Solver Setup

This guide is for version 7 only

This is a basic introduction on how to set up a simulation using SU2. We distinguish between single-zone computations and multi-zone computations. The following considers a single zone only. For an explanation on multi-zone problems, continue with Basics of Multi-Zone Computations.

Defining the Problem

SU2 is capable of dealing with different kinds of physical problems. The kind of problem is defined by choosing a solver using the SOLVER option. A list of possible values and a description can be found in the following table:

Option Value Problem Type
EULER Euler’s equation Finite-Volume method
NAVIER_STOKES Navier-Stokes’ equation Finite-Volume method
RANS Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes’ Finite-Volume method
INC_EULER Incompressible Euler’s equation Finite-Volume method
INC_NAVIER_STOKES Incompressible Navier-Stokes’ Finite-Volume method
INC_RANS Incompressible Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes’ Finite-Volume method
HEAT_EQUATION_FVM Heat equation Finite-Volume method
ELASTICITY Equations of elasticity Finite-Element method
FEM_EULER Euler’s equation Discontinuous Galerkin FEM
FEM_NAVIER_STOKES Navier-Stokes’ equation Discontinuous Galerkin FEM
MULTIPHYSICS Multi-zone problem with different solvers in each zone -

Every solver has its specific options and we refer to the tutorial cases for more information. However, the basic controls detailed in the remainder of this page are the same for all problems.

Restarting the simulation

A simulation can be restarted from a previous computation by setting RESTART_SOL=YES. If it is a time-dependent problem, additionally RESTART_ITER must be set to the time iteration index you want to restart from:

% ------------------------- Solver definition -------------------------------%
% Type of solver 
% Restart solution (NO, YES)
% Iteration number to begin unsteady restarts (used if RESTART_SOL= YES)

Controlling the simulation

A simulation is controlled by setting the number of iterations the solver should run (or by setting a convergence critera). The picture below depicts the two types of iterations we consider.

Types of Iteration

SU2 makes use of an outer time loop to march through the physical time, and of an inner loop which is usually a pseudo-time iteration or a (quasi-)Newton scheme. The actual method used depends again on the specific type of solver.

Time-dependent Simulation

To enable a time-dependent simulation set the option TIME_DOMAIN to YES (default is NO). There are different methods available for certain solvers which can be set using the TIME_MARCHING option. For example for any of the FVM-type solvers a first or second-order dual-time stepping (DUAL_TIME_STEPPING-1ST_ORDER/DUAL_TIME_STEPPING-2ND_ORDER) method or a conventional time-stepping method (TIME_STEPPING) can be used.

% ------------------------- Time-dependent Simulation -------------------------------%
% Time Step for dual time stepping simulations (s)
% Total Physical Time for dual time stepping simulations (s)
MAX_TIME= 50.0
% Number of internal iterations 
% Number of time steps

The solver will stop either when it reaches the maximum time (MAX_TIME) or the maximum number of time steps (TIME_ITER), whichever event occurs first. Depending on the TIME_MARCHING option, the solver might use an inner iteration loop to converge each physical time step. The number of iterations within each time step is controlled using the INNER_ITER option.

Steady-state Simulation

A steady-state simulation is defined by using TIME_DOMAIN=NO, which is the default value if the option is not present. In this case the number of iterations is controlled by the option ITER.

Note: To make it easier to switch between steady-state, time-dependent and multizone simulations, the option INNER_ITER can also be used to specify the number of iterations. If both options are present, INNER_ITER has precedence.

Setting convergence criteria

Despite setting the maximum number of iterations, it is possible to use a convergence criterion so that the solver will stop when it reaches a certain value of a residual or if variations of a coefficient are below a certain threshold. To enable a convergence criterion use the option CONV_FIELD to set an output field that should be monitored. The list of possible fields depends on the solver. Take a look at Custom Output to learn more about output fields. Depending on the type of field (residual or coefficient) there are two types of methods:


If the field set with CONV_FIELD is a residual, the solver will stop if it is smaller than the value set with CONV_RESIDUAL_MINVAL option. Example:

% ------------------- Residual-based Convergence Criteria -------------------------%
% Min value of the residual (log10 of the residual)


If the field set with CONV_FIELD is a coefficient, a Cauchy series approach is applied. A Cauchy element is defined as the difference of the coefficient between two consecutive iterations. The solver will stop if the sum over a certain number of elements (set with CONV_CAUCHY_ELEMS) is smaller than the value set with CONV_CAUCHY_EPS. The current value of the Cauchy coefficient can be written to screen or history by adding the CAUCHY field to the SCREEN_OUTPUT or HISTORY_OUTPUT option (see Custom Output). Example:

% ------------------ Coefficient-based Convergence Criteria -----------------------%
% Number of elements to apply the criteria
% Epsilon to control the series convergence

For both methods the option CONV_STARTITER defines when the solver should start monitoring the criterion.

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