Simulation of Flow Past a Sphereusing the Fluent Code
The use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) codes to simulate the flow aroundgeometrically complicated shapes such as aeroplanes, cars and ships has becomestandard engineering practice in the last few years. The computer code Fluent is acommercial CFD code which is used routinely by members of the HydrodynamicsGroup within DSTO’s Maritime Platforms Division (MPD) to simulate flows relevantto underwater vehicle design and surface ship wakes. In this report we test the abilityof the code to accurately simulate the flow around a sphere over a large range ofReynolds numbers (Re). This is a stringent test of the code as it involves a number ofvery different flow regimes, varying from laminar steady-state flow near Re = 100 totime-dependent turbulent flow at Re = 10
.These simulations are also intended to provide a benchmark comparison for the finitedifference CFD code Vortel, currently under development at Naval UnderwaterWarfare Center, Newport, Rhode Island in collaboration with researchers at MPD.Vortel is based on the Lagrangian Vorticity method and offers advantages overcommercial CFD codes for the simulation of flow around multiple bodies in relativemotion. It has already been used to simulate unmanned undersea vehicle dockingmanoeuvres, as well as unsteady bow thruster hydrodynamics and the unsteadyseparated flow fields past an oscillating airfoil.Four different flow regimes are studied in detail: steady-state laminar flow at Re = 100,time-dependent laminar flow at Re = 300, turbulent flow with laminar boundary layersat Re = 10
and turbulent flow with turbulent boundary layers at Re = 10
. Thesimulated flows were found to be in excellent agreement with both experimentalresults, where available, and with the results obtained by other authors using differentsimulation codes. The simulations described in this report illustrate the capability ofthe Fluent code to accurately reproduce typical flow structures observed on thisgeneric bluff body flow for both time independent/time-dependent andlaminar/turbulent flow regimes.