Encyclopaedia Index

Installation of PHOENICS 2015


  1. Introduction
  2. Specification of Items
  3. Installation Procedures
  4. Brief test of the PHOENICS installation
  5. Starting to use PHOENICS
  6. Parallel PHOENICS
  7. Appendix A. Unlocking PHOENICS
  8. Appendix B. Frequently Asked Questions and Troubleshooting

1 Introduction

1.1 Purpose of the document

The purposes of this document are:

The contents of this document are applicable to both recompilable, which enables the user to re-link the executables, and non-recompilable with which the user can only use the supplied executables.

1.2 System configuration

To install PHOENICS, the user needs to have a hard disk with at least a total of 2 GB free space. Additional space should be available for running PHOENICS. How much space will depend on the size of simulations made; for complex models it is possible to generate individual output files which are more than 1GB in size. For efficient use of PHOENICS the user should have at least 10GB of free hard disk space available.

PHOENICS will run on all platforms of Microsoft Windows from version XP onwards and will run on Windows 10. It is recommended that the computer used for running PHOENICS has a minimum of 2GB RAM. The amount of available RAM will limit the size and complexity of simulations made. PHOENICS is available compiled either as 32-bit or 64-bit executables. The 32-bit version will run on any version of Windows, but individual programs are limited to 2GB in size. This limits the size of the grid on which it is possible to run simulations. To go beyond this limit, the user will need to have a 64 bit version of the Windows operating system and use the 64-bit version of PHOENICS. Most new computers now come pre-installed with the 64-bit version of Windows.

PHOENICS has no special graphics requirements; most modern graphics cards should have no problem running PHOENICS. However, we have found that with some of the graphics cards that come integrated with the motherboard do give slow performace when rotating the domain with result contours displayed. To enable the clear display of results, the minimum recommended screen resolution is 1024*768 pixels.

An Intel Visual Fortran compiler version 10.1 or later is required for the recompilable version of PHOENICS compiled using Intel Fortran compiler. Users who do not have a version Microsoft Visual Studio installed (required since this contains the linker) should install the copy of Microsoft Visual Studio premier partner edition that now comes with Intel Visual Fortran.

Please note that an Administrator account will be required to install the software.

1.3 The remainder of the document

Chapter 2 lists the items supplied with the installation

Chapter 3 describes the installation procedures

Chapter 4 shows how to test the success of the installation

Chapter 5 advises users on starting to use PHOENICS

Chapter 6 shows how to install the parallel version of PHOENICS

Appendix A gives information on how to obtain an unlocking string

Appendix B provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions and to troubleshooting

2 Specification of Items

The following items will be supplied:

2.1 Software

2.2 Documentation

3 Installation Procedures

The quick installation instructions are provided inside the cover of the DVD case which should enable experienced customers to upgrade their PHOENICS version successfully. Otherwise, it is recommended to read through the following sections before starting installation.

3.1 Ensuring that there is sufficient free disk space

At least 2 GB of free disk space must be available on the target machine before you start to install PHOENICS. It is recommended though that you have in excess of 10GB free space, so that you have sufficient space to store results.

3.2 Checking if PHOENICS has already been installed on the target machine

If an earlier version of PHOENICS is already present, it should be deleted, or the name of the existing installation directory changed before installing the new version. You may wish to preserve user files from working directories, such as \phoenics\d_priv1 , and user geometry files under \phoenics\d_satell\d_object\users. These can be copied to a temporary location with Windows Explorer, and later moved to the equivalent locations in the new installation.

To delete the old installation, open the Control Panel then in the section Programs click on the item 'Uninstall a program'. Now scroll through the list of installed programs and find the PHOENICS installation – the previous version was labelled PHOENICS 2014. Double click on the line labelled PHOENICS to begin the install script and choose the option 'Remove' then click on the button 'Next' to begin the uninstall procedure. This will remove all the files which were originally installed, but leave behind any new files which have subsequently been added (e.g. your case files). If you wish to preserve any of these left over files then rename the phoenics folder, otherwise delete it before re-installing PHOENICS. To rename the old installation to, say, PHOENICS.OLD, open Windows Explorer, right click on the \PHOENICS folder, then on Rename and type in PHOENICS.OLD.

