What's New in Pointwise's CFD Mesh Generation Software (Archive)
V17.2 - Hex-Tet Meshing in T-Rex
Pointwise V17.2 incorporates a new meshing algorithm, performance improvements, and a wide variety of new features. For a summary, read Pointwise V17.2 Now Available in the April 2014 issue of The Connector.
Pointwise V16.04 - T-Rex for Surface Grids and More
Pointwise V16.03 - Solid Meshing
The Solid Meshing feature suite, first introduced in Gridgen in 2006, has been ported to and enhanced in Pointwise. By creating a solid model of the database, gaps are implicitly closed resulting in a watertight geometry that's ready for mesh generation. In addition to models, Pointwise supports quilts, sub-regions of the geometry to be meshed as a single unit. The entire feature suite includes model import from CAD files, automatic model and quilt assembly during CAD import, manual assembly of quilts and models, trimming and untrimming surfaces, and the ability to mesh quilts and models.
You can now add to Pointwise support for additional CAE solvers. This feature exploits a new plugin API through which you can define a new CAE solver and write the code for exporting its files. Plugins are automatically detected at run time and appear in the CAE menu along with all the built-in solvers. Currently, all grids are exported as unstructured data. Structured grid support will be added in a future version.
3D mice, specifically the SpaceNavigator and SpaceExplorer devices from 3Dconnexion, are now supported as devices for image manipulation. Platform support has been extended to include Windows 64-bit and Windows 7.
Periodicity is now supported. It allows two connectors or domains to be slaved together so that changes made to one are automatically reflected in the other.
The attributes panel was rearranged to clarify the nature of the various options. New icon buttons were added for displaying the fill and line styles. Visibility of connector grids points and DB curve control points will be toggled on and off with icon buttons. Also, a simplified version of Display Attributes has been implemented on the toolbar. Fill, Line, Color and Points attributes of the current selection are immediately changed by clicking an icon in a toolbar menu.
An Edge Length function is now available in the Examine command. The new Examine functions Boundary Proximity and Surface Proximity are used to measure gaps between adjacent surfaces and distances between two coincident surfaces.
The Extract command (what Gridgen called Feature Extraction) is now available for interactive application to shell (faceted) database entities. Extract finds hard edges in the shell using a limit-angle and either splits shell or creates a new line entity.
The ability to add a break point at a specified X, Y, or Z location has been added to the Break Points tab of the Distribute command. You can now easily push and pull one grid point at a time across break points in order to fine-tune the distribution of grid points on a connector. The ability to split a curve at a specified X, Y, or Z location will be added to the Edit Split command for curves. This feature is useful for splitting a curve when only one coordinate value is known.
Whether or not the boundaries of database surfaces are selectable is controlled by a new selection mask. When boundary selection is enabled, those curves can be selected for use in other commands, most notably the creation of Coons patches to fill holes in the database.
You can now disable the automatic splitting of database surfaces during import based on slope discontinuity. The default behavior (no splitting) ensures that geometry model matches the CAD model while enabling splitting can avoid problems due to the fact that many algorithms assume continuous surfaces.
Database entities can be exported in IGES format. Structured grid export to CGNS is now supported.
Pointwise's Glyph scripting language was expanded to include calls for selecting entities and adding user interfaces using Tk.
The User Manual, Tutorial Workbook, Installation Instructions, and Glyph Reference Manual can be opened in PDF format from the Help menu. Also, Pointwise's support web site and the Glyph Man Pages are can also be opened from Help.
A list of your most recently used files (the MRU list) is maintained in the File menu for ease in re-opening or re-importing those files.
Pointwise V16.02 - Mesh Quality Metrics
Pointwise Version 16.02 is another major increase in meshing capability for the software with the computation and display of mesh quality diagnostics being the marquee feature. Two preference settings were added so the GUI can be customized to act like Gridgen to aid in the transition to the new software. And as in previous releases, there are features unique to Pointwise, that aren't available in Gridgen.
Twenty-five mesh quality metrics can be computed and displayed using the Examine command. New capabilities relative to Gridgen include drag and drop cutting planes, interactive probing of individual cells, a movable and resizable color bar, and several new options for the graphical display. Automated mesh quality monitoring is available using Rules, a top-down means of gauging global mesh quality relative to user-defined limits. Computation of the metric functions employs multi-threading to improved performance on multi-core computers.
Computationally two-dimensional blocks consisting entirely of domains can now be created, their axes oriented, CAE boundary conditions set, and CAE files exported.
