Archive for Nazita Saye

11 June, 2015

This past week in England we got dangerously close to experiencing summer. The sun was out, the skies were blue and there were hardly any clouds. Despite the wind being a wee bit chilly, men started wearing shorts and women dusted off their colorful sun dresses. Those of us driving convertible cars drove with the tops down with abandon.  And more importantly the radiators at work were finally turned off.

Airflow simulation in an office. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.

Airflow simulation in an office. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.

And of course when the weather starts to turn we start facing the next big challenge – how to remain cool inside. The cooling challenges in our offices have been sufficiently documented by yours truly already here and here. Thankfully our office is scheduled to undergo a refurbishment and will get an AC system soon (I guess then we’ll start complaining that it’s too cold inside but then again that’s human nature for you).

With the arrival of summer I was reminded that my house gets uncomfortably hot. My 200+ year old brick cottage wasn’t built for energy efficiency.  The ground floor remains cool (regardless of whether it’s summer or winter) but the upstairs gets hot in the summer.  The bricks bake in the sun all day and release the heat at night. Last week I found myself huddled in the sitting room under a blanket after dinner but the bedroom which is directly above it was a whole other story. When I went upstairs to go to bed I couldn’t open windows to create a draft fast enough. In fact by the time I had opened 3 windows in a 10 foot radius I had started to sweat.

Last year I flirted with the idea of buying a window-mounted AC system but I couldn’t find anything that didn’t cost an arm and a leg – window-mounted systems are dime a dozen in the States… in England not so much. As a result, I had a few restless nights trying to get cool enough to sleep by using my trusty old fan. When the temperature got unbearable I even dragged my stuff downstairs and slept on the sofa. So when this little video crossed my social network feed I had to take a look. The basic premise of the video is that with $8 you can create a homemade AC system. The idea is simple enough… one Styrofoam cooler, two vents, one fan, a lot of ice and presto. Nice cold air. It’s not elegant nor will it win any design contests but even the DIY challenged folks like me can do it. I’m sure a few of you smart souls can even further improve the design but I’m seriously tempted to give this a try.

Yes … sometimes a solution doesn’t need to be an all dancing, all singing one. Sometimes it’s the simplest design that will do the job. Something to keep in mind the next time you’re dealing with a particularly difficult design problem. And if you’re looking for inspiration on how to solve some of those hairy flow or cooling problems, do take a look at our library of videos.
Until next time,

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20 May, 2015

The other day I saw a great sign in a novelty shop. It featured the tale of a glass of water –

Image courtesy of Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Microsoft. All rights reserved.

The optimist says the glass is half full.
The pessimist says the glass is half empty.
The engineer says the glass is twice the size it needs to be.

The sign made me laugh out loud as whoever made it clearly knew engineers.

Perhaps this pragmatism comes from your no nonsense nature. When looking at a problem, you look at finding the optimal solution. And more often than not the perfectionist in you wants to work on it until it is perfect. To make something perfect means you need time. Lots of time to tinker…. a bit here, a nudge there.  If we had all the time in the world then tinkering is just fine. But in real life we have deadlines and market pressures which require us all to get on with it. So sometimes good enough is just that … it’s good enough.

And one of those times is during the early stages of the design process when you don’t need to have 100% accuracy in your simulation results… you need something that is good enough. We all know that design is iterative in nature. The faster you can iterate to a final design the better – especially when you have a boss breathing down your neck. So speed and time are of the essence.  What’s a pragmatic person to do? Find a trend in the right direction, explore and tweak the model further and when you’re happy with your design send it off for final verification. Job done!

That’s why our family of CFD simulation tools is designed to be inserted easily and effortlessly into your design process. You can pick up FloEFD, FloTHERM, FloTHERM XT or Flowmaster as soon as you have a basic concept. And because it’s easy to set up problems for analysis and fast to solve them you can quickly see trends emerging and get on with the business of developing a final design fit for purpose.  Don’t get me wrong. Just because you can use these solutions early it doesn’t mean that you can’t use them throughout the process and into final verification. Because you most certainly can and you don’t have to take my word for it – just take a look at our extensive range of customer success stories.  What I’m trying to say is that sometimes you can achieve more in the long run by using the “good enough” principle.
Until next time,

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1 April, 2015

THERMINIC is the major European workshop related to thermal issues in electronic components and systems. And the 21st workshop will be held in the heart of Paris – that’s Paris France … we don’t want anyone showing up in Paris Texas by mistake. Anyway, the good folks at THERMINIC always endeavor to offer an engaging technical program organized under three major themes: thermal phenomena, simulation and experiment; electronics cooling concepts; and, thermo-mechanical reliability.

