general documentation

code_saturne is a general purpose Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software developed mostly by EDF.

The basic capabilities of code_saturne enable the handling of either incompressible or expandable flows with or without heat transfer and turbulence. Dedicated modules are available for specific physics such as radiative heat transfer, combustion (gas, coal, heavy fuel oil, ...), magneto-hydrodynamics, compressible flows, two-phase flows (Euler-Lagrange approach with two-way coupling), or atmospheric flows.

code_saturne relies on a finite volume discretisation and allows the use of various mesh types which may be hybrid (containing several kinds of elements) and may have structural non-conformities (hanging nodes).


code_saturne is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. code_saturne is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.


code_saturne may be configured and installed using the configure shell script and make. Please refer to the installation guide.


code_saturne also relies on the PLE (Parallel Location and Exchange) library (developed by the same team, under the LGPL license) for the management of code coupling; this library can also be used independently.

See PLE (Parallel Location and Exchange).

User sources, functions, and subroutines

Many user examples are available in the user examples tab:

Additional documentation

In addition to the Doxygen documentation, code_saturne is provided with several pdf documents:

Base architecture

code_saturne is composed of several elements, managed through a global code_saturne script. The three main elements are shown on the following figure:

  • The GUI allows defining the main computation settings
    (which can be completed with more detailed settings in user-defined code).
  • The Solver module is the numerical solver and main program.
  • the Preprocessor module is in charge of mesh import.

    code_saturne elements

Top-level commands

The code_saturne script allows multiple commands, usable through a code_saturne <command> [options] syntax.

To obtain the list of commands, in a terminal, type:

code_saturne --help

To obtain the list of options for a given command, in a terminal, type:

code_saturne [command] --help

The main commands are:

  • info
    Get information on code_saturne. Open the documentation (refcard, theory, ...).

  • config
    Get information on the configuration and installation of code_saturne.

  • create
    Create a new code_saturne study or case structure.

  • gui
    Launch the main graphical user interface.

  • run
    Run a single case.

  • submit
    Submit a single case to a batch system.

  • trackcvg
    Launch the code_saturne convergence tracking and plotting graphical interface.

  • studymanager or smgr
    Launch the code_saturne study manager to run multiple related cases and generate reports.

  • studymanagergui or smgrgui
    Launch the code_saturne study manager setup graphical interface; must be run from the top-level study directory.

  • compile
    Build a specific solver executable when some user-defined source are present;