Compressible flow over airfoil


The content of this tutorial is not up to date with the current live version of SimScale. The tutorial setup and the results are still valid! Please do not get confused if styles like buttons and entity names have changed in the meantime.

This tutorial leads you through the external aerodynamic simulation of an airfoil.

Tutorial Link:

Import tutorial case into workspace


1) Import tutorial project

  • To start this tutorial, you have to import the tutorial project into your ‘Dashboard’ via the link above.
  • In the workbench, you will be in the ‘Mesh Creator’ tab. The tutorial project already contains the mesh, so the tutorial starts with creating a new simulation set-up for compressible flow. (For reference: The Tutorial also has a complete simulation setup with a finished run)
Mesh creator

The mesh displayed in the viewer

2) Create a simulation

  • Change to the ‘Simulation Designer’ tab and click on ‘New simulation’ Enter a name for the simulation and click ‘OK’
  • select the Analysis type Fluid dynamics on the left and choose Compressible
  • Set the turbulence model to laminar and choose transient and Save your changes
  • Note: The info page on the right will show you some basic info about the analysis type. It also states that this simulation will be carried out with the OPENFOAM® solver rhoPimpleFoam.
Choosing the analysis type

Choosing the analysis type

  • Next, in the tree in the navigator pane, select Domain and assign the uploaded mesh and ‘save’
Mesh assignment

Mesh assignment to simulation

Material selection and assignment

  • Next, in the navigation tree, select Material and ‘Add material’ from options panel.
  • Click on ‘Add meterial from library’ button at the bottom to open the material library.
  • Select ‘Air’ and save.
Select material

Select fluid material for simulation

  • Then, select the volume domain from ‘Topological Mapping’ window list and ‘save’.
Assign material

Assign the fluid material to the volume domain.

Initial conditions

  • In the tree, select Initial Conditions
  • Apply the initial conditions according to the following table:
Variable Value Unit
pressure 1e5 Pa
velocity (x, y, z) (30, 0, 0) \(\frac{m}{s}\)
temperature 293 K
dynamic viscosity 0 \(\frac{kg}{sm}\)

Boundary conditions

  • In the tree, select Boundary Conditions
  • Click on Add boundary condition
  • In the Settings panel you can choose a boundary condition type and assign parts of the mesh.
  • Choose the type Velocity inlet , specify the shown value and assign the faces ‘inlet’ by selecting it and saving.
Assign inlet boundary condition

Assign the inlet boundary condition.

  • Create all other boundary conditions as shown in following figures:
  • Pressure Outlet
Assign outlet boundary condition

Assign the pressure outlet boundary condition.

  • Symmetry
Assign symmetry boundary condition

Assign the symmetry boundary condition.

  • 2D Empty
Assign 2D boundary condition

Assign the 2D boundary condition.

  • Wall
Assign wall boundary condition

Assign the Wall boundary condition.


  • Setup the Properties as shown in figure. Keep the Solver settings as default.
set the numerics

Setup numerical properties.

  • Keep the Schemes to default values as shown.
set the numerics

Setup numerical schemes.

Simulation Control

  • We will run the simulation on 8 cores, with a timestep length of 0.00005 s and End time value of 0.07 s.
  • Set ‘Write control’ to time step with value of 200 for the results to be written.
Simulation control

Setup the simulation control.

Create a New Run

  • Select Simulation Runs in the tree and click on New simulation run. This may take a few seconds.
create run
  • After the run is shown in the tree, click on the run. You will see a summary page with the most important information about the run. Now push the Start button on the bottom of the information page.
start a run

Starting a run

  • You will be informed about the progress in the Job Status area in the lower left corner of the screen.

3) Post processing

  • After the run has been finished, you will see the convergence plots.
Run finished
  • Now go the the Post-Processor tab and click on Solution fields of the run. Goto last saved results and select ‘velocity’ field.

post processing results

  • Note: Depending on your internet connection it may take a while to load the post processor. If your browser displays a warning that a “script has become unresponsive” please click on Wait.


This offering is not approved or endorsed by OpenCFD Limited, producer and distributor of the OpenFOAM software and owner of the OPENFOAM® and OpenCFD® trade marks. OPENFOAM® is a registered trade mark of OpenCFD Limited, producer and distributor of the OpenFOAM software.