CFD Guide – Types of CFD Software and Applications

CFD software is very common in different fields of engineering. To visualize the general characteristics of complex fluid flow mechanisms, companies and engineers are using various kinds of CFD software in projects. So, there are various kinds of different ones available in the market. And companies are selecting the best one for themselves. Here we explain the most popular software and its different properties to you. It will be a very good start for you in computational fluid dynamics.

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What is the CFD Software?

Image Source: Wikimedia.

CFD or Computational Fluid Dynamics is a branch of engineering that solves complex mathematical equations to understand and clarify the fluid flows in different conditions. CFD software provides extra tools to examine the fluid flows visually. In the post-processing phase, we are examining the general characteristics of fluid flow such as pressure and temperature.

There are different kinds of methodologies and mathematical approaches to solve these problems in general;

  • Conservation laws,
  • Continuum conservation laws,
  • Compressible Navier-Stokes equations,
  • Compressible Euler equations,
  • Weakly compressible Navier Stokes equations,
  • Boussinesq equations,
  • Compressible Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes equations,
  • Ideal flow and potential flow equations,
  • Linearized compressible Euler equations,
  • A sound wave or acoustic wave equations,
  • Shallow water equations,
  • Boundary layer equations,
  • Bernoulli equation,
  • Steady Bernoulli equation,
  • Stokes flow or creeping flow equations,
  • Two-dimensional channel flow equation,
  • One dimensional Euler flow equation,
  • Fanno flow equation,
  • Rayleigh flow equation,

They are the general mathematical models that we solve and understand the general natures of fluid flows. So, solving these problems by hand is a very hard thing. Also, visualizing them efficiently is not possible without computers.

CFD software easily solves fluid flow problems with the finite element analysis approach. With the proper mesh structure and the selection of the proper theory for the applications, solving these kinds of problems is very simple with the CFD software.

How to Make Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis?

Making CFD analysis can be tough for people that are new in this area. Because it requires very high experience that you need to utilize. It requires an engineering background in fluid mechanics and mathematical background to understand the general requirements. But in general, we apply these steps to make CFD analyses.

In general, there are 3 main steps in a typical computational fluid dynamics analysis. These steps are,

  • Meshing
  • Pre-processing
  • Post-processing

Meshing in CFD Software

Mesh in computational fluid dynamics.

The first step is meshing the geometry that you have. This geometry must represent the fluid domain where the fluid flow will take place. So, there should be a solid that we will create the mesh structure inside it. So, it will be very easy to create a mesh structure inside the mesh domain.

Meshing is very important. The finer and the smaller elements of mesh will create more accurate results. But the total time consumed by the analysis will be much more because of the finer mesh.

CFD software makes the calculations according to the elements of mesh structures. These mesh structures are very important to apply different methods of finite element analysis.

Different CFD software provides different kinds of tools to obtain mesh structures. You probably use these tools to obtain the optimum mesh structure for your computational fluid dynamics analysis.

Pre-Processing in Computational Fluid Dynamics

In the pre-processing step of the computational fluid dynamics, we create the general boundary conditions such as walls, flow regions, fluid motion, and required theories to calculate the fluid motion.

It is very important to define boundary conditions for fluid analyses. Because the CFD software will calculate the results according to the boundary conditions. In the equations and integrals, these boundary conditions are used in general.

If you are making transient analyses, you need to apply some initial conditions also. These initial conditions will be used to solve the general discrete integrals of the different equations.

After building all of these aspects to make computational fluid dynamics, you can start the analysis that will be solved by the computer.


This is also a very important step after the CFD analysis is complete. In the post-processing step, you can analyze the general results of the CFD analysis. There are visualization tools in most of the software that you can analyze the fluid domains, fluid velocities, and pressures easily. This will give very important insight into the general situation of the fluid flow analysis.

Some of the CFD software provides very good automatic reportings that you can easily create reports or other kinds of things to show to your collaborators or managers. In the report, you can easily adjust what you want to include or what you do not want to include.

As you see above these are the general steps to make computational fluid dynamics analyses in general. Without the type of CFD software, you will probably follow these steps.

