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CFD Codes for Turbomachinery

Conducting fundamental and applied research aimed at advancing technologies for gas turbine engine components, including compressors, fans and turbines.

Turbomachinery and Turboelectric Systems Expertise

Glenn Research Center supports NASA’s Agency missions with our energy conversion expertise, energy storage, cryogenic fluid management, and other related areas.

Our work includes the following:

  • Develop, validate, and maintain numerical modeling codes for simulating flow fields in rotating turbomachinery systems.
  • The flow models range from one-dimensional steady to three-dimensional unsteady simulations to include heat transfer and cooling methods.
  • Experiments are conducted in cascades and rotating machinery test cells to explore the fundamental flow physics to assess performance.
  • Loss models are developed, validated, and incorporated into prediction methods.
  • Develop analysis tools and study turboelectric and hybrid propulsion architectures using alternative power sources and related integration and interaction effects on propulsor mechanisms.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Codes for Turbomachinery

Six computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes have been developed for analysis of flows in turbomachinery. Dr. Rodrick V. Chima developed the codes at NASA Glenn Research Center. They have been validated and have been heavily used at NASA Glenn and in U.S. industries and universities for a wide variety of problems, including analysis of the Space Shuttle main engine turbopumps, the design of transonic fan blades, and the analysis of pumps.


GRAPE is a 2-D elliptic grid generation code used with RVCQ3D. GRAPE was originally intended for airfoils but has been heavily modified for turbomachinery blades.


RVCQ3D is a quasi-3-D Navier-Stokes code for the analysis of blade-to-blade flows in turbomachinery. It includes the effects of rotation, radius change, and variable stream surface thickness.


TCGRID is a 3-D grid generation code used with SWIFT and other turbomachinery CFD codes. TCGRID generates C- or H-type grids around arbitrary blade shapes and in tip clearance regions.


SWIFT is a 3-D Navier-Stokes code for the analysis of flows around turbomachinery blades. SWIFT has limited multiblock capability for tip clearance flows and multistage blade rows.


H3D is an MPI(Message Passage Interface) and Open MP (Multi-Processing) implemented multi-block, structured turbomachinery flow simulation code. The code solves both incompressible and compressible flows in turbomachinery in cylindrical coordinate system.

H3D Tipgrid

Tipgrid is a 3D structured mesh generator tailored for turbomachinery CFD flow solvers. It employs a grid topology designed to minimize grid skewness, and it grids the volume of the tip clearance region of a rotor blade when present.


TURBO is an MPI (Message Passage Interface) implemented multi-block, structured, turbomachinery flow simulation code capable of treating general multi-stage configurations by solving the 3-D compressible unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) equations in the Cartesian coordinate system.


APNASA is a 3-D CFD code which computes the rotating components of advanced gas turbine configurations being developed to meet both NASA and national goals in subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic flight vehicles.  APNASA has been successfully used for more than three decades by industry, government, and academia to simulate a wide variety of multistage turbomachinery configurations.

APNASA utilizes the Average-Passage flow model, which accounts for blade row interaction effects quickly and efficiently, but requires additional closure models and gridding constraints.  APNASA accurately models the deterministic impact of blade rows throughout a multistage turbomachine without the massive time and expense required to resolve the unsteady full-wheel flow field for all stages. This is particularly important for multistage compressors, where such an unsteady calculation could be prohibitive, even with today’s computing resources.

The APNASA code has been utilized for studies in performance improvement, stall margin prediction, stall management, multistage flow physics in unsteady aerodynamics, and aero-elasticity.


MMESH is a pre-processor to APNASA that generates unique computational meshes compatible with the gridding constraints of the APNASA code.  Both APNASA and MMESH are written in FORTRAN and are configured to run in a Linux environment utilizing parallelism by assigning each blade row’s computation to its own processor.  A number of shell scripts written for the Linux Operating System Environment are also provided for pre-processing, run time control, and post-processing (some use third-party open-source software).


The Glenn-HT code is a general-purpose multi-block 3D Navier-Stokes solver that has been used extensively in detailed studies of heat transfer in turbomachinery.  The code comes equipped with multiple turbulence models from two-equation RANS models to LES and Time-Filtered Navier-Stokes.

It can be used for both steady-state and time-accurate simulations, including multi-blade row simulations. The multi-block capability in Glenn-HT is completely general in that there are no limitations on the connectivity between blocks (completely unstructured at the block level), which allows extremely complex geometries to be studied with computationally efficient structured grids.  In addition, non-matching grids are allowed at block boundaries, further facilitating simulations of flows in complex geometries.


See the references section of this site for code documentation and technical papers about the codes. The codes are available to universities or companies within the United States from the NASA Glenn Software Repository.

*** Please note that NASA regulations prohibit dissemination of these codes outside the U. S. ***

References and Videos

A complete list of references for all CFD Codes for Turbomachinery, with links to the NASA Technical Reports Server, as well as video links demonstrating CFD Codes analysis.


For more information about CFD Codes for Turbomachinery, please contact Mark Celestina.

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