Many (if not all!) CFD companies have at some point claimed ease-of-use for their codes, but STAR-CCM+ really has evidence to back up that claim. With its object-based user interface you need only populate the features that you have activated, and nothing additional appears in the interface. It is almost impossible to set up a model and not get results. Unlike conventional GUI’s ‘form-filling’ approach, the GUI asks the user a sequence of relevant questions, and will not be satisfied until it gets each answer. When all questions have been answered, the solver is almost certain to run. Although the universal truth of ‘Rubbish in, rubbish out’ still applies, the familiar complaint that ‘I set everything up, but it would not run’ is destined to be a thing of the past.
The CD adapco Group has been quick to encourage anyone with a ‘legacy mesh’ from any CFD code to try it out with the new STAR CCM+ solver. A unique polyhedral cell formulation accommodates any mesh type and opens the door to another aspect of ease-of-use, namely that STAR CCM+ is able to import meshes from any leading grid-generation system, including those of STAR-CD, ICEM, GridGen, Fluent/Gambit, with generalized mesh interfaces such as CGNS available.
Robustness of solution is another aspect of ease-of-use. Sleepless nights can be avoided with the safe knowledge that your calculation will have converged before you arrive at work the next morning. The polyhedral cell approach offers faster solutions that require less memory than old-fashioned hexahedral or tetrahedral meshes, and advanced methods such as embedded refinement and arbitrary interfacing are achieved with effortless ease.
Then there’s parallel operation. This requires no prior special knowledge of set up. The user simply opens STAR CCM+, states how many processors are required and from that point on, they will be used in the simulation. There is literally nothing to learn and nothing to do, the code looks to find what CPUs are available and automatically processes the job.
Visualization is totally integrated with analysis, for the first time enabling dynamic ‘steering’ of the solution. For example, if the rate of convergence of a solution looks unsatisfactory to the engineer, he/she can intervene and change the relaxation parameters ‘on the fly’. For example, if watching the flow field establish around a wing profile, the screen can be split and it is possible to watch several monitored quantities evolve with each iteration and no user input is required.
Michael Colonno, Stanford University, says:
“ Many commercial CFD codes have powerful solution capabilities, but difficult pre-processing and post-processing often bottleneck the process. STAR CCM+ is by far and away the easiest and most integrated commercial package I have used. With a good mesh, almost any pre-processing can be done in a few minutes. Solution data can be visualized in real time with easy-to-create “scenes”. In addition, solving can be paused, resumed, and distributed in parallel with a few clicks. All in all, STAR CCM+ is a big leap forward in ease of use and flexibility.”
So, in summary, STAR CCM+ is a new state-of-the-art advanced CFD code that really does combine ease-of-use with high performance. Its compatibility not only with STAR-CD meshes, but with a whole range of meshes from other CFD codes makes it easy to try out and will lead CFD to new heights.