Direct and Large-Eddy Simulations of Wall-Bounded Turbulent Flow in Complex Geometries

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Direct and large-eddy simulations of wall-bounded turbulent flows in complex geometries are presented in the thesis. To avoid the challenging resolution requirements of the near-wall region, we develop a virtual wall model in generalized curvilinear coordinates and incorporate the non-equilibrium effects via proper treatment of the momentum equations. The wall-modeled large-eddy simulation (WMLES) framework is formulated based on the wall model, accomplished via the stretched-vortex subgrid scale (SGS) model for the LES region. Based on this, we develop high-resolution in-house CFD codes, including direct numerical simulation (DNS), wall-resolved simulation (WRLES) and WMLES for wall-bounded turbulence simulations in complex geometries. First, we present LES of flow past different airfoils with Rec, based on the free-stream velocity and airfoil chord length, ranging from 104 to 2.1106. The numerical results are verified with DNS at low Rec, and validated with experimental data at higher Rec, including typical aerodynamic properties such as pressure coefficient distributions, velocity components, and also more challenging measurements such as skin-friction coefficient and Reynolds stresses. The unsteady separation behavior is investigated with skin friction portraits, which reveal a monotonic shrinking of the near wall structure scale. Second, we present LES of turbulent flow in a channel constricted by streamwise periodically distributed hill-shaped protrusions. Two Reynolds number cases, i.e. Reh=10595 and 33000 (based on the hill height and bulk mean velocity through the hill crest), are utilized to verify and validate our WMLES results. All comparisons show reasonable agreement, which enables us to further probe simulation results at higher Reynolds number (Reh=105). The Reynolds number effects are investigated, with emphasis on the mean skin-friction coefficients, separation bubble size and pressure fluctuations. The flow field at the top wall is evaluated with the empirical friction law and log-law as in planar channel flows. Finally, we present DNS of flow past the NACA0012 airfoil (Rec=104, AoA=10) with wavy roughness elements located near the leading edge. The effects of 2D surface roughness on the aerodynamic performance are investigated. For k8, massive separation occurs and almost covers the suction side of the airfoil dominating the airfoil aerodynamic performance.
Date of AwardJan 2020
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorRavi Samtaney (Supervisor)


  • Wall-bounded turbulence
  • boundary layer separation
  • wall modeling
  • large-eddy simulation
  • high reynolds number flow
  • complex flow

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