July 10, 2006
3 New Preprocessors For Fluent CFD
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor


by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Fluent Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of ANSYS, Inc. a developer of simulation software and technologies designed to optimize product development processes, announced new releases of TGrid 4.0, GAMBIT 2.3, and 3Matic-for-Fluent 1.0, all major upgrades to Fluent's preprocessing capabilities. These three products provide several new functionality advantages that enable Fluent users to proceed from CAD geometries to Fluent CFD solvers in unprecedented timescales.


TGrid 4.0 has been substantially improved, with a powerful Surface Wrapper added to its existing surface and volume meshing capabilities. Users can now wrap up multiple dirty geometry files from several sources into single, connected, high-quality surface mesh in record times. A number of automated functions are available to optimize the process, depending on the problem at hand. The TGrid Surface Wrapper has reduced meshing times dramatically for a full range of industrial benchmark cases in the automotive, aerospace, biomedical, oil and gas and built environment industries.


The 3Matic-for-Fluent software from Materialise Inc. is a complementary conditioning module for converting hundreds of files from mixed geometry sources in native or standard CAD file formats (CATIA, UG, Pro/E, STEP, IGES), or in faceted formats (STL, WRML), into an optimal triangular meshing format for TGrid 4.0's new Surface Wrapper. This cleanup process ensures that each CAD part is fully connected, of minimal size, and with sufficient resolution to capture the underlying geometrical details. 3Matic-for-Fluent complements TGrid 4.0 by allowing users to work more efficiently during the pre-wrapping phase of their preprocessing efforts.


Additionally, a comprehensive new set of CAD Readers in GAMBIT 2.3 allows users to bring native geometry into GAMBIT more effectively. For example, geometry operations like clean-up, construction, design modification and decomposition now work directly on all geometric representations. New, automated tools lead to significant improvements in meshing speed, quality and size distribution. Several enhancements in the areas of size functions, boundary layers, and hybrid meshing ensure that GAMBIT continues to be a leading CFD preprocessing software in the materials, chemicals, HVAC, power and process industries.


"Every user of Fluent's preprocessing software will experience multiple benefits from these new releases. Several users have reduced the time needed for geometry and meshing task flow processes by an order of magnitude with these new tools. Preprocessing applications that used to take weeks are now being completed in a day. Our new preprocessing software delivers impressive industrial solutions to some of the most intractable meshing problems facing the Fluent user community, like underhood and engine geometries, HVAC design environments, biomedical passageways, oil drill bits, as well as many complex aerospace geometries, all within industrially relevant timeframes," said Ferit
Boysan, vice president and general manager, Fluids Business Unit at ANSYS, Inc.



Commentary

by Jeffrey Rowe, Editor


This has been a busy year for ANSYS; having acquired Fluent this past May. The acquisition of Fluent was completed in a series of mergers for approximately 6,000,000 shares of ANSYS common stock and approximately $300 million in net cash, so the deal was pretty significant for both parties involved. Fluent is now a part of ANSYS and is the world's largest provider of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software and consulting services. Fluent's CFD software is used for simulation, visualization, and prediction of fluid flow, heat and mass transfer, and chemical reactions. CFD is becoming an increasingly important part of the overall CAE process for simulating and predicting the complex
behavior of liquids and gasses.


Let's take a brief look at the new CFD preprocessing modules that provide enhanced interoperability and meshing capabilities for Fluent solvers.


GAMBIT 2.3 is a Fluent CFD preprocessor focused on CAD import, geometry manipulation, and advanced meshing. A new CATIA V5 translator has been added, as well as new connections for SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER, and UGS' NX. These connections use native surface, connectivity, and topology information, without the need for a third-party generic CAD format for translating a model. All edge and face construction tools in GAMBIT 2.3 can be used on these CAD geometries. Design changes and general mesh-to-CAD conversion can be made using a new covering algorithm. The cleanup tools include a new sliver face removal capability.


