Mechanical Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a tool that is commonly used in industry and academia. Engineers and scientists are sometimes apprehensive about the use of CFD due to inconsistencies and/or errors in results obtained with different software packages for the same flow cases. As a result, efforts are being made to ensure that there is uniformity among results of flow simulations produced by the computer programs. The current research makes a contribution to the verification of an open-source CFD toolbox known as OpenFOAM. In doing so, flow results for two benchmark flow cases obtained with OpenFOAM are compared with the results obtained with high-accuracy NASA CFD codes CFL3D and FUN3D. The benchmark cases are the zero pressure gradient boundary layer of flow over a flat plate and a two-dimensional bump in a channel. A number of flow profiles obtained with NASAs definitions of 'standard' versions of the Spalart-Allmaras, Shear Stress Transport, and k-\u03c9 turbulence models are compared with their CFL3D and FUN3D counterparts. A grid convergence study is performed to measure the change in the results as a function of element size, specifically for the finest meshes. The flows' mean velocity, skin friction coefficient, and turbulent variable profiles obtained with OpenFOAM are in agreement with NASA's profiles for both cases. The grid convergence studies show that the differences between OpenFOAM and NASA results are found to be of less than 5% for all variables on the finest meshes in both benchmark cases. OpenFOAM's capability to produce accurate results for the benchmark cases is confirmed.'


CFD Verification Turbulence OpenFOAM NASA

Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Poroseva, Svetlana V.

First Committee Member (Chair)

Poroseva, Svetlana V.

Second Committee Member

Truman, Charles R.

Third Committee Member

Vorobieff, Peter


National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Document Type