SimWorks - Free CFD software

Free CFD software and OpenFOAM®* GUI available to download

SimWorks - Free CFD software
  • Built on well established open-source software for meshing and solving like OpenFOAM®*
  • Integrated GUI for geometry inspection, pre-processing, meshing, case setup, solving and post-processing
  • 3D interactive viewer to check mesh quality before running the simulation and live data console to follow the simulation progress
  • Built in post-processing to inspect solution fields and create graphs and compare different simulations 
  • Automatic recognition and parsing of geometrical entities defined in the original CAD and recognition of geometrical parts to automatically apply previous simulation settings to new design iterations
  • Supports internal and external aerodynamics simulations
  • Multiple concurrent simulations manager
  • Sweep of multiple conditions for each geometrical configuration
  • Multiple turbulence models including RANS, DES and LES
  • Passive scalar modelling for substance tracing 
  • Thermal modelling
  • It can be tailored to your specific requirements on request
  • Code signed and timestamped by WebTrust-certified certificate authority (CAs) GlobalSign, see also the SimWorks security guide
  • Advanced features available with a commercial licence

The free version of SimWorks requires the user to register, you can unsubscribe at any point.

Latest release: 22.10 (SimWorks is under constant development and it is currently in Beta release)

SimWorks has a free CFD software version and a commercial version built upon well established open-source simulation tools like OpenFOAM® integrated into a Graphical User Interface (GUI). SimWorks supports the entire CFD simulation process from CAD to results, including pre-processing, meshing, running and fully integrated post-processing capabilities and brings the CFD process in a single place.

SimWorks has a free version and our commitment is to maintain it free while introducing additional features in the future (read about our Vision).

SimWorks is designed with the industrial process in mind:  from model preparation to results analysis and handling multiple simulations at the same time. Reusing modelling parameters from previous simulations, the software helps you reduce the time spent setting up new simulationsSimWorks allows the user to organise the simulations in sets of geometries and projects. With cut, paste, duplication and simulation sweeps capabilities, SimWorks streamlines and speeds up the creation of simulation programmes.

SimWorks is currently available only for Windows 10. It is also under active development and additional features will be added soon, please contact us for more details or to report any bugs.

SimWorks Manager users

Who is SimWorks for?

With an intuitive user interface and the capability of handling multiple simulations at the same time, SimWorks is aimed at professionals who want to add CFD simulations to their services and engineering companies that want to include engineering simulations to their development process. 

SimWorks is also the ideal choice for companies who already use CFD in their development cycle but want to fully integrate it into their design process. We can offer a fully bespoke version of the software based on your business needs.

It also comes with technical and engineering support (upon request). You can start a free 14-day trial of the commercial version by updating SimWorks free.

Free CFD software version

The free version of SimWorks is the ideal choice for someone who is approaching CFD modelling for the first time, in particular for students who want to learn about CFD and need to carry out CFD analysis during their studies. SimWorks can be used as an OpenFOAM® GUI and is a useful tool to learn about OpenFOAM®. It is also possible to modify the OpenFOAM® dictionaries and parameters prior of running the CFD case to allow the user to learn and use any advanced OpenFOAM® functionality still using a GUI to import new geometries and define all the boundary conditions.

The free version can also be used by professionals wanting to test the software, however we advise to start the 14-day free trial of the commercial version that includes additional features designed for professional users. 

SimWorks free CFD software user

Versions comparison

The free version does not have any limit on the number of cells but it can only run on a single core and while it inclues lot of the advanced features those are limited mainly for evaluation purposes. The commercial versions can all run on parallel cores and all have unlimited advanced features, see the table below for reference:


We advice to start the 14-day free trial of the commercial version, at the end of the trial period the software will automatically revert back to the free version, no payment details are required. You can also request a bespoke quote.

How to learn SimWorks

simwork - free cfd software and openfoam gui
Glider CFD simulation completed with SimWorks Free CFD software

Once you download SimWorks you will find in the installation folder a subfolder called Tutorials with a collection of different geometries. You can visit out our Base Tutorials and Advanced Tutorial pages for step-by-step instructions on how to carry out every specific tutorial. Some of the tutorials are also available on our youtube channel as videos if you prefer that format. 

Our tutorials cover the most important features showing the software capabilities for specific applications. To start simulating your own geometries just load the alternative .igs file and follow all the remaining steps of the most similar tutorial. This is a good way to start defining new simulations.

Why a free CFD software version?

We want to encourage students and young professionals to use it and share with us and with our community their CFD models and results. We believe that accessing a broader audience will allow us to develop SimWorks faster and more effectively, please share with us any issues you may find using SimWorks or give us any feedback as this will help developing SimWorks in the future in a more effective way.

It is also our company vision to bring CFD modelling to a broader audience and the best way to achieve this is in our opinion to deliver a user friendly and free CFD software capable of quickly delivering reliable results for a new idea or concept. 


