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vinz October 2, 2008 03:23

Hi everybody, I was wonderi
Hi everybody,

I was wondering if some people on the forum are working or worked on helicopter simulations with OpenFOAM.
If yes, what solver are you using and what are the cases you took as reference cases to validate OpenFOAM on such applications?
If no, do you people think it is realisable, and what solver would be suited? or at least what solver should be used as a base for further development?

Thanks in advance for your answers and remarks.


madad2005 October 2, 2008 04:26

Hi Vincent, Are you intend
Hi Vincent,

Are you intending to do 3D hover simulations or simply 2D blade section evaluations? I'm going to attempt this too at some point this weekend. For the 3D hover, I believe you should use SimpleMRFFoam, which will allow you to run the isolated rotor using periodic boundaries as a steady-state solution. For forward flight, however, which is already an extremely complex problem to solve using CFD, I'm not too sure of the moving mesh solvers in OpenFOAM.

If you want a reference case to work on, check out papers by Caradonna and Tung. If you are more interested in working with a real-life rotor planform, check out papers by Shinoda and Dawson (mostly available from the Nasa website). They have done plenty of experimental work with the UH-60A rotor.

Hope this helps,


vinz October 2, 2008 11:08

Hi Adriano, I would like to
Hi Adriano,

I would like to be able to simulate 3D hover, at least as a starting point. I do not expect OpenFOAM to be ready for forward flight simulation yet, but i would be interested to do that later too.
As you pointed out SimpleMRFfoam may be a good starting point to simulation 3D hover.
Thanks for the papers you pointed out, I will have a look at them.

If other people have experienced on this type of case or close related cases, do not hesitate to give me more information.



luca_g October 3, 2008 02:21

Dear Vincent, while using s
Dear Vincent,

while using simpleMRFfoam could be a starting point to get some experience, I believe you should really use a compressible flow solver since helicopter blades mostly work in the transonic regime at the tip. This is especially true for forward flight cases. Because forward flight will clearly result in an unsteady flow, the conservative properties of the solver will also be important to get the movement of the shock waves right: beware of sonicFoam. You might check centralFoam, although its explicit time integration scheme will certainly mean long computational times.



madad2005 October 8, 2008 12:53

Yeah, the use of simpleMRFFoam
Yeah, the use of simpleMRFFoam is dependent on your tip Mach number. Not many rotors hover at tip Mach numbers greater than 0.62. You may get away with it on the Caradonna and Tung test cases, however. But, as with all helicopter problems, the inclusion of compressibility into the method is a must of accurate predictions.

hm86 July 9, 2010 14:44

Helicopter simulations
I realize its been a year since the last post and so I was wondering if any of you had any sample tutorials or files about doing a 3d hover simulation. I have created a rotor using SALOME and am trying to import it into OpenFOAM1.7. I guess I should try the MRF solver but any advice would be helpful.

vinz July 12, 2010 03:25


I am currently realising some helicopter simulations. However, since we are not interested in the details close to the helicopter and to the blades, we are usin an actuator disk model.
Maybe later I will do some more complex modelisation but that's not currently needed. Iguess the MRF solver is the way to go. So I'm still interesed if you manage to create a kind of tutorial case for this problem.
Hope you'll succeed.


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