Computational Fluid Dynamics Software (CFD) Information

CFD softwareComputational fluid dynamics (CFD) software is used to calculate flow parameters for fluids and in the design and simulation of fluidics.


CFD software is an important part of building and analyzing a flow model.

  • The first step in flow model construction is pre-processing, which involves the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software to design the model.
  • The model is then overlaid with a mesh (grid work frame) so that statistical data about the fluid can be entered. Typically, this statistical data includes fluid viscosity, temperature, and volume. CFD software is also used to simulate fluid mechanics.
  • By entering the data required to build a model, mathematical computations are applied with programmed algorithms to arrive at the likely direction and movement of a fluid when acted upon by some outside force.

CFD software uses Navier-Stokes equations, differential notations that govern the motion of fluids. Finite element methods are also used for statistical modeling in CFD software. This methodology computes movement through fluidic systems using numerical methods called finite difference. Numerical computations are performed by using programming languages such as FORTRAN, C, and BASIC.


Some types of CFD software use finite volume computation instead of finite differences. The finite volume method calculates fluid dynamics by solving differential equations using variables averaged across the volume of a fluid. Because of these averages, CFD software does not require modeling using a structured or constant mesh, and boundaries of the fluid do not need to be applied in an invasive fashion. This permits users of CFD software to focus on an analysis of the results rather than on the tedious process of creating the model from the entry of many complex data sets.

Suppliers of CFD software provide many different types of products. The most important factors to consider include:

  • cost
  • automatic mesh generation
  • fluid-flow regimes
  • CAD integration
  • mathematical formulation

Related Information

CR4 Community—CFD Software—What Is Everyone Using?

CR4 Community—Fluid Dynamics

CR4 Community—CFD Analysis of Two Phase Flow

Engineering360—What to Look For in a Thermal Design Solution

Image credit:

Novel Concepts Inc / CC BY-SA 3.0


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