This Week in CFD

case_deltamarinThere’s a lot of good reading and listening in this week’s CFD news starting with a new CFD podcast, a proposal for sustainable research software, and the first in a series on AI and CFD. Think Before You Compute, good advice anytime, is the title of a new book on applied CFD. Shown here are CFD results for hull shape optimization done by Deltamarine.

Listening and Reading

  • Introducing The Mesh Up, a new podcast that explores “how computational fluid dynamics (CFD) affects our daily lives in seen and unseen ways.” Episode 1, “Mesh Up or Mess Up,” is online now. [Kudos on putting mesh front and center when it comes to talking about CFD.]
  • byteLAKE launched the first in a promised series of articles on AI for CFD, “a complete game-changer.”
  • Our friends at Altair introduced a refresh of their corporate branding: Only Forward.
  • In the paper An Environment for Sustainable Research Software in Germany and Beyond: Current State, Open Challenges, and Call for Action, the authors “recommend strategies and measures to create an environment for sustainable research software, with the ultimate goal to ensure that software-driven research is valid, reproducible and sustainable, and that software is recognized as a first class citizen in research.”



Nearfield structured grid for a multi-element airfoil from an article on a hybrid meshing approach to airfoils. Image from Full disclosure:This is a Pointwise mesh and they are a Pointwise distributor. BONUS: Extrusion of quads using a hyperbolic PDE method often results in an outer boundary shape as shown above. We nicknamed that phenomenon. Do you know the nickname?


  • [Given how the global economy has tanked due to the pandemic, I’m going to start paying closer attention to financial results in the CAE world.]
  • Dassault Systemes reported a decrease of 2020 Q1 revenue relative to 2019 Q4 of 4.3%.
    • More insight on Dassault from Monica Schnitger is along the lines of Q2 will be bad, grow out of it during Q3 and Q4, end the year flat.
  • PTC‘s revenue was flat for the quarter ending March 2020 relative to the previous quarter.
  • Recommended: subscribe to Monica Schnitger’s Hot Topics.

From Pointwise

  • Our paper from the cancelled SAE WCX, CAD-Based Optimization of a Race Car Front Wing, written with our friends at Phoenix Integration and using Altair’s AcuSolve for the CFD parts, has been selected by SAE for publication in the SAE International Journal of Advances and Current Practices of Mobility. Until then, you can watch a recording of our webinar on the topic.
  • Our case study on ice accretion on UAVs shows how to mesh these complex shapes.
  • If power generation is more your thing, read how our hybrid meshing was a perfect fit for simulating supercritical carbon-dioxide power cycles.
  • And if you missed our wildly popular live Q&A on mesh adaption, I bet you’ll soon have access to that event with our friends at ISimQ.

Total pressure contours from an ANSYS CFD simulation of torque converters. Image from See link below. [Is it just me or does anyone else see a bird motif as from a totem pole in the tradition of First Nations and indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest?]

CFD for…

Kernels (of Truth)

  • Parasolid is celebrating 30 years of industrial use.
  • ACIS 2020 1.0.1 includes “super fast” viewing of large models and more.
  • Geode (Pointwise’s kernel) is an integral component of our mesh adaptation strategy along with MeshLink.


  • PTC announced the release of the Vuforia Spatial Toolbox, an open-source toolkit that aids development of AR and IoT applications. You can read more on the Vuforia webpage. [I’m not trying to be dense, but after reading the webpage and watching the video I am still unclear about what this thing does.]
  • Planned for publication in June 2020, the book Think Before You Compute by Hinch offers “Every fluid dynamicist will at some point need to use computation. Thinking about the physics, constraints and the requirements early on will be rewarded with benefits in time, effort, accuracy and expense. How these benefits can be realised is illustrated in this guide for would-be researchers and beginning graduate students to some of the standard methods and common pitfalls of computational fluid mechanics.”
  • OpenCL 3.0 (the open standard for parallel programming on heterogenous systems) has been released in the form of provisional specs for comment. The interesting part of the announcement is “OpenCL 3.0 makes all functionality beyond version 1.2 optional.”
  • [In an instance of misleading headlines,] CAD Claims to Reduce Simulation Time by 65-75% is actually an article about the CAD-embedded FloEFD CFD solver. Here’s the truth direct from Siemens.
  • ThermoAnalytics released TAITherm and CoTherm 2020.1.
  • Running the HiFUN solver in parallel.

Grid as Checkpoint

I’m afraid today’s grid-based art, other than the obvious visual, will require a bit of your indulgence. [As though all the previous art here hasn’t.]

The Grid as a Checkpoint of Modernity is a research article from the Tate Galleries in London and delves into use of the grid in Russian art from Malevich to contemporary artists. It seems that Russian artists employed the grid less as a modern device and more of an idealogical one. It’s a worthy read but I won’t press my luck there.

That’s a bit heavy for a Friday so I’ll just comment on the visuals in Bulatov’s Skier shown below. The tension between the obvious vanishing point in the representational portion of the painting and the flat (and slightly cockeyed) red grid is deliciously frustrating. But instead of locking things into place like a barred window, a Moire effect at the intersection of the red lines has your eye jumping around in the plane of the picture in direct contravention of the line of sight of the skier. At the same time, the red grid stains the winter landscape. And yet the red grid still bars you from falling into the chase scene and asking which of the two skiers the title refers to. (I personally think it’s the one in the far distance that we are trying (desperately?) to catch.) There is so much going on here.

I didn’t like Skier at first (in fact, I almost dismissed it altogether), but the more time I spend with it the more I come to love it. Bulatov is represented by the ARNDT Gallery.


Erik Bulatov, Skier, 1971-74. Image from See links above.

Suggestion: Even if you’re not an art fan, Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color is highly recommended by me for anyone making CFD visuals.

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