The program consists of technical presentations and special sessions including presentations by prominent speakers.

To ensure an engaging and industry relevant program, the organizers are casting a wide net and inviting engineers, specialists and academics to submit an abstract describing recent work on relevant topics. The abstracts are due on April 14, 2015. Additional information about the workshop, abstracts and the submission process can be found on their website

I really hope that you consider presenting and or attending THERMINIC. It’s a great event and well worth the time.

Until next time,

19 March, 2015

It is with great pleasure that I’d like to announce that we won the first annual LEDs Magazine Sapphire Award in the category of SSL Tools and Test.

The unique combination of T3Ster, TeraLED and FloEFD win the first annual LEDs Magazine Sapphire Award in the category of SSL Tools and Test.

The unique combination of T3Ster, TeraLED and FloEFD wins the first annual LEDs Magazine Sapphire Award in the category of SSL Tools and Test.

Over 100 products were nominated across 13 categories. And “the best of the best” were announced at a gala evening in Las Vegas. Products were considered against a virtual perfect product in each category and they were rated on a scale of 0 to 5 Sapphires. Fractional scoring was allowed to help further differentiate products in each category. According to Maury Wright, Editor in Chief at LEDs Magazine, “for a score in excess of 3 Sapphires, the judges were asked to consider to what degree the entry could deliver outstanding performance.” The unique combination of T3Ster, TeraLED and FloEFD was given 4 Sapphires. One of the judges even noted that the suite comprises an “excellent complete temperature analysis and simulation system”.  And we couldn’t agree more!

Our combination of software simulation and testing products can be used by development teams in the lighting industry to provide superior performance within compressed development schedules. And who wouldn’t want to get a better product to market faster?  Please join me in celebrating the good news and if you’d like to read more about the award and the selection process please follow this link.

LEDs Magazine tweet features John Wilson, one of our awesome Technical Marketing Engineers supporting the products.

LEDs Magazine tweet features John Wilson, one of our awesome Technical Marketing Engineers supporting the solution suite.

Until next time.

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20 February, 2015

I don’t know about you but I used to break into a sweat when I’d meet someone new because invariably they’d ask the question.

What do you do?

Since I love what I do, I’d always go into a speech about computational fluid dynamics (CFD) until a chance occurrence at a party made me change my behavior a few years ago. At his birthday party, an English friend of mine introduced me to one of his friends who happened to be an American. After the initial pleasantries (you’re from California? I’m from Ohio!), she told me that she had just finished a stint as a project manager at Microsoft and asked me what I did for a living. When I told her that I was also in software and explained what I did she grabbed her husband who had caught some of our conversation and mockingly said “listen to this. C F something or another. I’m pretty sure she’s making this stuff up”. Upon seeing the shock on my face, her husband apologized profusely and ushered her away. After that night I stopped automatically telling people what I did. Whenever somebody would ask I’d say marketing for an engineering software company and leave it at that. When some people hear that magical combination of engineering and software they are happy to move on to a different subject. But sometimes they ask for more. Like last Friday.

Last November while on a business trip I got sick. Nine weeks, 7 doctors, one CAT scan and 4 ultrasounds later, I found myself checked into a hospital being prepped for surgery last Friday. The surgeon stopped by my room to discuss the procedure. When he was done answering my questions, he asked what I do for a living. So I gave him my stock answer, stopped and smiled. The surgeon, a rather kind-looking older gentleman, looked over his glasses (the way fathers do) and said “why do people always respond as if they’re talking to the secret services? What do you do and who do you work for?” He seemed genuinely interested so I let loose and since I like using examples that people can relate to I spoke about how our technology can help minimize infections in operating and hospital rooms. That piqued his interest so I pointed to his mobile and started talking about how manufacturers use our ears as glorified heatsinks. Twenty minutes later as he was leaving the room he had an amused look on his face – I had either fascinated him and he couldn’t wait to tell his financial adviser to add some Mentor stock to his portfolio or he thought I was a raving lunatic making it all up.

