The Search for an OpenFOAM GUI
Out of a nerdy curiosity, I have been interested in visualizations made possible by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for some time. It seems that OpenFOAM is a very capable, open-source option. However, much of the setup and operation is through individual text files and command-line invocations. For the 'recreational CFD-er', a Graphical User Interface (GUI) seems to be more productive.
Because I model in Blender, I initially envisioned a workflow something like this:
-Create a model using tools in Blender or other similar 3D modeling program
-Export that model to a program that can put it inside a computational domain
-Generate a mesh and run the CFD/FEA
-Render the model and computational results, either separately or together in Blender (or similar) for distribution.
Well, I was wrong. A 3D modeling program is not the proper starting place for Computer Aided Design (CAD) or computational models. (There are always exceptions...) To over-simplify, Blender excels at rendering the artist's intent and CFD/FEA excel at coming up with an answer (depending on what the question is, but generally 42) based off engineering assumptions and simplifications. So after appropriately berating my previous workflow, my new workflow is:
-Create an engineering model in the appropriate program
-Generate the mesh and complete analysis
-Use the engineering model as a starting point, create a 'render model' in Blender
-Output the results of the analysis, as desired, to Blender to render for distribution!
I had tried through strength of character and generally nice thoughts to force various versions of the Salome package to be that 'magic box' I needed, without much success. I recently tried FreeCAD. I'm still new to it, but there are several features, I really enjoy!
- There are built-in and community addons that provide specific funtionality:
- Airplane Design Workbench: Quckly create airfoils, ribs and wing sections
- CfdOF: This provides the GUI for OpenFOAM. As a side-benefit, the model can be created, meshed and OpenFOAM'd all inside the same program
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