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Thermal Visualization of a Self-Sustaining Green House

Researching innovative industrial processes through multiphysical modeling and simulation is the work of graduate students in Professor Tarek Zohdi’s Multiphysics Simulation and Optimization Lab (MSOL), part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. The lab has been using Tecplot 360 for 10+ years to visualize their multi-physics simulations.

Designing a Self-Sustaining Green House

Emre Mengi and Roger Isied are two Ph.D. students in Dr. Zohdi’s lab who began using Tecplot 360 in July of 2020 to visualize their ray-tracing simulation of an agriphotovoltaic1 green house. The goal was to verify their ray-tracing simulation and use it to optimize greenhouse geometry and material parameters to design a self-sustaining green house.

“We chose Tecplot 360 because the tool allowed us to freely inspect the elements of the simulation in addition to helping us debug our code in a much more efficient way. Tecplot 360 gave us better insight into our multiphysics simulation of light rays by letting us plot ray and surface energy levels in addition to raytracing,” says Emre Mengi.

Streamlining and Troubleshooting Simulations

Tecplot 360 has been instrumental in helping Mengi and Isied streamline the creation and troubleshooting of their simulation. Members of the research lab generally use Python for simulation prototyping. Through PyTecplot, they have been able to integrate time-dependent, multiphysics visualizations directly within the simulation. In particular, PyTecplot’s ability to accept NumPy data arrays has removed the need to format and save datasets.

As a result, they can run variations of the simulation and receive direct visual feedback of the nature of the results from Tecplot 360. The direct connection between the Python code and PyTecplot reduced runtime since they were able to directly see the simulation results.

Figure 1. Ray tracing high frequency light on a translucent green house. Red spheres track rays that have intersected with green house. Green spheres track rays that have contacted interior ground of green house

Fast Export and Easy Sharing

In addition to the real-time integration with the code, this feature allows them to format the animation and save directly to appropriate video files. The export feature is amazingly fast and useful compared to default python data visualization packages. They easily generated appropriate animations for presentations as part of their research study.

“Neither of us had used PyTecplot before this project, and we were able to easily teach ourselves how to implement it with our project just through Tecplot’s extensive and thorough online documentation. The examples provided in the PyTecplot documentation helped us structure our function calls appropriately.”

Mengi and Isied say that the progress they made in this project would not have been possible without the user-friendly, efficient, and effective tools provided by Tecplot 360 and, specifically, PyTecplot. In addition, they found Tecplot’s friendly technical support team incredibly helpful in directing them to the right resources.

“Tecplot 360 helped us share our research findings and convey our results to a broader scientific community by providing the tools to visualize our data in a succinct yet powerful way,” both Mengi and Isied agreed.

You can try Tecplot 360 and PyTecplot for 5 days at no cost by requesting a Free Trial.

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1 use of land areas for both solar photovoltaic power generation and agriculture