MSc/PhD course in CFD with OpenSource software, 2011

Basic information

The course homepage is

The course is open to master students at the two master programmes at Applied Mechanics (Solid and Fluid dynamics, and Vehicle Engineering), and PhD students enrolled anywhere. Anyone who doesn’t belong to any of those groups must pay a fee of SEK 10000 to cover the faculty financing we don’t get in that case.

Some notes for students at the master programmes Solid and Fluid dynamics, and Vehicle Engineering: You will take this course under course code TME205, which means that you will be graded U/3/4/5. It also means that you can not use that course code for any other course, or if you have already used that course code you can not take this course. Further, make sure that you will not register for more credits than the total credits of your programme (plan your coming courses and master thesis project!!!). We are not allowed to examine more credits than that, which would mean that you are not allowed to take the course. Slightly complicated, but those are rules set up by Chalmers, in accordance with decisions taken by the Swedish government. Talk to the student administration for more info. Please see the formal syllabus of TME205.

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. Getting closer to the start of the course I will ask for a verification (registration) that you will take the course for sure.

Prerequisites and preparations

·        Time: You should make sure that you have time to take the course. It is very intense the first three weeks, with two full days per week, and assignments for the next week. After that you have about four weeks to do a complete project, and then you should review the work by another student. You should spend at least 20h per week in average from start to end of the course. Don’t underestimate the work required!

·        Fluid Dynamics and CFD: You should have a background in Fluid Dynamics, and ideally some CFD experience and/or a course in CFD.

·        Project: You should be able to identify a suitable project that fulfils the requirements of this course, and that you are able to complete in the available time. It is beneficial if it is related to a project you are anyway doing, or planning to do (PhD project/Master project etc.), since it will be more useful to you and you will put more effort into it. We will of course discuss the project before you start doing it.

·        Linux: The course requires you to have a basic knowledge in Linux. In order to be able to follow the lectures, you should make sure that you understand and can use the basic Linux commands presented at the link below. You need to have that knowledge in order to follow already the first lecture.

·        Software: It is HIGHLY recommended that you make sure that you can run Linux and OpenFOAM from your own laptop. See instructions at the link below. We should have access to a computer lab with OpenFOAM installed, during the lectures and presentations, and you can try to find a seat there whenever it is not booked (or work from your FoDat computer if you have access to that, or remotely on one of our servers). On the other hand, you will gain more knowledge and freedom if you learn to install Linux and OpenFOAM yourself. We will not go through the installation procedures during the course, so you must do it before arriving.


Install Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, OpenFOAM-2.0.x, OpenFOAM-1.6-ext etc. on your own laptop

How to run OpenFOAM at Chalmers, physically or remotely

How to run OpenFOAM from a USB-stick

Miscellaneous tips and tricks (advanced raw information, mainly for myself)

Basic Linux commands


You can also use VirtualBox to install Linux and OpenFOAM in your current OS. It has been recommended to use the official version downloadable from the Sun web page,, and not the pre-packed open source version, because it supports all options in an easy way (e.g. the USB controllers).


The course gives an introduction to the use of OpenSource software for CFD applications. It has a strong focus on how to efficiently use the Linux operating system and different softwares that are useful for CFD (to the largest extent OpenFOAM, see the short description below), rather than having a focus on teaching the basics of CFD or fluid dynamics. A major project work in OpenFOAM 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 by the students, and the tutorials thus form a part of the course. The tutorials will be made available, as a contribution to the OpenFOAM community. To pass the course the student must do the project and peer-review a tutorial from another project. There will also be some compulsory minor tasks.

The students will learn on the following subjects:

Other software that may be of interest, but are not covered: salome, freecad, blender, engrid, cubit, visit

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 Preliminary Contents

§  Syllabus

§  Access to computers and OpenFOAM

§  Applications and case setup

§  paraFoam tutorial, Optional: Slides from OFW6 training, accompanying files

§  More solver, utility and library tutorials, and how to learn yourself

§  Case-study:
The ERCOFTAC Conical Diffuser Case-Study

§  Compulsory assignment to be handed in by September 4
A short Latex slides tutorial (see the tex file for how to code in LaTeX)
Some commands for the Latex slides tutorial (this should work on the student computers):

tar xzf slides_template.tgz
cd slides_template
latex slides_template #This will compile tex to dvi. Repeat when tex file has been changed.
xdvi -paper a4r slides_template & #This visualizes the dvi files. Updates when dvi changes.
dvipdf slides_template #This converts dvi to pdf
acroread slides_template.pdf #or use evince or xpdf

Note that it is not required that you use LaTeX, but it is a nice experience. The LaTeX template on the course homepage should work on the Chalmers computers. If you try on your own Ubuntu installation, there are probably some missing sty files. You can find those in the Chalmers computer system using:

locate <fileName>.sty

and copy to the same directory as the tex file, using:

scp <CID><fullPathToStyFile> .

