Getting started with CFD

On this page

If you are embarking on a CFD project and have little experience I would highly recommend the resources on this page. Alternatively, if you have some CFD experience, but need a refresher, then this page will also be useful.

Introduction to CFD

The content of this page is based on the Coursera module Sports and Building Aerodynamics , and supplemented using resources found on this webpage. To get started, watch the first video of week 3 of the module on the Coursera webpage:


Turbulence is fundamental in the study of external flow. There are a number of ways to re-create turbulence in CFD ranging from highly accurate and expensive to low fidelity relatively cheap approaches.

Supplement the above video with an introduction of some widely used eddy-viscosity turbulence models used for ship hydrodynamics:

Boussinesq hypothesis

The Boussinesq hypothesis is a fundamental idea in turbulence models. The following video explains in detail Boussinesq hypothesis:

Note that the gradient diffusion assumption is only relevant where energy and temperature is modelled.

Discretisation errors

Discretisation errors are one of the main sources or error in any CFD simulation. The following video explains the basics of estimating discretisation error estimation using Richardson extrapolation:

Validation and verification

The following video gives a good overview of validation and verification practices.

Supplement this video with the following paper on uncertainty estimation for ship CFD:

You can also play around with some values using the Discretisation uncertainty app and use it predict the discretisation uncertainty of your simulation, whose documentation can be found here.

Near wall flow

Near wall modelling is of critical importance to predict the flow around any structure. The following video explains the differences, advantages and disadvantages of different modelling principles:

Supplement this video with the near wall modelling section of [this paper]. Your chosen methodology can be applied by using the Near wall grid set up app. That is to say, you do not need to work through the iterative process mentioned in the video above.