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cbisw May 12, 2011 03:18

Best format for simulation data?
I'm currently running a rather large simulation in Star-CCM+ (LES, 8 mil.) and need to export results data for a great amount of timesteps and analyze it afterwards. Now my first attempt was to export it in the binary Fieldview (.fvuns) format (not really a conscious decision), only to find that neither TecPlot nor ParaView can read it and that the format is proprietary (thus I cannot write a reader for ParaView).

So before I waste more time experimenting around with the various formats, maybe someone can give me some experienced advice on which one to use. The only stringent requirement is that Star-CCM+ can export it, which limits the selection to

.ccm (the CD-adapco format),
.case (Ensight Gold),
.fvuns (Fieldview, to be avoided as mentioned),
.plt (Tecplot),
.cel/.sbd (Boundary Shell/Data files),
.ntl (RadTherm Patran Neutral),
.trn (Surface fft files).

Apart from that it would be nice if it was possible to

- selectively export the solution data and export the mesh data just once (since the mesh doesn't change)
- the data format is not restricted to saving values on either centroids or vertices
- the format is open source and versatile and under development.

Is there a much better format that is not in the list of formats that Star-CCM+ can export?

cfd_newbie May 12, 2011 04:17

According EnSight Gold Binary format is the best for your requirements.

scott_rumage May 16, 2011 19:12


The Tecplot .plt export from Star-CCM+ may meet your criteria:

- Tecplot 360 can distinguish between solution data and mesh data. One typically loads the mesh first, and then mulitple solutions can be added in.
- Our format can work with cell centered or vertices data
- Our format is not "open source", but it is openly published. One can download a pdf at this link: .


cbisw May 18, 2011 04:32

Thanks for the answers, I will go with Tecplot .plt since (besides meeting all my requirements) it is the analysis tool of choice in my work group. Nice piece of software, although the spreadsheet data reader is rather weak (in 2009_RC2 at least).

scott_rumage May 18, 2011 10:44

Excel spreadsheet loader for Tecplot

If your group's spreadsheet data is in Excel, we have a nice macro where one highlights the data in Excel, and moves it into Tecplot with one mouse click.

Here is a link to our tutorial page: and the tutorial on the Excel loader is toward the bottom of the page and is titled: Importing Excel and Text Files.

Thanks for using Tecplot and good luck in your work,

cbisw May 19, 2011 03:31

Thanks for the pointer Scott. Unfortunately, in the 2009_RC2 version we are using, the required util/excel folder is not present (is the macro backwards compatible and is there a way to get it elsewhere?). Also, currently Tec360 is only installed on the Linux machines where, of course, no Excel is available... I guess I will either write my own .csv reader with the AddOn Dev Kit or change the syntax of the generated .csv files (since I generate them myself with a Java application). Thanks anyways!

scott_rumage May 19, 2011 19:56

Text/CSV/ASCII Tecplot data loader note

If your CSV data files have a repetitive format, you can "teach" the Tecplot 360 "General Text Loader" the format, then save the configuration as a file type (*.lgc). And then use this load.lgc file to quickly load the remaining files.

Try-- File>>Load Data File(s)>>General Text Loader in Tecplot 360

and go to page 94 of the 360 User Manual for more detail on this loader.

BTW ... the Excel data loader utility has been with the Windows version of Tecplot for many years, but not (as you noted) with Linux version of Tecplot.


cbisw May 20, 2011 03:15

Will try it on the next opportunity. Thanks for the support Scott, highly appreciated.

jchawner May 21, 2011 16:32

I'm curious why CGNS isn't an option. I thought at one time CD-adapco supported that format. It's design to be portable for use in all your applications.

cbisw May 30, 2011 02:38

They certainly should support it but I have not seen it as an import or export option in either versions 4, 5 or 6 of STAR-CCM+.

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