19th December 2011

OpenFOAM 2.1.0: Free Surface Flow

Some free surface flows can now be simulated using the new potentialFreeSurfaceFoam solver. It is a single phase, incompressible, Navier-Stokes solver that approximates waves through a wave height field that evolves in time. The solver can reliably predict the behaviour of a free surface where the effects of the low density phase, e.g. air, can be neglected and where waves do not break. Its computational costs is significantly lower than interface-capturing solvers.

When coupled with appropriate boundary conditions, the solver can approximate moving geometries with a static grid. For example, the oscillatingBox case simulates the effect of a simple box moving in the vertical plane. The motion is described with inlet/outlet boundary conditions, which forces the generation of a wave. For marine applications, function objects can be used to record wave height time-history in the ‘moon pool’ region.

Source code

  • potentialFreeSurfaceFoam solver


  • Oscillating box