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CFD Survey results

This survey focussed on the Software for the future: Virtual Wave Structure Interaction Simulation Environment community.


The project was to implement highly parallel CFD solvers for nonlinear wave interactions aimed at marine wave structure interactions. There are collaboration between MMU, Plymouth and STFC, plus involvement with other projects (Froth). The main developments are within the OpenFOAM framework.

OpenFOAM;'s key visualisation platform is ParaView although with different cases using different versions. But ParaFoam for visualisation supports other formats including; Visit, Fluent, EnSight, TecPlot, FieldView, and VTK formats. The survey of visualisation requirements via Survey Monkey was still important to discuss alternative modules that could be developed for the framework.


Executive Summary

From this survey the focus on choice of tools for the CFD SoFT project can be made. Survey of tools and techniques used within project gave the following main conclusions:

  1. Visualisation is most important in analysis; but also useful in problem definition, and mesh generation.
  2. Visualisation via ParaView is high on the list, but also the products gnuplot, Matlab, xmgrace, and Pgplot are required.

There are strong preferences to version number as features change. This may unify in the future.


A survey has been made of the visualisation methods that are currently employed by members of the SoFT project and their future needs. The survey shows that ParaView is, as expected, the main tool for visualisation, as it comes built into OpenFOAM. It is also Open Source. Gnuplot, pgplot and xmgrace are used for simple graphs. Matlab is the only commercial tool that was mentioned.


The survey showed that 1D and 2D graphs are still considered important in understanding the details of CFD flow, along with publication quality output. High quality video and 3D views of the data are also important. Techniques such as line integral convolution and tensor plots are seen as less useful. Some respondents were particularly interested in the use of 3D stereo both in terms of being able to fly through the data and in ways to more easily present it to audiences without the need for expensive projection systems.


Comments were asked for amd the following were given


Extra points given included:

  • Tecplot used by some for large data, 5GB to 1TB
  • ParaView, EnSight, FieldView and VisIT also used
  • Remote visualisation requested
  • Stereo & immersive displays commented upon

Results from Survey: November 2014 - April 2015

This is under action and to be complete in Summer 2015.