In meshing, the size function capability has been improved. For boundary layers, a new first height, last-ratio-based cell growth function has been added, and the full 3D boundary layer can be examined prior to meshing.


TGrid, also from Fluent, is a preprocessor used to create unstructured tetrahedral and HexCore meshes for complex and large surface meshes. TGrid has prism layer creation tools for greater mesh flexibility, especially for complicated shapes. TGrid also has an advanced wrapping procedure that produces a triangular surface mesh from a set of unconnected faceted surfaces.In other words, TGrid's automated algorithms generate meshes for Fluent CFD analysis.


Surface and volume meshes can be imported into TGrid from GAMBIT, ANSYS, CATIA, I-DEAS, NASTRAN, PATRAN, Pro/ENGINEER, and Hypermesh. Tgrid also has tools for improving imported surface mesh quality and for assembling meshes from multiple parts.


Last year Fluent introduced the 3Matic-for-Fluent preprocessor. Developed by Materialise, the 3Matic-for-Fluent batch module provides an automatic mechanism for converting files from mixed geometry sources into a consistent, clean, and optimized format for TGrid's wrapping technology. An integral part of 3Matic-for-Fluent is a batch file conversion module that lets you start with geometry files in native or standard CAD file format, such as CATIA, NX, Pro/ENGINEER, STEP, IGES; or faceted formats, such as STL and WRML. Each file is then sequentially loaded and imported into the batch reader, cleaned up, and exported into the Fluent mesh format. The cleanup process ensures that each CAD part
is fully connected and minimal size, but with sufficient detail resolution for solving.


Materialise's triangular meshing technology provides geometry conditioning tools that have been used in rapid prototyping for several years. The Materialise-Fluent combination is more efficient in the pre-wrapping process of semi-automatic gap and hole filling. The TGrid wrapper technology has zone, proximity or curvature-based size functions to get optimized mesh distribution at the first wrapping attempt. The connected wrapper surface can be redistributed to capture selected or all external features in a model. An automatic post-wrapping tool scans the raw wrapped mesh and resolves any unwanted configuration and improves the surface mesh quality.


With the acquisition of Fluent, ANSYS has significantly broadened its horizons and potential in the simulation arena. The acquisition has given ANSYS one of the most comprehensive, independent engineering simulation software offerings in the CAE world. The addition of these three preprocessors not only gets data literally in order for CFD solving, it is further evidence of ANSYS' commitment to CFD, as CFD continues to gain prominence in the bigger CAE community.



The Week's Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.



IBM systems account for 240 of the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world and more than half the total processing power according to the just-released TOP500 Supercomputer Sites list. IBM's Blue Gene/L developed and installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory tops the list with an unprecedented sustained performance of 280.6 Teraflops, or trillions of floating point calculations per second. IBM's performance was propelled by its strength across diverse computing platforms: including growth in the number of Blue Gene systems (from 19 to 24, compared with the previous list), AMD Opteron clusters (from 8 to 31), and System p-based machines (from 46 to 47) including the debut on
the TOP500 list of the first announced BladeCenter JS21-based supercomputer -- the 15 teraflop system at Indiana University, which is currently the largest university-based supercomputer in the United States.



Dassault Systemes rolled out a new release of its Industry Solutions Business Process Content (BPCs), flexible software assets which enable customers to implement and adapt Dassault Systemes' PLM Solutions to meet their specific needs, without the cost of customized software. Dassault Systemes' Industry Solutions are based on industry-specific PLM Practices, in the form of methodology and documentation. The new release includes eighteen V5R16 new or enhanced BPCs built on the industry-leading PLM solutions CATIA, ENOVIA VPLM, and ENOVIA SmarTeam. Included in this release are the following new BPCs:
  • PLM Engineering Desktop (PED
  • Aerospace Supplier Collaborative Hub
  • Collaborative System Engineering (CSE)
  • Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP
  • Integrated Mechanical Product Development (IMPD


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