Tutorial: Compressible flow over airfoil

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

Tutorial Link:

Import tutorial case into workbench


Import tutorial project

  • To start this tutorial import the tutorial project into your ‘Dashboard’ via the link above.
  • For convenience the mesh has already been created and would be loaded into the viewer as shown below
  • You can interact with the mesh as in a normal desktop application
Mesh displayed in the viewer

Create a simulation

  • To create a new simulation click on the ‘+’ option next to the ‘Simulations’ tab
  • Select the Compressible Flow Analysis type and click ‘Ok’
  • After clicking ‘Ok’, a new tree will be automatically generated in the left panel with all the parameters and settings that are necessary to completely specify such an analysis.
  • All parts that are completed are highlighted with a green check. Parts that need to be specified have a red circle. While, the blue circle indicates an optional settings that does not need to be filled out
  • Set the turbulence model to laminar and choose transient as shown below
Selecting the analysis type
Simulation properties
  • Next, in the tree in the navigator pane, select Domain and assign the uploaded mesh and ‘save’
Mesh assigned to the domain

Material selection and assignment

  • Next, add the materials from the ‘Material Library’ for fluid and the solid phases. First, we start with clicking on sub-tree “Materials”, click on ‘+’ from the options panel as shown.
  • This pops-up a ‘Material Library’ from which we select “Air” and click on ‘Ok’. This will then automatically load the standard properties for air.
  • Then, select the volume domain and save.
Selecting the Material
Assign the material to the volume

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) ms



temperature 293 K
Turbulent dynamic viscosity 0 kgsm



Boundary conditions

Now, we come to define the boundary conditions.

  • To create a boundary condition, click on the ‘+’ option next to the Boundary conditions and select the required boundary condition from drop down menu, as shown in figure.
Creating a new boundary condition
  • For the Inlet select the ‘Velocity Inlet’ boundary condition, specify the values shown in the figure below, assign inlet faces for this boundary condition and click on save.
Velocity Inlet
  • Add other boundary conditions as shown in figures below
  • Pressure Outlet
Pressure Outlet
  • Symmetry
Symmetry boundary condition
  • 2D Empty
2D Empty boundary condition
  • Wall
Wall boundary condition


  • Setup the Properties as shown in figure. Keep the Solver settings as default.
  • Keep the Schemes to default values as shown.

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.
Setup the simulation control
Setup the simulation control

Start a simulation run

  • The last thing to do for running this simulation is to create a run.
  • The new run is created by clicking on the ‘+’ symbol next to ‘Simulation Runs’
  • Give a name to the run and start the run
Creating a new run

 Post processing

  • After the run has been finished, you will see the convergence plots.
Convergence Plots
  • Select the ‘Solution fields’ under the Run to post process the results on the platform. Or they can be downloaded and post-processed locally (e.g. with ParaView)
  • Select the results and click “All Velocity[node]” to visualize Velocity Profile.
Velocity Distribution around the airfoil