Turbomachinery & Piping System Computational Fluid Dynamics

Department Publications


Technical Publications

Contact Information

Jeff Moore, Ph.D.
Institute Engineer
Rotating Machinery Dynamics
(210) 522-5812

Pressure contours and velocity vectors for flow through first stage blades are determined from computational fluid dynamics codes. Boundary element codes determine heat transfer coefficients that are then used in thermal and stress analysis of the blades.

Turbo-compressor test facility being prepared for full speed test of performance near stall and surge conditions.

Contours of pressure on the mid-width plane in the vaneless diffuser. Images displayed at 10-ms intervals.

Computational fluid dynamics, usually abbreviated as CFD, is a branch of fluid mechanics that uses numerical methods and algorithms to solve and analyze problems that involve fluid flows. For many years, the study of dynamics, heat transfer, combustion, and fluid-structure interaction were unthinkable without the help of CFD, and this dependence has increased as more of the flow becomes amenable to numerical prediction. It is clear that CFD plays a significant role in the effective design, application, and performance evaluation of gas turbines and modern piping systems.


At Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), CFD is used comprehensively to solve turbomachinery fluid/thermal problems in tandem with experienced review staff and experimental verification of results. Its use in internal flow investigations is usually focused on examining phenomena such as:

  • Blockages
  • Pressure/velocity profiles
  • Thermal transients
  • Acoustic/mechanical resonances
  • Effects of multiple operating conditions

Computational Fluid Dynamics Capabilities

  • Axial/centrifugal compressors and radial turbine performance predictions
  • Wind turbine performance predictions
  • Axial/centrifugal fan
  • Internal pipe/valve flows
  • Onset of stall, surge, flutter
  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Fluid-acoustic interaction
  • Conjugate heat transfer
  • Combustion modeling

SwRI maintains a variety of commercial and SwRI-developed analysis and computational codes to meet specific needs. Computational fluid dynamics is used along with other analysis, 1D modeling and a number of flow facilities to support simulations and understanding of fluid flows.

SwRI can offer you a full range of capabilities and experience in computational fluid dynamics, including becoming an extension of your engineering department. Contact us for more information about turbomachinery and piping system computational fluid dynamics at SwRI or how you can contract with SwRI.

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Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.