Hybrid RANS-LES closure for separated flows in the transitional regime
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The aerodynamics of modern rotorcraft is highly complex and has proven to be an arduous challenge for computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Flow features such as massively separated boundary layers or transition to turbulence are common in engineering applications and need to be accurately captured in order to predict the vehicle performance. The recent advances in numerical methods and turbulence modeling have resolved each of these issues independent of the other. First, state-of-the-art hybrid RANS-LES turbulence closures have shown great promise in capturing the unsteady flow details and integrated performance quantities for stalled flows. Similarly, the correlation-based transition model of Langtry and Menter has been successfully applied to a wide range of applications involving attached or mildly separated flows. However, there still lacks a unified approach that can tackle massively separated flows in the transitional flow region. In this effort, the two approaches have been combined and expended to yield a methodology capable of accurately predicting the features in these highly complex unsteady turbulent flows at a reasonable computational cost. Comparisons are evaluated on several cases, including a transitional flat plate, circular cylinder in crossflow and NACA 63-415 wing. Cost and accuracy correlations with URANS and prior hybrid URANS-LES approaches with and without transition modeling indicate that this new method can capture both separation and transition more accurately and cost effectively. This new turbulence approach has been applied to the study of wings in the reverse flow regime. The flight envelope of modern helicopters has increased significantly over the last few decades, with design concepts now reaching advance ratios up to μ = 1. In these extreme conditions, the freestream velocity exceeds the rotational speed of the blades, and a large region of the retreating side of the rotor disk experiences reverse flow. For a conventional airfoil with a sharp trailing edge, the reverse flow regime is generally characterized by massive boundary layer separation and bluff body vortex shedding. This complex aerodynamic environment has been utilized to evaluate the new hybrid transitional approach. The assessment has proven the efficiency of the new hybrid model, and it has provided a transformative advancement to the modeling of dynamic stall.