Funny enough I get that now. No, not the raving lunatic bit (ok, that too). It’s ok. I don’t mind anymore because despite this technology being around all these years most people whom I meet outside of work have never heard about CFD. But the cars they drive, the planes they ride, the mobiles they use … they’ve all been touched by CFD in one way, shape, form or manner. So I don’t mind describing what it’s all about. More often than not I leave people surprised that a lot of thought has gone into designing whatever product they’re using. And maybe, just maybe, they look up CFD and learn a bit more about the wonderful world of simulation.

CFD. The unknown engineering hero. My one woman crusade to educate the masses continues one person at a time.

Until next time,
PS. In case you’re wondering the procedure went without a hitch. I can hardly wait to get the clearance to start hiking again in a couple of weeks time :-)


2 February, 2015

I’m a perfectly good driver but I don’t enjoy driving in the dark on unfamiliar roads.  Recently I found myself driving in the dark from one village to another on a country lane in the deepest darkest Wiltshire. For those of you unfamiliar with Wilshire, it is a county in the South West of England. Here’s a picture of a typical country lane in Wiltshire. These roads are just wide enough for a car to drive comfortably in one direction. If you see another car approaching from the opposite direction you need to slow down and pull over as much as you can or find a “passing” spot where one car can lurk until the other one has passed. There aren’t any fast rules as to who gets to pull over so I do the “whose car is more expensive” test when I drive – the more banged up car always gets to go first.

More often than not country roads aren’t what’s referred to here as “Roman” roads. Roman roads are straight so you can see down the road for a fair distance; for example, a typical West Coast road in the States would be considered a Roman road. English country roads are curvy and a bit arbitrary shaped. To make matters even more exciting as you drive towards blind corners, the speed limit is 60 miles/hour. And there are no lights at night … until you arrive at a village. For a city girl who is used to streetlights and having a lane for each direction of traffic, driving on these roads in the dark creates a bit of angst.

On that fateful night I left the first village with no one on the road but me. For once it wasn’t raining or foggy … perfect conditions for driving. So I adopted a “sensible” speed and carried on. However, after about 10 minutes, a couple of cars joined me. Clearly these guys were locals because they were hurtling down these roads at the speed limit yet I was having a hard time going faster than 40 MPH before having to slow down abruptly in order to make the tight curves without smashing into a tree or a farm fence. My driving was agitating them but there was nowhere to pull over so they were stuck behind the “slowpoke”. For about 20 minutes they continued riding my bumper. I finally got to the turn-off for my destination (much to their relief I’m sure) and I continued the rest of the journey on my own barely going over 30 miles per hour. My friends know I find driving on these roads rather stressful so a healthy-sized glass of wine was thrust into my hands as soon as they opened their front door.

So when I watched this clip from the CES on BMW’s LED headlight concept design a couple of weeks ago I thought these lights would make country driving in England a whole lot less stressful! I love how the light is brighter and can light up a fair distance without causing grief for opposing traffic and how it adapts to help you see around corners (great for country roads and their funky shapes).  IMHO this concept takes automotive lighting to a whole other level.

Automotive lighting has changed by leaps and bounds in the past few years especially after the adoption of LEDs in their design. In fact some car manufacturers have taken advantage of the flexibility offered by LEDs to create very distinctive looks for their brand – when driving in the dark I bet you can always spot a BMW or an Audi.

Designing automotive lighting using LEDs has its own unique set of challenges. To help design engineers solve those challenges, we’ve introduced a full roster of simulation and testing solutions: the combination of T3Ster, TeraLED and FloEFD enable lighting designers to manage heat and condensation thus improving product reliability and life. I should also mention that with T3Ster and TeraLED they can measure both thermal and optical characteristics of single LEDs and full arrays to achieve proper light quality and color.

T3Ster, TeraLED and FloEFD enable lighting developers to manage heat and condensation thus improving product reliability and life. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.

T3Ster, TeraLED and FloEFD enable lighting developers to manage heat and condensation thus improving product reliability and life. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.

