OpenFOAM user meeting

The HPC-UGent team is organising an OpenFOAM user meeting, where research groups using the popular open source CFD software on the VSC infrastructure can showcase their work, and collaborate on best practices for using it on HPC clusters.


If you would like to actively participate by presenting your work with OpenFOAM, please contact

Feedback and suggestions are also welcome via


Practical information & registration

  • date: Wednesday September 13th 2017, 10am - 5pm
  • venue: Multimedia room in building S9 at campus Sterre (Krijgslaan 281), Ghent University

Attendance is free of charge, but registration is required for practical purposes.

Coffee, water & a sandwich lunch will be provided free of charge.

Register here


Showcase presentations

Virtual Manufacturing in Industry
Peter De Jaeger (Bekaert)

The main processes at Bekaert deal with large strain plastic deformation of steel wires, mainly by means of wire rolling, wire drawing and cord making. To model this, a dedicated solver is implemented in OpenFOAM, including relevant material models and boundary conditions. Special care is taken to deal with the continuous nature of the Bekaert processes. Such processes occur on dedicated process lines, comprising of different deformation steps. This is reflected in OpenFOAM, where each step is an independent case. A framework for virtual process lines is implemented, requiring a single input file with the process line’s specifications. Depending on those specifications, the process line is automatically setup, solved and post-processing reports are generated. Given the good scalability of the solvers and the high level of automation of the virtual process lines, highly parallel computing is possible and will be demonstrated.

Peter De Jaeger received the master’s degree in Mechanical from KAHO Sint-Lievens Gent and the Electronics Engineering and PhD degrees from the Ghent University. He was affiliated with Volvo Cars Europe, AMI Semiconductor (now ON Semiconductor) and is since 2006 an employee of NV Bekaert SA. He is currently appointed as team leader metal deformation at NV Bekaert SA and adjunct associate professor at the University College Dublin. He authored and co-authored about 60 papers in international journals and conference proceedings. His current interests are modelling and simulation of large strain plastic deformation, steel behaviour during severe plastic deformation and lubrication.


Numerical simulation of an array of Floating Point Absorber Wave Energy Converters using OpenFOAM
Brecht Devolder (UGent and KU Leuven, Department of Civil Engineering)

(slides, recording)

Wave energy from ocean waves is absorbed by using floating Wave Energy Converters (WECs).
In order to extract a considerable amount of wave power at a location in a cost-effective
way, large numbers of WECs are arranged in arrays. Interactions between the individual
WECs (near field effects) affect the overall power production of the array. One should
avoid, for instance, that one WEC is positioned in the wake region of another WEC. 
Therefore,  the flow field around the WECs is studied with the CFD software OpenFOAM. By
using a numerical model, supported by experimental validation data, I aim to develop a
methodology (and a related numerical tool) to answer the fundamental underlying question
on array design: finding the optimal and cost-effective configurations of WEC arrays for
power production.

Brecht Devolder is a PhD student at the Department of Civil Engineering at Ghent
University and KU Leuven. His research deals with hydrodynamic modelling of wave energy
converters in the near and far field using the CFD solver OpenFOAM.


Full-scale simulation of an industrial steam cracking furnace using OpenFOAM on Tier-1
Pieter Reyniers & Laurien Vandewalle (UGent, Laboratory for Chemical Technology)

(slides, recording)

Several large scale chemical processes accommodate (enhanced) tubular reactors suspended in large gas-fired furnaces. Over the last decades, extensive optimisation of this technology has been realised, mostly based on trial-and-error and simple models. Current computational power allows for the high-resolution simulation of these enhanced tubular reactors in order to assess the influence of the modified reactor geometry on heat transfer, pressure drop and consequently product distribution over time. Tier-1 resources have been used to optimise existing reactor designs and to assess innovative technologies applied in the firebox of an industrial steam cracking furnace. 

Laurien Vandewalle is a PhD student at the Laboratory for Chemical Technology at Ghent University. Her research is aimed at valorising the abundant supply of methane by developing the innovative gas-solid vortex reactor technology to produce light olefins via the oxidative coupling of methane process. Simulations within the OpenFOAM framework allow to optimise the reactor design and to determine the safe operating window.

Pieter Reyniers is a PhD student at the Laboratory for Chemical Technology at Ghent University. His work focuses on the implementation of detailed chemical kinetics in large eddy simulations, in particular applied to the modelling of industrial steam cracking units.


Large Eddy Simulation of Annular Flows and Flows Through Slot Jets with OpenFOAM
Joris Degroote (UGent, Department of Flow, Heat and Combustion Mechanics)

(slides, recording)

To understand and quantify the turbulence-induced vibration in annular flows and the heat transfer due to slot jets, large eddy simulations (LES) are performed. This type of calculations imposes strict requirements for the grid resolution, which makes HPC indispensable to obtain the results in a reasonable time.

Joris Degroote is associate professor at the Fluid Mechanics research group. He has 10+ years of experience with CFD, with focus on flexible structures that interact with the flow, so-called fluid-structure interaction (FSI). Using OpenFOAM, he performed CFD and FSI simulations with RANS and LES on HPC clusters.


Hands-on sessions


Using VNC for Pre/Post-Processing
by Laurien Vandewalle (UGent, Laboratory for Chemical Technology)


Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a graphical desktop sharing system that can be used to remotely control another computer. On HPC, VNC is particularly useful as an alternative to X forwarding to run graphically intensive applications. Furthermore, via VNC it is possible to access the clusters in a desktop environment, which makes file browsing and editing easier. For OpenFOAM users, accessing the clusters via VNC is handy for debugging, pre-processing and post-processing. In this hands-on session, we will learn how to setup VNC on the UGent tier2 clusters and how to use it in combination with OpenFOAM.


Building Own Solvers & Libraries
by Joris Degroote (UGent, Department of Flow, Heat and Combustion Mechanics)


  • Basics about compiling, executables and libraries.
  • Make your own solver, based on an existing solver.
  • Make your own library and use it in an existing solver.