General Solving Methods of CFD Software

As we stated above, CFD software solves the general fluid flow equations with the finite element analysis approaches or other kinds of numerical solving methods available. In some software, you can easily adjust the solving methods for a typical analysis according to the situation.

Also, some basic software are solving the computational fluid dynamics analyses in a specific or numerical solving method. Here you can find a list of how the CFD software work.

Finite Element Method in Computational Fluid Dynamics

This is the most classical numerical method to solve the different kinds of analyses. In general, they use the finite element method in different kinds of solid and mechanical analyses. But the application of the FEM method is also valid for the different structures of fluids. You can use the finite element method in the solution of the fluid equations above.

The most important drawback of the finite element method is, that the memory use is higher than the other methods and the solution times are much slower. The use of this method is common but not like the finite volume method.

Finite Volume Method

Finite volume method in computational fluid dynamics.
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The finite volume method is special for computational fluid dynamics analyses. Obtaining conservative solutions with the finşte element method can be a problematic issue in CFD analyses. And also in the complex CFD analyses such as Navier-Stokes turbulent flows, it becomes more problematic. In this case, the use of the finite volume method is more common.

The general advantage of the finite volume method is, that it provides more rapid solutions and with less memory and storage use in computational fluid dynamics analyses. So, their use is very common.

And also for complex analyses, obtaining conservative solutions with the finite volume method is much easier. So, it will be better to select the finite volume method for your CFD analyses.

And it will be better to choose the CFD software that has a finite volume method in it.

Finite Difference Method in CFD

The use of the finite difference method is not common as the two methods above. Some of the CFD codes are using the finite difference method you can solve the complex geometries with high accuracy.

There are also other kinds of methods that most CFD software are using. These three are the most common methods to solve problems.

Turbulence Models in Computational Fluid Dynamics

Turbulence is a very important thing to consider. It is because there are different kinds of things that we need to consider. Most of the fluid flow works are about turbulence modeling in CFD algorithms. So, there are different kinds of turbulence models that you can use in different kinds of software.

Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes

This is the most common turbulence model that we are using in most of the turbulent analyses. RANS model is best for computing the turbulent fluid flow analyses on a time-averaged basis. So, we can not solve the transient turbulent analyses with the RANS method.

In general, there are two important types of Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations; the Boussinesq hypothesis and the Reynold stress model.

Large Eddy Simulation

Large eddy simulation.
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Large eddy simulation is a type of turbulence model that we can use in the CFD software. The prime importance of the large eddy simulations is, that you can easily solve the big turbulence eddies by eliminating the smallest eddies to increase the computational performance. So, you can see the solutions of the large eddies, not the small unimportant eddies.

The most important drawback of the large eddy simulation is, that it requires much more computational resources than the RANS methods.

Detached Eddy Simulation in CFD Software

This is the application of the large eddy simulation on the RANS model. We can obtain very smooth solutions of turbulences with this method in computational fluid dynamics analyses.

Linear Eddy Model

The linear eddy model is also very important in the solutions of the 1D turbulent models. We can obtain very high detail of fluid flow analyses with the linear eddy model in a 1D domain. Also, it is the best for modeling the convective mixing simulations in turbulence.

Direct Numerical Simulation in Computational Fluid Dynamics

Unlike the eddy simulation approaches, the direct numeric simulation approach solves all kinds of eddies and turbulences over the system. For example, if the effects of the small eddies are important for you, you need to use direct numerical simulation in computational fluid dynamics.

This also requires very high computational resources because it does not make any kind of eliminate of unimportant eddies and turbulence effects.

Importance of Partial Differential Equations in Computational Fluid Dynamics

A partial differential equation.

Differential equations are lying the base of engineering in every aspect. So, it is very important to solve differential equations in different engineering fields. Also, you need to solve these complex equations in fluid dynamics. And in fluid dynamics, these equations become more and more complex.

There are different kinds of differential equations. But from a major perspective, there are two types. Ordinary differential equations(ODE) and partial differential equations(PDE).

Solutions of the ordinary differential equations analytically and with hand calculations are much easier. Because the derivatives of the functions are made according to one variable. Dealing with one variable is much easier.

