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The benefits of open source CFD software

March 29, 2023 Comments Off on 2023 CFD Technology Trends Views: 1168 CFD, Research and Development

2023 CFD Technology Trends

The landscape of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software has changed dramatically over the last few decades. In the past, CFD was expensive, CPU-hungry proprietary software that required comprehensive training to be used effectively. This restricted the use of CFD to large organisations that had the resources to fully fund and integrate this type of software.

Nowadays, however, high-performance computing, open-source licensing models and the cloud have made CFD much more accessible. Companies can scale their simulations and run multiple cases simultaneously on unlimited cores at a much lower price. At the same time, advances in solver capabilities, turbulence models and automatic meshing have made CFD results more robust and accurate.

This shift in versatility has allowed CFD to be adopted by many more companies and industries. A recent report estimated that the global market of CFD in 2022 was $2 billion, which is set to grow by 8.3%, reaching $3.8 billion in 2030. In comparison, the market for cloud-based CFD will grow by 9.4% and be worth $2.4 billion in 2030 [1].

As more companies continue to exploit the capabilities of CFD, the potential applications of this software are increasing exponentially. CFD is now used to analyse the flow of blood through the heart, design more effective ventilation systems and even optimise the launch systems of rocket boosters.

Research Details

To better understand how organisations are currently utilising CFD, ENGYS decided to conduct a survey on the CFD technology trends in the global industry. The survey consisted of 15 questions and was sent out to a variety of engineering organisations and promoted on social media. The survey was answered by 104 professionals from over 12 industries, including Healthcare, Defence, Aerospace, Automotive, Energy, Marine and Chemical.

In which sector do you currently work?

Coloured pie chart showing the different proportions of respondents who work in each industry
Figure 1: The industry sectors survey respondents currently work in

Current Usage of CFD Simulation Tools

Around 90% of survey respondents work for organisations that use CFD in some capacity, with the majority of those organisations managing their CFD processes in-house. Interestingly, only 5% outsource all their CFD practices, highlighting how accessible and usable CFD software has become.


How does your organisation manage CFD simulations?

Coloured bar chart showing how the organisations respondents work for manage CFD simulations
Figure 2: How organisations manage CFD simulations

As more companies buy into the value CFD can bring to their industry, the demand for higher complexity and faster runtimes has continued to increase. This requires more cores, which is expensive with the conventional closed-source software license models. Furthermore, if companies want to run multiple cases at the same time with the traditional closed-source CFD software, they have to purchase additional licenses, escalating costs further. 

This has prompted a shift towards open-source CFD software, allowing companies to run cases simultaneously on unlimited cores at much lower costs. The popularity of open-source CFD was reflected in survey responses, with 50% of the professionals using OpenFOAM in their organization.

The next most popular platforms were proprietary closed-source software’s ANSYS Fluent and STAR CCM+, while the second most popular open source software was ENGYS’s HELYX which is used by 26% of respondents.

Which CFD software is your organisation currently using?

Coloured bar chart showing the different CFD software respondents use
Figure 3: The different CFD software used by respondents