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This documentation is for an old version of Cantera. You can find docs for newer versions here.

Installing Cantera


Windows installers are provided for stable versions of Cantera. These installation instructions are for Cantera 2.1.2.

  1. Choose your Python version and architecture

    • On Windows, Cantera supports Python 2.7, Python 3.3, and Python 3.4. Python 3.4 is recommended unless you need to use legacy code that does not work with Python 3. You can install both Cantera Python modules simultaneously.
    • Cantera supports both 32- and 64- bit Python installations.
    • You need choose the matching Cantera installer for your Python version and machine architecture.
    • The rest of these instructions will refer to your chosen version of Python as X.Y.
    • If you are using Matlab, you must use the same architecture for Cantera and Matlab. Matlab defaults to 64-bit if you are running a 64-bit operating system.
  2. Install Python

    • Go to
      • 64-bit: Download the most recent “Windows X86-64 MSI Installer” for Python X.Y (i.e. if X.Y is 3.4, prefer 3.4.1 to 3.4.0, but not 3.5.0).
      • 32-bit: Download the most recent “Windows x86 MSI Installer” for Python X.Y.
    • Run the installer. The default installation options should be fine.
    • Python is required in order to work with cti input files even if you are not using the Python interface to Cantera.
    • Cantera can also be used with alternative Python distributions such as Anaconda or the Enthought Canopy distribution. These distributions will generally be based on the 64-bit version of Python 2.7, and will include Numpy as well as many other packages useful for scientific users.
  3. Install Numpy

  4. Remove old versions of Cantera

    • Use The Windows “Add/Remove Programs” interface
    • Remove both the main Cantera package and the Python module.
    • The Python module will be listed as “Python X.Y Cantera ...”
  5. Install Cantera

    • Go to the Cantera Downloads page.
      • 64-bit: Download Cantera-2.1.2-x64.msi and Cantera-Python-2.1.2-x64-pyX.Y.msi.
      • 32-bit: Download Cantera-2.1.2-x86.msi and Cantera-Python-2.1.2-x86-pyX.Y.msi.
    • If you are only using the Python module, you do not need to download and install the base package.
    • Run the installer(s).
  6. Configure Matlab (optional)

    • Set the environment variable PYTHON_CMD
      • From the Start menu (Windows 7) or the Start screen (Windows 8) type “edit environment” and select “Edit environment variables for your account”.
      • Add a New variable with PYTHON_CMD as the name and the full path to the Python executable (e.g. C:\python27\python.exe) as the value.
      • Setting PYTHON_CMD is not necessary if the path to python.exe is in your PATH (which can be set from the same configuration dialog).
    • Launch Matlab
    • Go to File->Set Path...
    • Select Add with Subfolders
    • Browse to the folder C:\Program Files\Cantera\matlab\toolbox
    • Select Save, then Close.
  7. Test the installation

    • Python:

      import cantera
      gas = cantera.Solution('gri30.cti')
      h2o = cantera.PureFluid('liquidvapor.cti', 'water')
    • Matlab:

      gas = IdealGasMix('gri30.cti')
      h2o = importPhase('liquidvapor.cti','water')

Mac OS X

The easiest way to install Cantera on OS X is by using Homebrew. These instructions have been tested on Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) with Xcode 5.1.


If you’ve used Homebrew before, you may have already completed some of these steps and can skip them.

  • Install Xcode from the App store

  • From a Terminal, run:

    sudo xcodebuild

    and agree to the Xcode license agreement

  • Install Homebrew

  • Run the following commands:

    brew tap homebrew/science brew update brew install python scons sundials

  • Put /usr/local/bin at the front of your path, e.g. add the following to ~/.bash_profile (creating this file if it doesn’t already exist):

    export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH
  • Run:

    source ~/.bash_profile
  • If you want to build the Cantera Python 2 module, run:

    pip install cython numpy
  • If you want to build the Cantera Python 3 module, run:

    brew install python3
    pip3 install numpy cython

Installing Cantera

The installation command for Cantera supports several options:

  • To install Cantera with additional patches that will be included in the next maintenance release, use the flag: --devel
  • To Install the current development version of Cantera, use the flag: --HEAD
  • To install the Matlab toolbox, use the flag --with-matlab=/Applications/ (with the version modified to match your installed Matlab version)

Install Cantera by adding the desired options to the brew install command, e.g.:

brew install cantera --devel --with-matlab=/Applications/


Ubuntu packages are provided for recent versions of Ubuntu using a Personal Package Archive (PPA). As of Cantera 2.1.2, packages are available for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr). To see which Ubuntu releases and Cantera versions are currently available, visit

The available packages are:

  • cantera-python - The Cantera Python module for Python 2. For Ubuntu 12.04, this is the “legacy” Python module. For Ubuntu 14.04 and newer, this is the “new” Python module.
  • cantera-python3 - The Cantera Python module for Python 3. Only available for Ubuntu 14.04 and newer.
  • cantera-dev - Libraries and header files for compiling your own C++ and Fortran 90 programs that use Cantera.

To add the Cantera PPA:

sudo aptitude install python-software-properties
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:speth/cantera
sudo aptitude update

To install all of the Cantera packages:

sudo aptitude install cantera-python cantera-python3 cantera-dev

or install whichever subset you need by adjusting the above command.