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CFD shipflow

CFD shipflow

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The analysis presented above makes this approach to solving the governing equations for

flowfields appear deceptively simple. In many cases it proved impossible to obtain solutions.

Frequently the reason was the choice of an inherently unstable numerical algorithm. In this

section we present one of the classical approaches to the determination of stability criteria for use

in CFD. These types of analysis provide insight into grid and stepsize requirements (the term

stepsize tends to denote time steps, whereas a grid size is thought of as a spatial size). In

addition, this analysis is directly applicable to a linear equation. Applications in nonlinear

problems are not as fully developed.

Fourier or Von Neumann Stability Analysis

Consider the heat equation used previously,

∂u
∂t=α∂2

u
∂x2

(8-17)

and examine the stability of the explicit representation of this equation given by Eq. (8-21).

Assume at t = 0, that an error, possibly due to finite length arithmetic, is introduced in the form:

Introduction to CFD 8 - 37

3/17/98

u(x,t)

"error" is
introduced

1

2

3 =ψ(t)

ejβx

actually could be a series,
take one term here

{

(8-75)

where:

β−a real constant

j=−1

.

Here we restate the explicit finite difference representation,

u(x,t+∆t)−u(x,t)
∆t

=αux+∆x,t

(

)−2ux,t

()+ux−∆x,t
(

)

∆x
()2

.

(8-21)

Substitute Eq. (8-75) into this equation, and solve for ψ(t + ∆t). Start with

ψ(t+∆t)ejβx

−ψ(t)ejβx

∆t

=αψ(t)
∆x
()2ejβx+∆x

(

)

−2ejβx

+ejβx−∆x

(

)

{

}

(8-76)

and collecting terms:

ψ(t+∆t)ejβx

=ψ(t)ejβx

+α∆t
∆x
()2ψ(t)ejβx

ejβ∆x

−2+e−jβ∆x

{

}

−2+ejβ∆x

+e−jβ∆x
2cosβ∆x

1 2
4 4

3

4 4

1

2

4 4 4

3

4 4 4

(8-77)

Note that the ejβx

term cancels, and Eq. (8-77) can be rewritten:

ψ(t+∆t)=ψ(t)1+α∆t
∆x
()2−2+2cosβ∆x

(

)

=ψ(t)1−2α∆t
∆x
()21−

cosβ∆x

double angle formula

=1−2sin2

β∆x

2

1 2
4 3
4





















(8-78)

which reduces to:

ψ(t+∆t)=ψ(t)1+2α∆t
∆x
()21−1+2sin2

β∆x

2



=ψ(t)1−4α∆t
∆x
()2sin2

β∆x

2

.

(8-79)

Now look at the ratio of ψ(t+∆t) to ψ(t), which is defined as an amplification factor G,

8 - 38 Applied Computational Aerodynamics

3/17/98

G=ψ(t+∆t)

ψ(t)=1−4α∆t
∆x
()2sin2

β∆x

2

.

(8-80)

For stability the requirement is clearly:

G<1,

(8-81)

which means that the error introduced decays. For arbitrary β, what does this condition mean?

Observe that the maximum value of the sine term is one. Thus, the condition for stability will be:

1−4α∆t
∆x
()2

λ

1 2
4 3
4

<1

(8-82)

and the limit will be:

1−4λ=1.

(8-83)

The largest λ that can satisfy this requirement is:

1−4λ=−1

or

−4λ=−2

and

λ

=1
2

.

(8-84)

Thus, the largest λ for |G| < 1 means

λ=α∆t
∆x
()2<1

2

(8-85)

or:

α∆t
∆x
()2<1

2.

(8-86)

This sets the condition on ∆t and ∆x for stability of the model equation. This is a real

restriction. It can be applied locally for nonlinear equations by assuming constant coefficients.

An analysis of the implicit formulation, Eq. (8-23), demonstrates that the implicit formulation is

unconditionally stable.

Is this restriction on ∆t and ∆x real? Rightmyer and Morton23

provided a dramatic example

demonstrating this criteria. Numerical experiments can quickly demonstrate how important this

condition is. Figure 8-26 repeats the analysis of Rightmyer and Morton,23

demonstrating the

validity of the analysis. The initial and boundary conditions used are:

Introduction to CFD 8 - 39

3/17/98

u(x,0=ϕ(x)(given)for0≤x≤π

u(0,t)=0,u(π,t)=0fort>0

Figure 8-26a presents the development of the solution and shows the particular choice of

initial value shape, ψ, using a value of λ < 1/2: 5/11. Figure 8-26b-d provide the results for a

value of λ > 1/2: 5/9. Theoretically, this stepsize will lead to an unstable numerical method, and

the figure demonstrates that this is, in fact, the case.

Our model problem was parabolic. Another famous example considers a hyperbolic equation.

This is the wave equation, where c is the wave speed:

∂2

u
∂t2−c∂2

u
∂x2=0.

(8-87)

This equation represents one-dimensional acoustic disturbances. The two-dimensional small
disturbance equation for the potential flow can also be written in this form for supersonic flow.
Recall,

1−M∞2
(

)φxx+φyy=0

(8-88)

or when the flow is supersonic:

φxx−

1

M∞2

−1

(

)

φyy=0

(8-89)

and we see here that x is the timelike variable for supersonic flow.

Performing an analysis similar to the one above, the stability requirement for Eq. (8-87) is

found to result in a specific parameter for stability:

ν=c∆t
∆x

(8-90)

which is known as the Courant number. For many explicit schemes for hyperbolic equations, the

stability requirement is found to be

ν≤1.

(8-91)

This requirement is known as the CFL condition, after its discoverers: Courant, Friedrichs,

and Levy. It has a physical interpretation. The analytic domain of influence must lie within the

numerical domain of influence.

Recalling that the evolution of the solution for an elliptic system had a definite time-like

quality, a stability analysis for elliptic problems can also be carried out. For the SOR method,

that analysis leads to the requirement that the over-relaxation factor, ω, be less than two.

8 - 40 Applied Computational Aerodynamics

3/17/98

0.00

0.20

0.40

0.60

0.80

1.00

1.20

1.40

-0.5

u(x,t)

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

0

x

5
10
15
20
40

relative timestep

initial condition

a) numerical solution using a theoretically stable stepsize.

0.00

0.20

0.40

0.60

0.80

1.00

1.20

1.40

-0.5

u(x,t)

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

stable solution

x

5

numerical solution
relative timestep

initial condition

b) numerical solution using a theoreticaly unstable stepsize, αt
∆x
()2 = 5.

Figure 8-26. Demonstration of the step size stability criteria on numerical solutions.

Introduction to CFD 8 - 41

3/17/98

0.00

0.20

0.40

0.60

0.80

1.00

1.20

1.40

-0.5

u(x,t)

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

x

stable solution

10

numerical solution
relative timestep

initial condition

c) numerical solution using a theoreticaly unstable stepsize, αt
∆x
()2 = 10.

-0.60

0.00

0.60

1.20

1.80

-0.5

0.0

0.5

1.0

u(x,t)

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

stable solution

x

15

numerical solution
relative timestep

initial condition

d) numerical solution using a theoreticaly unstable stepsize, αt
∆x
()2 = 15.

Figure 8-26. Demonstration of the step size stability criteria on numerical solutions (concluded).

8 - 42 Applied Computational Aerodynamics

3/17/98

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