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george August 3, 2001 09:16

History of CFD

Does anyone know of a good source about the (not so long) history of cfd?

Thanks in advance!

Jim Park August 3, 2001 10:55

Re: History of CFD
Take a look at the Los Alamos T3 group home page,

There's a history of that group's contributions on that page (by Norman L. Johnson). The group traces its origin to John Von Neumann and Richard Fineman - pretty good parentage!

Jim Park August 3, 2001 17:35

Re: History of CFD
Pat Roache's book, "computational fluid dynamics (revised edition)" is an encyclopedia of CFD work before 1985. Hermosa Publishers is I think out of business, but you can find copies by simply entering "Patrick Roache" into your favorite search engine.

John C. Chien August 3, 2001 18:29

Re: History of CFD
(1). It depends on your definition of CFD. (2). My definition of CFD is "Numerical analysis and mathematical modeling in fluid mechanics". So, based on this, it has been around for a long time. (3). But if running a commercial code is CFD, then the history of CFD is about ten, fifteen years. (4). So, make sure that you define your CFD first, before talking about its history.

K.F.C. August 4, 2001 02:49

Re: History of CFD
Start with B. Spalding.

John C. Chien August 4, 2001 15:27

Re: History of CFD
(1). When a person is dead, we say it is history. (2). A person can make history, but the person is not history. (3). When a person is still alive, it is current, not history.

K.F.C. August 4, 2001 17:31

Re: History of CFD
When's the last time you saw BS?

Living history.

John C. Chien August 5, 2001 20:12

Re: History of CFD
(1). It can be translated into "Living Dead", or "nightmare". (2). Anyway, the history of CFD can be studied from a couple of directions, namely (a). numerical analysis or algorithm development in fluid mechanics, and (b). mathematical modelings in fluid mechanics, which can include geometry modeling, mesh modeling, turbulence modeling, physical process modeling,etc... (3). From the evolutional point of view, "computational"(using a computer) is the extension of "calculational"(using a calculator), which is the extension of "hand calculation using slide rule". (4). Just like the old mechanical calculators, or plastic slide rules, the commercial cfd programs sooner or later, will disappear from the view. (5). My feeling is, the computer program itself will disappear and will not become part of CFD history.This is because, without the algorithm and modeling, the code simply can not exist at all. (6). So, if one is interested in creating history, it is a good idea to stay away from the code(s), and focus on the algorithms and modeling.

Michael Malin August 6, 2001 07:27

Re: History of CFD
I should think commercial CFD probably started when Brian Spalding formed his CFD company in 1974. However, his Imperial College group were developing CFD codes for industry in the late 60s, but perhaps the Los Alamos group were doing this even earlier. Between 1974 and 1980, CHAM developed many computer codes for industrial clients, and some of these found their way into the public domain. CHAM then launched the first general-purpose CFD code PHOENICS in 1981.

D.M. Lipinski August 6, 2001 10:08

Re: History of CFD
A lot of CFD work can be derived from the work of two persons (and their groups). The first person is Prof. D.B.Spalding of Imperial College and CHAM. By the way, he really deserves more respect than can be found in some posts from this thread. The finger prints of DBS can be found in many branches of CFD. The second person is, in my opinion, Dr. F.Harlow of Los Alamos.

You can trace the activities of DBS and FH starting from the mid sixties and you will find a straight path to other well-known CFD gurus.



John C. Chien August 6, 2001 12:11

Re: History of CFD
(1). They have not said that "mesh independent solution" is required or possible. (2). So, more garbages are being generated constantly through the CFD codes. It is kind of "pollutions by mesh dependent solution of CFD code" (3). You will definitely see more product failure by using CFD codes.

John C. Chien August 6, 2001 12:58

Re: History of CFD
(1). PHOENICS can become a household name like Coke. (2). But, that's about all one can get. No one drinking the Coke will remember the person who invented the Coke. Or the content of the Coke. (3). Whether Coke is healthy drink or not, it is something else. The same is true for PHOENICS. (4). Likewise, the black hole is now a common name, but the person who invented it is not. (5). The person(s) behind the codes will be remembered only when the solutions of codes become reliable and useful. It is fine to be the first in the record book, if that is important to the solution of CFD analysis.

Mljiang August 6, 2001 21:48

Re: History of CFD
1) Lewis Richardson (

2) F Harlow (

3) Brian Spalding (

4) Anthony Jameson (

5) Brian Launder (

6) Other Gurus (

7) Numerious PhD slaves (

Mukhopadhyay August 6, 2001 23:32

Re: History of CFD
Why not we start with - Sir Horrace Lamb, Ludwig Prandl, Herman Sclichting ?

John C. Chien August 6, 2001 23:48

Re: History of CFD
(1). Southwell, R. V. "Relaxation Methods in Engineering Science." Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1940. (2). Southwell, R. V. "Relaxation Methods in Theoretical Physics." Clarendon Press, Oxford,1946. (3). You are encouraged to read the book, if you can still find it. That's 20 years ahead of DBS.

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