Also, partial differential equations have the derivative of the function according to the different variables. To solve them, you need to apply them accordingly. Solving partial differential equations is not an easy thing with hand calculations or analytical methods.

Most of the fluid flow theories and turbulence models are partial differential equations with higher orders. For example, the derivative orders of the different variables are very high. And we face the solutions to complex problems.

In general, convergence methods in numerical analyses are solving these complex partial differential equations. And generally, we use these numerical methods in computers. It is very important to solve them in computers in an iterative method to converge to the actual solution of the problem. And we obtain the general solution of the partial differential equations.

In CFD software, there are iterative algorithms to solve these partial differential equations about fluid flow mechanisms. Combining the solution methods, they provide very accurate fluid flow solutions.

Convergence in Computational Fluid Dynamics

As we stated above, converging and iterating solutions are very common in CFD analyses. It is very important to have convergence in computational fluid dynamics. There are two phases of convergence in general. The first one is the convergence of the mesh structures and the convergence of the CFD analysis.

Convergence of Mesh

Creating a mesh structure that is good for computational fluid dynamics application is a very important aspect. So, you need to obtain a mesh structure that converges the result.

First of all, create a coarse mesh structure and run the analysis. For a rough mesh structure, the CFD analysis will not take a lot of time. And iterate the analysis by increasing the accuracy of the mesh structures. And look at the results of the analysis.

Apply this iterative method to obtain the optimized mesh structure that you need. After a point, the solution results will converge to a value or point. And you will see that this level of mesh structure will be sufficient for you.

And also, you can increase the fineness of the mesh structures for the regions of fluid flows where you want to see detailed results. Regional mesh refinement is very important to save extra burden on your computational system.

CFD Software Convergence

After obtaining the mesh structure, the convergence of the cıomputational fluid dynamics must be good. You can trace the convergence plots in the CFD analysis in different kinds of software.

The convergence does not mean that the results are true. The mesh structure, selection of the boundary conditions, and selecting of the proper turbulence and fluid flow models are very important to obtain the net results.

So, it is very important to have converged results in CFD analyses.

Knowing Which One You Need to Use

If you consider all of these factors, you need to know the general information about all of the solver models, meshing, and fluid flow models. You need to know which one you need to use in which computational fluid dynamics applications.

As we stated above, it requires a very good engineering approach and engineering background. You need to have a solid understanding of engineering mathematics and fluid mechanics. And after learning how to create proper mesh structures for different CFD analyses, it will be much easier to learn to use the different interfaces of the CFD software.

Also, you will have the ability to select the proper CFD software for your applications. Because not all the CFD software provides all the solution methods and sşmulation models that we explained above. For example, if you want to make a very complex turbulent analysis, you need to select a software package that provides the best turbulence models that you can use in CFD applications.

Applications of the Computational Fluid Dynamics

There are different kinds of applications of computational fluid dynamics. You can apply a wide variety of applications. Here you can find the general applications that you can have.

Two and Three-Dimensional Simulations

There are different types of modeling techniques for different fluid flow mechanisms. Tow and three-dimensional fluid simulations are the most common applications in computational fluid dynamics analyses.

You can model the 2D flows that have only two coordinates. You can save lots of computational resources by simulating only 2D. For example, flow around a cylinder is a very important example for 2D CFD analyses.

You can model the flow around a cylinder as 2D by taking a section cut from the top. Because the flow will be the same for all the sections of the height of the cylinder. So, we do not need to apply extra computational resources to 3D analyses.

Also, there are 3D analyses are available in CFD software. You can easily model various kinds of fluid flows in the 3D domain. For example, you want to model the fluid flow over a mountain that has no symmetrical shape. So, you can model the fluid flow over the mountain easily.

But you need to assess the probability to use the 2D compuıtational fluid dynamics analyses in general.

Steady and Unsteady Computational Fluid Dynamics

Steady and unsteady or transient flows are the facts of the actual applications. Not all systems have steady flow regimes like pumps and compressors. Some of the systems have transient flows.

You can easily model the steady flow conditions in the CFD analysis tools. There are lots of kinds of applications that you can easily model the steady flow conditions. Most engineering systems such as pumps, compressors, turbines, and aerodynamical applications are steady flow conditions. You can easily solve them with computational fluid dynamics analyses.

