Computer Graphics Techniques for Three-Dimensional Flow Visualization

  • Kenneth A. Kroos
Conference paper


The objective of this research has been to develop techniques by which the flow characteristics of an incompressible, heated fluid could be displayed in three-dimensions using computer graphics. The numerical model used to analyze the flow characteristics is the Simplified Marker-and-Cell (SMAC) technique developed at Los Alamos. This technique uses a forward-time, center-space (FTCS) finite differencing scheme to solve for velocities, pressures, and temperatures at selected nodal locations in the flow field.

Two techniques were used to display flow characteristics. The first method constructs flow vectors at nodal locations utilizing Cartesian velocity components. Several vector arrow models were compared for their relative effectiveness in visualizing the flow. Perspective was applied to isometric drawings of the three-dimensional flow field to show multi-dimensional trends. The second method analyzed the path of motion of a neutrally buoyant “particle” of fluid. Again, perspective was used to emphasize the 3D motion.

If this paper is accepted for presentation at the Computer Graphics Tokyo’ 84 Conference, the author will present the paper. Financing for travel will be provided by the Mechanical Engineering professional development funds.


Flow Field Computer Graphic Flow Vector Vector Type Drive Cavity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    “Getting the Picture Through Computer Graphics” by Thomas Gregory and Ralph Carmichael, Astronautics and Aeronautics, Vol. 21, No. 4, April 1983.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    I. O. Angell, A Practical Introduction to Computer Graphics, Halstead Press, New York, 1981.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. E. Welch, F. H. Harlow, J. P. Shannon, and B. J. Daly, The MAC Method: A Computing Technique for Solving Viscous, Incompressible, Transient Fluid Flow Problems Involving Free Surfaces, (Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, November, 1976).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth A. Kroos
    • 1
  1. 1.Mechanical EngineeringVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA

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