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Visualization Provides A Deeper Understanding of Complex Data
Posted Tue July 30, 2002 @10:57AM
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Post Processing Virtual Vantage visualization software from Fuel-Tech N.V. uses virtual reality technology to help provide a much deeper and faster understanding of complex data sets, such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) results, than can be obtained with conventional post-processing tools. It is difficult and time-consuming to identify areas that are critical to solving the problem or optimizing the design when viewing CFD results in the conventional manner, as contour plots overlaid on cross-sections of the solution domain. Virtual Vantage, on the other hand, allows users to maneuver through the solution domain from a first-person perspective in three-dimensional space while viewing critical dependent variables as color contours.

CFD has become an important design tool in nearly every industrial field because it provides values for fluid velocity, fluid temperature, fluid pressure and species concentrations throughout a flow domain. But CFD analysis to date has been limited by post-processors that provide results relative to a fixed user position that discourage discovery. Virtual Vantage software harnesses the power of virtual reality to convert the flow domain into a computer-generated world that the user can immerse himself or herself within in order to bring their fullest potential of human thought and skill to bear on the problem.

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"Without a powerful visualization tool, like Virtual Vantage software, it is often difficult to recognize the existence of problems or inefficiencies," said Bill Panepinto, General Manager of Software Products for Fuel-Tech. "The virtual reality approach makes it possible to gain a quick, intuitive understanding of the critical flow, pressure, temperature, and species parameters that are driving a process in a matter of minutes. This intuitive understanding makes it possible to iterate to an optimized design in a fraction of the time required with traditional tools. The result is that the user is able to perfect processes, improve products, reduce design-to-manufacturing cycle time, and reduce overall product development costs."

The data can be explored with a wide range of virtual reality environments. The user can maneuver through the design using a joystick, SpaceBall or SpaceMouse from 3Dconnexion, or keypad. The addition of an emitter and a pair of stereoscopic glasses can enhance the sense of depth and realism of the simulation. The virtual environment can be projected onto a wall to collaborate with designers, customers and managers. Projectors for wall displays can be for mono or stereovision and use LCD or DLP technology. Projection on multiple walls results in the creation of a virtual reality theater, of which the CAVETM produced by FakeSpace Systems is a common example.

Flow visualization
Interactive visualization of a mixing vessel.

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