Applications: External Aerodynamics Course

This course introduces, and provides hands-on experience of, the approaches necessary to apply OpenFOAM to vehicle external aerodynamics simulation.

The course is suitable for engineers already familiar with OpenFOAM who seek to broaden their knowledge in external flow simulations. It is primarily directed towards the automotive industry but is also beneficial to other industries. We concentrate mainly on advanced meshing techniques with snappyHexMesh and workflow leading to RANS, uRANS and hybrid-turbulence simulation using DES. In the second half we concentrate on the best practices for parallelisation of the larger runs and methods to achieve and maintain good convergence.

Topics Covered

Geometry and meshing

  • Review of vehicle geometry, underhood, underbody, …
  • Wind tunnel setup
  • Comprehensive study of snappyHexMesh
  • Mesh structure, best practice for mesh sizes and distributions
  • How to treat multiple zones for fans and heat exchangers
  • Meshing in parallel

Case setup

  • Turbulence models: RANS, LES, DES, DDES
  • Heat exchanger and fan model setup
  • Field initialization and boundary conditions
  • Best practice for selecting models and setting parameters
  • Set up on-the-fly post-processing to calculate drag and lift coefficients
  • Solution monitoring and control
  • Running in parallel; steady state and transient

Post-processing using ParaView

  • Flow field interrogation
  • Cp, total pressure and Cp total calculation
  • Component drag contribution such as heat exchangers
  • Drag development plot along the vehicle
  • Iso-surface of total pressure zero
  • Creating animations for transient simulation

Course details


The language used in all OpenFOAM courses is English. Translations or delivery in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages are available on request.

Course times

The course is 1 day in duration and usually runs from 09.00 to 17.30 (local time).

Target audience

This course is suitable for new and existing users seeking to gain confidence in performing simulations of vehicle external aerodynamics.


Prior knowledge of OpenFOAM, C++, Linux via the Foundation course is beneficial.