This Week in CFD

News and Jobs


Totally cool video from ONERA with a CFD simulation of a WWII-era Dewoitine 551 aircraft on a structured multi-block grid.


  • Viking Pumps uses CFD to optimize their fluid handling equipment.
  • CAESES has launched an online geometry tool so you can generate geometries for the MVRC challenge (design an Le Mans prototype car and simulate its performance using CFD). See image below. [Not being a car guy, I had to google the acronym LMP. My ignorance aside, I’d like to hear back from other folks who use this tool.]
  • Also, the call for presentations is now open for the CAESES Users’ Meeting (27-29 Sep 2017).
  • shares work done by Mentor Graphics to do a system-level CFD analysis using mixed 1-D and 3-D CFD simulations. (Interoperability of multi-dimensional modeling is one of the challenges cited by the ASSESS Initiative.)
  • How about Diabatix’s browser-based CFD modeling of liquid cooling? In which we read, “The automation of engineering tools has generally not kept up with designers’ needs.”

Screen shot of the CAESES geometry tool for the MVRC challenge. Image from CAESES. See link above.

  • As reported in Scientific American, CFD is being used to gain insight into how how 600 million year old organisms lived by reverse engineering them from their fossils. [I would’ve paid money for a CFD image in this article.]
  • Uncertain quantification of a CFD simulation of turbulent jets, thesis work at Northern Arizona with contributions from FieldView. (UQ is one of the topics cited in the NASA CFD Vision 2030 Study.)
  • Volvo won an award for a new piston that was designed with the aid of CFD.
  • Simulation was used to make better puffed rice.
  • How about using CFD for “anti-soiling“? [Not what I originally thought. PowerFLOW is being used to simulate the accumulation of dirt etc. on a car’s exterior to understand better how to keep external cameras and sensors clean and clear.]
  • And architects can use CFD (in the cloud or otherwise) to better understand how wind flows around their buildings, especially in an urban environment.

News & Events


I just like this award-winning photo of graphene powder mixing in alcohol. Read about it at FYFD.

  • Envenio has received an investment of $1.3 million. [Full disclosure: Envenio offers a cloud-based version of Pointwise to their customers for CFD mesh generation.]
  • The DoE awarded NVIDIA funding from the Exascale Computing Project to develop a next-generation supercomputer. (Exascale computing platforms are part of the NASA CFD Vision 2030 Study.)
  • Registration is now open for TFAWS, the Thermal & Fluids Analysis Workshop.
  • The 40th International Conference on Software Engineering is next year in Gothenburg.



City of the Mesh

Alert reader Mike shared with me the following photograph he took of Gemma Danielle’s mural City of the Sun (2015). He and I were both in Denver recently for AIAA Aviation and we both apparently were on the Cherry Creek Trail but he saw it and I missed it.

You can read here where the artist says “This mural looks very fluid and full of motion, but actually it’s made up of thousands of straight lines.”

She can’t be any clearer; it is a CFD mesh.


Gemma Danielle, City of the Sun, 2015. Photo credit.


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Big Wave Surfboard Optimization

From the 2017 Q2 issue of The Connector:

badge-surfboard-webinar-180x180Working with one of the world’s top big wave board shapers, engineers at CRAFT Tech have applied computational fluid dynamics (CFD) within a design optimization process, employing a genetic algorithm to evolve the design of a big wave surfboard. In this article, we will explore the design framework that allowed over 100 design iterations to be explored, resulting in a higher speed, lower drag, big wave surfboard design. (more)

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I’m Jessica Joyner and This Is How I Mesh

Jessica Joyner, Receptionist.

Meshing is strange and mysterious territory for me. As the Receptionist at Pointwise, I don’t often get involved with the software, but I can’t help but admire the artistry of the posters created by our team. They are a beautiful mix of art and engineering that has captured my imagination. I’ve had a deep love of the arts since I was a child. While I greatly enjoy several different mediums, my primary love is writing. Creating places and people with words is something I’m still passionate about.

I was born and raised in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. My hometown is positioned right on the edge of the American River canyon, a beautiful and inspiring place to drive, hike, camp, and (if you’re brave) swim. I spent a large portion of my life climbing around those hills and walking along the river, letting my imagination run wild.

Later on, I worked at the local recreation district, whose offices were perched right on the edge of the canyon. It was a small organization, and I learned to exercise every artistic and technical skill I could muster in order to assist the different departments. Some of my strongest skills were developed here; I not only helped customers, I also managed and maintained our giant software program, wrote and designed ads for publication, and became the building’s unofficial troubleshooter.

