According to Zhou, one shortcoming of CFD has been the relatively poor visualization of the results, which are presented traditionally in 2-dimensional plots.
“By being able to use virtual reality to visualize the results,” she said, “CFD simulations are more powerful. That’s because our CIVS provides a virtual environment to view all the data easily and intuitively, so that we can get faster and better solutions.”
To that end, a VisBox—immersive virtual reality visualization equipment—was installed on campus in the summer of 2008. Since then, Zhou has worked with campus Visualization Specialist John (Jack) Moreland and a group of cross disciplinary researchers and engineering students to integrate CFD simulation with virtual reality visualization.