Also, you can solve the unsteady flow conditions where the transient flow of the fluid takes place. In this case, time-averaged solutions are very common. And you need to make the solutions.

We can give the internal combustion engines as the transient flow regime. The inputs and outputs of the air-fuel mixture and the exhaust gases are transient inside the cylinders. You need to model it with transient CFD analysis.

Forced and Natural Flows

Applications of heat transfer analyses are also very common in CFD analyses. It is very important to model the forced and natural flows. The heat transfer effects of these two types of flows are very different from each other.

The modeling of the forced flows in CFD software is a common application. Because we generally model the fluid flows that have forced application. And also, it is very important to have the heat transfer solutions of the forced flow regimes.

Natural flows are the type of fluid flow that takes place with the convection heat transfer. With the convection heat transfer effect, the fluid starts to move by itself because of the internal energy that it has. So, we can also model the natural flows and heat transfer effects of it in various computational fluid dynamics software.

Laminar and Turbulent Flow in CFD Software

Laminar and turbulent flow in CFD software.

This is the most important discrimination between the fluid flow regimes. CFD software is very capable of modeling the laminar and turbulent flows professionally.

Laminar flows are very important in different kinds of engineering applications. For example in piping and fitting applications, we expect to have laminar flow. Because the power required to transfer the fluid in laminar flow is lower. So, there are lots of CFD applications that are made to see whether the flow inside the tubes and fittings is turbulent or laminar.

Also, we expect turbulent flows in such applications where heat transfer is important. For example, in car radiators, we expect to see the turbulent flow effects on the forced convection on the radiators. Because the heat transfer capabilities of the turbulent flows are much higher than the laminar flows.

Engineers are modeling the turbulent flows in CFD software to see the heat transfer results on radiators. Because heat transfer is very important in the radiator systems to cool the engine cooling water.

Compressible and Incompressible Flows

Compressibility and incompressibility are very important things in CFD and fluid flow applications. We call the fluid that the densities are not changing with the changing pressure incompressible. And also, we call the fluids the densities are changing with the changing pressure compressible.

There are different applications both for compressible and incompressible fluid flows. For example, the hydroelectric power plants, pumps, and systems that include water as the working fluid are systems of incompressible fluids. Also, we can give jet engines, gas turbines, compressor systems, and internal combustion engines are the applications of compressible systems.

We can model and simulate incompressible and compressible fluids in computational fluid dynamics software. So, it is very convenient to use the CFD applications to model these complex fluid flow mechanisms.

Internal and External Flows in CFD

The flowing mechanisms of internal and external fluid flows are very different from each other. We generally call the internal flow fluid flows inside tubes and pipes. Also, in external flow applications, fluid flow takes place without any restrictions on the pipes.

We can give different examples of internal and external flows. For example, fluid flow inside the fitting pipes and water transfer channels are the internal flows. We generally model these systems in CFD software and CFD applications. And also, external flow for cooling applications such as engine radiators is an example of external flow. Another important example of external fluid flow is, flow over wind turbine applications.

We generally use the CFD software in simulating these systems. It is very common applications to simulate them in CFD applications to see the outcomes and results of the calculated systems of internal and external flows.

Inviscid and Viscous Flows in CFD Software

Actually, in lots of fluid flow applications, inviscid and viscous flows are the types of flows where the viscous effects are in charge or not. In the inviscid region of the flow, we are not experiencing any forces or external effects of the viscosity of the fluid. But in the inviscid region, we generally feel the viscous effects.

In most fluid flow applications, there are inviscid and viscous flows. For example in the flow mechanisms over an airfoil, we feel the viscid flow right on the surface of the airfoil. This viscid effect emerges as wall shear stress which produces lift force. Also, there are inviscid flow regions over the airfoils where the airfoil does not feel any effect. This region starts after a distance from the surface.

Modeling the inviscid and viscous flows is a very different job. You need to take special care about the definition of the boundary conditions in CFD software.

Most Common CFD Software

There are different kinds of CFD software packages are available in the market. It is very important to select the best one for your company and applications. So, here, you can find the most common CFD software packages in the world and general reviews about them.

