This Week in CFD

This week we lead the CFD news with the release of the CFD Vision 2030’s roadmap update for 2015-2020, the first such deep dive into progress toward the Vision since the study’s original publication in 2014. I encourage you to download, read, and comment. There’s more good reading this week in the form of a how-to article on telling a story with CFD from our friends at Tecplot and a new book on high-order CFD from my Cadence colleague, Charles Hirsch. And there are two articles about things missing from the rear of cars: a wiper blade on a Hyundai and a rear wing on a Le Mans car. Shown here is simulation of a notional hypersonic glide vehicle the details of which you can read about here.

CFD Vision 2030 – The 2020 Update

You’ll have to indulge me for beginning with a topic near and dear to my heart: the NASA CFD Vision 2030. Earlier this week the AIAA CFD Vision 2030 Integration Committee released its first update to the Vision’s roadmap to 2030. This report (freely available at covers progress in all six of the roadmap’s technical domains (HPC, physical modeling, numerical algorithms, geometry and meshing, knowledge extraction, and MDAO). This report covers progress during 2020 and a 5-year perspective going back to 2015. It’s 71 pages and 309 references worth of CFD goodness. Would love to hear your feedback after you’ve had a chance to look it over. And we’ve already started on the 2021 update.

While on the topic of the AIAA CFD Vision 2030 IC, there are two IC events coming up at AIAA Aviation in August. We’re hosting a technical panel on physical modeling that you won’t want to miss. And if reading all 71 pages of the report, we’ll be presenting a technical paper on the roadmap update which is the Reader’s Digest version. [Do people even grok Reader’s Digest references anymore?]

Why do I even…

MUST READ: FieldView image of simulation results from Tecplot’s article Telling a Story with Your CFD, a concise primer on how to best present your CFD results. Another technique I like is “specific, general, specific” for introducing someone to a new software capability, for example. Too often the demonstration turns into a training class by describing what one could do with each button in the UI and it’s 20 minutes before you get a hint of what the software can actually do. So show a specific use case and what it does. Then walk through the software in general talking about the options, the “what ifs.” Then conclude with another bang-bang specific use case.

…bother trying to…

You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a CFD simulation of a Shinkansen, a bullet train. But it’s actually a radical redesign of heavy trucks (i.e. 18 wheelers) for reduced drag and improved fuel economy. Image from

…group things by heading?

Simulation of the Apollo Capsule AS-202 Re-entry done using CFD++. Image from

The Grid as Activator of the 3rd Dimension

Consider Donald Judd’s statement that visual art consists primarily of material, color, and space and furthermore that material is tangible, color is only visible in an relative sense, and space is invisible and intangible.

Then consider that Judd is primarily known for his sculptures such as Untitled 1967 in the collection of The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth where all three aspects interplay simply and profoundly in 3D.

How does one manifest those same aspects in 2D, in painting? Judd’s Untitled 1992 shown below is a wonderful example. The perfect grid of white lines both constrains the red rectangle in 2D and activates it in depth. Perhaps influenced by Josef Albers, the moirĂ© effect at the intersections of the white lines enlivens the work by sweeping the viewer’s focus across the painting’s surface.

For more about grids in painting, see How The Grid Conquered Contemporary Art.

Donald Judd, Untitled, 1992. source
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