Student contributions:

§  Selected by quality:
Christoffer Jarpner
Hamidreza Abedi
Martin Gramlich

§  The rest:
Ayyoob Zarmehri
Martin Andersen
Olof Penttinen
Qingming Liu
Rolf-Erik Keck
Sam Fredriksson
Sajjad Haider

§  Directory organization

§  High level programming in OpenFOAM

§  Implementation of an electromagnetic solver (By Margarita Sass-Tisovskaya)
The rodFoam solver
The rodFoamCase case

§  Add a scalar transport equation to icoFoam

§  Basics of C++, and how it is used in OpenFOAM

§  Basics of C++ continued

§  A look inside icoFoam

§  Copy and compile a turbulence model, and a deeper look at kOmegaSST (and kOmegaSSTF)
Code for kOmegaSSTF
Link to Pirooz’ licentiate thesis, and a description of turbulence models in OpenFOAM

§  Copy and compile a boundary condition, and a deeper look at parabolicInlet

§  A look at oscillatingFixedValue, to prepare for homework

§  Compulsory assignment to be handed in by 11/9!
Sparse guidelines for rampedFixedValue
Additional material:

§  Some lecture notes from the Fourth OpenFOAM Workshop
(find the part about implementing the rampedFixedValue BC. Please note that this description is for another version of OpenFOAM, so you should not modify the definitions of the constructors etc. Just see it as a general guidance on how to do it. Don’t copy/paste – it will not work!)

§  Debugging in three ways

§  Setting up a case from scratch with pyFoam

§  10:30-17:00: LPT and VOF with OpenFOAM, by Aurelia Vallier, slides, files, final code and case

§  8:00-14:30: Advanced mesh generation and OpenFOAM usage, by Olivier Petit, turbomachinery, mesh generation, files

§  Compulsory project work to be handed in by October 16!
Hand in intermediate version, including project description, September 28!!!
Example of project description
LaTeX report template (originated from Per Carlsson, 2008.
Compile the tex file with latex or pdflatex. NOTE: output directly to pdf!)
Report front page




§  Lixia Qu: Describe how divSchemes are implemented, how to do a modification to them, and compare results of laminar flow around a cylinder in cross-flow with some of them.

§  Rolf-Erik Keck: How to introduce proper turbulent fluctuations using source terms in a cross-section, for use with LES-type of modeling.

§  Sajjad Haider: A description of the Discrete Ordinates Radiation Model, and application to a 2D head lamp.


Student reports/tutorials

Here the final, peer-reviewed, student reports/tutorials are listed.

An additional tutorial, not peer-reviewed:

Project suggestions

Project suggestions may be listed here (or see the 2010 course), but you are encouraged to work in your own PhD/Master project, with a twist to make it appropriate in the current course.


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. Some useful references:

1.      C++ how to Program by Paul and Harvey Deitel, Current version is 8 but older versions will also work fine.

2.      Object Oriented Programming in C++ by Robert Lafore , 4th Edition

3.      C++ from the Beginning by Jan Skansholm (should be a very good book for a complete basic programming newbie.)

4.      Free on-line book on C-programming in Linux (I haven't checked it)

5.      C++ tutorial

6.      Free on-line text book in CFD (I haven't checked it)                  Accompanying exercise book

7.      Documents related to OpenFOAM, collected by Professor Hrvoje Jasak.

8.      Training at OFW6

Useful links

1.      Some small mesh generation tools

More information

See the homepages of the course given 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 for more information. The course for 2011 will develop from the one given in 2010. You can also contact me at

Master Thesis propositions

Fluid-structure interaction in stent-grafts after repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms
Modeling of Biomechanical Fluid-Solid Interaction: A pilot study applied on a cervical spinal ganglion
Free convection in power transformers, at ABB
Master Theses at Volvo Technology.


For those of you travelling to Chalmers, here are some suggested hotels:
SGS Veckobostäder - This is a student-apartment-like alternative (~10min walking)

Quality Hotel Panorama – This is located closest to Chalmers (~5min walking). Ask for special price since you are visiting Chalmers.


List of hotels close to Chalmers (ask for special price, for those in 1-3, since you are visiting Chalmers):

1.Normal standard:
City Hotel
Hotel Royal
Hotel Vasa AB
Hotel Flora AB
2. High standard:
Quality Hotel Panorama
Hotel Opalen
Hotell Liseberg Heden
Hotel Novotel
Grand Hotel Opera AB
Hotel Riverton AB
3. Very high standard:
Hotel Avalon
Elite Plaza Hotel
Cheap alternatives:
Youth Hostel Stigbergsliden
Hotel Nice B&B
5. Other:
Info from go:teborg&company
More hotels