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OpenIFEM: A High Performance Modular Open-Source Software of the Immersed Finite Element Method for Fluid-Structure Interactions

Jie Cheng1, Feimi Yu1, Lucy T. Zhang1, *

Department of Mechanical Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, 12180, USA,

* Corresponding Author: Lucy T. Zhang. Email: .

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Recent Developments of Immersed Methods for Fluid-structure Interactions)

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2019, 119(1), 91-124.


We present a high performance modularly-built open-source software - OpenIFEM. OpenIFEM is a C++ implementation of the modified immersed finite element method (mIFEM) to solve fluid-structure interaction (FSI) problems. This software is modularly built to perform multiple tasks including fluid dynamics (incompressible and slightly compressible fluid models), linear and nonlinear solid mechanics, and fully coupled fluid-structure interactions. Most of open-source software packages are restricted to certain discretization methods; some are under-tested, under-documented, and lack modularity as well as extensibility. OpenIFEM is designed and built to include a set of generic classes for users to adapt so that any fluid and solid solvers can be coupled through the FSI algorithm. In addition, the package utilizes well-developed and tested libraries. It also comes with standard test cases that serve as software and algorithm validation. The software can be built on cross-platform, i.e., Linux, Windows, and Mac OS, using CMake. Efficient parallelization is also implemented for high-performance computing for large-sized problems. OpenIFEM is documented using Doxygen and publicly available to download on GitHub. It is expected to benefit the future development of FSI algorithms and be applied to a variety of FSI applications.


Cite This Article

Cheng, J., Yu, F., Zhang, L. T. (2019). OpenIFEM: A High Performance Modular Open-Source Software of the Immersed Finite Element Method for Fluid-Structure Interactions. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 119(1), 91–124.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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