When the time came to uproot myself and move to Texas, I took the opportunity to look at my future and decide what I really wanted to do with my life. With the encouragement and support of my closest friends, I enrolled at Tarrant County College and plunged back into the academic world I hadn’t seen since high school. As it turned out, I loved school and performed better than I expected. I found out that I liked math and science, which was a surprise, and I continued to invest in my writing abilities.

I’m in the middle of my degree program now, trying to decide on my major – so many choices! In the meantime, I love working at Pointwise and putting my eclectic mix of skills to work wherever they’re needed. My software experience has started to blend well with my writing skills, as I assist our marketing department as a proofreader and editor. I keep moving forward, step by step, class by class, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for me.

  • Location: Fort Worth, TX
  • Current position: Receptionist
  • Current computer: … It’s a Dell. They gave it to me. Okay, okay, it has a fast Intel Core i5-2400 Processor and two absolutely vital monitors. It also possesses GHz and RAM of some variety. Have I mentioned the monitors?
  • One word that best describes how you work: Tenaciously

What software or tools do you use every day?

The four pillars of my job are: Sage, Outlook, Sage Fixed Assets (FAS), and Spark IM.

What does your workspace look like?

I have a nice mix of tidy and lived-in going on here. In general, since this is the first thing guests see, there isn’t a ton of personalization in my space. I have to sneak in my five-headed dragon and Legend of Zelda milk bottle.

What are you currently working on?

Among many other things, I’m currently helping with proofreading articles and reconciling our company’s assets.

What would you say is your specialty at Pointwise?

I’m still pretty new and learning aspects of my job as they come up. But so far I think my specialty has been editing and proofreading articles for marketing.

Any tips, tricks, or advice for our users?

Use the resources Pointwise provides! There is a ton of content to help out just about every skill level, even a basic beginner like me.

What project are you most proud of and why?

I would have to say starting my YouTube channel. It doesn’t get a lot of use now, and it never got particularly popular, but in a few short months I went from being completely inexperienced with recording devices and hating the sound of my own voice to speaking confidently, recording content, and editing my videos. Every now and then I think of picking the channel back up and making a fresh start, I just haven’t had the time.

Have you recently read any books or articles we should know about?

I don’t know how relevant this is, but recently I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on about the American Revolution. My American History classes were some of my favorites, and I’m still entranced by how the constitution was written in secret – with the doors locked and the windows blocked, so no one could catch on to the fact that they weren’t doing what they were told. Right now I’m reading Ron Chernow’s biography on Alexander Hamilton, which is fascinating.

Do you plan on attending any conferences or workshops this year?

Not really. As the receptionist, conferences and workshops aren’t really in my sphere.

What do you do when you’re not surrounded by engineers making meshes?

Read, write, listen to music, and play games, to name a few things.

What is some of the best advice you’ve received?

“Don’t live your life to please other people.”

If you had to pick a place to have dinner, where would you go?

Old Town Pizzaa restaurant back in my hometown that made the best pizza in the world. I’ve found restaurants in Fort Worth to replace most of my other favorite places from home, but nothing has come close to matching OTP.



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This Week in CFD


Not Cloud


Not strictly CFD (although I’m willing to bet CFD was and will be involved), but DARPA selected Boeing’s design for their Experimental Spaceplane project. Image from DARPA.

Meshing, Viz, Computing – Oh My




Was it trickery? How aerodynamics contributed to the attempt to break the 2-hour marathon time. Image from Siemens PLM. See link below to full article.

  • In what might be one of the most widely read articles involving a CFD application, the folks at Siemens PLM (nee CD-adapco) did a CFD analysis with STAR-CCM+ of the recent attempt that just missed breaking the marathon 2-hour time. See image above.
  • Monica Schnitger thinks it’s gonna be a good year for CAE. But also wishes vendors would report number of licenses sold in addition to revenue in order to get a better feel for the nascent and uneven transition to subscriptions.
  • Digital Engineering wrote an in-depth article on the use of CAE for the America’s Cup.

Convergent Science shares applications of CONVERGE CFD to gas turbine type flowfields.  This image of a DLR combustor is from where you can read the full article.


  • Flow Science has several job openings including CFD Engineer and Sales Engineer.
  • The Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology has an open PhD position in CFD as applied to biomass.
  • Applied CCM seeks a CFD Modeller.

Is a Mesh Really There if Nothing’s On It?

Edoardo Tresoldi was included in Forbes’ list of 30 influential European artists under the age of 30 and his installations created from wire mesh at architectural scale make it easy to see why.

