What is Computational Fluid Dynamics?

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is used in the simulation of Fluid flow (Gas, Liquids, Compressible & Incompressible Fluid) and also Thermal Flow. CFD similar to FEA uses numerical methods and algorithms to solve engineering problems.

Figure 1 – Heat Sink Convection Simulation


The Navier-Stoke equations, a set of non-linear Partial Differential Equations (PDE), are the basic governing equations that describes the flow of fluids. As the Navier-Stoke equations cannot be solved analytically for most engineering fluid problems, several CFD methods are used to discretize those equations and approximate a solution for the flow problem.


Figure 2 Navier Stroke Equations


Why use Computational Fluid Dynamics?

As mentioned prior, it is impossible to gather any analytical solutions for complex fluid motion in most engineering problems. With the increasing growth of even more complex problems, the CFD method will play an even bigger and important role in understanding fluid motion.

The following are additional points on the need for CFD:

  • Increasing computing powers allows for more complex problems to be simulated.
  • The need for quick approximated solutions.
  • Some fluid simulations are impossible to test in real life situation. e.g. scaling, hazard, environment.
  • Cost/Time/Labour savings when compared with experimental testing.

Where is Computational Fluid Dynamics used?

CFD can be used in a range of diverse industry and application:

  • Aviation : air flow simulation of drone (see figure 3)
  • Automotive : drag simulation for racings cars
  • Appliances : optimizing air flow cooling appliances
  • Biomedical : designing of a blood pump (see figure 4)
  • Chemical : mixing/blending tank flow study
  • HVAC : optimizing office building ventilation system
  • Marine : understanding marine vessel flow
  • Oil & Gas : heat exchanger thermal flow (see figure 5)
  • Electronics : thermal flow of electronics (see figure 6) 


    Figure 3 – Drone Air Flow Study


Figure 4 – Blood Pump CFD


Figure 5 – Heat Exchanger Thermal Flow


Figure 6 – Electronics Thermal Flow



Matt Goh
NAC Consultancy Pte Ltd