Development of Numerical Algorithm Based on a Modified Equation of Fluid Motion with Application to Turbomachinery Flow

On the basis of the scale-invariant theory of statistical mechanics, Sohrab introduced a linear equation termed the “modified equation of fluid motion.” Preliminary investigations have shown that this modified equation can be extended to solve flow problems. Analytical solutions of basic flow problems were derived using this equation. In all cases the match between estimated and experimental data was good. These results stimulated further applications of this modified equation in the development of a CFD code to obtain numerical solutions of turbomachinery flow problems. In the present work, a novel numerical algorithm based on the aforementioned modified equation has been developed to solve turbomachinery flow problems. In order to avoid dealing with more technical conditions on the scale–invariant form of the energy equation, this investigation is restricted to incompressible flow. On the basis of the work done by Sohrab, the derivation process of the modified equation for incompressible flow is presented with more emphasis on its linear property as compared to the Navier–Stokes equation for incompressible flow. Furthermore, a detailed analysis of the present discretisation technique for the modified equation is performed. As compared with the Navier–Stokes equation, the numerical errors resulted from the discretisation of the modified equation, including the truncation and discretisation errors are discussed as well as the stability conditions. On the basis of the analysis above, a novel numerical solver is established by using the open source code OpenFOAM. A corresponding iteration technology is determined for the solver to dedicate reliable and efficient solutions to the algebraic linear equations derived from the FVM discretisation of the modified equation. In addition, a dynamic mesh solver developed on the basis of the ALE method is also built up to resolve the transient flow problems. Finally, the developed solver is applied to solve the modified equation for several flow models including the fundamental boundary layer problems, flow around an airfoil, turbulent secondary flow in a curved duct and cascades, and rotor–stator interactions in radial pumps. The results are evaluated by comparing them with those obtained by other methods, including the numerical results from a Navier–Stokes solver and measured data. For all investigated cases the computational effort and the accuracy of the solver are emphasized. The comparisons indicate that the developed solver, which is based on the modified equation of fluid motion, requires less than half the computation time of the Navier–Stokes solver, and it produces physically reasonable results validated by measured data. The encouraging result demonstrates the scientific credibility of the developed solver for application to turbomachinery flows. Further, if it is extended to design processes in the turbomachinery industry, significant improvements in the design cycle cost can be reached.


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