Make something easier to use and, given the need and the opportunity, more people will use it. That’s the assumption behind the decision by Los Alamos National Laboratory (www.lanl.gov) to license CartaBlanca 2.0, its component-based, simulation and prototyping software for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and various other nonlinear applications.
Time and cost pressures on product development make it beneficial to spread workloads over a wider area so that specialists don’t become bottlenecks. While most simulation tools for complex physics problems are based on legacy code, chiefly C++ and Fortran, CartaBlanca is written entirely in Java. That makes it more accessible to larger numbers of design engineers and developers, suggests Eric Canuteson, a project leader in Los Alamos’ Technology Transfer Division.
Canuteson says LANL scientists especially value CartaBlanca for its ability to model fluid/particle interactions using both particle-in-cell (PIC) and material-point methods. The software can be used to simulate airflow through a turbo booster, heat transfer in a semiconductor, blast effects on buildings, weapon/target interactions, and much more. It has application in aerospace engineering, automotive design, weapon/target interactions, animation and special effects, pharmaceutical process design, and homeland security planning.
LANL used CartaBlanca in its RAVE (Reconfigurable Advanced Visualization Environment) facility to simulate an exploding cylindrical blast container intended for use in disposing of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The project simulated the motion of the broken IED case, the blast wave through the air, and the deformation of the cylinder.
Scientific and engineering simulation projects often involve the modification of existing software to produce new capabilities, and often require ongoing attention from a variety of code developers, according to Canuteson, who stresses the advantages of a “modern” language like Java for producing “developer-friendly” code: CartaBlanca runs on a variety of computers, from PCs and Macs to parallel processing supercomputers. Its graphical interface helps users get up-to-speed quickly, its modular design supports rapid prototyping, its code is easily portable from one machine to another, and users can make use of numerous Java tools and third-party programs.
Canuteson notes that, unlike simulation environments written in C++ or Fortran, CartaBlanca has built-in thread parallelization that simplifies integration into shared-memory and distributed-memory machines. It uses a Jacobian-free, Newton-Krylov (JFNK) method for solving nonlinear fluid equations, and it incorporates true multiphase flow for fluid dynamics applications, allowing for slippage between phases, and multiple momentum equations for each phase. Other features include extensive compiler checking, and integrated unit and regression testing.
CartaBlanca license fees are set at $1,000 per-site in academe. Commercial licenses are priced from $10,000.
A screen capture from a CartaBlanca simulation illustrating a broken dam on a tetrahedral mesh. Simulation problems can be run on unstructured grids built from triangular, quadrilateral, tetrahedral and hexahedral elements. Mesh partitioning files can be used to perform calculations in parallel on shared memory machines. For a larger image, click here