So it’s with great pleasure that I’d like to announce that this powerful combination has been selected as a finalist by LEDs Magazine for a Sapphire Award. The Sapphire Awards recognize innovations that enable SSL transition. The finalists were selected based on a point system and the winner will be announced next month. Regardless of who wins, it’s still quite an honor to be chosen as a finalist – seeing how our solutions help our customers innovate and produce incredible products is brilliant and winning a Sapphire Award for our contributions to the industry would be such lovely icing on the cake.


Until next time,

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18 December, 2014

Santa would not be very pleased with me this year. I’ve been naughty. Yes, through an unfortunate mix of being on the road and getting ill during the past 3 weeks, I haven’t done any Christmas shopping. Nor have I sent out any cards. I keep telling my loved ones that my cards will get there … rather late for this year but being the considerate soul that I am I won’t refer to the year in my note so they could always consider them as rather early for next year. Win-win for both of us, don’t you think?

While I was putting together the list of presents for my loved ones last night my mind started to wander. I started to think about the cool stuff that I’d seen this year. Then it occurred to me that they were all in one shape or another related to electronics.  A one track mind don’t you think? According to the BBC, the average person in the UK is using 10% less electricity than five years ago despite the increase in the number of large TVs, PCs/tablets and smartphones. So thanks to the efforts of lovely people like you who design more energy efficient electronics with the help of CAE and CFD I don’t feel too guilty about wanting even more electronic gadgets in the house. Anyway, since you are fellow electronics enthusiasts (and who may still be looking for ideas as to what to buy for your loved ones or yourself) I thought I should share my list with you. Ok… this is a thinly veiled list of things that I’d love under my Christmas tree but we’ll see what Santa will bring for me… it wouldn’t surprise me at all if I get a lump of coal in my stocking this year instead 😉

Here we go…

Samsung Galaxy Note 4: I remember my first mobile phone. The handset was the same size as a regular phone but it required you to carry an external battery pack the size of a medium sized handbag. Oof! Then we went through this period where the smaller the mobile phone, the cooler the owner. But a funny thing’s happened in the past 5 years or so. Now it’s pretty much a case of how big can you go and still get away with it! It reminds me of Dom Jolly’s skit from a few years ago… (for my friends on the other side of the pond Dom Jolly had a big mobile and he wasn’t afraid to use it … just fast forward about 28 seconds and you’ll see what I mean) :-) Now the new large mobiles are not as big as that but my Samsung SIII does look tiny sitting next to the new gen mobiles. My mobile contract is up for renewal shortly and after seeing a colleague’s Samsung Note 4 in action, I’ve got a serious case of phablet envy. It’s big. It’s bold. It’s beautiful. I’m not sure it’ll fit into my hiking pants pockets but as a woman I tend to carry either a handbag or a backpack at pretty much all times anyway so transporting this bad boy should not an issue.  AND I can use this beauty as my new SatNav as well. No more of that clunky SatNav that gives me instructions too late or throws a wobbly every time I decide to ignore its instruction to randomly “make a u-turn now” in the middle of a motorway.

Cickret bracelet: I can hear what you’re thinking… why is she talking about bling here?  Well, it’s not exactly bling. It’s allegedly a gadget that can keep you connected.  It can even double as your mobile. Now I’m not sure if this is a joke (someone has had fun with CGI) but as a concept I like it – wearable tech that doesn’t intrude on you. And we shouldn’t forget that most of the gadgets we now use didn’t even exist 10 years ago so who’s to say we shouldn’t dream… if anything we should dream big. But not Dom Jolly mobile big.

Dell Curved Screen: I’m not a gamer. Never been. Never will be. So I’m not part of the demographic that this product was designed for but I find that I’m increasingly watching movies and programs on my computer at home. So when I saw this beauty I thought it would even look cool sitting in the corner of my sitting room.  Yummy.

Tory Burch Fitbit case: teehee… lulled you into a false sense of security didn’t I? I know this is about gadgets but I’m still a girl so I have an affinity for shiny things. You all know about my relationship with my Fitbit tracker. I mostly wear Fitty when I’m out hiking; however, it really is meant to be worn at all times but it looks rather “industrial” against my regular clothes. A lot of other members of the Fitbit cult must have thought the same thing so I’m glad we finally have an elegant solution – two different gorgeous vessels for Fitbit and in three different finishes. And in case Santa is listening I’m rather partial to the silver bracelet 😉

A footstool: Yes, I’ve completely gone off reservation but you’ll see why if you click on this link There’s also a matching IC coffee table! Pretty cool, huh? The site includes instructions on how to build one but it requires use of power tools and those two words and my name should never be uttered in the same sentence. You’d know why if you saw me use something as simple as a hammer. Anyway, if you have a bit of time and wouldn’t mind making a bit of money, I know someone who’d like to talk with you.

