SimWorks - Free CFD software

Free CFD software and OpenFOAM®* GUI available to download without the need to register:

SimWorks - Free CFD software
  • Built on well established open-source software for meshing and solving like OpenFOAM®
  • Integrated GUI for geometry inspection, pre-processing, case setup, solving and post-processing
  • Fully automated meshing with advanced pre-processing capabilities
  • 3D interactive viewer to check mesh quality before running the simulation
  • Live data console to follow the simulation progress and display the convergence history
  • 3D field application to inspect solution fields (2D and 3D)
  • 2D plot application to create graphs for data analysis 
  • Unlimited local parallel computing capabilities for meshing and solving
  • Automatic recognition and parsing of geometrical entities defined in the original CAD
  • Supports internal and external aerodynamics simulations
  • Steady state and transient simulations
  • RANS modelling for turbulence
  • Thermal simulations
  • Code signed and timestamped by WebTrust-certified certificate authority (CAs) GlobalSign, see also the SimWorks security guide
  • Additional features are available in SimWorks Manager
  • For a complete overview download the brochure here

SimWorks is under constant development and is a Beta version, please report to us any issues and visit this page for updates

Latest release: 21.12

SimWorks is a free CFD software 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. SimWorks brings the CFD process in a single place avoiding the need to interact with multiple software.

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

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.

Who is SimWorks for?

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® and get a deeper understanding of its applications. It is also possible to modify the OpenFOAM® dictionaries and parameters prior of running the CFD case, in this case the user can learn and use any advanced OpenFOAM® functionality still with the convenience of using a GUI to import a new geometry and define all the boundary conditions.

Being unrestricted SimWorks can also be used by professionals wanting to include CFD analysis as part of their service, but when the CFD simulation is an integral part of the design and development process of a company, we advise to use SimWorks Manager that includes additional features for handling multiple simulations at the same time. Please contact us for more details.

SimWorks free CFD software user

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 Tutorials page 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 of both SimWorks and SimWorks Manager 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 is SimWorks a free CFD software?

SimWorks is an ideal tool for people approaching CFD for the first time and we did not want to put up any access barriers to them, so we decided not only to deliver SimWorks free of charge but also not to put any registration barriers to access it. 

We also 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. 

While our commitment is to maintain SimWorks free we offer training courses and we also develop SimWorks Manager which expands SimWorks including a simulation manager aimed at handling multiple simulations at the same time and it is aimed at enterprises and professional users, visit also our company vision page for more info.

Free CFD software

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. Since then several forks of the code have been developed by a community of users, students and researcher in universities for many different application. After almost 2 decades of development today OpenFOAM® has a very broad user base which has helped in developing the code and solving most of its bugs. 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® is above all a C++ library and requires an advanced level of knowledge and experience to be used. OpenFOAM® does not have a Graphical User Interface (GUI) basically leaving the user to type all the commands in an interactive command line like the one in the picture above. This is a very time intensive and demanding process as all the files (or dictionaries) OpenFOAM® requires to run have to be modified by hand, and a small mistake can invalidate the whole simulation.

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

Update SimWorks to SimWorks Manager

SimWorks includes a free 14 days trial licence of SimWorks Manager which does not require any committment or payment details. You can either download it directly or automatically update SimWorks 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 SimWorks Manager will automatically be enabled for the trial period, once that is expired it will automatically revert back to SimWorks. 

We offer SimWorks Manager free 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.

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

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