[Table of Contents][Index][Version 4 | Version 3]

Chapter 1 Introduction

This guide accompanies the release of version 4.0 of the Open Source Field Operation and Manipulation (OpenFOAM) C++ libraries. It provides a description of the basic operation of OpenFOAM, first through a set of tutorial exercises in chapter 2 and later by a more detailed description of the individual components that make up OpenFOAM.

OpenFOAM is first and foremost a C++ library, used primarily to create executables, known as applications. The applications fall into two categories: solvers, that are each designed to solve a specific problem in continuum mechanics; and utilities, that are designed to perform tasks that involve data manipulation. The OpenFOAM distribution contains numerous solvers and utilities covering a wide range of problems, as described in chapter 3.

One of the strengths of OpenFOAM is that new solvers and utilities can be created by its users with some pre-requisite knowledge of the underlying method, physics and programming techniques involved.

OpenFOAM is supplied with pre- and post-processing environments. The interface to the pre- and post-processing are themselves OpenFOAM utilities, thereby ensuring consistent data handling across all environments. The overall structure of OpenFOAM is shown in Figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1: Overview of OpenFOAM structure. 

The pre-processing and running of OpenFOAM cases is described in chapter 4. In chapter 5, we cover both the generation of meshes using the mesh generator supplied with OpenFOAM and conversion of mesh data generated by third-party products. Post-processing is described in chapter 6 and some aspects of physical modelling, e.g.  transport and thermophysical modelling, are described in in chapter 7.

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