PLOT3D is an interactive graphics program designed to help scientists visualize computational fluid dynamics (CFD) grids and solutions. Today, supercomputers and CFD algorithms can provide scientists with simulations of such highly complex phenomena that obtaining an understanding of the simulations has become a major problem. Tools that help the scientist visualize the simulations can be of tremendous aid.

Using PLOT3D, CFD physicists can view their computational models from any angle, observing the physics of problems and the quality of solutions. As an aid in designing aircraft, for example, PLOT3D's interactive computer graphics can show vortices, temperature, reverse flow, pressure, and dozens of other characteristics of airflow during flight. As critical areas become obvious, they can easily be studied more closely using a finer grid.

Compiling the PLOT3D 4.1 code requires the OpenGL Utility Toolkit (GLUT) package installed on the user's system. GLUT is not in the public domain and is under a copyright; however, the source code for GLUT is freely available on the Web without any licensing fees.

This work was done by Stuart Rogers and Upender Kaul of Ames Research Center, Pieter Buning of Langley Research Center, Pamela Walatka of Computer Sciences Corp., Steven Nash of MCAT Inc., and Pat Elson of Sterling Software Inc. This software is available for use. To request a copy, please visit here .

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This article first appeared in the August, 2017 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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