This Week in CFD

As we approach the end of 2020 (Huzzah!) there’s a lot of positive news on the business of CAE and from conferences that are starting to come back as at least hybrid events. In particular, highlighted herein is a special session at AIAA SciTech in January on grand challenge problems for CFD. And who would’ve expected CFD for rickshaws, fish farms, and my favorite CFD application of the week shown here: a pierogi flying through mayo as simulated using ANSYS by the Student Astronautical Circle at Warsaw University of Technology. (Apologies if my translation is incorrect.)


  • ICYMI, you can enjoy the videos from the Five Days of Pointwise in which we introduced the new features in V18.4 including Flashpoint, intelligent automatic surface meshing.
  • Pointwise’s Flashpoint is also the subject of a webinar with Flexcompute on high-fidelity CFD in minutes.
  • Monica Schnitger casts an optimistic eye on the simulation software market after reviewing quarterly results from ANSYS (gross revenue up 7%, software licenses up 3%) and Altair (gross revenue up 6%, software up 13%). “the need for more and better simulation technologies shows no (long-term) signs of slowing down.”
  • In Part 4 of their series of articles on working with STEP files in SolidWorks, Engineers Rule delves into dealing with complex assemblies (and their simplification).

CFD 2030

  • The AIAA CFD 2030 Integration committee invites you to attend (online) two events at January’s SciTech Forum on the topic of grand challenge problems for assessing progress toward the 2030 vision.
    • A special technical session of invited papers proposing GCs for high lift aerodynamics, propulsion, and space access.
    • A panel discussion with the papers’ authors and an addition three invitees.
  • The IC’s article on progress toward the 2030 vision in Aerospace America’s annual Year in Review issue is now online.
  • Speaking of AIAA SciTech, this year’s [actually next year’s] virtual event will be expanded to two weeks: 11-15 January and 19-21 January.


  • Coreform has acquired exclusive rights to distribute the Cubit software developed at Sandia National Lab. The company has been distributing a version of Cubit under the brand name Trellis which they plan to phase out. The company also plans to transform Cubit into a preprocessor for their isogeometric analysis (IGA) software.
  • SimScale announced the availability of an API to directly couple CAD software with their SaaS simulation software.
  • Spatial release 2021 1.0 including CAD simplification, the ability to smoothly fill non-planar holes in mesh data, and more.
  • ENGYS released HELYX v3.3.0. Watch their highlight video here.
  • The latest version of TransMagic has a “quick view” option that loads CAD files up to 3.5x faster than previous versions of the software.
  • Intact Solutions announced v1.0 of Intact.Simulation, the toolkit behind Scan&Solve and other simulation software.
  • Machine Learning for Fluid Mechanics. [Someone smarter than me – everyone – is gonna have to read this and explain it to me.]
  • Use of deep-learning to solve PDEs like the N-S equations. [In which we learn that “Navier-Stokes isn’t just good at modeling air turbulence; it’s also used to model weather patterns.”] [I feel like I’ve shared this already. Sorry if it’s a repeat.]

CFD for…

  • pierogi. [Although the sin here is having them fly through mayo instead of sour cream. I asked if they’d do a golabki; no reply yet.]
  • a surface submersible craft for delivering divers to a destination, 40 knots on the surface and 8 knots submerged.
  • Formula-1.
  • floating fish farms. [In which we learn that salmon get lice. Ewww.]
  • painting a car. [I wish I could visit Metariver’s website but they require a captcha just to see the home page which I found too odd to bother with.]
  • HVAC in schools.
  • racing bicycle handlebars.
This would’ve been my application of the week had I not loved eating pierogis more. Rickshaw aerodynamics computed with AirShaper. Image from [For the record, I’ve never ridden in one of these.]


  • The inaugural MSC Nastran Excellence Award has been presented to Volvo Car Corp. Sweden for their use of the software “to simulate how the vibrations of a car structure can affect the performance of the audio system at different frequencies.” [As an enjoyer of music while driving, I applaud this application.]
  • Our friends at Flow Science have been recognized for the fifth time as one of New Mexico’s 40 fastest growing tech companies.
  • Applied CAx was recognized as Siemens’ North American Partner of the Year.



CFD simulations of a mid-hull hydrofoil (Foil Assist) for fast-planing vessels. Screen capture of a video from


  • SIGGRAPH 2021 (Los Angeles, 1-5 August) will be a virtual-only event.
  • The International Meshing Roundtable will be held as a virtual event the week of 21 June 2021 with the short courses on Mon 21 Jun and the conference program running Tue 22 – Fri 25 Jun. There is no registration fee for this event. To correct an error of mine in a tweet, the full paper submission deadline is 19 February 2021. The conference website has not yet been updated for the 2021 event.
  • The 10th International Conference on Curves and Surfaces will be held in Arcachon, France on 20-24 June 2022. No rush on submitting your abstract; it’s not due until 27 Feb 2022.
  • The SIAM Conference on Geometric and Physical Modeling will be held at U.C. Davis on 27-29 September 2021. The call for papers should be posted soon. As for whether the event will be held in person, “SIAM intends to hold GD/SPM21 as an in-person, hybrid, or 100% virtual conference.” [Well, that about covers it.]
  • See Altair’s SC20 presentation on GPU Acceleration of Altair AcuSolve (registration required).

Tension From 2D to 3D and Back

Barbara Hepworth is the artist who got me to like sculpture. Her ability to give life to stone, metal, and wood astounded me. A wonderful tension between the organic and inorganic.

Just as Frank Stella says (and demonstrated) that a painter is always painting the third dimension, Hepworth’s drawings show how she reduced the third dimension into the picture plane as evidenced below in Red in Tension.

This drawing makes me see the line in all her sculptures.

Barbara Hepworth, Red in Tension, 1941. Image from See links above.

Bonus: How many non-overlapping triangles can be made from an arrangement of N lines? Nobody knows.

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