If a previous version of PHOENICS exists on this PC, and you do not rename or remove it, it will not be overwritten by this installation process. The installation process will finish normally, but no existing files will have been overwritten.

If you have an old version of PHOENICS on your drive C:, and you would like to keep it on the C: drive, you can create a virtual drive and install PHOENICS on this virtual drive, with no need to rename or remove your old PHOENICS from the C: drive.

Click on 'My computer' icon to ascertain what drive letters are in use. Usually the C: drive will be the user's local hard drive and D: a removable drive (eg CD or DVD), other drive letters may already be in use for mapped network drives. Suppose the drive P: is not in use, you can create a virtual drive P:.

First, make a root level folder with a suitable name, e.g. C:\PHOENICS2015; then in a Command Prompt window, enter the command


You now have a virtual drive P: onto which you can load PHOENICS 2015 without affecting any older version of PHOENICS you may have on C:.

Please note that any subst drives are not remembered after a user logout. The drive will need to be re-created at each logon. This can be achieved by creating a batch file, say map_drive.bat (within which is written the subst command above) and include this in the Startup folder under the Start menu.

3.3 Installing the Intel Visual Fortran compiler

If the delivery is for a non-recompilable version of PHOENICS, then no compiler is required.

To install the compiler, insert the Intel Compiler DVD in the DVD drive. If Autorun (it is a default setting for the DVD drive on computers) is enabled, follow the instructions on your screen. If installation does not start automatically, use Windows Explorer to open the DVD drive and then double-click on INSTALL to start the installation process.

3.4 Installing PHOENICS

Follow the steps below to install the entire PHOENICS program suite on to the hard disk.

  1. Load the DVD into your DVD reader. The setup program will automatically start

    If you do have a previous PHOENICS installation refer to section 3.2 above for instructions on how to proceed.
  2. Select the installation location

    In response to the screen prompt for the location of the phoenics directory, the user must specify the target location if other than C:\ phoenics. Ideally the phoenics directory should be located in the root of whichever drive was selected for PHOENICS to be loaded on, but it can be installed elsewhere.
  3. An environment variable 'phoenics' is created by the installation process, and this variable is set to the pathname of the location of PHOENICS. For example, if PHOENICS is loaded into c:\phoe2015\phoenics then the value of the environment variable 'phoenics' is set to 'c:\phoe2015\phoenics'.
    While it is possible to install within the directory 'C:\Program Files' it is not recommended for two reasons, one is that POLIS html files use absolute links which will not work unless phoenics is at the root level and two the phoenics folder will be read-only for non-administrator accounts (see FAQs in Appendix B).
  4. If the installation is successful, the user will see five PHOENICS icons, PHOENICS Commander, PHOENICS-VR, WINDF, PRELUDE and POLIS created on the desktop.

    The PHOENICS Commander icon is a shortcut for a global interface for PHOENICS; the PHOENICS-VR icon is a shortcut for the PHOENICS GUI; the WINDF icon is the shortcut for a Command Prompt window with the correct path for running the INTEL Fortran version of PHOENICS; Prelude is an alternative interface to the VR environment; POLIS icon is the shortcut for the PHOENICS On-Line Information System.

If PHOENICS is installed on one disk drive (e.g. C:) and the working directory is on a different drive (e.g D:), then the PHOENICS-VR icon will require changing. Click on the icon with the right mouse button, select Properties and Shortcut, and change the drive letter in the filed 'Start in:' to be the required letter, in this case D:.

4 Brief test of the PHOENICS installation

Before running anything more complex, it is recommended that the user tries running a simple case from the PHOENICS library of cases to check the software unlocking and that the necessary DLLs are being loaded correctly.


Double-click on the CHAM icon, labelled 'PHOENICS VR' in the desktop. The screen shown below should should appear.

PHOENICS is provided with a temporary license file. If you received PHOENICS on a DVD disc, then this license file should provide up to two months usage before expiry. However, if you received PHOENICS as a download then you are likely to receive a dialog message that the code has expired.

If you get the expired notice, then refer to Appendix A and contact CHAM for a new license file.