SimWorks includes a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for the open source CFD solver OpenFOAM®. Which was developed in the early 2000s a commercial CFD software but was made open source and released under a GPL licence in December 2004. After almost 2 decades of development today OpenFOAM® has a very broad user base and in terms of results accuracy and reliability OpenFOAM® is on pair with most of the current commercial CFD codes.

openfoam gui and command line
OpenFOAM® GUI and command line

While being open source makes it easy to access the main drawback is the difficulty of use. OpenFOAM® requires an advanced level of knowledge and experience to be used and it does not have a Graphical User Interface (GUI)The very steep initial learning curve and the difficulty in adapting it to the industrial process since the process of defining a new simulation from scratch can be very time consuming. 

SimWorks provides an effective OpenFOAM® GUI that let the user quickly define a CFD simulation. SimWorks also allows the user to modify the CFD simulation parameters manually before calculating it retaining access to the original OpenFOAM® dictionaries. This is an optional step which is not required to complete successfully the CFD simulation but can be carried out if the user wishes to do so.

free cfd software and openfoam gui SimWorks gui
Free CFD software SimWorks main GUI

SimWorks gives feedback to the user at every step of the CFD simulation definition, preventing avoidable mistakes and speeding up the simulation definition process. In particular shows graphically to the user all the pre-processing parameters like the mesh size and boundary conditions, shows the solution evolution and features an integrated post-processor to quickly analyse the simulation results once completed.

SimWorks GUI showing the simulation progress

Practical applications

The SimWorks tutorials offer a good view on the possible ways of using SimWorks both for academic and professional work. Those can also be modified to be adapted to the specific application the user needs. A good practical application is the wind load calculation on buildings with a devoted buildings tutorial:

simworks free cfd software wind load calculation
wind load calculation on a group of buildings using SimWorks free CFD software

CFD is a much more reliable tool than manual calculation in evaluating the wind load because it does not require to assume an arbitrary coefficient of drag for a building shape.

It is also possible to carry out CFD simulations of internal flows, which is useful for calculating air flows inside buildings and assess the overall building comfort or to simulate flow inside pipes and idraulic connections to correctly dimension such systems:

simworks free cfd software internal flow application
CFD simulation of the flow inside a pipe showing a velocity isosurface plotted against pressure

SimWorks advanced capabilities

SimWorks allows the simulation of the transport of a passive scalar. This can be used to study how a volatile substance spreads in a space subject to convection and diffusion by a flow field.

This approach can be used to check the spreading of pathogens and diseases indoor (like the COVID-19) and to check pollutant distribution outdoor. For example to verify the effectiveness of fumes extraction solutions.

The distribution of the passive scalar can be shown with isosurfaces of difference concentration levels.

See the emergency room simulation tutorial or the fume extraction simulation tutorial for reference about this functionality

SimWorks supports transient simulations. This can be used with unsteady turbulence models, from URANS to LES and DES

Time dependent simulations allow to capture all the aerodynamic structures that evolve in time, like aerodynamic wakes. Knowing the level of unsteadiness of the flow provides a good idea of the overall aerodynamic stability of a design.

See the delta wing aerodynamics tutorial for reference about transient simulations

Glider pitch sweep and stall angle

The new sweep functionality creates automatically a full sequence of CFD cases changing an individual parameter defined by the user

For example, the sweep functionality allows to create automatically an aerodynamic mapping of a given geometry

See the glider stall angle investigation tutorial to see how to create a sweep for a given CFD simulation

SimWorks supports the analysis of the results of multiple simulations concurrently

It is possible to create delta plots to see and evaluate the difference in flow fields between cases
Delta plots can be shown on movable 2D sections, which show the difference in the flow field surrounding the geometry, and directly on the 3D surface of the geometry

It is also possible to get numerical values and their local and average difference in certain areas of the flow field with the probing functionality which supports single point, line and a square probing

See the truck side skirts tutorial to see how to create delta plots

Free trial of the commercial version of SimWorks

You can start a free trial of the Professional version that does not require any committment or payment details. You can can activate the trial on the first intallation or upgrade the free version by clicking on the main menu Licence entry and selecting Upgrade… :

You will then be presented with a GUI showing all the required info to activate the licence. The next time SimWorks is started the commercial version will automatically be enabled for the trial period, once that is expired it will automatically revert back to the free version. 

We offer the commercial version of SimWorks free of charge for academic use, provided that the user meets certain criteria. We also can offer extended free trial licences for other purposes, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.

SimWorks can be adapted to any need

Every company and each professional has different needs therefore we aim to provide bespoke solutions for our customers by tailoring SimWorks to suit specific and advanced requirements

Whether it is a different user interface, a specific application/model for advanced analysis or a bespoke post-processing feature, we aim to adapt and extend our software according to your needs. Being built on industry-standard OpenFOAM* capabilities, SimWorks is capable of handling almost any CFD modelling requirement. Moreover, leveraging 20+ years of combined experience in design and simulations, we can help you fine-tune the setting and parameters to get the most out of your simulations. 

*None of the OpenFOAM® related products and services offered by IdealSimulations are approved or endorsed by OpenCFD Limited, producer and distributor of the OpenFOAM® software and owner of the OpenFOAM® and OpenCFD® trade marks