So there you have it. My most coveted electronics related things.

As this will be my last post of the year, I thought I should also wish you and yours the very best. We’ve definitely had the festive mood in the office this year. A handful of us even decorated the Christmas tree on the development floor with our software CDs (some circa 90s!) and topped it all with a giant fan/heatsink. Now that’s what I call a nicely decorated tree. And in case, you’re wondering we didn’t optimize the location of the heatsink ;-P

Now that's what I call a "cool"  Christmas tree. Image courtesy of G. Tang. All rights reserved.

Now that’s what I call a “cool” Christmas tree. Image courtesy of G. Tang. All rights reserved.

Thank you for your support this past year and see you next year.
Until next time,


20 November, 2014

Drones have been around for quite some time now. More often than not, they are used for surveillance.  One major retailer has also toyed with the idea of delivering goods door to door with drones. With each announcement I can’t help but see in my mind’s eye the overcrowded skies as depicted in the Fifth Element. But I recently read a piece about drones that absolutely fascinated me.

Drones for medical applications.

I live in an area referred to as greater London. Our roads are often bound by not only nature (there’s a massive river called the Thames that crisscrosses the area) but also history; therefore, you can’t widen the roads. Well you can but you end up stripping the land of its heritage. While the roads are not as bad as those you’d find in Rome, some roads are barely wide enough to get two way traffic (and don’t even get me started on people who feel the need to drive massive 4-wheel drive cars while the rest of us seem to be able to trek the treacherous and not so mountainous roads of greater London in our normal sized cars).

As you can guess, our roads get congested during rush hour. Big time. On Saturday it took me 1.45 minutes to drive 40 miles at noon – with about 45 min of it covering the first 10 miles. To give you an idea of why that is soul crushing, the journey home took only 45 minutes at 9 pm the same day. Anyway, while sitting in stop-and-go traffic I spied an ambulance several cars behind me. Drivers on both sides of the road had to move over as close to the sidewalk as possible to open a path wide enough for the ambulance to drive down the center of the street – the larger cars had to mount the sidewalk. The ambulance driver was able to get through but the few seconds waiting for cars to move out of the way were precious time that hopefully someone in the ambulance didn’t need in order to survive. And of course that scene took place the entire way to and from the hospital… not just on that stretch of the road.

So when I read about a drone which delivers life-saving help I was very pleasantly surprised. Alex Momont, a Dutch engineering student, has created a prototype flying defibrillator that can deliver help well before an ambulance can get to the victim. According to the article “around 800,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest in the European Union every year and only 8% survive. The main reason for this is the relatively long response time of emergency services of around 10 minutes, while brain death and fatalities occur within four to six minutes. The ambulance drone can get a defibrillator to a patient within a 12 square kilometer zone within a minute, increasing the chance of survival from 8 percent to 80 percent.”

It is an astonishing piece of kit if I may say so myself and one long overdue. One of its most brilliant features is that it can locate the patient by finding the mobile used to make the emergency call through standard GPS protocols. It also has a communication system so hospital staff can instruct the person aiding the victim on how to use the equipment. To hear its creator and to see this drone in action please follow this link. Although the “happy ending” featured in the video is a tad bit Hollywood, I’ve seen and heard enough to be in favor of such an initiative.

Understanding the challenges of avionics cooling. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.

Understanding the challenges of avionics cooling. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.

I know his invention is still very much in its infancy stage but I can’t help to think that he’s still got a fair bit of work ahead of him. Unleashing drones on the unsuspecting public may incur safety related issues – effectively they will be buzzing about our heads. To further complicate matters, these drones would require a fair bit of electronics crammed in a rather compact enclosure. So aside from regulations, there are a lot of electronics cooling challenges which he’ll need to overcome. To see what some of those challenges might be take a look here. But as someone who’s watched a loved one have a heart attack and wait for the paramedics to arrive I can definitely give this brilliant engineer two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Good luck Alex!
Until next time,


29 October, 2014

My appreciation of gadgets isn’t anything that should surprise you. I’ve already talked about a few and some have proven more useful than others. For example, my Fitbit One accompanies me on every hike so I can track and then bore my friends with all kinds of useless information while some gadgets such as my waffle iron were bought rather impetuously and get dusted once every blue moon … that is if I can even remember where I’ve stashed them around the house!

