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Computational Fluid Dynamics

Computational Fluid Dynamics

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Published by Raghavendra Raghav

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Published by: Raghavendra Raghav on Apr 12, 2012
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Computational Fluid Dynamics
Abstract:
Computational Fluid Dynamics or simply CFD is concerned withobtaining numerical solution to fluid flow problems by using computers. Theadvent of high-speed and large-memory computers has enabled CFD to obtainsolutions to many flow problems including those that are compressible orincompressible, laminar or turbulent, chemically reacting or non-reacting.CFD is the
art 
of replacing the differential equation governing the Fluid Flow, witha set of algebraic equations (the process is called discretization), which in turn canbe solved with the aid of a digital computer to get an
approximate
solution.
1. CFD - A Brief Review
:
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) provides a good example of the many areas thata scientific computing project can touch on, and its relationship to Computer Science.Solving a particular problem generally involves first discretizing the physical domainthat the flow occurs in, such as the interior of turbine engine or the radiator system of acar.Once the solution is found, analyzing, validating, and presenting it calls into playvisualization and graphics techniques. Those techniques are useful for more than justviewing the computed flow field. Visualization can help with understanding the natureof the problem, the interaction of algorithms with the computer architecture, performance analysis of the code.Pumping applications involving cooling water have been especially difficult to solve because of the presence of dissolved air inherent in a cooling tower sump.Water that contains large amounts of dissolved air changes the apparent required net positive suction head (NPSH). In such applications, traditional correction techniquesfailed because the entire system was not analyzed and the source of the noise generationcould not be pinpointed.The description tells that the steps taken to solve this type of problem throughcomputational fluid dynamics (CFD) and recounts the results.
 
2. Noise problem observed
:Let us consider a double-suction cooling tower pumps operating at 36,000 gpm and 710rpm were installed at the plant. Although these pumps met performance specificationson the test stand, they proved to be noisy when installed. Sound power levels greater than 93 dbA were observed approximately 3 ft from the pump casing.These pumps were operating under duress as indicated by noise as well as other signs.The impeller was removed after 12 months to 18 months of service and somecavitations damage was evident. Noise is a chronic problem with many cooling water pump installations.The relatively high vapor pressure of hot water and the presence of dissolved air are both factors that influence the onset and the degree of pump cavitations, which createsnoise and damages impeller and casing surfaces.Apart from the fluid, other items that should be examined when noise is observed arethe system installation, which includes piping, sump, valves, elbows, foundation and piping supports; as well as the pump's selection, operating point, mechanical conditionand design. 
Fig . 1
The suction chamber of these pumps wraps around a portion of the discharge volute. Asthe flow enters the suction chamber, it splits at the discharge volute and undergoes aseries of turns as it approaches the impeller (Fig. 1). This is analogous to the flow
 
through a series of elbows. Consequently, a non-uniform velocity/pressure distributionis imposed on the impeller inlet.
3.
 
Leading to a cure
:
Because of the relative expense and difficulty of modifying the fluid or the system atthe installation, the pump became the focus of the investigation.To establish a good understanding of the fluid behavior within the pump, a CFD modelwas developed.CFD programs are evolving into useful engineering tools that can predict fluid behavior within almost any geometry. Even if the fluid condition and system effects are notunderstood, a CFD model can provide a best-case scenario whereby the pump casingdesign and impeller design can be evaluated.The process began by creating a 3-D computer-aided drafting (CAD) model of thesuction inlet portion of the pump casing and impeller. The CAD model was thenimported into the CFD package and a mesh was created within the fluid space. Thedischarge volute of the pump was not modeled because, according to measurementstaken in the field, the source of noise was confined to the suction.Three flow rates for water at nominal room temperature were examined, based on thetypical operating range of the pump

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