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Reference-Quality Open-Source Option for Real Gas Properties in OpenFOAM

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Old   October 18, 2013, 07:50
Default Reference-Quality Open-Source Option for Real Gas Properties in OpenFOAM
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Ian H. Bell
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Dear CFD community,

My name is Ian Bell, a post-doc at the University of Liege in Belgium, and I am the primary developer of the free, open-source thermophysical property library CoolProp ( You can think of CoolProp as a free, open-source alternative to NIST REFPROP. We have 110 pure and pseudo-pure fluids, more or less everything of technical interest that is in REFPROP. In most cases we implement exactly the same equations of state as REFPROP. The primary limitation of CoolProp vis a vis REFPROP is that we cannot handle mixtures in CoolProp (yet). The codebase of CoolProp is in C++, and we have already developed wrappers of CoolProp for many languages (MATLAB, python, c#, etc.), and platforms including linux, windows, and even a Raspberry PI.

Our newest contribution is a wrapper of our library for FLUENT. In principle we can (and would be happy to) build wrappers of CoolProp for other CFD packages - especially OpenFOAM as it is also open-source. I have a very solid understanding of our code, but we could use some help on the OpenFOAM side of things. Anyone want to take a stab?

Along with my collaborators Joris Degroote and Iva Papes of Universiteit Gent, Belgium, we are pleased to give you the first taste of our FLUENT wrapper. In its current form, the code is quite simple, we are still looking to hammer out an API at the FLUENT level. Consider this a proof of principle - all we do is that we calculate the density of dry air at 100 kPa and 300 K. For the moment I have just provided a copy of the coolprop sources, in the future the FLUENT wrapper will be part of the source tree that is under source control. You can check out the coolprop sources from

The CoolProp-FLUENT example which can be compiled to a UDF can be found at

Had I known how much difficulty you all were having with real gas properties before, I would have jumped into the fray some time ago. I guess I could do with some more publicity work on CoolProp!

All the best,
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