Brian Spalding

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Dudley Brian Spalding, FRS FREng[1] (9 January 1923 – 27 November 2016) was Professor of Heat Transfer and Head of the Computational Fluid Dynamics Unit at Imperial College, London. In late 1970s and early 1980s, D Brian Spalding was the Reilly Professor of Combustion Engineering at Purdue University. He authored a book on "Combustion and Heat Transfer," for publication by Pergamon Press during this time. He is one of the founders of, and influential persons in, the development of computational fluid dynamics (CFD).[2] In 1983, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society.[3]

Spalding was born at New Malden, Surrey, England, and educated at King's College School, Wimbledon. He received his BA degree in Engineering Science from Oxford University in 1944 and PhD from Cambridge University in 1952. He is the founder of the company Concentration Heat And Momentum Limited, (CHAM) specialising in computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer processes.[4] CHAM's major product is the widely used PHOENICS CFD code. Spalding himself is the main creator of, and contributor to, PHOENICS.

Together with his student Suhas Patankar he developed the SIMPLE algorithm, a widely used numerical procedure to solve the Navier-Stokes equations.


Spalding formed [Concentration Heat and Momentum (CHAM) Limited in 1974. From the outset commercial CFD services were provided to industrial and governmental clients based on the technology that had emerged from his research group at Imperial College in the late 1960s. Later these services were based on PHOENICS, the first commercially available Computational Fluid Dynamics Software, which he created and released in 1980.

Between 1969 and 1980, CHAM developed numerous application-specific CFD computer codes. In 1978, Spalding conceived the idea of a single CFD code capable of handling all fluid-flow processes. Consequently, CHAM abandoned the policy of developing individual application-specific CFD codes, and during late 1978 the company began creating the world’s first general-purpose CFD code, PHOENICS, which is an acronym for Parabolic, Hyperbolic Or Elliptic Numerical Integration Code Series. The initial creation of PHOENICS was largely the work of Spalding and Harvey Rosten, and the code was launched commercially in 1981, and so here for the first time, a single CFD code was to be used for all thermo-fluids problems.

Biographical material[edit]

Selected books[edit]

  • B. E. Launder and D. B. Spalding, Mathematical Models of Turbulence, Academic Press (1972).
  • D. B. Spalding and E. H. Cole, Engineering Thermodynamics, 3rd ed., Hodder Arnold (1973).
  • D. B. Spalding, Combustion and Mass Transfer, Elsevier (1978).
  • D. B. Spalding, Convective Mass Transfer- An Introduction, McGraw Hill (1963).

Honours and awards[edit]