1 – Autodesk CFD

Wind tunnel testing in Autodesk CFD.

Autodesk CFD is one of the most common CFD software packages in the world. Because the producer and publisher of this package are Autodesk which is very renowned in computational engineering and design solutions.

This is a very extensive software that you can use in the analysis of the engineering level fluid flow applications. Also, the interface is very user-friendly and is not boring like the other ones.

You can perform analyses about fluid flows and thermal and fluid analyses which are interacting with each other. So, you can design and simulate thermofluid applications where the temperature is the prime importance.

In the industry, there are different applications of Autodesk CFD software such as electronic cooling, and data center design where the cooling applications are very important. Furthermore, lighting design, vale, and fitting designs. In HVAC applications also, the use of the Autodesk CFD is very common in the sector.

Especially in HVAC design applications, the use of the Autodesk CFD is very important. Because the tools of this CFD package are advanced in measuring the results of the heat transfer results of the fluid flow applications.

2 – SimScale CFD Software

External aerodynamics in SimScale.

SimScale is also a very important and renowned CFD software provider in Germany. This software is also very common in most applications. And lots of engineering companies are using this CFD software.

You can easily analyze a wide range of fluid flow analyses such as laminar and turbulent flows, and incompressible and compressible fluids. Also, the capabilities of the SimScale software are very good at simulating multiphase flows which are very important in lots of engineering applications.

Also, cloud-based fluid flow analyses are available in the services of the SimScale CFD software. So, you do not need to bother yourself with the computational limitations that you have for the CFD analyses.

Furthermore, the different technologies such as GPU-based solutions provide 20-30 minute shorter CFD analyses for the transient simulations which are generally the hardest ones.

Among the applications that they use SimScale software, are airplane simulations, car spoilers, mufflers and so onç They are very important applications of the external flows which you can easily simulate in the SimScale software.

You can also use the different turbulence models for turbulent flow applications such as k-omega SST and k-epsilon. For example in the applications of smoke propagation, and cleanroom designs these models are very important.

Mass and thermal transport applications are also very useful in the SimScale CFD software. We are using different kinds of analyses and tools in the convective and conjugate heat transfer applications. Also, fluid flow conduction analyses are very common in these applications.

In most CFD applications, the fluid-solid body interactions are also very important things. Because, these interactions are very important in the applications such as valve designs, pipes, and shipbuilding. Simscale provides very good solutions for these applications.


ANSYS CFD Software.
Image Source: ANSYS.

Probably, you all know the general tools of ANSYS about CFD which are Fluent and CFX. They are one of the most common CFD tools that are available in the world. Loots of engineering companies are using the ANSYS CFD tools in different kinds of research and development activities.

Also, ANSYS is one of the most used and trusted CFD software in the industry. So, you can trust the solutions that you take from them.

Battery technology is a very important and developing technology that most engineering companies are investing in. ANSYS CFD tool comes with an application that you can easily simulate the batteries in a very professional way. So, you can understand that the multiphysics applications of ANSYS are superior.

Furthermore, hypersonics and shock applications are very common in the ANSYS software. You can make hypersonics and show wave simulations such as in the aircraft applications in ANSYS CFD.

Also, the behavior of the fluids in the electric motors is a very important engineering phenomenon. You can sşmulate the fluid behaviors in the electric motor design applications of the ANSYS CFD software.

The heat buildup in the thermal and cooling systems and the CFD analyses are also very important. So with the CFD tools of ANSYS, you can easily design the cooling systems with the external flow simulations. Also, you can simulate the heat transfer effects.

4 – OpenFOAM CFD Tool

OpenFOAM is also a very common CFD software between engineers and engineering companies. It serves lots of kinds of engineering companies. It was released in 2004 and is also among the most used CFD tools.

The most important feature of the OpenFOAM CFD is, that it is open-source. You can reach all the codes of the software. For advanced users of CFD, it is a very important feature. They can adjust all the features and solutions of the program on a code basis.

Furthermore, you can simulate the chemical reactions of the fluids and their effects. So, chemical reactions are very important in most engineering applications. Such as in the internal combustion engines. There is a chemical reaction in the cylinders to obtain the mechanical energy that we need. So, you can easily simulate the internal combustion engines in OpenFOAM CFD software.

