OpenFOAM: our cup of tea

We frequently use OpenFOAM, an open-source software framework for computational methods based on the Finite Volume method. Although you can build your own solvers, it already comes with a range of different solvers for all kinds of fluid flow and structural mechanics problems.

OpenFOAM 11 from the OpenFOAM foundation has modular solvers, which can be coupled across multiple regions in your computational domain. This is particularly useful in the field of Conjugate Heat Transfer, since you can solve the heat equation in a solid and couple it to any kind of fluid flow solver.

As an example, we have simulated what happens when you have water at 90°C in a glass at room temperature (20°C), in other words a cup of tea! Here, we couple the heat conduction solver for the glass to the compressible Volume-Of-Fluid solver for the two-phase system of water and air.

As you would expect, the hot water heats the air above it. As the density of the air decreases, buoyancy causes the hot air to rise. A the same time, heat is also conducted horizontally: both the glass and the air next to it become warmer. In fact, the glass soon becomes too hot to hold it in your hand… you’d better hold it at the rim! Furthermore, as the water loses heat at its perimeter, the density increases and buoyancy causes the colder water to sink to the bottom. All these effects are visible in this movie.

If you have questions regarding fluid flows and heat transfer in your applications, we are ready to assist you. Feel free to contact us, maybe we can discuss it… over a cup of tea (or coffee) 🙂