4.2 Test run

Once you have valid license file you can prepare a test run of the solver. For this is best to select a simple case from the PHOENICS library cases, a good example to use is library case 805 – 'Sphere in a uniform stream'. To load the library case, from the File menu in PHOENICS VR select the item 'Load from Libraries…'. This should lead to the dialog shown below.


This dialog acts as a warning that if you had a pre-existing case loaded into the VR-Editor then the following action(s) will overwrite your case. This reminder gives the user the opportunity to cancel and save their work before continuing. To continue either click on the ‘Select Case’ or ‘OK’ buttons, these will lead to the following dialog.

In the edit box to the right of 'Case number:' enter the number 805, and then click on the button 'OK'. The PHOENICS VR window should then look like

This is a simple case of airflow entering the domain from an inlet the left and passing a sphere set in the flow field, the air exits through an outlet on the right. One can make adjustments to the flow, but for this initial test run, run the model as is. On the Run menu, select the item 'Solver'. Once selected, you will see the 'Save Current Settings' dialog below.


At this point you can choose whether any changes are saved to the current Q1 input file, by default this item will be ticked. This option is provided for those occasions when you wish to retain the original Q1. The file eardat will always be written at this time as it contains the input instructions for the solver. Clicking on the ‘OK’ button will launch the solver, 'Cancel' will abort the run. This run should only take a few seconds and you will see a new window appear on screen as below.

Once completed, the window will close. If the window does not appear then it indicates that the solver failed to start. At this juncture the solver should not fail. If it does, likely causes are either an unlocking failure or a failure to locate the necessary DLLs. Any failure in the unlocking should be recorded in the file 'lunit6' which will be located in the working directory (if installed in default location this file should be c:\phoenics\d_priv1\lunit6). If there is no message there then check that you have the three DLLs present in the directory c:\phoenics\d_earth\d_windf. The DLLs are named fmpich2.dll, mpich2.dll and mpich2mpi.dll (mpich2nemesis.dll for 64-bit version). If the DLLs and unlocking are present and correct and the solver is still not running then contact CHAM for further assistance.

Once the solver has finished the test is now complete. You may go on to view the results in the post processor.

Use the option 'GUI – Post processor (VR Viewer)' then click OK on the following dialog. Instructions on the use of the VR Viewer are available in documents TR324 and TR326.

5 Starting to use PHOENICS

PHOENICS is a general-purpose software package which uses the techniques of CFD (i.e. Computational Fluid Dynamics) to predict quantitatively:

Its name is an acronym for Parabolic Hyperbolic Or Elliptic Numerical Integration Code Series, wherein "parabolic", "hyperbolic" and "elliptic" are the words which mathematicians use to distinguish the underlying equations. However, the mention of equations does not imply that PHOENICS is intended for mathematicians.

PHOENICS performs three main functions:

  1. problem definition (i.e. pre-processing), in which the user prescribes the situation to be simulated and the questions which are to be answered;
  2. simulation (i.e. data-processing), by means of computation, of what the laws of science imply in the prescribed circumstances;
  3. presentation (i.e. post-processing) of the results of the computation, by way of graphical displays, tables of numbers, and other means.

PHOENICS therefore, like many but not all CFD codes, has a distinct software module, or set of modules, for each of the above three functions. Their interrelationships are shown below.

The four names in white rectangular boxes in the above diagram refer to files which are used for communication between modules, as follows:

5.1 Getting started via the PHOENICS Commander

The easiest way to get started is to activate the 'PHOENICS Commander', either by clicking on the desk-top icon created at installation time or by entering the command pc at the command prompt.

What should then appear on the screen is something like this:

The buttons along the top edge provide access to the PHOENICS Computational Fluid Dynamics Software Package. They include:

The buttons down the left are:

5.2 Pre-processing modules

The principal input file used by the PHOENICS pre-processor is the Q1 file. This is an ASCII text file that contains a description of the scenario that is to be simulated and is written in the PHOENICS Input Language. This Q1 is read and processed by the pre-processor module Satellite into a form that is ready for the solver module Earth.

There are a number of ways in which the user can write a Q1, these include