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Title: Thermo Fluid Dynamic Model Development using OpenFoam® - Part 1
Short Code: EVAOpenFoam1
ECTS Credits: 3
Organizer Details: Prof. Dr. Gernot Boiger,

Some exercises could be mandatory. Semester development project: self developed solver. Conclude by presentation of semester projects.

Decision Date: 1 September 2022 
Start Date: 16 September 2022 
End Date: 15 January 2023 
Date Details:

The module will be held in Winterthur (ZHAW, SoE) but otherwise like a “central module” during 14 weeks, 3 lessons per session in presence mode. MS Teams sessions can be appointed if required.

Exact dates will be appointed together with applying students. They could also (upon common decision) be compressed into blocks.


2 tutorial periods and 1 theory period per week. Generally: presence mode. MS Teams sessions can be appointed if required.



Description (max. 300 characters):

The objective of this module is to develop first, self written thermo-, fluid dynamic models under the open source C++ based, numerical simulation tool box OpenFoam®. The module does contain an introduction to the main features of OpenFoam®, but goes clearly beyond an introductory course such that not only the application of this extensive, community based, software package is taught, but also the basics for its extension and/or adaption to specific problems. In addition to this, useful theoretical background on numerics, meshing, thermo-, fluid dynamic modelling and the C++ programming language will be taught. This semester’s goal is to create your first, self-written OpenFoam® application (e.g.: solver, utility or boundary condition).

Contents and Learning Objectives:

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the course the student knows:

  • About the actual character of OpenFoam® in contrast to commercial CFD tools
  • How to apply OpenFoam® from meshing over pre-processing to post-processing (including the use of blockMesh, snappy hex Mesh, paraview, Matlab in combination)
  • The main features of OpenFoam® (e.g.: tutorial cases, solvers, utilities)
  • How to understand and/or find his/her way through the basic software structure (e.g.: Finding, using)
  • How to choose, modify, recompile and apply his/her first, self written OpenFoam® application (e.g.: solver, utility, boundary condition...)

Numerical background about the main solution algorithms within OpenFoam (e.g.: PISO, SIMPLE loop).


  • Basic structure of OpenFoam® simulation cases
  • Introduction to some OpenFoam® Standard solvers
  • Basic Meshing with blockMesh
  • Input-/Output files
  • Simulation control before/at runtime
  • Visualization & post processing using ParaView and Matlab;
  • Utility: „sample“ to determine quantitative values and field data profiles
  • Implementation of pre- and post- processing utilities
  • Basics of turbulence modelling
  • Applications: a.) icoFoam/cavity b.) Channel Flow c.) Karman – Eddies d) Heat Transfer & Radiation modelling e) Multi- Reference Frame (MRF) modelling (e.g.: Mixing, pump) g) Buoyant flow (Boussinesq-Approx.)
  • Introduction to “non-standard” OpenFoam® tools such as a) SWAK (=Swiss Army Knife) for FOAM to implement function based, flexible boundary conditions; b) Snappy Hex Mesh (Meshing Tool) 
  • “A walk through icoFoam”: Stepwise Analysis of the basic source code of one of the simplest OpenFoam® solvers (= laminar, transient, incompressible)
  • First, simple modification and re-compilation of icoFoam (tutorial case: Driven cavity) to extend it to your own „passiveScalarTransportFoam“ (=Implementation of Transport Equation);
  • Chose, plan, modify/program, recompile, apply and verify your first own “boundary condition”
  • „Update an older solver“: We will try to update the ancient “icoLagrangianFoam” (OF version 1.6) to the latest OF version; The solver is about particle tracking of simple, spherical hard ball particles within a transient, laminar, incompressible flow. A simple feature like that does not exist anymore as a stand alone piece of code in OF… but can be very useful. 
Admission: None.

OpenFoam® User guide:

OpenFoam® programmer’s guide:

  • Basic knowledge of CFD
  • Installed and working version of OpenFoam®
  • Interest in thermo- fluid dynamic modelling

Prof. Dr. Gernot Boiger ( , Prof. Dr. Dirk Wilhelm

Contact Person E-Mail:
Status: registration open
Specialization: Business Engineering and Production (BEP)

Energy and Environment (EE)

Industrial Technologies (InT)

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

Aviation (Avi)

Computer Science (CS)

Energy & Environment (EnEn)

Mechanical Engineering (ME)


[Responsible for this text: Boiger Gernot Kurt]