Numerical Simulation of 3D, Complex, Turbulent Flows with Unsteady Coherent Structures: From Hydraulics to Cardiovascular Fluid Mechanics
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A new state-of-the-art CFD solver capable of simulating a broad range of complex engineering flows at real-life Reynolds numbers is developed. The method solves the three-dimensional incompressible unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) equations closed with statistical turbulence models. Three such models are incorporated in the solver: the standard k - e model with wall functions, the Spalart-Allmaras model and the detached-eddy simulation (DES) model. The numerical solver employs domain decomposition with structured Chimera overset grids to handle complex, multi-connected geometries. The governing equations are discretized with second order accuracy schemes both in space and time. The capabilities and versatility of the numerical method are demonstrated by applying it to simulate two widely different flow problems: a) flow past a geometrical complex array of multiple bridge piers mounted both on a natural river reach and on a flat bed experimental flume; and b) flow in mechanical, bileaflet, prosthetic heart valve with the leaflets fixed in the fully-open position. Overset grid systems with several millions of grid nodes are used and grid-refinement and other numerical dependency studies are carried out to explore the sensitivity of the computed solutions to various numerical parameters. For all simulated cases, large-scale unsteadiness appears naturally as a result of excited mean-flow instabilities and the computed mean flowfields are shown to be in good quantitative agreement with experimental measurements. By analyzing the instantaneous flowfields numerous novel insights into the physics of both flow cases are obtained and discussed extensively. The results of this thesis demonstrate the potential of the new method as a powerful simulation tool for a broad range of cross-disciplinary engineering flow problems and underscore the need for physics-based numerical modeling by integrating CFD with laboratory experimentation.