Based on a detailed customer survey and numerous user interactions, the primary goal of Flow Science's development efforts for the v10.1 GUI was to provide faster and easier access to information. The Navigator, Simulation, and Meshing & Geometry tabs have been thoroughly redesigned with this goal in mind. The Navigator and Simulation tabs have been combined to create a new tab named Simulation Manager that features delayed simulation loading to improve GUI start-up times, a simulation queue manager that allows reordering of simulations in queue, and saving simulations as templates. The layout of the Meshing & Geometry tab is now user-customizable and provides enhanced object selection, improved transparency and point probing. Mouse motion is greatly improved and object rotation about user-defined points has also been added. These new designs are discussed in detail below.
Read What's New in the FLOW-3D v10.1 Solver
The former Navigator and Simulation tabs have been merged into one tab called Simulation Manager. The simulation progress plots and diagnostics information as well as the Portfolio of simulations now appear on the same tab.This facilitates monitoring of multiple simulations.
The new simulation manager in FLOW-3D v10.1 is designed for increased user productivity.
A new Queue Manager makes for a
smoother workflow in FLOW-3D v10.1.
One of the most valuable additions to the Simulation Manager tab is the introduction of a robust Queue Manager. The Queue Manager is especially useful for managing many simulations with changing priorities. For example, the Queue Manager allows simulations to be added to the queue, reordered, paused, restarted, and terminated. These actions are performed using the buttons located below the Queue Manager.
There are two tabs under the Queue Manager. Running simulations are displayed on the Queued tab. Once simulations are completed, they are moved to the Completed tab.
There are two types of queues in the Queue Manager. Currently, all are named Local Queues since simulations can only be run on the local computer. In the future, there will also be remote queues to accomodate running simulations on remote hardware.
The two types of queues are:
Simulations which are preprocessed only are added to the Local Preprocessing queue. There is no limit on the number of simulations which can be preprocessed concurrently.
Other new, powerful features added to the Simulation Manager are:
- Simulations which provide good starting points for other, similar simulations can be saved as a Simulation Template. Templates include the simulation input file and all associated geometry files.
- New simulations can be created based on templates.
- Remove simulations and all associated inputs/outputs from hard disk. Previously, simulations could only removed from a workspace, leaving the simulation and its associated files on the hard disk.
- The Simulation status icons have tooltips to more clearly display its current state. Simply place the mouse cursor over a simulation in the Portfolio and the simulation’s status will be displayed in a tooltip.
- The Simulation Text sub-window containing the solver messages, which has always been displayed below the simulation diagnostics plots can now be turned on/off, allowing for more space runtime diagnostic plots.
The dockable windows in the new Simulation Manager in FLOW-3D v10.1 can be customized by the user.
Another important change made to FLOW-3D and incorporated in the new Simulation Manager is Load-on-Demand. Previously, when the user opened FLOW-3D, the GUI would load all the simulations in the Portfolio, including their geometry and mesh. With v10.1, when FLOW-3D is launched, only the minimum necessary data for each simulation will be retrieved. The bulk of the information will be loaded only on the user’s demand.
Meshing & Geometry
The other part of the FLOW-3D user interface which has dramatically improved with v10.1 is the Meshing & Geometry tab within the Model Setup tab. Since most users spend a majority of their time on the Meshing and Geometry tab, improvements to this part of the GUI were imperative. The extensive Meshing and Geometry tree structure, where settings required by the setup were stored, was the primary target for enhancement. With v10.1, the Meshing & Geometry tree is broken up into its major elements: Geometry, Mesh, Mass Momentum Sources, Baffles, Valves, Springs and Ropes, Initial, Sampling Volume, and History Probes. These icons are displayed in a dockable toolbar on the Meshing and Geometry tab.
This toolbar can be docked at the left, right, top, or bottom of the Meshing and Geometry windows. By default, the Geometry window is displayed along with the Component Properties window. Any sub-windows can be displayed or hidden by clicking its associated icon.
The Meshing and Geometry window with all sub-windows hidden.
Each of these major elements have their own sub-window and a corresponding local tree which contains information pertaining only to this element. The layout of the Meshing & Geometry tab can be customized by dragging these sub-windows to dock them on the left or right side of the main window or simply float over the display or on a separate monitor.
Users can customize their view of the Meshing & Geometry window by dragging and dropping.
The Geometry sub-window now has a sub-window linked to it where the Component Properties are set. The advantage of this design is that the display of properties for each component is displayed in just one list that applies to the selected component. The properties associated with a particular component are displayed in the Component Properties list by simply selecting the component of interest. Previously, each component had its own list of properties and finding them required searching through a large, monolithic tree.
In addition, Graphical Object Selection has been enabled so that users will be able to select any object in the Meshing and Geometry window (subcomponents, mesh blocks, history probes, springs/ropes, valves, etc.) by double-clicking on it. This action will highlight the object in the associated sub-window (assuming it is currently being displayed), making it easier to find and modify its settings. A right-click menu allows some of the more immediate functions such as Show, Hide, Delete to be chosen.
Graphical Object Selection in the Meshing & Geometry window.
Other significant additions, improvements and new features in the v10.1 GUI include:
- Tabular input has been completely rewritten and is now very robust.
- Transparency robustness has been improved dramatically.
- Point probing is nearly 100% accurate.
- User-defineable pivot point can be defined via CTRL-left click. It can be reset from Tools, Reset Pivot on Meshing and Geometry.
- Fit to Screen Icon on Meshing and Geometry display. Resets view so that visible geometry fits in the display.
- Visualization of Planar and STL baffles. Baffles will be displayed once mesh has been defined.
- Topo-to-STL converter. Available from the Utilities menu. Topographic input is no longer a directly supported
- Copy functionality for Baffles, Valves, and History Pointers.
- Combined Gravity and non-inertial acceleration dialog. Simplifies setup and prevents errors.
- Mesh slicing now works correctly for multi-block simulations.
- Scrollable main GUI window. This functionality was removed from v10.0 but has been restored for v10.1.
- Valid license required to open the FLOW-3D GUI. Previously the GUI could be opened but simulations could not be run.