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InCFD is a research group based within the department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The prime objectives are to develop state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling tools and CFD based innovation for the express support of industry. This is done via the uncompromising pursuit of innovation through fundamental research which carries the hall mark of excellence. InCFD is home to the South African Research (SARChI) Chair in Industrial CFD.

The principle aim of the InCFD Research Group is innovation and wealth creation via directed CFD and modelling research.  Following are the key activities:

  1. Establishing internationally competitive industrially relevant CFD software and expertise. This is done through innovative developments which are underpinned by fundamental research in close collaboration with industry.
  2. Serving as the key enabler to radical innovation in products and services via multi-physics modelling. Our software suite Elemental underpins much of our work as it offers a unique state-of-the-art technology base.
  3. To skill post-graduate students in the art of industrially directed research and innovation. Students work closely with premier international industry on the grand challenges of the day.

The research group was established in 2011 by Prof. Arnaud Malan. The first task was development of a new industrial strength Elemental CFD software version, which resulted in the awarding of the SARChI Chair in Industrial CFD in 2014. The Elemental software found its roots in 1999 when Prof. Malan pursued a Ph.D. at the University of Wales Swansea as a Commonwealth Scholar under the supervision of Prof. Roland Lewis. The result was novel multi-physics CFD software, later dubbed Elemental. Its value was recognised and received the Best Ph.D. Thesis for the year 2002 from the Association of Computational Mechanics in Engineering (United Kingdom). More recently the technology was awarded the NSFT-BHP Billiton Award (NSFT-BHP Billiton website) for ‘’an individual or a team for an outstanding contribution to SET through research leading to innovation” in 2014 and has resulted in the UCT spin-out company Elemental Numerics (Pty) Ltd (currently being established).

Since 2011 InCFD has grown 15 full time researchers. We serve several industries across the globe and in diverse fields. These include large commercial aircraft for Airbus (commercial aircraft), cryogenic liquid transport in satellites for ArianeGroup (previously Airbus Safran Launchers) and aerodynamic optimisation for CFW Industries (Pty) Ltd.


This work is based on research supported in part by the National Research Foundation of South Africa (Grant Numbers: 89916). The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations  expressed is that of the authors alone, and the NRF accepts no liability whatsoever in this regard.