CatalyticFOAM on Chemical Engineering Science

A recent publication on Chemical Engineering Science describes the CatalyticFOAM solver and shows several examples of applications to heterogeneous reacting systems!

CPO of methane over a Pt gauze

The catalytic partial oxidation (CPO) of methane over a gauze of Pt wires in a range of temperature to study the selectivity to CO.

Coupling kinetic Monte Carlo and CFD with catalyticFOAM

(in collaboration with Karsten Reuter and Sebastian Matera, TUM, Germany)

Catalytic Rashig Rings Bed

This is a CFD simulation of a bed of catalytic Rashig Rings of Rhodium. The inlet flow is a mixture of methane and nitrogen at the temperature of 473K.

Welcome to CatalyticFOAM

We have developed a new solver for OpenFOAM, that allows for the solution of Navier-Stokes equations for complex and general geometries for reacting flows at surfaces, based on microkinetic descriptions of the surface reactivity. The CatalyticFOAM solver exploits the operator-splitting technique in order to make possible the simulation of multidimensional systems with complex kinetic mechanisms. Such an approach represents an essential step for the first-principles based multiscale analysis of catalytic processes and paves the way towards the rational understanding and development of new reaction/reactor concepts.


We have released a new and updated version of CatalyticFOAM

The release is available here for registered users only

Detailed kinetics for homogeneous and heterogeneous phases

Very detailed kinetic schemes, with dozens of species and hundreds of reactions, can be adopted to describe the reactivity in the homogeneous and heterogeneous phases. The kinetic schemes are fully compatible with the standard CHEMKIN format.

Structured and unstructured meshes

CatalyticFOAM is built on the top of the OpenFOAM framework. This means that structured and unstrutured computational meshes can be adopted and state-of-the-art discretization schemes can be efficiently used, in order to perform simulations in arbitrarly complex domains.

Operator-splitting technique

In order to manage complex kinetic schemes, with dozens of species and hudreds of reactions, the operator-splitting technique is adopted, which means that the transport terms and the strongly non linear, stiff reaction terms are treated independently, with different numerical methodologies.


catalyticFOAM is an academic initiative on the extension of OpenFOAM®.

In particular, it is neither approved nor endorsed by ESI Group, the producer of OpenFOAM® software and owner of the OpenFOAM® trademark.

You find the official web-site of the OpenFOAM® foundation at www.openfoam.org

Paper on methodology

We published the methodology in:

M. Maestri and A. Cuoci, Coupling CFD with detailed microkinetic modeling in heterogeneous catalysis, Chemical Engineering Science, 96 (2013) 106-117


Extension to internal transport

The paper on the methodology for the concomitant account for internal transport limitations has been accepted for publication in Chemical Engineering Journal:

"A multiregion operator-splitting CFD approach for coupling microkinetic modeling with internal porous transport in heterogeneous catalytic reactors" by T. Maffei, G. Gentile, S. Rebughini, F. Manelli, S. Lipp, A. Cuoci and M. Maestri

Premio di Laurea Puccioni

Giancarlo Gentile and Filippo Manelli are the recipients of the "Premio Puccioni 2012" for their master thesis on catalyticFoam! Congratulations!

Get in touch

For information about the code and its use please email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for any information.

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Join the catalyticFOAM team!

Are you interested in joining the CatalyticFOAM team for your thesis or post-graduate research? Click here!.


Learn the basic usage of CatalyticFOAM through the tutorials here provided.


CatalyticFOAM is an academic project project involving several M.Sc. Students and Post-Docs at the Politecnico di Milano.



Discover the main features and functionalities of the CatalyticFOAM solver.



Learn to use CatalyticFOAM by looking at the tutorials, the presentations and the M.Sc. Thesis available in this section.



Look at the capabilities of CatalyticFOAM through a series of examples about catalytic reactors in simple and complex geometries.


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