Getting started with CFD




I have recently come accross design questions that require the use of CFD:

  • air movement inside an entrance hall + possible air transfer from the restaurant,
  • air movement in terrace gardens and ground floor vegetated areas.
    I’d like to get some information before getting started.
  1. Software selection: Butterfly?
    My preferred choice would be Butterfly. Based on what people have managed to accomplish since the release, I’m quite confident that it can meet expectations. I’d like to know more about how Butterfly compares with other commercial softwares, such as Autodesk CFD and Fluent, to confirm this choice. Are there some pros/cons lists somewhere?

  2. Technical requirements: any recommandation?
    As I dive deeper into the subject, I’ve become aware of the technical requirements to perform efficient CFD studies, that go above what remains of my Master’s. Would you have some material or online classes to recommend to get a better understanding of these issues ?

Thanks in advance,

Clément Jaffrelo


Hi @clement.jaffrelo,

  1. It’s basically comparison between OpenFOAM and other solvers that you mentioned. There are pros and cons but you need to be more specific about your needs. For what you mentioned above Butterfly/OpenFOAM should be totally fine.

  2. Check Butterfly Wiki Page for some learning resources that we put together! Should be a good place to get you started.


Hi @clement.jaffrelo

Thanks for your inputs. The projects sound interesting and indeed as Mostapha advised Butterfly should be able to accomplish both.

If I understand correctly, the one is an indoor study (air inside an entrance hall) and the other an outdoor study (unless the entrance hall takes into account NV which would make it an outdoor study). We have learning material and a sample definitions about both of these types of studies to give you an idea. I will also try to upload an updated definition for outdoor studies this week on hydra.

As for comparison with other software Mostapha is right, this is OF vs Others. This has been done quite a lot by many people over the years. OF is a validated engine that should be able to conduct these studies with acceptable accuracy.

Finally, we hope to have learning materials in the form of video tutorials for BF quite soon! Stay tuned!

Kind regards,


Thank you very much for your answers.:slightly_smiling_face:

I will get started on the learning resources.



I have a follow up question on this one. How long time would you assess that it would take to learn the process well enough to perform an outdoor study of impact of a tower building on surrounding public space?

Im a beginner in the world of CFD, only having taken a ventilation course in the past. That course included an afternoon of (indoor) CFD with a skeptical professor urging us not to get tempted to do CFD and not to trust fancy CFD studies we find. Especially not architects doing it. :slight_smile:

I have background in GH and daylight and energy modelling.