Turbulence and heat transfer analyses are also possible with the OpenFOAM. There are various kinds of applications where turbulence and heat transfer applications are of prime importance. For example in the cooling systems of the reactors, the external and turbulent fluid flow applications are very important. You can design and simulate these kinds of engineering applications in OpenFOAM software.

Also, you can simulate the acoustics analyses of the fluid flow systems in OpenFOAM without facing any difficulties. So applications such as the sound on the airplane wings because of the fluid flow and the fluid flow sound at the fittings and valves are very important in the OpenFOAM simulation software.

5 – Simcenter

Siemens provides advanced engineering software in different kinds of fields of engineering. One of these fields is computational fluid dynamics. Siemens provides very good professional CFD software which is very good for professional applications.

There are different kinds of advantages of the Simcenter CFD software. In general, this software is very easy to run in most computational systems. It requires generally lower computer sources to run the simulations. Also, the completion times are faster if we compare them with their counterparts.

Among the applications of Simcenter CFD software, aerospace and automotive applications are the most common ones. This is because most of the aerospace and automotive sectors are using Siemens products in general. So, they can engage Simcenter with other Siemens products such as Siemens NX or Teamcenter to obtain a complete system.

Also in lots of other applications such as turbomachinery, electronics, energy, etc., the application of the Simcenter CFD module is very common.

6 – COMSOL CFD Module

COMSOL Multiphysics is also a very important and common CFD and FEA software that different kinds of companies are using. There are different kinds of abilities that you can model the different kinds of mechanical models and fluid models easily.

Also, in porous media flow applications, the use of the COMSOL CFD software is very common. The porous media applications are very important in heat exchanger applications. So, simulating the turbulent effects of the porous media on the flow applications is a very common thing in the COMSOL CFD.

There are various kinds of flow models are available. For example, you can model non-Newtonian fluids with different kinds of models such as Power Law, Carrie, and Bingham.

Furthermore, modeling laminar and turbulent flows are also a very common practice in COMSOL computational fluid dynamics. For example, you can model the RANS models of turbulence such as two-equation models, additional transport equation models, and algebraic turbulence models. So, the general scope of turbulence modeling in COMSOL CFD is very good.

You can also simulate the large eddy simulations in the COMSOL CFD applications. Large eddies are very important in most engineering applications.

Multiphase flow and free surfaces are also in the scope of the COMSOL CFD software. Simulating multiphase flows such as in the steam turbines is also very common in energy production engineering.

7 – ABAQUS CFD Software

This is another important software that is one of the biggest rivals of ANSYS in the market. ABAQUS provides various kinds of FEA tools in continuum mechanics. Also, the CFD applications of ABAQUS are very common.

For a large range of CFD and engineering applications, ABAQUS provides various kinds of simulation capabilities. The simulations that involve steady state and transient applications are available in this computational fluid dynamics software. Also, you can easily compute the general turbulent and laminar flows in this software in an easy way.

Also, you can use the extensive properties of ABAQUS CFD software in the simulation of the different FSI problems that we generally deal with in the loss of engineering applications.

8 – Altair CFD

Altair is also a very important CFD tool that provides various kinds of useful applications in fluid dynamics. Also, you can make thermal analyses which are very important in building systems.

From gearbox oiling to medical devices, the different kinds of solvers can make different tasks in Altair CFD software. For example, if you want to make a general-purpose CFD analysis, you can use the Navier-Stokes solver tools of this module.

And also, for the free surface oiling and sloshing applications, it is possible to use the smoothed-particle hydrodynamics solver of this CFD software which is special for these applications. Furthermore, for aerodynamics and aeroacoustics applications, the Lattice Boltzmann Method solver will be very useful for engineers who are dealing with these kinds of things.

As you see above, Altair CFD solver software provides very good solving techniques for the different problems in the industry. So, with only one license, you can get the various kinds of multiple solvers in one package. Furthermore, the cloud system that Altair CFD provides will be very useful for data sharing between the workers of big engineering companies.

