Just one numerical simulation contains a wealth of information – we can gain a lot of insight on how a device performs, and from that, we can infer how to make that device better. To confidently recommend one design over another, though, we’ll need to run more than one simulation. As our device knowledge is informed through simulation, we can expect to make numerous geometry/part modifications to the original design. How quickly we can turn these changes around will determine how many simulations we can run within our time budget. Without a highly efficient and flexible workflow, we might find ourselves in the position of being less certain of our final product recommendation. Risky.

Now, you’ll be hearing a lot soon about Design Manager, a native capability within STAR-CCM+ v12.04® to do design exploration – that’s not this story. Instead, I want to share how two mouse clicks can now get you quickly from that first simulation to the next one, and to the one after that and the one after that...

We’re conditioned to make comparisons and we do this constantly. Were you able to find any differences between the two images? Or were you perhaps a little frustrated? We have pretty strong reactions when we expect to see differences but can’t find them right away. How about instant replays in (American) football? A receiver makes a catch near the sidelines – quick, was he in or out of bounds? From the first camera angle we’re presented with, there’s no way to tell. We wait impatiently for the updated camera angle replay where “we” can actually make a decision.

Cool is a hard thing to define. It’s completely subjective. But you know it when you see it.

There are a lot of ways to present CAE/CFD data. Plots and tables are arguably what we make most of our decisions on. But, “Excel sheets… aren’t everyone’s friend” . Scenes then… you can put a lot of things into your scenes; results on the surfaces of the thing you’re simulating, streamlines that go in and around the thing you’re simulating… These visual abstractions are a deeply ingrained part of our engineering culture. But not everyone has a casual familiarity with this language. People with diverse levels of expertise have to make sense of these abstractions. And those who don’t, or no longer, speak the language daily and who typically have the least amount of time to assemble conclusions, also carry the heaviest decision-making obligations.

Maybe some of you are getting ahead of me here, recalling the phrase “Color For Directors,” a phrase I personally find to be demeaning to directors and dismissive of what we do. Cool pictures? Sure, but cool isn’t cool if it isn’t right. I submit that we have an ethical obligation to maintain the fidelity of our data , and taking it a step further, we rely on good fundamental data to make decisions. Now, data alone can’t capture an idea . Effective visualizations (cool is implied here) can capture ideas, quickly and easily, inviting curiosity and engaging broader audiences. In STAR-CCM+® v12.02, you can create photorealistic images and animations, reducing the gap between the time needed for you to communicate your messages and the time needed for others to understand practical implications, quickly placing your information into their own knowledge frameworks.

Charts are important - they play a primary role in decision-making when it comes to evaluating CFD results. Have you ever counted how often you change a chart after you’ve first created it? I’ll speculate it’s more than you think… you’ll probably want to change line and symbol colors and styles, change the range on both axes, change the fonts, and then change the colors again… these picks and clicks and scrolls take time. If you are using Excel or Matlab to create your charts, you lose the implicit connection between the chart and the data sources within your .sim file - going back and forth between the two costs you more time. Worse still, if you’re used to a certain plotting package, there are differences compared to STAR-CCM+® on where in the UI you need to make those changes. In having to switch back and forth between plotting packages, the time spent looking for where you need to make a change is potentially greater than the time needed to actually make it. To understand and communicate the information your charts contain more quickly, and to make your finalized charts faster in STAR-CCM+, version 12.02 introduces Chart Highlighting.

A well ordered workshop – is it inherently capable of making us more productive? Is it really worth the effort to get organized? Steve Jobs offered the following thought: “That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

A well organized workshop, purposely conceived to build and revise things of interest, is truly appealing with its array of tools, carefully ordered, in a familiar and comfortable environment. Now you’ve probably heard the expression “Use the right tool for the right job.” That works when you know what tools you have in your workshop, what they are supposed to do and exactly where you can find them. With the STAR-CCM+® v11.06 release, we’re adding and upgrading tools that will improve your ability to productively build and revise your simulations. You’ll be able to set up your simulations more comprehensively and consistently with a reduced likelihood of errors. And you’ll be able to more efficiently conduct critical reviews in the deeper details of your simulations with your colleagues and your customers. In part one of this blog, I’ll be talking about Simulation Parameters and Global Tagging.

STAR-CCM+ v11.04 brings Solution History support for derived parts! This improves interaction with transient results and facilitates more effective communication by storing iso-surfaces and all section types (plane, constrained plane, cylinder, sphere, and arbitrary section) in your Solution History files.

Custom Sim Trees in STAR-CCM+ v11.04 are a fundamentally new way to work with the sim tree, allowing users to create smaller node trees in a separate window for less scrolling and easier navigation overall.

In STAR-CCM+® v11.04, the highly regarded (extended) pom-pom adds to our list of viscoelastic constitutive models. Best suited for highly branched polymers like low density polyethylene (LDPE), it is able to most accurately predict viscoelastic responses for elongational flows commonly encountered in industrial processing.

Data Focus is a unique visualization technique to explore and interrogate results interactively. Data Focus provides a live and interactive link between quantitative numerical data in plots and qualitative visual data in scenes. This link between quantitative and qualitative analysis allows the user to easily and effectively gain insight into the key influences on product performance.


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Matthew Godo
STAR-CCM+ Product Manager
Stephen Ferguson
Marketing Director
Brigid Blaschak
Communications Specialist
James Clement
STAR-CCM+ Product Manager
Joel Davison
Lead Product Manager, STAR-CCM+
Dr Mesh
Meshing Guru
Ravindra Aglave
Director - Chemical Processing
Sabine Goodwin
Director, Product Marketing