As originally seen by me on Colossal, Tresoldi’s work is a paradoxical combination of geometry and formlessness, heft and ephemerality. From his biography, his use of mesh “transcends space time dimension and narrates a dialog between Art and World” which reveals itself in “the fade-out of physical limitations.” His work Lift (shown lit and viewed from below in the following image) really caught my eye.

Do not missed Tresoldi’s website where many of his mesh works are revealed.


Edoardo Tresoldi, Lift (a temporary installation in Huntington, UK). See link above.

Bonus: How Women Mentors Make a Difference in Engineering, from The Atlantic.

Just Silly: Structured water? You mean I’ve been drinking unstructured water all this time?

P.S. There won’t be a This Week in CFD next Friday as I’ll be on my way to Denver to participate in the AIAA 1st Geometry and Mesh Generation Workshop being held the weekend prior to the AIAA Aviation Forum and Expo. There’s still time to register and attend for what’s certain to be more geometry modeling and meshing discussion you’ve ever had on a weekend.

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The Connector Newsletter for 2017 Q2

The 2017 2nd quarter issue of our The Connector newsletter is now available on our website at This issue features articles on


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This Week in CFD

Good Reading


Read about how EXN/Aero was used to simulate the ONERA M6 wing at transonic conditions at a cost of $324.

Applications & News

  • Capvidia’s FlowVision CFD solver is being used to simulate blood flow in Dassault Systemes’ Living Heart Project.
  • You’ll soon be able to access the supercomputing power of a Cray in the cloud.
  • DEVELOP3D interviewed the CEO of SimSolid and discussed how they are able to simulate complex parts without meshing. [You have no idea how hard it was for me to type those last two words.]
  • Is the “Superman tuck” the most aerodynamically optimal for cycling? [It certainly can’t be the most comfortable.] Read more from Symscape.
  • Congratulations to Daat, makers of the Coolit CFD software, on the 25th anniversary of the company’s founding.
  • Although the full article requires a subscription, Aviation Week included a head-scratcher in the title Wind Tunnels Have Future in Digital Age, Europeans Say [emphasis mine]. I’m fairly certain that’s not a Euro-centric viewpoint.

Comparison of temperatures from infrared imaging (left) and FloTHERM XT simulation results (right) for a tablet computer. Image from Read full article here.



  • SOLIDWORKS Education Edition 2017-2018 was launched with a slew of new capabilities.
  • RealFlow 10.1 was released, the most amazing result [to me] of which is a simulation of ground beef being cut.
  • CAESES 4.2.1 was released.
  • Applied CCM released Caelus v7.04.
  • ANSYS 18.1 was released with CFD improvements in transient flows, harmonic analysis, and improved visualization among other enhancements.
  • Altair released Flux 12.3 for EM simulation.
  • Here’s news about the CFD solver HiFUN, an unstructured CFD solver targeting aerospace applications [about which I only became aware recently].
  • What is the optimum number of compute cores for FEA?

ANSYS Fluent simulation of an impeller inside a reactor vessel. Image from a white paper by Xerox about scaling up CFD simulations. Read full article here

Algorithmic Art

One might think that it’s a weekly struggle to find mesh-related fine art but honestly, works that fascinate me pass through my inbox or web browser with great regularity. The most recent example is the work of Owen Schuh who wrote this about his algorithmic-centered work: “These functions bear the structure of life, but operate in the parallel world of the mind: a world of simulacra inhabited by numbers and abstract relationships.” To me, this rings true about mesh generation: its function is to provide structure on which the simulation of a fluid (life) can be performed yet it remains something completely abstract.

Shown below, Unfolding a Cube (onto a plane) looks like many meshes I’ve seen before the optimization steps are applied. I recommend you read Schuh’s statements on the Art 3 Gallery website (see link above).


Owen Schuh, Unfolding a Cube (onto a plane), 2017. Image from Art 3 Gallery. See link above.

Bonus: Northrop Grumman asks how you react when art and technology come together.

Double Bonus: We in CFD complain about geometry a lot. So why not try to make friends with geometry by playing with these animated Bezier curves?

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Graphics Improvements in Pointwise V18.0 R3

Pointwise Version 18.0 R3 was recently released with several graphics improvements among other new features. The most significant of these upgrades are:

  • Transparency (0-100%) is now an attribute that can be applied to the display of curve and surface entities.
  • Double precision graphics is now the default instead of single precision.
  • Users can now configure Pointwise so that joined connectors do not contain internal break points.

The new transparency display attribute has been applied to these guide vanes in the duct mesh from the 3rd AIAA Propulsion Aerodynamics Workshop.

Despite being primarily a maintenance release, V18.0 R3 includes over two dozen other new features that you can read about in The Connector and in our announcement.

Pointwise V18.0 R3 is available for immediate download from our website.



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