The GPU-based solution system of Altair CFD provides the best solution for the different kinds of applications in a more rapid and specific way. So, you do not need to bother yourself with the solution of complex systems in this software.

As we stated above, the aeroacoustics features are unique if we compare them with the other CFD modules. The acoustics analyses of the rotating systems such as fans and turbines of the different aircraft and airplane systems are possible in this module.

Also, you can make FSI analyses without any problem. Fluid-structure analysis systems are very important in terms of most engineering systems.

9 – Solidworks Flow Simulation

Most of all may know Solidworks as CAD software. But, Solidworks also provides a flow simulation solution for its users. You can make different kinds of flow simulations in Solidworks software without any problem.

With the Finite Volume Method, you can easily solve the fluid flow analyses in the Solidworks CFD module. And also, you can find different applications are tools for the HVAC applications in Solidworks CFD.

Furthermore, you can make electronics cooling in Solidworks CFD module without facing any problems.

If we give special examples of the flow simulation techniques about Solidworks; for example, the water cooling system design is a common pathing. Also, you can make aerodynamics analyses with this module without any problem.

10 – SimFlow CFD Software

This is our last and most popular CFD software available in the market. With the SimFlow CFD module, you can easily make CFD analyses with the interface of OpenFOAM. Most engineering companies are using SimFlow in their engineering systems and designs.

SimFlow is a very useful module in that you can use different kinds of fluid flow models. For example, you can use Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes equations for turbulence modeling. Also, you can use the plain Navier Stokes equations in general applications.

Engineering Fields That We Use CFD Software

There are various kinds of engineering applications that use CFD software. You can see the different applications above in the CFD software list. They are giving information about which fields you can use their software. Also, we will give general applications in that engineers can use computational fluid dynamics techniques.

HVAC Systems

CFD in HVAC(Image Source: Simscale).

You know that HVAC is the acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. So, heat transfer and temperature are very important in this case. And also, in the heating and air conditioning systems, we use a working fluid.

Think about an air conditioner system. We are taking the heat of the environment and giving this heat to the hotter outside environment. This is not valid with the first law of thermodynamics. But with giving some energy, we can do that. There is a working fluid inside these systems that change phases inside the different systems. So, conjugate heat transfer analysis of these systems in CFD software is very common.

Maybe, HVAC systems and the HVAC producers are using the CFD systems in the highest amount. Because all they are dealing with is heat and fluids only. Thermodynamics is also a very important discipline in the design of these systems.

Automotive Applications

In automotive applications, aerodynamics is of prime importance. Engineers are trying to obtain the minimum drag force due to the atmospheric air. So, they are designing automotive bodies that produce nearly zero aerodynamic drag. And the use of the CFD software is very common in the design of these systems.

Also, in the design of internal combustion engine systems, fluids have a very important place. For example, the design of fluid flow inside the engine cylinder which is an air-fuel mixture is very important in the combustion efficiency. So, there is a multi-phase fluid flow that interacts with the physical bodies. And the use of very high technology computational fluid dynamics tools is very important in these systems.

Cooling and cabin ventilation are among the other important activities in automotive applications. As in HVAC applications, cabin ventilation and engine cooling system requires the analyses of the free flow of the fluids.

As you see above, if you need to select a CFD software for automotive applications, you need to select the most developed and complex one. Because there are very different fluid flow applications in the automotive industry.

Aerospace Applications

Aerospace application in computational fluid dynamics.
CFD in a aerospace application(Image Source:

Like in the automotive applications, there are very complex fluid dynamics applications in the aerospace industry. The first one is aerodynamics. Engineers are designing the lowest plane bodies that have the minimum drag forces. Because, planes are moving at very high speed, the drag forces can be a problematic issue in a poor design. So, they are using CFD applications and modules in the design of the different body sections of planes.

Also, engine design is a very important topic in aerospace. Aerospace engines are generally working as gas turbines. In these systems, there are different kinds of fluid flows in different forms. For example, at the inlet of the compressor, the fluid is the atmospheric air. And at the inlet of the combustion chamber, is a high-pressure air-fuel mixture.

