Research Tools

Here are some tools that research students might find useful. Please feel free to add your comments, scripts, examples etc.

IDEA!For a list of all Open Source engineering software see this page


Bash Scripting

bash scripting is very useful to do repetitive tasks on the command line. It is quite powerful and once you have mastered some simple commands, your life can be so much easier. E.g. can be very useful for dealing with Code_Saturne output files



Vi is a Linux editor, very powerful!! It has the great virtue of being able to use directly from the console without the need of a X window environment. Here is a quick reference guide:


  • If you want to have a professional looking document at the end of your thesis, you might want to start learning LaTeX, which is a software that allows you to typeset a document with high quality. LaTex does all the annoying bits for you (like formatting, indexing, captioning, cross-referencing, bibliography ...) while you can concentrate on the content rather than the format. It is, however, a steep learning curve for beginners but you can be sure that after you get used to it, you will never use a another word processor.
You can find some usefull tips in this page: Latex Tips

Mesh generation


  • neu2unv.f is a fortran script to convert between the Generic solver 'Neutral' (.neu) mesh format from GAMBIT to the IDEAS format. The two formats are very similar and both are ASCII so provide a useful grounds to understand how to read-in and manipulate data files using basic fortran.

Plotting graphs

Grace (or xmgrace)

Grace is a WYSIWYG 2D plotting tool for the X Window System and M*tif. Grace runs on practically any version of Unix-like OS. As well, it has been successfully ported to VMS, OS/2, and Win9*/NT/2000/XP (some minor functionality may be missing, though).

Official site here:

Here are some CFD tutorials using xmgrace:

Hint If you get tired of modifying the default layout that comes with xmgrace, you can create your own. For example, you may found that the size of text and lines are ok for the screen but once the figure is reduced to fit in a paper, they seem too small and difficult to read. To avoid doing the changes manually every time you start xmgrace, modify the Default.agr file on the installation directory (the location of this file depends on the installation).


Plotting tool from the command line. Also used in this TWiki;

Post processing tools


Open-Source visualisation software with parallel capabilities:

Advanced data processing can be done using the Python Programmable filter with VTK, NumPy , SciPy and other Python modules.

Paraview can be run in client/ server mode wich allows the user to run the display locally and the actual CPU usage is done on another (usually more powerfull) machine. You will need to:

  1. log into the server and run the command:
  1. On the client, run paraview and click on the "Connect" icon. Fill the information with the name of the server and save it. Click on connect.

Note that paraview server uses port 11111 by default so this must be open in your firewall settings.


Visualisation software. Really easy to script!! just open the command window and it will show you the scripting command for anything you do with the mouse.

Here is an example of a script to generate Q and Sij from the Code_Saturne CHR files:

  • Ensighr commands to generate Q and Sij

Ensight can also run as server/client configuration. This is useful if you have a server with large computer resources and you want to run your client locally.

To connect to the server you will need:

  1. log into the server and run the command: ensight82.server -rsh ssh -c CLIENT_NAME
  2. on the client run: ensight82.client -rsh ssh
  3. Once Ensight is running on the client, go to Case-->Connection Settings and add the server settings. Then click on Connect.

Note that for this to work you might need to open the corresponding ports of the firewalls. By default Ensight uses ports 1106 and 1107, but you can override that using the --ports option on the command line.

You might need to generate an ssh key, see BashCommands for more information.


We have a few licenses for Tecplot 10.

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Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
ziptar UMIST_1Dcode.tar manage 1475.5 K 2009-06-03 - 11:10 JuanUribe Tutorial on a channel flow
ziptar UMIST_Xmgrace.tar manage 1240.0 K 2009-06-03 - 10:11 JuanUribe Tutorial on xmgrace and CFD
elsecom manage 1.5 K 2009-06-03 - 10:25 JuanUribe Ensighr commands to generate Q and Sij
elsef neu2unv.f manage 6.6 K 2011-06-13 - 17:22 AlistairRevell  
pdfpdf vi_Quick_Reference.pdf manage 26.9 K 2009-06-03 - 10:23 JuanUribe Vi Quick reference guide
Topic revision: r9 - 2011-06-13 - 17:22:09 - AlistairRevell

Computational Fluid Dynamics and Turbulence Mechanics
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