A wave generation toolbox for the open‐source CFD library: OpenFoam

Niels Gjøl Jacobsen, David R. Fuhrman, Jørgen Fredsøe

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The open‐source CFD library OpenFoam® contains a method for solving free surface Newtonian flows using the Reynolds averaged Navier–Stokes equations coupled with a volume of fluid method. In this paper, it is demonstrated how this has been extended with a generic wave generation and absorption method termed ‘wave relaxation zones’, on which a detailed account is given. The ability to use OpenFoam for the modelling of waves is demonstrated using two benchmark test cases, which show the ability to model wave propagation and wave breaking. Furthermore, the reflection coefficient from outlet relaxation zones is considered for a range of parameters. The toolbox is implemented in C++, and the flexibility in deriving new relaxation methods and implementing new wave theories along with other shapes of the relaxation zone is outlined. Subsequent to the publication of this paper, the toolbox has been made freely available through the OpenFoam‐Extend Community.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1073-1088
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Free surface
  • Finite volume
  • Two-phase flows
  • Marine hydrodynamics
  • Navier-Stokes
  • Turbulent flow


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