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Breaking News: Version 9.0 Released!

The wait was long, but the resulting product is powerful. Flow Science has begun shipping Version 9.0 of FLOW-3D to customers under maintenance contracts. The most obvious change with the new release is the completely new graphical user interface (GUI). The new GUI is a major improvement over prior ones in that it has built-in intelligence, more capabilities and is fully-integrated. Less obvious, but perhaps of more importance, are the many additions and improvements to the FLOW-3D solver.

Here is a brief summary of the key new features in Version 9.0:

New Models in FLOW-3D

Mixing simulation using FLOW-3D's GMO model

FLOW-3D v9.0 models thermal stress

Modeling joule heating and electro-mechanical effects with FLOW-3D v9.0

Modeling air entrainment with FLOW-3D v9.0

General Moving Objects. A new General Moving Object model allows users to model rigid body dynamics with six-degrees-of-freedom fully coupled with fluid flow. In the new model, an object (or multiple objects) can be allowed to move freely, or the user can prescribe the object motion.

Thermal Stress Modeling. A thermal stress model, together with an implicit treatment of the stresses and an extension to two fluids, hasbeen added. The model describes, for example, elastic stresses and deformations induced by cooling and solidification of metal parts.

Implicit GMRES Solver for pressure and velocity. A new pressure-velocity solver, generalized minimum residual method, has been added. In addition to the GMRES pressure solver, a new algorithm—the generalized conjugate gradient algorithm—has also been implemented for solving viscous terms implicitly, when used with the GMRES solver.

Electro-thermal (Joule heating) and Electro-mechanical effects. The ability to model these effects has been added to the electric field model.

Implicit Surface Tension. Users can now model surface tension effects implicitly.

Air Entrainment. Designed to model the entrainment of air into fluid due to turbulent mixing at the free surface, the new model takes into account turbulence in the fluid, gravity and surface tension.Micro-porosity model. A new model for predicting micro-porosity in solidifying metal.

Drift-flux model additions. A non-linear (Reynolds number dependent) model has been developed for the calculation of the drift velocity, together with a Richardson-Zaki correlation for closely packed dispersed material, and an inversion point (when continuous and dispersed phases change into the reverse configuration).

Key Improvements

FLOW-3D simulation results showing microporosity in a casting part

Multi-Block Model. Improved mass conservation and diagnostics. Also, the coupling of pressures and velocities at inter-block boundaries has been significantly enhanced.

Advection. Numerous important improvements to FLOW-3D's VOF advection scheme have been implemented.

Molecular diffusion between two fluids has been added.

Thermal die cycling. Convergence control of the implicit heat transfer solver has been optimized for faster performance. This includes setting the maximum allowed time step, based on the cycling segment durations, and relaxing convergence for the thermal cycles before the last one. This allows such calculations to run at least two times faster or more depending on the number of cycles.

New Graphical User Interface

The FLOW-3D graphical user interface

The FLOW-3D graphical user interface has been re-written from scratch using a new cross-platform toolkit known as Qt®. The program is now self-contained within one window; there are no separate windows popping up for model building or solver, etc. Instead, users can navigate from step to step via tabs in a notebook-style interface. All models and virtually all simulation input can be entered via the GUI. Very little direct input into the input file is required. However, users will still have the option of manually editing the input file, if desired.

A logic tree was developed to identify conflicts and requirements. To the maximum extent possible, the GUI has been designed to correct (or require users to correct) inconsistent selections and to make required selections, where appropriate.

Importantly, great effort was expended to ensure that the new GUI is backward compatible. With very few exceptions, users will not be required to make changes to input files in order to run them in the new version.