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A Technical Guide for Smokeview Version 5



Glenn P. Forney


Smokeview is a software tool designed to visualize numerical calculations generated by the NIST Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS), a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of fire-driven fluid flow. This report documents some of the technical details and visualization algorithms used by Smokeview. Details on using Smokeview may be found in the Smokeview user's guide. Smokeview uses 3D graphics library called OpenGL to visualizing fire and smoke data. This library is used to specify the location, color and lighting of objects residing within a \em 3D world}\ defined by FDS, the Fire Dynamics Simulator. In the context of FDS, these objects may be used to represent geometry such as blockages or to visualize data. Smokeview visualizes data as tracer particles, 2D shaded contours or 3D level iso-surfaces \em etc.} Soot data or smoke may also be visualized using a variation of a 2D shaded contour where transparency rather than color is used to represent the opacity or optical thickness of smoke. The details used to implement various techniques for visualizing smoke will be discussed.Windows PC versions of \Smokeview\ and \fds\ and associateddocumentation may be downloaded from the web site \bf\hhref}} at no cost.Versions for Linux and Mac/OSX may also be downloaded fromthe same location.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 1072
Report Number


CFD models, field models, fire simulation, scientific visualization, visualization


Forney, G. (2017), A Technical Guide for Smokeview Version 5, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created February 19, 2017