A virtual reality technique for multi-phase flows

Eric Loth, William Sherman, Aric Auman, Christopher Navarro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A virtual reality (VR) technique has been developed to allow user immersion (stereo-graphic rendering, user tracking and object interactivity) in generic unsteady three-dimensional multi-phase flow data sets. This article describes the structure and logic used to design and construct a VR technique that employs a multi-phase flow-field computed a priori as an input (i.e. simulations are conducted beforehand with a researcher's multi-phase CFD code). The input field for this flow visualization is divided into two parts: the Eulerian three-dimensional grid nodes and velocities for the continuous fluid properties (specified using conventional TECLOT data format) and the Lagrangian time-history trajectory files for the dispersed fluid. While tracking the dispersed phase trajectories as animated spheres of adjustable size and number, the continuous-phase flow can be simultaneously rendered with velocity vectors, iso-contour surfaces and planar flood-contour maps of different variables. The geometric and notional view of the combined visualization of both phases is interactively controlled throughout a user session. The resulting technique is demonstrated with a 3-D unsteady data set of Lagrangian particles dispersing in a Eulerian description of a turbulent boundary layer, stemming from a direct numerical simulation of the Navier-Stokes equations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-275
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Computational Fluid Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Eulerian
  • Lagrangian
  • Navier-Stokes equations
  • Virtual reality technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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