Also, the flow of this air-fuel mixture is calibrated in a good way to obtain efficient combustion again. After the combustion, the exit of the burnt gases through the turbine rotors and stators is the other important fluid flow mechanism. So, there are various kinds of different fluid flow mechanisms in these systems. We need to take special care of it.

As you see above, if you need to buy CFD software for aerospace applications, you need to look for a very professional one that includes fluid flow analyses for different kinds of phases, velocities, and applications. So, you will need a CFD module that includes all the important fluid flow models.

Electronic Cooling Applications

Electronics and battery systems are becoming more and more popular in today’s world. And also, if there is an electrical current through a system, there is an important heat rise in these systems. So, the design of the cooling systems requires very different analyses technique in CFD.

So, they are using systems that can model the electrical current of the electronic and electric systems. And they design a sufficient cooling system for these applications. As you understand that the use of the CFD software is very common in electronics and battery cooling systems.

Lubrication and Tribology

Lubrication and tribology is also very important engineering discipline that we use in the design of different kinds of engineering systems. For example in the design of the gear and gearbox systems, we need a very specific lubrication system to obtain an efficient and well-working system.

Lubrication oils are fluid systems and lubrication designs are dynamic systems. So in the design of these systems, the use of the CFD software is very common to simulate the lubrication action in the designed system.

Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems

You know that the hydraulic and pneumatic systems are the most common systems that we are using fluids. In hydraulic systems, we are using incompressible fluid to transfer the pressure to the other sections of the system. So, the design of the fluid systems is very important in hydraulic systems. Engineers are using computational fluid dynamics analyses in the design of hydraulic systems.

Also in the pneumatic systems, the use of compressible fluids is the general fluid system in them. So, engineers are also using the CFD modules and software to design pneumatic systems.

There are variıus kinds of parts of these systems such as pumps, compressors, hoses, pipes, and valves… Assessing the behavior of the fluids inside these systems is a very important thing to consider. So, CFD analyses are very important in the design of these systems.

Concluding Remarks on Computational Fluid Dynamics

These are the general points on the CFD software and computational fluid dynamics. If you have read this article, you made a very good start in this area. You know the general aspects of the general CFD software available in the market.

Also, there are different steps to make computational fluid dynamics in different kinds of software packages. These steps are pre-processing, meshing, and post-processing. In most fluid mechanics analyses, you generally follow these steps.

CFD software are using different kinds of solution methods such as Finite Element Volume and Finite Element Analysis. Selecting the proper one can be a hard topic for an engineer. But, always you need to know which technology and solution method you are using.

Also in fluid dynamics, there are different complex models to assess and calculate the different kinds of fluid flow models. They are used for different phases and types of fluids. For example, there are different kinds of models to model the turbulent fluid flows of different fluids. In the solution of the different kinds of fluid flow analyses, we are using different approaches such as compressible or incompressible, etc.

In the market, there are various kinds of CFD software are available with different capabilities. Not all the CFD software provides all the fluid flow analyses. It is better to know the general characteristics and general important features that CFD modules are giving to the customers.

Also in different kinds of engineering fields, we are using CFD modules to test and model the engineering systems such as automotive and aerospace. So, the use of areas of computational fluid dynamics is very common.

Finally, do not forget to leave your comments and questions below about this topic.

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FAQs About CFD Software

What is the most popular CFD software? 

As you see above, there are different kinds of CFD software available in the market. But the most popular one is probably the ANSYS CFD tools. Because it provides various kinds of fluid flow models with various kinds of solver techniques. Because of that, most engineering companies are preferring to use the ANSYS CFD.

What is CFD software? 

They are the extensive software packages that are modeling fluid flow engineering analyses. To see the results of the designed system that includes fluid flow, we are using the CFD software to assess the results and solutions. So, they provide a very good background without making any prototypes.

Is there any free CFD software?

Yes. The OpenFOAM CFD software is open-source software that you can freely use in the CFD applications that you have. So, you do not need to bother yourself with the malicious and illegal versions of the paid software. There is always an open-source solution.

What are the 3 stages of the CFD software?

The three stages of the CFD software are; pre-processing, processing, and post-processing. In pre-processing, we are building the CFD analysis. And in processing, we run the analysis and in post-processing, we evaluate the results.


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