A Complete Learning Path for CFD

Posted on 26 May 2022


With the advancement of computer science, Computational Fluid Dynamics or CFD had become the most popular topic in the past few decades. It covers a wide range of applications related to heat transfer, aerodynamics, turbulence, combustion, multiphase and many more. As it is very vast, it has become one of the top-notch research fields in the mechanical, biomedical, chemical and civil engineering domains. CFD is a combination of mathematics, physics and numerical analysis. So, it is essential to get in touch with these three while learning CFD. Most people, especially undergraduate students (I was there as well), think that only learning commercial software is all about CFD, thus, they start with Ansys/Comsol without any fundamental knowledge and end up with no understanding what’s behind the blackbox. Therefore, this article is written in such a way that one can start from the basics to the advance with an in-depth understanding of CFD. All these resources are open sourced and TOTALLY FREE.

So let’s start!

First and foremost, a basic knowledge of mathematics especially differential equations and engineering mathematics is necessary to grasp the fundamentals of Computational Fluid Dynamics.

Mathematics:
1. Differential Equations, Professor Leonard 
2. Engineering Mathematics, Dr. Steve Brunton

Before going into CFD, learning the fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics is a must, otherwise, many parameters will remain unknown. I am suggesting some playlists which I found beneficial in understanding the concepts and parameters.

Fluid Mechanics:
1. Fluid Mechanics I, Dr. John Biddle
2. Fluid Mechanics II, Dr. John Biddle
3. Fluid Mechanics, Dr. Roger H. Rangel
4. Fluid Mechanics, NPTELHRD
5. Fluid Mechanics and Compressible Flow, NPTELHRD
6. National committee of fluid mechanics films
However, if anyone wishes to learn Fluid Mechanics from books this blog could be useful. (Click here)
Like Fluid Mechanics, having basic understanding of Heat Transfer is necessary. While solving heat transfer related problems, different parameters of conduction, convection and radiation are used. Some suggested playlists are:

Heat Transfer:
1. Heat Transfer, Dr. John Biddle
2. Convective Heat Transfer, Dr. Josua Meyer
3. Heat and Mass Transfer, NPTELHRD 
4. Combustion, CEFRC

After getting the prior knowledge of mathematical and relevant physics, numerical analysis needs to be studied before jumping into the CFD. For the core CFD understanding “ME 702- Computational Fluid Dynamics, Lorena Barba” playlist and for the modern CFD solution techniques playlists of “Fluid Mechanics 101” would be very useful. All the basic, advanced and very advanced resources are given as follows:

Computational Fluid Dynamics:
1. Numerical Methods for Engineers
2. ME 702 – Computational Fluid Dynamics, Lorena Barba
3. Fluid Mechanics 101
     – Concepts 
     – Wall Functions and Wall Modelling
     – Meshing
     – Reynolds-Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS)
     – The Finite Volume Method in CFD
     – Solution Algorithms
     – Heat Transfer and Energy
     – Large Eddy Simulation
     – Residuals
     – Relaxation, Steady State Solution and Pseudo-Transients 
4. Aerospace – Introduction to CFD, Nptelhrd
5. Foundation of Computational Fluid Dynamics, NPTEL
6. Computational Fluid Dynamics for Incompressible Flows, NPTEL
7. Computational Fluid Dynamics – Prof. Suman Chakraborty
8. Computational Fluid Dynamics – Anirban Bhattacharya
9. Computational Fluid Dynamics, Jousef Murad
10. Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) – Prof. S. A. E. Miller, Ph.D.
11. CFD Course, QuickerSim Ltd
12. Create Software for Computational Fluid Dynamics
13. CFD Lectures
14. Ph.D. content

There are tons of commercial softwares available for solving problems of CFD, such as ANSYS, Comsol multiphysics, Simscale, Altair, Converge, Star CCM+, Flow 3D etc. Among them, ANSYS is widely used. It has several modules such as Fluent, CFX, Polyflow, Throughflow, Turbomachinery etc. The following suggested materials are only for learning Ansys. However, the learning resources can be found in the internet if anyone wishes to start with any other commercial software.

ANSYS:
1. A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations, edX
2. Ansys Innovation Courses, ANSYS
3. LearnCAx, ANSYS and STARCCM+
4. Ansys Fluent Course, abdouegy
5. ANSYS TUTORIALS FOR BEGINNERS, Ansys-Tutor 
6. ANSYS Fluent Tutorials, Ansys-Tutor
7. ANSYS Meshing Playlist, C. Nava
8. Ansys Meshing tutorial, hincapie Montoya
9. CFD Workflow & Best Practices for FSAE using ANSYS Fluent, LEAP Australia
10. Ansys Fluent Tutorial, Hatef Khaledi

Knowledge of computer programming and numerical analysis is important in dealing with CFD. I am suggesting some fundamental pathways to start programming preferably using Python, as it is very popular.

Programming:
1. CS50: Introduction to Computer Science
2. Python for Everybody – Full University Python Course
3. Learn Python – Full Course for Beginners
4. Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python
5. Python 3 Programming Specialization, Coursera

Moreover, some learning resources are suggested below where MATLAB is used to solve CFD problems.

MATLAB (CFD based):
1. MATLAB, Jousef Murad
2. An Introduction to CFD using MATLAB, Tanmay Agrawal
3. MATLAB Programming for Numerical Computation, NPTEL

For high performance computation, Linux is used in most of the labs. For a basic understanding of the interface, two playlists has been suggested to become comfortable with the OS.

Linux:
1. Ubuntu (Linux) Complete Beginner’s Guide, Linux TV
2. Linux Pro, Jozsef Nagy

OpenFOAM is a freely available open-source package which is becoming widely used in CFD and facilitates the development of custom-built open-source CFD NWT software for WSI problems. OpenFOAM contains a large number of models and parallelization options. Due to it’s flexibility and the free of cost it is widely used in industries and academia. The suggested tutorials are given here:

OpenFOAM:
1. Ghent University OpenFOAM course
2. OpenFOAM, foamDude
3. OpenFOAM Basic, Jozsef Nagy
4. OpenFOAM intermediate, Jozsef Nagy
5. OpenFOAM Multiphase VOF, Jozsef Nagy
6. OpenFOAM Bash, Theo Ong Science and Engineering
7. Introductory C++ for OpenFoam Users, Theo Ong Science and Engineering
8. OpenFOAM Heat Transfer, Theo Ong Science and Engineering
9. OpenFOAM Intermediate Videos, Theo Ong Science and Engineering
10. OpenFoam for Windows Newbie Guide, OpenFoam for Windows Newbie Guide
11. OpenFOAM userguide
12. OpenFOAM wiki

Data visualization is essential to represent the results of the physical problems. Most commercial softwares have built-in post processors to plot the results. However, Paraview and Tecplot are very convenient tools to represent the CFD result scientifically. Some tutorials are suggested below:

Paraview:
1. Paraview Video Tutorials, Cyprien Rusu
2. Advanced Scientific Visualization with ParaView, cscsch
3. Paraview Beginner Tutorial
4. Paraview, Cuneyt Ertal

Tecplot:
1. Tecplot, Mohammad Hadi Bagheri
2. Tecplot Tutorials, Genias Graphics

To conclude, I believe these materials are enough to understand CFD in depth. If you find this article helpful, please share it with the enthusiastic people who want to excel in their journey in the field of CFD.

Happy Learning!