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Software for analyzing and visualizing computational fluid dynamics. There are both free and pay versions. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.


XFOIL is an interactive program for the design and analysis of subsonic isolated airfoils. Macintosh OS X, and Windows.

Mac OS X download:

Notes on building XFOIL on Mac OS X:


A computational aerodynamic capability servicing the configuration aerodynamic needs of NASA's airframe and exploration programs. Present capabilities include rapid grid generation, inviscid and viscous flow analysis and design, special functional boundary conditions, and ease of use. Macintosh OS X and Linux.

Mac OS X download page:


Fluid flow and heat transfer simulations. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.


AVL is a program for the aerodynamic and flight-dynamic analysis of rigid aircraft of arbitrary configuration. It employs an extended vortex lattice model for the lifting surfaces, together with a slender-body model for fuselages and nacelles. Macintosh OS X, UNIX, and Windows.

One of my sons has built a OS X version AVL 3.32. You can download it here. If you are running OS X 10.8 or later, you will need XQuartz too.

If you unzip it on your desktop, and open XQuartz, you can get a quick demo by doing this:

cd ~/Desktop/avl/runs

../bin/avl bd.avl

And now from within AVL type:


a c 1



and you should get a plot like you see at the right.


XROTOR is an interactive program for the design and analysis of ducted and free-tip propellers and windmills. Macintosh OS X (needs to be built with the command line), UNIX, and Windows.


Computational fluid dynamics post processor/visualizer. Macintosh OS X, UNIX, Linux, and Windows.

System requirements:


Generates meshes for computational fluid dynamics. Creates meshes for computational fluid dynamics. Work with both analytic (i.e. NURBS) and faceted (e.g. STL) geometry representations. Macintosh OS X, UNIX, Linux, and Windows.


Includes mesh generation, Analysis, and post processing. Macintosh OS X, and Windows.

Load Design

Interactive FEA. Free (until 9/30/2013). Macintosh OS X only.

OOF2 from NIST

Interactive FEA. Macintosh OS X, UNIX, Linux, and Windows.

OS X installation notes:


FEAP is a general purpose finite element analysis program. Macintosh OS X, UNIX, Linux, and Windows.


XFLR5 includes the xfoil program for foil analysis, and several 3d analysis methods for planes. A non-linear lifting line method for standalone wings. Two vrtex-lattice and a 3d panel method for the analysis of aerodynamic performance of wings and plane operating at low Reynolds numbers. Macintosh OS X only.

ADFC Navier-Stokes solver

The ADFC code is a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) C++ solver for incompressible viscous flow over 2D and 3D geometries. It uses finite element and the characteristic method on unstructured meshes to solve Navier-Stokes equations. Macintosh OSX, Linux, and Windows.

arb finite volume solver

arb is a software package designed to solve arbitrary partial differential equations on unstructured meshes using an implicit finite volume method. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.

CFD Online Tools

Y+ Estimation, Turbulence Properties, Conversions & Boundary Estimations, general purpose calculators, and unit converters for CFD.

Software for Aerodynamics and Aircraft Design from Virginia Tech

A large collection of tools with source code. Most downloadable binaries are for Windows.


Free for USA. Analysis and design of fully unstructured Navier-Stokes solutions. You must email for download. Macintosh OS X, Sun, SGI, Opteron, Cray, HP, IBM, or DEC Alpha, and Windows.

Tecplot 360

A CFD visualization software tool that helps you quickly plot and animate your data exactly the way you want it. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.

Aerospace Blockset for Simulink

Extends Simulink® with blocks for modeling and simulating aircraft, spacecraft, rocket, and propulsion systems, as well as unmanned airborne vehicles. Requires Aerospace Toolbox. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.

See additional system requirements:

Aerospace Toolbox for MATLAB

Aerospace Toolbox provides reference standards, environmental models, and aerodynamic coefficient importing for performing advanced aerospace analysis to develop and evaluate your designs. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.


OpenFOAM is a free, open source CFD software package developed by OpenCFD Ltd at ESI Group and distributed by the OpenFOAM Foundation . It has a large user base across most areas of engineering and science, from both commercial and academic organizations. OpenFOAM has an extensive range of features to solve anything from complex fluid flows involving chemical reactions, turbulence and heat transfer, to solid dynamics and electro-magnetics. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.

Mac OSX install information:


GMAT is designed to model, optimize, and estimate spacecraft trajectories in flight regimes ranging from low Earth orbit to lunar applications, interplanetary trajectories, and other deep space missions. GMAT is developed by a team of NASA, private industry,  public, and private contributors.

HyperView Player

High-performance Post-processing and Visualization Environment for CAE and Test Data. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.


