PhD course in CFD with OpenSource software, 2009

Students 2009

These students were the ones left to the end of the final presentation day. Click to enlarge.
Standing, left to right:
Junfeng Yang, Jelena Andric, Chen Huang, Arash Eslamdoost, Håkan Nilsson (teacher), Alexey Vdovin, Karl Jacob Maus, Niklas Järvstråt, Jan Potac
Sitting, left to right:
Aurelia Vallier, Piero Iudiciani
Missing (of those who presented):
Andreu Olivier Gonzales, Mikael Jönsson

Basic information

Final registration is 1st September 2009.

The course homepage is

If you are interested in taking the course you should contact me at so that I can maintain an e-mail list that will be used for further information until the course starts.


You should have a background in Fluid Dynamics, and ideally some CFD experience and/or a course in CFD. The course contains a lot of Linux and C++ programming. In order to be able to follow the lectures, you should make sure that you understand and can use the basic Linux commands presented here


The course gives an introduction to the use of OpenSource software for CFD applications. A major project work in OpenFOAM (see the short description below) forms a large part of the course. The project may be defined according to the student's special interests. The result of the project should be a detailed tutorial for a specific application or library of OpenFOAM. The tutorials will be peer-reviewed and graded by the students, and the tutorials thus form a part of the course. The tutorials will be made available as OpenSource, as a contribution to the OpenFOAM community. To pass the course the student must do the project and peer-review the tutorials from the other projects. There will also be some compulsory minor tasks.

The students will learn on the following subjects:

OpenFOAM (Open Field Operation and Manipulation, is developed and distributed by OpenCFD ( OpenFOAM is an object oriented C++ toolbox for solving various systems of partial differential equations using the finite volume method on arbitrary control volume shapes and configurations. It includes preprocessing (grid generator, converters, manipulators, case setup), postprocessing (using OpenSource Paraview), and many specialized CFD solvers are implemented. The features in OpenFOAM are comparable to what is available in the major commercial CFD codes. Some of the more specialized features that are included in OpenFOAM are: sliding grid, moving meshes, two-phase flow (Langrange, VOF, Euler-Euler) and fluid-structure interaction. The strength of OpenFOAM is however the object-oriented approach to generating specialized solvers, utilities and libraries, using a flexible set of C++ modules. OpenFOAM runs in parallel using automatic/manual domain decomposition, and the parallelism is integrated at a low level so that solvers can generally be developed without the need for any parallel-specific coding. Due to the distribution as an OpenSource code it is possible to gain control over the exact implementations of different features, which is essential in research work. It also makes development and tailoring of the code for the specific application possible. In addition to the source code, OpenFOAM gives access to an international community of OpenFOAM researchers through the discussion board at the OpenFOAM home page.

Schedule and Contents

Project suggestions

(Most of these topics have been discussed a lot in the forum, so it should be possible to find all the answers there)


There is no requirement to buy any book. You have to find the information you need to solve your project and the tasks.

The C++ part of the course is based on C++ Direkt, by Jan Skansholm, Studentlitteratur, which is in Swedish. Any introductory C++ book should be fine. Anyone who is doing CFD is recommended to have the introductory book on CFD by Versteeg and Malalasekera. Another useful book is J.H. Ferziger and M. Peric Computational Methods for Fluid Dynamics 3rd ed. Springer 2002. There is also a lot to find on the Internet, for example:

More information

See the homepages of the course given 2007 and 2008 for more information. The course for 2009 will develop from the one given in 2008. You can also contact me at

Master Thesis propositions

The Dellenback OpenFOAM case-study (talk to Håkan)
The ERCOFTAC centrifugal pump (no longer available)
Whiplash with FEM and CFD (OpenFOAM) (no longer available)
Fluid-structure interaction in stent grafts
Vigor - wave power
Husqvarna_AB (no longer available)
Master Theses at Volvo Technology.