Utilize OpenFOAM for resolving Computational Fluid Dynamics issues

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Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) holds significant importance at the intersection of Engineering, Physics, and Computer Science. Mastery of CFD involves experience and unlocks numerous opportunities across various fields, from Environmental Engineering to Aerospace and Biosciences. This article aims to present a condensed overview of OpenFOAM sourced from existing open-access materials, shedding light on fundamental aspects essential for potential administrators.

1. Installation of OpenFOAM

Deploying OpenFOAM-2312 on Fedora Workstation 40 (3cpu, 4g) through Virtual Machine Manager is the current focus. The provided command snippets are specific to these versions:

user@fedora:~$ sudo dnf copr enable -y openfoam/openfoam
user@fedora:~$ sudo dnf install -y openfoam-default paraview setools-console
user@fedora:~$ rpm -ql openfoam
user@fedora:~$ ls -la /usr/lib/openfoam/openfoam/
drwxr-xr-x. 1 root root 58 Feb 7 21:36 applications
drwxr-xr-x. 1 root root 796 Feb 7 21:35 bin
drwxr-xr-x. 1 root root 224 Feb 7 21:35 etc
drwxr-xr-x. 1 root root 1170 Feb 7 21:36 src
drwxr-xr-x. 1 root root 462 Feb 7 21:35 tutorials

The default installation package includes compiled binaries, documentation, and the tutorials folder. The primary solvers and tools source code used in tutorials are situated in the applications directory. The src folder contains the core cpp libraries. As permissions are set to rwxr-xr-x (755), accessing openfoam should be feasible for a rootless user.

/usr/bin/openfoam serves as a shell script rather than a binary, facilitating the loading of a session with essential environment variables and prerequisites like Lua modules. By creating a rootless user named “ofuser” with openfoam as the default shell, smoother functionality can be ensured.

2. Simulations

Partial Differential Equations play a crucial role in simulating natural occurrences, with numerical methods offering computational solutions. The Finite Volume Element method, leveraged by OpenFOAM, is instrumental in addressing thermodynamic and fluid dynamics issues. The discretized geometry, known as a mesh, comprises surface or volume elements. While the surface elements approximate stress concerns, OpenFOAM’s strength lies in utilizing the Finite Volume Element method for fluid dynamics and thermodynamic predicaments.

Contention also arises around the different solvers available in OpenFOAM versions. The case structure involves folders like 0.orig, constant, and systems, each with specific purposes in defining and solving problems. Various files like FoamFile, fvSchemes, and fvSolution cater to different needs within the case structure.

In addition, the mesh creation process is governed by the system/blockMeshDict file, defining the problem’s geometry. Special tools like fluentMeshToFoam and ansysToFoam are crucial for converting and enhancing geometries obtained from CAD programs like FreeCAD and Blender for OpenFOAM meshes.

3. HPC (High-Performance Computing) Considerations

Efficient execution of processes like laplacianFoam necessitates robust infrastructure adherence. High Performance Computing centers rely on workload managers such as Slurm, mirroring Linux environments closely. Deploying processes across numerous bare metal nodes requires meticulous attention to LDAP integration, filesystem mounts, network configuration, security protocols, and zero-trust access patterns.

Open MPI library is integral for distributed parallel computations in HPC environments, enhancing processing speeds through TCP or RDMA communications. Effective handling of I/O operations, particularly in scenarios like OpenFOAM’s periodic write operations, is vital. Deliberate steps must be taken to address I/O bottlenecks, especially in parallel filesystem operations.


SELinux mechanisms ensure stringent control over system access, necessitating precise labeling and permissions. System directories like homedirs and socket communications require meticulous SELinux handling to maintain robust security. As processes interact within distinct contexts, SELinux aids in enforcing requisite access limitations.

Future Steps

Diving into the OpenFOAM-2312 UserGuide and related resources can further enrich one’s understanding of this intricate software. Consulting diverse documentation sources and engaging with informative courses can enhance proficiency in navigating and leveraging OpenFOAM’s capabilities effectively.


The setup and exploration of OpenFOAM on Fedora Linux denote a significant step towards tackling intricate engineering challenges. Acquiring deep-rooted understanding and familiarity with OpenFOAM’s operational facets empower users to engage adeptly in system administration tasks and maintenance endeavors, bolstering their problem-solving acumen.

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