Native interfaces to the following CFD solvers were added: OpenFOAM, OVERFLOW, GUST, TEAM, ADPAC, INCA V2, VSAERO, COMO, CFDShip-Iowa, CRUNCH, PHOENICS, DTNS, FANS, FALCON, FDNS/UNIC, Splitflow, CNSFV, NCC, NPARC, and TACOMA.
Axis selection is now performed consistently and with a variety of choices for all commands that require an axis such as Revolve and Rotate.
A fourth circle creation mode was added to Draw Curves. This new mode lets you create a circle from a point at the end of the arc, the circle center, and the angle to be swept by the arc.
Coons patch surfaces can now be created in the database. This surface type is very useful for filling small holes or covering missing features. Using an algorithm similar to Gridgen's, Coons patches are created simply by picking the edge curves around the perimeter of the area to be filled.
Fillet surfaces can now be created in the database. Known as polyconic surfaces in Gridgen, fillets are useful for smoothly blending intersecting geometry.
The ability to create point entities in the database has been added.
The ability to create linear sweep surfaces in the database has been added.
Unstructured domains can be created by diagonalizing the quads in a structured domain.
Rotating the image in the Display window with the keyboard or mouse automatically saves the so-called Dynamic View. The user can then quickly restore the dynamic view after recalling any of the 6 built-in or 6 user-defined views.
Unstructured domains can now be joined.
Least squares fitting of a connector's grid points is now available. When importing grids directly, this is a valuable feature to reducing a connector to a more easily editable shape.
The spline command (Fit in Gridgen) is now available for use in converting linear or bilinear database geometry into smooth cubics.
A new Mouse Style choice has been added to the Preferences command. Choosing Gridgen style makes the mouse buttons for panning, zooming, and rotating the image work just like Gridgen. You can also apply Gridgen's Left Pick option. This preference will help experienced Gridgen users transition to Pointwise.
The Solve command now lets you select a mix of entity types (domains and blocks, structured and unstructured). In this case, a panel will appear from which you choose which solver to run. This is an improvement over the current situation when the Solve command simply grays-out if you have a mixed selection.
Entering coordinate data now leaves the XYZ widget highlighted for ease in entering the next point.
As part of a joint effort with Gridgen V15.13, Pointwise can be used to recover more prisms from an anisotropic tetrahedral mesh than Gridgen resulting in up to 40% fewer total cells in the mesh.
Database entities can now be joined relative to a user-specified tolerance to account for gaps.
Commands that provide modal selection now employ a 1-button interface rather than two separate buttons for starting and stopping the selection mode.
Shift+Ctrl+MMB (middle mouse button) can be used to get a point's location or measure the distance between two points. This was available in V16.01 as Alt+RMB but there were key conflicts on non-Windows platforms. In order to make this change, we also changed the manner in which the zoom box worked. While pressing Shift+MMB, sweeping down performs a zoom-in and sweeping up performs a zoom-out.
The status bar now indicates the difference between unconstrained and constrained spacings when they're selected.
The multigrid algorithm for the structured block solver now incorporates threads to spread the computations over multiple CPUs/cores on Windows computers, increasing the speed of the solver.
Buttons for the unstructured solver's Refine and Decimate features are now available on the toolbar.
A new selection preference has been added to the Preferences command. The default behavior for selection is for it to be exclusive; the mouse button selects the entity clicked on and unselects everything else. This behavior is modified by pressing Ctrl in addition to the mouse button so that selection is additive; the mouse button selects the entity clicked and doesn't change the selection status of anything else. The new preference lets you make the unmodified behavior of the mouse additive, just like how Gridgen worked. This is another option to help experienced Gridgen users transition to Pointwise.
Pointwise V16.01 - New Update of CFD Meshing Software
Pointwise Version 16.01 represents a major increase in meshing capability relative to the software's initial release. Capabilities have been added across the board to the core capabilities delivered in Version 16.00. These include meshing features like Extrude and Distribute, but also interface tools like measuring distances and Select Adjacent. Many of these new features are unique to Pointwise and not available in Gridgen. Also, more of your favorite tools from Gridgen have been migrated to Pointwise.
Features Unique to Pointwise - Not Available in Gridgen
Floating boundaries have been added to the structured solver so that the grid's faces can move with the PDE solution resulting in a smooth grid across the blocking topology.
The Layer Manager has been extended to work with grid entities so their visibility can be managed just as easily as database entities.
Extrusion fronts are automatically assembled from the entities you select. Of course, manual tools are available to customize the topology of the extrusion front.
Arclength break points let you set a clustering location on a curve relative to the curve's overall length rather than just at a fixed location. This is perfect for parametric remeshing of families of related geometries.
