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OpenFOAM is a free, open source CFD software package.


OpenFOAM is a free, open source CFD software package developed by OpenCFD Ltd at ESI Group and distributed by the OpenFOAM Foundation. It has a large user base across most areas of engineering and science from both commercial and academic organizations.

Installed Version

Currently, several versions are available compiled by GCC/ICC compilers in single/double precision with several versions of OpenMPI.

The naming convention of the installed versions is:


  • VERSION - version of openfoam
  • COMPILER - version of used compiler
  • openmpiVERSION - version of used openmpi/impi
  • PRECISION - DP/SP – double/single precision

Example of the available OpenFOAM modules syntax is openfoam/2.2.1-icc-openmpi1.6.5-DP

This means OpenFOAM version 2.2.1 compiled by the ICC compiler with openmpi1.6.5 in double precision.

Available OpenFOAM Modules

To check the available modules, use:

$ ml av

In /opt/modules/modulefiles/engineering, you can see the installed engineering softwares:

    ------------------------------------ /opt/modules/modulefiles/engineering -------------------------------------------------------------
    ansys/14.5.x               matlab/R2013a-COM                                openfoam/2.2.1-icc-impi4.1.1.036-DP
    comsol/43b-COM             matlab/R2013a-EDU                                openfoam/2.2.1-icc-openmpi1.6.5-DP
    comsol/43b-EDU             openfoam/2.2.1-gcc481-openmpi1.6.5-DP            paraview/4.0.1-gcc481-bullxmpi1.2.4.1-osmesa10.0
    lsdyna/7.x.x               openfoam/2.2.1-gcc481-openmpi1.6.5-SP

For information on how to use modules, look here.

Getting Started

To create OpenFOAM environment, use the commands:

$ ml openfoam
$ source $FOAM_BASHRC


Load the correct module with your requirements “compiler - GCC/ICC, precision - DP/SP”.

Create a project directory within the $HOME/OpenFOAM directory named <USER>-<OFversion> and create a directory named run within it:

$ mkdir -p $FOAM_RUN

The project directory is now available by typing:

$ cd /home/<USER>/OpenFOAM/<USER>-<OFversion>/run

<OFversion> - for example 2.2.1


$ cd $FOAM_RUN

Copy the tutorial examples directory in the OpenFOAM distribution to the run directory:


Now you can run the first case, for example incompressible laminar flow in a cavity.

Running Serial Applications

Create a Bash script:


ml openfoam/2.2.1-icc-openmpi1.6.5-DP

# source to run functions
. $WM_PROJECT_DIR/bin/tools/RunFunctions

cd $FOAM_RUN/tutorials/incompressible/icoFoam/cavity

runApplication blockMesh
runApplication icoFoam

Job submission (example for Karolina):

$ qsub -A OPEN-0-0 -q qprod -l select=1:ncpus=128,walltime=03:00:00

For information about job submission, look here.

Running Applications in Parallel

Run the second case, for example external incompressible turbulent flow - case - motorBike.

First we must run the serial application bockMesh and decomposePar for preparation of parallel computation.


Create a Bash scrip:


ml openfoam/2.2.1-icc-openmpi1.6.5-DP

# source to run functions
. $WM_PROJECT_DIR/bin/tools/RunFunctions

cd $FOAM_RUN/tutorials/incompressible/simpleFoam/motorBike

runApplication blockMesh
runApplication decomposePar

Job submission

$ qsub -A OPEN-0-0 -q qprod -l select=1:ncpus=16,walltime=03:00:00

This job creates a simple block mesh and domain decomposition. Check your decomposition and submit parallel computation:


Create a testParallel.pbs PBS script:

#PBS -N motorBike
#PBS -l select=2:ncpus=16
#PBS -l walltime=01:00:00
#PBS -q qprod
#PBS -A OPEN-0-0

ml openfoam/2.2.1-icc-openmpi1.6.5-DP

cd $FOAM_RUN/tutorials/incompressible/simpleFoam/motorBike

nproc = 32

mpirun -hostfile ${PBS_NODEFILE} -np $nproc snappyHexMesh -overwrite -parallel | tee snappyHexMesh.log

mpirun -hostfile ${PBS_NODEFILE} -np $nproc potentialFoam -noFunctionObject-writep -parallel | tee potentialFoam.log

mpirun -hostfile ${PBS_NODEFILE} -np $nproc simpleFoam -parallel | tee simpleFoam.log

nproc – the number of subdomains

Job submission

$ qsub testParallel.pbs

Compile Your Own Solver

Initialize the OpenFOAM environment before compiling your solver:

$ ml openfoam/2.2.1-icc-openmpi1.6.5-DP
$ source $FOAM_BASHRC
$ cd $FOAM_RUN/

Create the applications/solvers directory in the user directory:

$ mkdir -p applications/solvers
$ cd applications/solvers

Copy icoFoam solver’s source files:

$ cp -r $FOAM_SOLVERS/incompressible/icoFoam/ My_icoFoam
$ cd My_icoFoam

Rename icoFoam.C to My_icoFOAM.C:

$ mv icoFoam.C My_icoFoam.C

Edit the files file in the Make directory:

    EXE = $(FOAM_APPBIN)/icoFoam

and change to:

    EXE = $(FOAM_USER_APPBIN)/My_icoFoam

In the My_icoFoam directory, use the compilation command:

$ wmake