Yes, I realize that manufacturability must be a consideration even for conventional design methods.)

      Or stated differently again, who is the master and who is the servant in the CAD-CAE relationship?

Leave a Reply