This Week in CFD

starcd-es-ice-20201Lots of new software announcements in this week’s CFD news including a big one from Altair. There’s an article about how software performance gains are going to have to come from software optimization and new algorithm development. And we get some insight into the business side of the CAE world where the main question seems to be how bad Q2 will actually be. Shown here is an in-cylinder CFD solution done with the new version of STAR-CD/es-ice 2020.1.


  • Altair announced the “most significant software update release in company history” which is saying something given the company’s tenure and portfolio. Focusing only on the CFD side of their house, AcuSolve, ultraFluidX, and nanoFluidX have all been updated.
  • This week I learned about KaleidoSim, a Zurich-based provider of CFD in the cloud using OpenFOAM.
  • STAR-CD/es-ice/DARS 2020.1 was released for internal combustion engine simulation with improvements to flame tracking, soot modeling, and more. [It’s been a while since I saw news about STAR-CD and the DARS bit is completely unknown to me.]
  • Remember panel methods? They still have a great deal of utility and CFD Consultants has developed a new one.

From Pointwise



Our friends at Corvid Technologies used Pointwise to mesh this hypersonic glide vehicle, used their own RavenCFD flow solver to compute the flowfield, and created this image of the mesh colored by Mach Number using FieldView. And Aersopace America is using this image as the lead for an article about hypersonic missiles. Image from [Two things immediately pop into my mind when I see this image. I wonder if you’re thinking the same things.]


  • The Converge User Conference – North America remains a live event scheduled for 28 Sep – 02 Oct in Detroit. The call for papers is open with a due date of 03 July. Argonne National Labs’ Chris Powell has been announced as a keynote speaker.
  • In case anyone’s curious, there’s no official news on the fate of this year’s Overset Grid Symposium (aka Symposium on Overset Composite Grids and Solution Technology) but I have reason to believe it’ll either go virtual or be postponed.
  • TFAWS, the Thermal & Fluids Analysis Workshop, will be a virtual event this year on 18-20 August 2020.


  • Part 3 of Dassault Systemes’ Value of Simulation Web Series is Using CFD to Drive Product Performance.
  • FlowVision shares an article about 2D mesh adaptation in their solver.
  • Science Magazine writes about the end of Moore’s law and how improved performance must come from optimizing our software, developing more efficient algorithms, and changing how computers are architected (2 of those 3 are within the control of us CFDers). These so-called “gains at the top” will be “opportunistic, uneven, and sporadic.”

Saved by the Grid

I heard painter Mark Bradford say that “the grid saved him” in reference to providing a framework and structure for his early works that contrasted with his less structured, perhaps chaotic, personal life. Those original grids, which for us CFDers tend toward structured grids, morphed into unstructured meshes. The painting shown here, 2009’s White Painting, is a wonderful example of Bradford’s use of that motif.

There are a number of things I could say about White Painting‘s appeal to me (beyond the mesh). The color palette and composition remind me of Sam Francis’ work, which I don’t intend as a sort of validation but more as a potential influence. Despite the work’s title, there’s very little pure white in this painting and the upper portion which is predominantly white-ish is where the mesh has fractured the surface like a smashed mirror.

I look forward to the re-opening of The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth so I can go see their current exhibit, Mark Bradford: End Papers.


Mark Bradford, White Painting, 2009. source

Bonus: A lot of you are space geeks. Have you tried SpaceX’s ISS docking simulator? I will not be responsible for your loss of productivity.

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