This Week in CFD

We begin this week’s roundup of CFD news with a lot of software release announcements as though everyone was holding back until the holidays were over. And several good, long reads are included this week including one on our old friend, democratization, and another on what the next generation of engineers need to be learning in school (and it’s not which buttons to push to make Software X run). And there’s programming news from the old (Fortran) to the new (Rust). Oh, and the image of the week is quite awesome. Shown here is CFD simulation by SimScale of heat loss in a building. Isn’t it quite a pretty image? Like a watercolor.


  • Friendship Systems announced the launch of CAESES 5, a major update of their CAD engine for simulation. The software is said to be faster, its GUI and rendering improved, along with many other new or improved features.
  • Ingrid Cloud is already living in 2030, according to their self-assessment relative to NASA’s CFD Vision 2030 Study.
  • Mesh2Surface, a reverse engineering plugin for Rhino, has been updated.
  • Also for Rhino, PanelingTools for Rhino 7 is now available.
  • NETL released MFiX v20.3, a unified CFD/DEM code, with improved polydispersity capabilities.
  • The latest release of Parasolid includes the ability to work with facet and B-Rep data formats simultaneously.
  • Beta CAE released v21.0.2 of their software suite.
  • SIMULIA XFlow 2021 was released with GPU acceleration and more.
  • code_saturne v6.3 was released.
  • OpenCFD released OpenFOAM v2012.
An example of the advanced rendering available in CAESES 5. See link above.


  • The website for the 29th International Meshing Roundtable is up. The event will be held online on 21-25 June 2021. The call for papers is open with a due date for the full paper of 19 February.
  • ICYMI, the folks who run the 3D Collaboration and Interoperability Congress are hosting a live, online, friendly competition on tolerancing. The event, sponsored by Sigmetrix, will be held on 20 January. Check out the website to download the geometry model you’ll need to work with. You have until 17 January to submit your entry.
  • SPHERIC 2021, the 15th Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics rEsearch and engineeRing International Community Workshop, will be held online on 07-11 June 2021. The call for papers is open with a due date of 15 February.
  • ANSYS’ Simulation World is coming up online on 20-21 April 2021. Your abstract is due by 28 January.
Thanks to alert reader Mike for sharing this photo of the MahaNakhon Building in Bangkok which definitely has some sort of hex meshing problem as though it was captured in the middle of a reshaping ala The Matrix. As a bonus, there’s a nice mesh sculpture in the foreground.

From Pointwise


  • Simscale shares how CFD can be used in the design of low energy consumption buildings, a style called Passivhaus.
  • OnScale Solve writes about their approach to CAD validation and meshing. [Many nice mesh pics in this article.] “not all CAD files are created equally”
  • CFD for polymer curing during 3D printing.
  • CFD for home air conditioning. [Even though the article is titled How to Minimise Your Air Conditioner Running Costs This Summer, they are not advocating that running CFD will help. It’s actually likely to increase the amount of cooling you need.]
  • Saying “AI solves Schrodinger’s equation” is kinda like saying “hammer builds house.” [Pardon the lack of umlauts.]
  • CFD for motorcycles.
I’m a sucker for a mesh pic. This one is from a Siemens case study on the use of Femap to create a bike frame.

Good Reading

  • Digital Engineering has a very interesting article on the democratization of simulation that’d I’d like your feedback on. The article, Democratizing Simulation: Job Well Done or Unfinished Task?, seems to imply that democratization is accomplished through CAD integration or cloud deployment.
  • “Congratulations to first-year PhD candidate Alex Coppean on being awarded the 2020-2021 Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering Fellowship for his work on mesh generation and mesh adaptation for airplane design.” [It was easier just to copy and paste the entire title.]
  • Did you know there’s an open-source Fortran community called Fortran-lang?
  • While we’re on the topic of programming languages, here’s a brief video about Rust and why you should consider it for scientific software.
  • Read about how the Ohio Supercomputer Center developed a web-based interface to their HPC resources.
  • The ANSYS blog features a guest post on the topic of Cultivating the Next Generation of Engineers. “Students need to understand how to work effectively with other engineers, which means they need to know how to communicate effectively with other engineers.” If you’re a student, please read this and let me know what you think.
  • And the winner of the Community Christmas Competition is… Lilian Chabannes from Brno University of Technology. [This is actually a video, not reading.]
  • Read Convergent Science’s summary of 2020, “the year of Computing From a Distance.” [Kudos for the wordplay.]
IMAGE OF THE WEEK. An OVERFLOW CFD simulation of a six-passenger quad-copter, performed as part of NASA’s research into Advanced Air Mobility solutions. Image created with Tecplot Version 2018.2.1.93726. Image from

Science Informs Animation

It’s easy to think of animated films as pure fantasy in which the laws of physics need not apply. Yet we’ve all experienced that moment when the filmmakers push things a bit too far and we lose our willingness to suspend reality.

The reason I’m a big fan of animated films has to do both with the artistry involved (especially the older, hand-drawn films) and the research that backs up the artistry to keep it grounded in reality. A lot of this research has to do with characters and settings. For example, Disney kept some deer on their property during the production of Bambi to ensure the animators had plenty of first-hand experience and drawing practice.

In Disney’s animated film Planes, expert aviation consultants contributed to not only the look of the planes but how the flying sequences were animated to ensure that each plane behaved according to its type.

The character Skipper in Disney’s movie Planes is based on a WWII Vought F4U Corsair. Image from
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