CFD Workflow Best Practices

 

Whether you are using one of the Top500 supercomputers or a modest cluster for CFD, post-processing can be a big bottleneck. Since this is where decisions are made and your goal is to make the best decisions possible, why not optimize your post-processing workflow? FieldView does this in three important ways:

1. Automating post-processing to perform repetitive tasks has great leverage in streamlining a workflow. FieldView supports scripting your workflow via various built-in tools, such as FVX and external scripting languages like Python. FVX allows direct creation of visualization objects based on parameters or names that you define when you set up your solver input deck. So, if you are looking at variations on a geometry, use a standardized naming convention across all solutions (like ‘wheel’ or ‘impeller-suction-side’) - the same script can be used repeatedly across all solutions via a loop, even if the solutions come from different solver codes. Standardized reports have never been easier!

2. Data management: most organizations simply cannot move or even store all of the results files from solvers. This is emerging as a significant and costly CFD optimization challenge. FieldView provides data reduction and organization through the integrated eXtract database or XDB mechanism. Post processing objects such as streamlines, cut planes, iso-surfaces, etc. can be saved and restored via XDBs, with one hundred-fold reduction in file size over the CFD result files. XDBs can form the basis for archives and sharing in your CFD workflow with speed and ease.

3. Reliability is mission critical to successful automation, that’s why Intelligent Light software engineers designed and rigorously tested FieldView for reliable performance under the most challenging conditions. The result: FieldView easily handles the largest datasets, locally, on attached servers or in the cloud. Client-server and parallel operation provide the flexibility to design your workflow with confidence.

 

 

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“Corvid Technologies generates thousands of three-dimensional Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) solutions every year on complex geometries. The ability to automate this process can reduce flow-viz time requirements by 50 percent or more. We are just getting started with the all the new benefits for data management, batch processing and image quality that FieldView has to offer.”

David F. Robinson, Ph.D., President, Corvid Technologies

 

What is CFD and How Does it Work?

 

The properties of fluids and gases (Fluid Dynamics) have been studied for many years; understanding and predicting their behavior is important to many fields, from medicine to nuclear power to automobile design to jets. The field of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) uses computing to evaluate the models described above on the object under study.

The governing laws of Fluid Dynamics are partial differential equations; typically these equations are solved by breaking up the physical domain into very small volumes, called cells. The collection of cells that fill in the domain is called the mesh or grid. A software package, called the solver code, reads the grid and setup information, solves the equations and produces results files containing the predicted flow properties (such as flow speed, temperature, species concentrations, etc.) for each cell. Since flow is dynamic, unsteady calculation requires running the solver repeatedly for many small time steps.

Thus the three steps to obtaining a CFD solution are:

  1. Pre-processing (building the mesh, setting operating parameters)
  2. Solving (running the solver code) and then
  3. Post-processing results files to obtain useful information. Pre- and post-processing are usually interactive, while running the solver code is a batch process, often requiring large compute servers working for many hours and producing huge results files.

Post-processing is of vital importance, where results files are made useful, through it we

  • Gain understanding of critical flow features
  • Report engineering metrics such as forces or maximum temperature, and
  • Validate the mesh, setup parameters, quality of the solution.

This is the “pay-off”. It is here that Intelligent Light and its FieldView software and services ensure that users and enterprises get the most from their investments in hardware, software and manpower for CFD.

 

 

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“The purpose of computing is insight not numbers.”

C. Hastings, Approximations for Digital Computers, 1955

 

CFD Post-Processing for Engineers

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Even if you are successfully using CFD, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I waiting a long time to even read my CFD results?
  • I’m using the post-processor that comes with my solver code, but what am I missing?
  • I spend all day copying CFD results from my server, is there a better way?
  • My competitors are showing their CFD results with great looking images and animations, what do they know that I don’t?
  • I have no time to read and examine all the solutions that I have, how can I automate that?
  • My solver runs in parallel. Can I post-process in parallel too?
  • I have a great CFD product such as ANSYS Fluent, cd-adapco STAR-CCM+, CFD++, etc., but am I getting to all the value in those results with the built-in post-processor?
  • How can I get great post-processing for my open-source or government CFD code, like OpenFOAM or OverFlow?
  • What would it be like to actually get good customer support for my post-processor?

FieldView products and services from Intelligent Light have been specifically developed to help CFD users get more reliable results in less time from their CFD investments. Post-processing can be the most important step in the CFD process -this is where the “pay off” occurs – where you gain insight and make decisions. Yet it is often overlooked when planning effective CFD workflows.

Take a few minutes of your valuable time to check our product information for the answers to your questions, or better yet, get a free evaluation copy of FieldView and see for yourself!

 

 

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“FieldView is the best product I have found for interpreting large datasets. The client/server architecture of FieldView means we can analyze huge datasets using our desktop workstations-without copying files around on the network. Ultimately, that means better utilization of our server resources.”

Ken Brentner, professor of Aerospace Engineering at Penn State University

 

Managing CFD Resources to Maximize Value

The power of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is leveraged across industries as varied as aerospace, energy, casting and architecture.

CFD has the potential to greatly benefit the design process by providing new ways to analyze and understand the performance of products before they are manufactured. However, fluid dynamics is non-linear and phenomena such as turbulence require specialized approximations. Expertise in CFD is still required for success; the key in today’s market is to be able to leverage a smaller amount of expertise over more projects.

Post-processing is a key leverage point in maximizing CFD ROI - this is the “pay-off”, where insight is gained, decisions are made. People at large corporations have told us: “With our current methods, we are post-processing less than 1% of our computed results.” Handling huge data reliably and rapidly, in an automated fashion, is a strength of FieldView. Use the CFD expertise in your organization to standardize reports and the post-processing workflow to remove bottlenecks and improve reliability and usefulness of CFD results. Then deploy to designers and engineers.

FieldView is:

  • Very intuitive with a low learning curve: it is useful within one hour
  • Programmable, via FVX and PYTHON to simplify the creation of automated workflows, standardized plots and reports
  • Designed to maximize and leverage your existing and planned infrastructure from laptops to HPC servers and cloud
  • Always backward compatible at every release
  • Solver-independent: changing solver codes or processes does not require new costs for re-training or developing new scripts

Your selection of FieldView gives you best-in-class post-processing technology with a low total cost of ownership and a trusted partner in Intelligent Light, committed to your success with CFD.

 

 

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“We can automatically generate full car reports, videos and graphics and share those around the company. Everyone is encouraged to investigate; everyone has access. These reports help educate everyone; we can identify what has changed on the car, where and why.”

Nathan Sykes, CFD Team Leader for Tools, Red Bull Formula 1