Select Adjacent and Select All Adjacent are automated selection tools that will find the neighbors (or the complete neighborhood) of one entity that you select. These two tools can be customized with a turning angle limit so make them stop at feature lines. Together, they make it easy to select a large number of entities with very little effort. For example, they're great for selecting the wetted surfaces of a solid part.
Pointwise V16 - The First Release of Pointwise for CFD Meshing
New Meshing Capabilities
Pointwise combines Gridgen's core meshing techniques with a brand new user interface and interaction model. But the changes to Pointwise are more than skin deep. Many new features are available that go beyond our traditional meshing capabilities.
Undo & Redo
Pointwise has Undo and Redo capabilities that let you confidently explore all the software's features, knowing that you can back-up to the previous version of your grid. Up to twenty levels can be saved for Undo and Redo and each level is represented in the GUI by name, making it easier for you to find the command you want. Because Undo and Redo are sequential, you can choose a command anywhere in the Undo stack and undo all commands back to that point.
64-bit Platform Support
Pointwise includes 64-bit support for Linux and IRIX platforms. The expanded address space lets you get around the 2 GB memory limit of 32-bit platforms so that you can generate the very large meshes needed for high-fidelity simulations.
Pointwise includes a new automated assembly algorithm for domains and blocks so you can simply select connectors and domains and have the software create the domains and blocks for you without having to specify edges and faces. The algorithm is similar to the automatic creation of Coons patches in Gridgen. The classic versions of domain and block assembly are also available in Pointwise as Assemble Special. This command lets you create complex topologies such as domains with holes.
Simultaneous Transformation of Grid and Database
Grid and database entities can be translated, scaled, stretched, rotated, and mirrored simultaneously while remaining connected. This feature is handy for scaling your entire project from model-scale to flight-scale, or other similar operations.
The Orient command has been extended to domains, providing you with control over the index directions for cases where you're exporting just the surface meshes to another application.
Universal Mac Build for Intel and PowerPC
Pointwise for the Mac is delivered as a Universal Binary for compatibility with both Intel and PowerPC based Macs. This means you won't have to use Rosetta as an emulator to run Pointwise on Intel Macs. Pointwise also has the native Aqua appearance on the Mac.
All entities (blocks, domains, connectors, and database) can now have user-assigned names making mesh management, customization, and journaling that much easier.
Unified Curve Drawing
Database curve and connector creation in Pointwise have been unified into a single command to provide consistency across these similar functions. The unification also brings new capabilities such as multi-segment database curves and database-constrained database curves.
Database shell entities (i.e. tri-faceted surfaces) can now be intersected with other entities.
CGNS Version 2.4 is a core capability in Pointwise including support for face-based boundary regions and families. Structured hex and unstructured tet meshes can be imported from CGNS files. Pointwise supports both VRML 1 and VRML 2 (aka VRML 97) file formats for database shell and unstructured surface mesh import and export. PATRAN format may also be used for tri-faceted data import and export.
Pointwise's New GUI
Pointwise's new graphical user interface is more than just a re-arrangement of the buttons in Gridgen's GUI. It comes equipped with a number of features and tools that streamline the meshing process, even for long-time Gridgen users
Menus and Customizable Toolbars
All of Pointwise's functionality is available and easily accessed via the menu bar across the top of the application. At a glance, a new user can assess the scope of the software's capabilities. At the same time, you can customize the toolbars so that the commands you use most frequently are available at the top-level. Where possible, Pointwise uses de facto standard accelerator keys to further speed access to commands, such as Ctrl+C for Copy and Ctrl+Z for Undo.
Pointwise's GUI uses a noun-verb system for invoking commands: first you select the entities on which to operate (the nouns) and then you choose the command to run (the verb). This means that selection is always available at the top level through a variety of mechanisms. You can use simple point-and-click, but the selection box is always available (unlike Gridgen where it must explicitly be invoked). Tabular selection of entities is also always available through the List. De facto standard techniques like Ctrl+click for additive selection or Shift+click for range selection further simplify entity selection. Plus, selection is permanent in Pointwise; entities remain selected upon completion of a command so you can easily apply the next command.
In Pointwise, you don't drag around a 3D cursor to place control points when drawing a curve. Instead, you simply point-and-click in the display where you'd like the point to appear. This includes curves drawn on database surfaces where the software is able to determine which surface to use simply from where you're pointing. Manual entry of point coordinates is facilitated by Pointwise's text entry widgets with memory that let you easily recall and edit previously entered data.