Finding a place to store lots of gadgets is not easy. Image courtesy of Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Finding a place to store lots of gadgets is not easy. Image courtesy of Microsoft. All rights reserved.

If I had an infinite budget, I’d buy every new generation of my favorite gadgets. But I don’t. So even though I appreciate a new generation of let’s say a smart phone I can’t justify upgrading it randomly unless it offers significantly more features or functions than my current one.  Recently I was “allowed” to hold a friend’s new mobile for about 5 seconds – he had stood in the queue for hours in order to get it and reluctantly handed over the mobile after I vigorously wiped imaginary dirt from my hands while promising not to drop the phone! Anyway, I quickly tapped a couple of icons and swiped to the left before I returned the mobile to its owner who was getting increasingly agitated thanks to what can only be classified as withdrawal symptoms.

During my brief encounter with said mobile I noticed a few things – it looked slick but suspiciously similar in weight, feel and size to my other friend’s Android-based phone (he was a bit less precious about letting me hold his mobile so I was allowed to tinker away with it for a lot longer than 5 seconds).  Both had large screens populated with various apps and both seemed to have an intuitive UI. What really amazed me is that the new mobile, known for its groundbreaking technology a few years ago, just felt like a me-too mobile.  But despite how I personally felt, the hype around it was massive and plenty of people felt compelled to stand in the queue for hours to get their hands on one.

Technology hype is a funny thing.

Thanks to the power of media (both paid and social) we get bombarded by images/stories of how the technology on offer can enrich our lives.  And hopefully something in there resonates with us the consumer so we’d want to part with our hard-earned cash. The Gartner research group has even created a graph to represent the hype cycle with such fantastic phrases as the “peak of inflated expectations” and the “trough of disillusionment”.  Now who among us doesn’t intuitively understand what the trough of disillusionment may refer to? Half the gadgets lurking in my shed were put there thanks to that sentiment!

While it’s easy to dispatch unloved gadgets to the dark recesses of the shed or the garage, it’s more difficult to throw out an expensive engineering tool which never delivered on the ROI promised.  Some organizations look at hard/fast dollars. Some keep track of time and process savings. No matter how your organization quantifies ROI, I think we can all safely assume that CFD use is not hype.  Its use has been very well documented across small, medium and large organizations – all you have to do is take a look at the wide range of companies that currently use our solutions here.

If you already have a CFD solution that is meeting your needs, fantastic! If however, you’ve got a solution that is kinda, sorta, maybe, meeting your needs then perhaps this is the right time to consider upgrading to a different solution. But before you do, it’s always a good idea to put together a requirements list. And you need to be brutally honest with yourself because the last thing you want is to dispatch yet another tool to the proverbial engineering tool shed. Do you _really_ need all those turbulence models? Do you need a specialist product or a general purpose one? Do you want to work inside your CAD system? If yes then you need to look at a CAD-embedded system and not a CAD integrated system. The two are different beasts – one is completely embedded in CAD and you never leave the CAD environment while the other has automated the transfer of CAD data but still requires you to use two different interfaces. Do you really _need_ to sacrifice speed for accuracy or is it possible to have both?!? Even better yet how long does it take you to prepare a model and analyze it? Throw everything in there… it doesn’t do you any good if you can transfer a model quickly but spend hours fixing the solid model or meshing it. Make sure you compare apples with apples and not apples with donkeys as one of my old colleagues used to say 😀

Right… time to get off my soap box and unpack my latest acquisition. I’m quite excited about it even though it’s not exactly high tech. This gadget cuts vegetables into spirals and should help me prepare healthier meals. We’ll see whether it’ll earn a coveted place in my kitchen cabinet or whether it’ll be dispatched fiercely into the shed. Only time will tell. In the meantime, no zucchini, parsnip or carrot will be safe in my house!
Until next time,


7 October, 2014

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is pretty serious business. Every day it’s used in a wide range of industries around the world to optimize products for some very practical purposes. Cars? Check! Planes? Check. Medical devices, consumer electronics and power generation? Check, check and check.  But sometimes you come across things that make you giggle. And since it’s a grey and gloomy day in England I thought you may like to join me for a giggle too. So let’s go to a special zoo.