JavaFoil is a relatively simple program, which uses several traditional methods for airfoil analysis. The following two methods build the backbone of the program. The potential flow analysis is done with a higher order panel method (linear varying vorticity distribution). Taking a set of airfoil coordinates, it calculates the local, inviscid flow velocity along the surface of the airfoil for any desired angle of attack. The boundary layer analysis module steps along the upper and the lower surfaces of the airfoil, starting at the stagnation point. It solves a set of differential equations to find the various boundary layer parameters. It is a so called integral method. Java for all platforms.

Public Domain Aeronautical Software

A collection of public domain software from the Air Force, Navy, NASA and educational institutions for aviation and aerospace. Source code (mostly Fortran). Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.  


RAGE allows for the generation of a variety of computational aerodynamic models from a central parameterized geometry definition. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.


XNS is a finite element flow simulation program. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.

Mac OS X download:


A 3-D Navier-Stokes CFD System. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.

Cambridge Rocketry Simulator

Cambridge rocketry produces free open source software for simulating high power rocket flights. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.

Octave Install for OS X:

Then use Octave Forge to installl Cambridge Rocketry:

See my links to Octave here.


Data analysis and visualization application. You can build visualizations to analyze data using qualitative and quantitative techniques. The data exploration can be done interactively in 3D, or programmatically using ParaView’s batch processing capabilities. Macintosh OS X, UNIX, Linux, and Windows. Single processor or clusters.


Open source software suite for the simulation and design of aerospace systems, using unstructured grid technology. Written in C++. Macintosh OS X, UNIX, Linux, and Windows.


Aerospace Applications

High Performance Computing Software List

Drive Calculator

Drive Calculator is a tool for DC motor analysis and the computation of the complete power

system for electrically powered model aircraft. The Drive Calculator database contains tables

for batteries, ESCs, gear boxes, motors, propellers, and stators. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.

Prop Calculator

PropCalc computes the performance data of propellers with a given geometry, notably in-flight thrust and power drain across the utilizable airspeed range. PropCalc comes with a database that contains the polars of current airfoils as well as geometrical data of a number of propellers. Macintosh OS X and Windows.

Standard Atmosphere Calculator

1976 Standard atmosphere calculator.

Airfoil Tools

Tools to search, compare, create, and plot airfoils. Web based.

Wolfram Mathmatica

Including nearly 5,000 built-in functions covering all areas of technical computing—including aerospace, networks, images, geometry, data science, visualization, machine learning, and more. Mathematica has access to the vast Wolfram Knowledgebase, which includes up-to-the-minute real-world data across thousands of domains. The user interface allows you to organize everything you do in documents that include text, runnable code, dynamic graphics, user interfaces, and so on. 150,000+ examples on their web site. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.

Wolfram Alpha

Described as a computational Knowledge engine, it can answer many engineering questions. Web based, iOS, Android, Kindle, and Windows Phone.

Example engineering applications can be found here:


Static and Dynamic Structural Analysis of 2D and 3D Frames. To install, click the:

documentation, examples, source code, and the binary program for your operating system link.

Extract the folder from the zip file and place the folder where you want the application to be.

Then using terminal navigate to the osx folder in the folder you extracted. You must make frame3dd executable, so type:

chmod 755 frame3dd

To run, add your new directory path to your PATH variable, or just type:


While you are in the osx directory. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.


With a focus on important simulation aspects including error control and adaptive mesh refinement in complex computational domains, resilience and fault tolerance in complex simulations, heterogeneous modeling. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.


Cart3D is a high-fidelity inviscid aerodynamics analysis package that allows users to perform automated CFD analysis on arbitrarily complex geometry. Cart3D is highly effective for supersonic and hypersonic flow simulations. Calculates aerodynamic loads like CL and CD, perform sonic boom predictions, and compute wave drag analyses. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.

NASA information about getting Cart3D:


GUI interface for CART3D workflow, from geometry input to mesh preparation then to the Euler flow solution and finally to post-processing. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.


Generates of a variety of computational aerodynamic models from a central parameterized geometry definition. Designers can quickly and easily develop aircraft geometries that range from very simple to quite detailed for analysis with many computational aerodynamics tools. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.


Design and Analysis of Propellers. Java for all platforms.

Grid Pro

Automatic grid generation. TIL scripting language. Macintosh OS X, Linux, and Windows.


This code is for a 3D Navier-Stokes computational fluid dynamics solver. It is a cell centered, structured solver, using mulit-block structured grids in Plot3D format. Source code for many platforms.


A finite volume cfd code written in the D Programming Language. Source code for many platforms.