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Imaging and Visualization of Dynamic Fields

Lambertus Hesselink
Dept.s of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA 94305-4035 USA

Paul Ning
Dept.s of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA 94305-4035 USA

Thierry Delmarcelle
Dept.s of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA 94305-4035 USA


This introductory address discusses recently developed techniques for visualization of scalar, vector and tensor volumetric datasets. The approach we advocate is to analyze and then visualize. For vector data, the analysis consists of extracting topological information in the form of critical points and their connecting surfaces. For tensor data we have generalized the concept of streamlines to hyperstreamlines, which proves useful for analysis and display of fluid mechanics data. These techniques are illustrated with several applications including a coflowing jet and the flow over a hemisphere cylinder.
The field of scientific data visualization is relatively new and much of the recent work has been to develop numerical techniques that mimic experimental techniques. Examples include the FAST and PLOT3D packages that have been developed at NASA Ames Research Center and which allow, among other things, particle streamlines and other fluid flow data to be interactively visualized in computed flows. These approaches are very useful and provide researchers with much needed insight into the physical mechanisms underlying these flows. In particular, the near real-time manipulation of the data using graphics workstations allows structural information, such as the shape and interaction of large eddies, to be relatively easily determined. Most of these approaches provide qualitative information, usually in graphical form.

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