A CFD zoo! And yes I know what you’re thinking… this is a rather bizarre zoo but hey don’t rain on my parade … we get enough of rain here as is :-):


A quick Google search turns up a few research projects involving dolphins out there. In 2006, I came across one by the Crimean State Medical University. The group was interested in investigating the mystery of dolphins’ speed.  Research scientist V.V. Pavlov used COSMOSFloWorks™ to simulate the detailed hydrodynamics of the flow around the dorsal fin of the harbor porpoise (read the paper here). He found that the shape of the dolphin’s skin matches the flow conditions around the dorsal fin. Apparently, by complying with flow conditions, the skin has the effect of suppressing instability growth in the boundary layer and reducing turbulence. What is really neat about this research is that this information could possibly aid in the design of compliant walls which might increase speed and reduce fuel consumption of ships and airplanes at some point. Cool!

Why do dolphins live in salt water? Because pepper makes them sneeze. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.


This is a gem from a long time ago too.  The development team was testing complex geometries that can be meshed and analyzed with FloEFD. While the analysis had no real application whatsoever it was a bit of good fun and it had me in stitches for days. All you had to say was “Moo!” to me at work and I’d have tears running down my face. Who says you can’t bring fits of laughter to your colleagues with the help of CFD?

Where do cows go on a night out? To the moo-vies. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved (to the picture, not the bad joke).

Where do cows go on a night out? To the moo-vies. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved (to the picture, not the bad joke).


Not to be outdone by the general purpose CFD team, the electronics cooling development team decided to test the limits of geometric complexity with our FloTHERM XT product line last year. This “cool” fish here is the result! The plot made me giggle not because it’s absurd but because it made me think whether any of our customers were likely to design anything in electronics with a shape as complex as this. Hey… how about a fish-shaped heatsink or enclosure with liquid cooling? No? Oh well, never mind …

What do you call a fish with no eyes? Fsh :-) Joke courtesy of Sean Clark. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.


One of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving, is only weeks away. It’s always been a time of celebration for me and my family. A few years ago my parents absolved themselves of throwing a huge family get together and passed the party baton to the next generation. The girls now split the burden among us. My niece gets the desserts (glutton-free and sugar-free … this is Los Angeles after all).  One sister does the fixin’s (AKA stuffing and veggies) while the other does the fish (there’s always someone who doesn’t like turkey). I make my specialty… yams. And before you question the division of labor, let me just say that I make it from scratch and have to make mass quantities of the stuff as people tend to eat seconds and thirds. It’s always the first leftover to run out.

The star of the show, the turkey, is always cooked by my mom though. Why? Because the next generation has not quite mastered the art of cooking a massive turkey that doesn’t turn into turkey jerky. I used to think that we are all really bad cooks until I read one of my colleague’s blogs last year. He used FloEFD to model and analyze cooking a turkey. I used my newly found knowledge last year for Boxing Day and presto lovely turkey! To read the blog and learn how to cook a succulent turkey this year, please follow this link But you know what? I’m not going to tell my mom that I’ve discovered her secret. After all, who’d make the yams? And we all know, Thanksgiving dinner without yams is like Christmas without presents 😉

Why did they let the turkey join the band? Because he had the drumsticks. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.

Why did they let the turkey join the band? Because he had the drumsticks. Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics. All rights reserved.

And so ends our day at the CFD zoo … with a bit of a giggle and a wee bit peckish (all this talk of Thanksgiving dinner has made me hungry). If you have any interesting or odd things that you’ve analyzed with our software solutions and would like to share them with us then please send them to me at by end of October 2014 and I’ll do a special post. And please include a description … I think we’d all love to hear the background stories (bad jokes are optional). I’ll be happy to attribute them to you but if you want to remain anonymous that’s ok too. Just let me know what you prefer and I’ll take it from there. I really hope you take me up on this offer. I can’t wait to see what kind of fun y’all have had with CFD.
Until next time,

PS. We are hiring a new Product Marketing Manager. It’s a really cool job and the group is managed by a great guy so if you’re interested then please ping me. Here’s the job description (and good luck!).


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