A retrospective on our recent gab fest

Posted May 24, 2022 by Rowan Gollan ‐ 3 min read

The core Eilmer developers try to meet once a week to share updates on progress and discuss upcoming development activities. At last week’s meeting, when asked to share progress, one developer exclaimed, “Well, I’ve given a million talks recently.” Hyperbole aside, for developers, we have had a high concentration of talks to give over past couple of months. That comment caused us a moment to pause and reflect. We then decided we’d complete the recent gab fest with a blog post to point our community of users to the talks (or rather, the poor man’s substitute: the slide decks).

In March, Peter presented a seminar to the Centre for Hypersonics wherein he showed a shiny new toy tool for the Gas Dynamic Toolkit, namely a 2D space-marching code. The new code is called Puffin. The name choice of a sea bird is deliberate. Puffin is designed to fulfil a similar flow analysis role as the much older Seagull code (from NASA Langley, written by Manuel Salas).

Adult puffin

In the Centre for Hypersonics seminar schedule, Rowan has historically followed directly after Peter. However, in an elaborate scheme that involved PCR tests and proof of vaccination, Rowan left the country for three weeks so he could delay presenting in his seminar slot. This had the fortunate effect of sparing the Hypersonics group from a double-dose of CFD in what would have been back-to-back talks. On his return in April, Rowan gave a seminar about some recent successes with Eilmer for the simulation of blunt body flows where high-temperature effects dominate in the shock layers. The talk covered all the CFD technologies required to do reliable heat transfer estimates and told the development history of how we got to this point. While the talk painted a picture of a long journey (hinted in the title “There and Back Again”), I also tried to convey the rapid progress we have made in the past two years when the core development team doubled in size.

A Hobbit's Tale

With the Australian borders re-opening and the international flight schedules picking up, we found that a number of visitors arrived in the month of May. This gave us another opportunity to get into TED-talk mode. In May, Rowan and Nick each gave talks to visitors from Lockheed Martin Space and Lockheed Martin Australia. Rowan gave a general overview on our in-house developed capabilities for the simulation of hypersonic flows. Nick’s talk focussed on the modelling work for simulation of the electron transpiration cooling (ETC) effect. Nick showed the effectiveness of ETC for sustained atmospheric flight on a candidate 10 mm radius leading edge in terms of estimated surface temperatures. This was a recap of his paper presented at AIAA Ascend last year.

Later that same week, we hosted visitors from the University of Michigan. We organised an afternoon of CFD talks. The highlight was sharing a paragon of Australian cuisine with the guests: the lamington. A close second, though, was Kyle’s talk on an introduction to Eilmer. This was pitched to an audience with a strong background in compressible flow CFD.


This post gives you an idea of what we’ve been up to over the past couple of months. It has been a busy time for us in terms of giving talks. We do like the opportunity to talk about our work, but we also realise we have to just get on to do that work. I think the balance will shift back towards the doing rather than spruiking for the next little while.