Reputable Vendors of CFD Solvers
If you decide to look at commercial CFD solvers for your business, then the next question is: which vendors should you consider. There are quite a few of them out there, and a vast array of products. The purpose of this page is to get you started in the process by listing a few vendors, along with short discussions of their various product offerings.
The following is a very incomplete list of commercial providers of CFD codes. While I haven't personally used any of these codes for
, I know a lot of people who have, and in many cases I know some of the developers of the software. So, while I believe the information here is accurate, by all means
do your own research before buying
ANSYS, Inc. Between their Fluent and CFX solvers, ANSYS controls something like half of the commercial CFD market.. Both of the solvers come as integrated packages with grid generation and post-processing. CFX is now integrated into the ANSYS Workbench, which allows you to take advantage of its vast structural analysis capability as well. By reputation, CFX has traditionally been focused on turbomachinery applications, while Fluent is seen as a more general code.
While I have not heard Fluent being described as the "best" solver very often, it is an extremely versatile code that has probably been applied with success to more classes of flow than any other. Likewise, the grid generation and post-processing applications are not, by themselves, necessarily best-of-class. Fluent's great strength is that they provide reasonably powerful tools in a tightly integrated package. This allows engineers in a wide variety of industries who are not "CFD practitioners" per se to run a CFD analysis of the problems relevant to them.
CD-Adapco. With Star-CD and Star-CCM+, CD-Adapco offers a fairly comprehensive CFD capability. As with ANSYS, these solvers come packaged with pre- and post-processors which provide everything a user needs to go from the raw CAD geometry to a final flow analysis and visualization. The CFD solvers themselves are, by all accounts, quite capable, and I understand that the CAD modules are pretty good as well. In addition to being applicable to a wide range of steady-state problems, Star-CD is touting their code's ability to compute unsteady effects as well. On top of that, the recent update of Star-CD has added significant multi-physics capabilities. By putting all this capability in a single application environment, CD-Adapco can provide clients in a very broad range of industries with a very compelling CFD solution.
Aerosoft, Inc. The GASP solver is the primary claim-to-fame of Aerosoft. Most of the applications of GASP that I'm aware of have been in the area of rocket combustion, but that does not mean it can't be used for other things. In its areas of strength GASP has had great success, and almost all the people I have known who have used it had good things to say about the code. Aerosoft also makes the GUST unstructured (mesh) CFD solver, which comes with grid generation software.
Cobalt Solutions, LLC. This company develops the Cobalt code, which is another extremely capable unstructured CFD solver. This code evolved from a project at the Air Force Research Laboratory. The government version of this code still exists (and is called AVUS), but the bulk of the development team left AFRL to form Cobalt Solutions. While the Cobalt code is an excellent general purpose solver, it has seen particular success in unsteady applications, with a lot of groundbreaking work with Detached Eddy Simulation methodologies being done with it.
Metacomp Technologies. In CFD circles, Sukamar Chakravarthy is about as highly regarded as they come, and his company has a similarly good reputation. With the addition of a grid generation tool (MIME), they are now close to being able to provide a complete turnkey CFD solution (like Fluent and Star-CD). The CFD++ solver itself is an extremely capable code. I know of one very large aerospace company which chose CFD++ after comparing it to a variety of competitors--both in-house codes and other commercial solvers. They have been using it happily ever since.
There are many other purveyors of fine CFD solvers. For example, I am acquainted with people who work for or use the software from CFDRC (CFD Research Corporation), AVL, and Numeca International. I hope to add thumbnail sketches of these and other vendors to this page as time permits.
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learn more about non-commercial CFD solvers
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