NASA Logo, External Link
Facebook icon, External Link to NASA STI page on Facebook Twitter icon, External Link to NASA STI on Twitter YouTube icon, External Link to NASA STI Channel on YouTube RSS icon, External Link to New NASA STI RSS Feed AddThis share icon

Record Details

Record 1 of 5276
Author and Affiliation:
Buning, P.
Abstract: 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 which help the scientist visualize the simulations can be of tremendous aid. PLOT3D/AMES offers more functions and features, and has been adapted for more types of computers than any other CFD graphics program. Version 3.6b+ is supported for five computers and graphic libraries. 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 air flow during flight. As critical areas become obvious, they can easily be studied more closely using a finer grid. PLOT3D is part of a computational fluid dynamics software cycle. First, a program such as 3DGRAPE (ARC-12620) helps the scientist generate computational grids to model an object and its surrounding space. Once the grids have been designed and parameters such as the angle of attack, Mach number, and Reynolds number have been specified, a "flow-solver" program such as INS3D (ARC-11794 or COS-10019) solves the system of equations governing fluid flow, usually on a supercomputer. Grids sometimes have as many as two million points, and the "flow-solver" produces a solution file which contains density, x- y- and z-momentum, and stagnation energy for each grid point. With such a solution file and a grid file containing up to 50 grids as input, PLOT3D can calculate and graphically display any one of 74 functions, including shock waves, surface pressure, velocity vectors, and particle traces. PLOT3D's 74 functions are organized into five groups: 1) Grid Functions for grids, grid-checking, etc.; 2) Scalar Functions for contour or carpet plots of density, pressure, temperature, Mach number, vorticity magnitude, helicity, etc.; 3) Vector Functions for vector plots of velocity, vorticity, momentum, and density gradient, etc.; 4) Particle Trace Functions for rake-like plots of particle flow or vortex lines; and 5) Shock locations based on pressure gradient. TURB3D is a modification of PLOT3D which is used for viewing CFD simulations of incompressible turbulent flow. Input flow data consists of pressure, velocity and vorticity. Typical quantities to plot include local fluctuations in flow quantities and turbulent production terms, plotted in physical or wall units. PLOT3D/TURB3D includes both TURB3D and PLOT3D because the operation of TURB3D is identical to PLOT3D, and there is no additional sample data or printed documentation for TURB3D. Graphical capabilities of PLOT3D version 3.6b+ vary among the implementations available through COSMIC. Customers are encouraged to purchase and carefully review the PLOT3D manual before ordering the program for a specific computer and graphics library. There is only one manual for use with all implementations of PLOT3D, and although this manual generally assumes that the Silicon Graphics Iris implementation is being used, informative comments concerning other implementations appear throughout the text. With all implementations, the visual representation of the object and flow field created by PLOT3D consists of points, lines, and polygons. Points can be represented with dots or symbols, color can be used to denote data values, and perspective is used to show depth. Differences among implementations impact the program's ability to use graphical features that are based on 3D polygons, the user's ability to manipulate the graphical displays, and the user's ability to obtain alternate forms of output. The VAX/VMS/DISSPLA implementation of PLOT3D supports 2-D polygons as well as 2-D and 3-D lines, but does not support graphics features requiring 3-D polygons (shading and hidden line removal, for example). Views can be manipulated using keyboard commands. This version of PLOT3D is potentially able to produce files for a variety of output devices; however, site-specific capabilities will vary depending on the device drivers supplied with the user's DISSPLA library. If ARCGRAPH (ARC-12350) is installed on the user's VAX, the VMS/DISSPLA version of PLOT3D can also be used to create files for use in GAS (Graphics Animation System, ARC-12379), an IRIS program capable of animating and recording images on film. The version 3.6b+ VMS/DISSPLA implementations of PLOT3D (ARC-12777) and PLOT3D/TURB3D (ARC-12781) were developed for use on VAX computers running VMS Version 5.0 and DISSPLA Version 11.0. The standard distribution media for each of these programs is a 9-track, 6250 bpi magnetic tape in DEC VAX BACKUP format. Customers purchasing one implementation version of PLOT3D or PLOT3D/TURB3D will be given a $200 discount on each additional implementation version ordered at the same time. Version 3.6b+ of PLOT3D and PLOT3D/TURB3D are also supported for the following computers and graphics libraries: (1) generic UNIX Supercomputer and IRIS, suitable for CRAY 2/UNICOS, CONVEX, and Alliant with remote IRIS 2xxx/3xxx or IRIS 4D (ARC-12779, ARC-12784); (2) Silicon Graphics IRIS 2xxx/3xxx or IRIS 4D (ARC-12783, ARC12782); (3) generic UNIX and DISSPLA Version 11.0 (ARC-12788, ARC-12778); and (4) Apollo computers running UNIX and GMR3D Version 2.0 (ARC-12789, ARC-12785 which have no capabilities to put text on plots). Silicon Graphics Iris, IRIS 4D, and IRIS 2xxx/3xxx are trademarks of Silicon Graphics Incorporated. VAX and VMS are trademarks of Digital Electronics Corporation. DISSPLA is a trademark of Computer Associates. CRAY 2 and UNICOS are trademarks of CRAY Research, Incorporated. CONVEX is a trademark of Convex Computer Corporation. Alliant is a trademark of Alliant. Apollo and GMR3D are trademarks of Hewlett-Packard, Incorporated. UNIX is a registered trademark of AT&T.
Publication Date: Jan 01, 1994
Document ID:
(Acquired Dec 28, 1995)
Accession Number: 94M10045
Report/Patent Number: ARC-12781
Document Type: Computer Program
Publisher Information: United States
Financial Sponsor: NASA Ames Research Center
Description: In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: No Copyright
Other Descriptors: FORTRAN 77; DEC VAX SERIES
Miscellaneous Notes: Approximately 100,770 source statements
Availability Source: Other Sources
Availability Notes: Program $500.00
› Back to Top
Find Similar Records
NASA Logo, External Link
NASA Official: Gerald Steeman
Site Curator: STI Program
Last Modified: August 19, 2011
Contact Us