Joint webinar with TotalSim US and Pointwise featuring work on Breedlove’s new land-speed record attempt


TotalSim and Pointwise presented a Webinar April 28, 2015 featuring our use of Pointwise Gridding Software for work on Craig Breedlove’s New Land Speed Record Attempt vehicle.

In 1963, Craig Breedlove set the world land-speed record in the Spirit of America, a record that he would later reclaim several more times in the next two years. Fifty years later, Breedlove has decided that it is time to bring the title back to America. In a new team led by Breedlove, the Spirit of America is being revived with the goal of once again claiming a new world record for land-speed vehicles.

Historically, land-speed vehicles were shaped by rule of thumb aerodynamics. However in the 50 years since the first turbojet vehicle officially set a land-speed record, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has matured to a point where it can be inexpensively used to help simulate performance characteristics on such vehicles. One of the largest initial hurdles for Breedlove and his team has been quickly analyzing new designs with limited resources. To that end, TotalSim agreed to help with the preliminary CFD analysis given a restricted
budget. The key to success for both parties was generating inexpensive accurate results.

Leveraging Pointwise, TotalSim generated a hybrid grid, balancing mesh generation time and solution accuracy. Pointwise’s structured and unstructured meshing techniques coupled with T-Rex (anisotropic tetrahedral extrusion) were used to generate layers of unstructured hexahedra and prisms, helping to reduce the overall cell count and improve grid quality. Additionally, TotalSim was able to exploit the flexibility of Pointwise and manually adapt the grid to help resolve shock structures and more accurately predict vehicle performance.


  • Simplify a complex geometry using layers for organization
  • Resolve areas of high curvature using structured meshing techniques
  • Automatically generate contiguous viscous layers of unstructured hexahedra and prisms
  • Effortlessly add local refinement to an existing volume mesh to improve solution accuracy
  • Rapidly assess high-speed vehicle performance on a limited budget

Video Replay of Webinar

Prisms and hexahedral elements coexisting in the same grid Using the latest version of T-Rex, prisms and hexahedral elements can coexist in the same grid. Note the near-field hybrid block matches point-for-point the outer structured block. The inset image displays the pressure contours on the surface of the vehicle as it operates at transonic speeds. Surface shear stress contours operating at transonic speeds. A viscous CFD solution on the Spirit of America illustrating the surface shear stress contours operating at transonic speeds. Solved with CFD++. Watertight hybrid surface mesh A watertight hybrid surface mesh was created consisting of both structured and unstructured domains. T-Rex was used to march layers of prisms and unstructured hexahedra to form the viscous region of the grid followed by tetrahedra in the near-field block.



Andy Luo is a graduate of the University of Southern California where he received a BS in Aerospace Engineering and an MS in Aerospace Design.
Andy spent 6 years with Swift Engineering where he spearheaded their CFD capabilities in both Automotive and Aerospace design. During that time he achieved many aggressive milestones such as aiding the design of an aircraft from paper to first flight in 200 days, generating a 1 billion cell unstructured unified mesh on a vehicle, and executing a dynamic vehicle passing maneuver.

In 2012 Andy began working with TotalSim to further their Aerospace capabilities. He is currently working on many exciting developments using OpenFOAM and Pointwise.


Travis Carrigan joined Pointwise as a senior engineer after completing his M.S. in aerospace engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington in May 2011. He interned at Pointwise beginning May 2008, producing demonstration and application videos and working in technical support, doing grid projects and quality assurance testing. During a prior internship at Vought Aircraft Industries, Mr. Carrigan worked as a quality engineer on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner Program.

His thesis subject was “Aerodynamic Shape Optimization of a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine.” He received his B.S. in aerospace engineering in 2009 from UTA.

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