This Week in CFD

The CFD news often arrives too quickly to share it all in a timely manner. Included this week is an interesting backgrounder on AI in CFD and another excellent read about color maps and why the rainbow color map isn’t your best choice. (Recommend we all re-read Tufte’s books.) For lovers of free things there’s a list of free 3D geometry modeling software. And the application of the week is something completely wonderful. Shown here is a fan simulation computed with OMNIS.

The First Heading

  • The 2nd Annual SU2 Conference will be an online event on 12-14 July.
  • If you’re looking for summaries of what’s new for fluids in ANSYS 2021 R1, the LEAP blog shares 9 videos covering everything from the user interface to numerics.
  • I’m a little late with this news but bramble v4.0.1 was released a couple of months back. As you recall, bramble is the cloud-based CFD platform from TotalSim.
  • Siemens shares on their Simcenter blog 4 myths about AI in CFD. #3 AI doesn’t require people to run it. [I really need to come up to speed on AI/ML in CFD. My experience with AI in CFD back in the late 1980s – yes, that long ago – was unpleasant.]
  • In How (not) to lie with Abaqus color maps we read that “The rainbow map is based on the colours of light at different wavelengths which have nothing to do with human perception of colours.” As I’ve made abundantly clear, after nearly 40 years doing CFD I am fed up with sickly green CFD flowfield images. It’s time to move on to better flow viz.
  • The ASME’s Verification & Validation Virtual Symposium is next week, 19-20 May.
  • It’s nice to see leading students doing CFD. Case in point, Leonor Teles at the University of Rochester. [And here we need to decided which is correct: “a myriad of research experiences” or “myriad research experiences.”]
  • More students, more CFD. At the University of Sydney a group of students simulated the flight of NASA Ingenuity Mars Landers’ helicopter.
How much (many?) bitcoin does it cost to cool a datacenter that’s mining bitcoin? This profile from SimScale provides an introduction. Image from

The Second Heading

  • Our friends at SolidSmack list the 8 best free 3D modeling software packages and I’d love to hear your opinions on which ones work well for CFD. I had not known about ZBrushCoreMini. I’m tempted to install yet another piece of software that I don’t have time to learn. [Also, bravo to SolidSmack for hitting the sweet spot on lists; 8 is the optimal number of items on a list like this.]
  • Beta CAE released v21.1.2 of their suite.
  • Also on the topic of datacenters is this article about digital twins in which we read about a datacenter “Armed with an in-built Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) engine, the digital twin has an unparalleled understanding of airflow and cooling.” I’m honestly not certain what’s implied by that statement.
  • The Journal of Applied Sciences is planning a special issue on “CFD for Future Energies.” No rush – due date for manuscripts is 15 Mar 2022.
  • CFD for design of glass containers.
  • Tecplot 360 2021 R1 was launched with support for ANSYS Fluent’s new-ish Common Fluids Format.
  • CFD for fans using OMNIS.
  • If you have not done so already, you can download our relatively new white paper, a primer titled Preparation of Geometry Models for Mesh Generation and CFD. (Registration required.)
APPLICATION OF THE WEEK: OK, it’s not CFD. But this is a wonderful case study from MSC about structural analysis of high-heeled footwear. Shown here are stress contours from the heel impacting an obstacle showing the difference in response with (left) and without (right) an interior spine. Image from [I happen to have a certain expertise in helping women accessorize their outfits so this application of CAE caught my eye. This is a serious claim, not a joke.]


When I had the pleasure of hearing Sean Scully speak at The Modern several years ago, he mentioned the motif of the open door in his paintings – an invitation to enter, with perhaps a bit of mystery. This is probably more deliberate than whimsical based on one of his paintings called Light in August after the Faulkner novel of the same name in which we read the quote “the serene rectangle of the open door.” In this context, both Scully and Faulkner imbue a simple rectangle with a great promise.

In Big Grey Robe we see Scully exploring grids of shapes, something abstract painters have explored for decades. Scully’s imprecise abstraction and natural palette elevate the work.

Not coincidentally, the exhibition Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas opens at The Modern on 20 June and I’m really looking forward to spending some time there.

Sean Scully, Big Grey Robe, 2002. source

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