# SIMPLE METHOD FOR THE SOLUTION OF INCOMPRESSIBLE FLOWS ON NON-STAGGERED GRIDS

I. Sezai - Eastern Mediterranean University, Mechanical Engineering Department, Mersin 10 -Turkey Revised in January, 2011

1. Introduction
There are usually two kinds of grid arrangements used to solve the fluid flow problems: staggered grids and non-staggered grids. For the nonstaggered grids, vector variables and scalar variables are stored at the same locations, while for the staggered grids, vector components and scalar variables are stored at different locations, shifted half control volume in each coordinate direction. Staggered grids are popular because of their ability to prevent checkerboard pressure in the flow solution as discussed in Chapter 6. However, programming of the staggered grid method is tedious since u and v-momentum equations are discretized at different control volumes shifted in different directions from the main control volumes. The programming difficulties increase when one deals with curvilinear or unstructured grids. As a result, nearly all codes written on curvilinear or unstructured grids use non-staggered grid arrangement for the solution of fluid flow problems. On the other hand non-staggered grids are prone to produce a false pressure field checkerboard pressure if special precautions is not taken. For this reason, in the early 1980s and before, non-staggered were rarely used for incompressible flow. However, since 1983 the nonstaggered grid (or collocated grid) has been used more widely, after Rhie and Chow (1983) proposed a momentum interpolation method to eliminate the checkerboard pressure problem.

1. Mathematical Formulation
The governing equations for two dimensional incompressible laminar heat and fluid flow in Cartesian coordinates with constant properties are: continuity equation

1

∂u ∂v + =0 ∂x ∂y
u-momentum equation ∂ ( ρu ) ∂t ∂ ( ρv) ∂t + ∂ ( ρ uu ) ∂x ∂ ( ρ uv ) ∂x + ∂ ( ρ vu ) ∂y ∂ ( ρ vv ) ∂y =− ∂p ∂ ⎛ ∂u ⎞ ∂ ⎛ ∂u ⎞ + ⎜ μ ⎟ + ⎜ μ ⎟ + su ∂x ∂x ⎝ ∂x ⎠ ∂y ⎝ ∂y ⎠

(1)

(2)

v-momentum equation + + =− ∂p ∂ ⎛ ∂v ⎞ ∂ ⎛ ∂v ⎞ + ⎜ μ ⎟ + ⎜ μ ⎟ + sv ∂y ∂x ⎝ ∂x ⎠ ∂y ⎝ ∂y ⎠ (3)

Energy equation

∂ ( ρT ) ∂t
∂ ( ρφ ) ∂t

+

∂ ( ρ uT ) ∂x
∂ ( ρ uφ ) ∂x

+

∂ ( ρ vT ) ∂y
∂ ( ρ vφ ) ∂y

=

∂ ⎛ k ∂T ⎞ ∂ ⎛ k ∂T ⎞ ⎜ ⎟+ ⎜ ⎟ + sT ∂x ⎜ c p ∂x ⎟ ∂y ⎜ c p ∂y ⎟ ⎝ ⎠ ⎝ ⎠

(4)

Equations (2) – (4) can be expressed in a general form as: + + = ∂ ⎛ ∂φ ⎞ ∂ ⎛ ∂φ ⎞ ⎜ Γ ⎟ + ⎜ Γ ⎟ + sφ ∂x ⎝ ∂x ⎠ ∂y ⎝ ∂y ⎠ (5)

where u and v are the velocity components, T is temperature and φ is any dependent variable (i.e. u, v and T), and t, ρ , Γ , and sφ are time, density, diffusion coefficient, and source term per unit volume, respectively. Also,su and sv terms represents source terms per unit mass, ie. drag forces, buyancy forces etc. Note that for the continuity equation,

φ = 1 , Γ = 0 , and sφ = 0 .
In numerical calculations, the source terms in the above equations are written in linearized form as

s = sc + s pφ p
For example, for natural convection problems, the right hand side of the v-momentum equation contain an additional term − ρ ref g β (T − T∞ ) , for which the source terms are

sc = − ρ ref g β (T − T∞ ) and sp = 0. Similarly, for problems involving heat generation the
right hand side of the energy equation have an additional term q which is the energy generation per unit volume. In this case, sc = q , sp = 0.

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The governing equations are discretized by using the finite-volume method on a nonstaggered grid system in which all variables are stored at the center of the control volume (Figure 1). Integrating Eq. (5) over the control volume with bounded cell faces e, w, n, and s surrounding center P, we have

ρ Δ xΔ y
Δt

P

o − φP + ⎡( ρ u φ )e − ( ρ u φ ) w ⎤ Δy + ⎡( ρ v φ )n − ( ρ v φ ) s ⎤ Δx = ⎣ ⎦ ⎣ ⎦

)

⎡ Γe ⎤ ⎡ Γ ⎤ Γ Γ (φE − φP ) − w (φP − φW )⎥ Δy + ⎢ n (φN − φP ) − s (φP − φS )⎥ Δx ⎢ δ xw δ ys ⎣ δ xe ⎦ ⎣ δ yn ⎦ + sc Δ xΔ y + sPφP Δ xΔ y

(6)

where the superscript o refers to the previous time level and Δx , Δy , δ x e , δ x w , δ y n and

δ y s are geometric lengths as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Nonstaggered Grid Arrangement
The discretized continuity equation for incompressible flow is ( ρ ue )Δy − ( ρ uw )Δy + ( ρ vn )Δx − ( ρ vs )Δx = 0 (7)

The cell face values φe, φw etc are calculated using QUICK or any other high order scheme in a deferred correction manner. Substituting these values into Eq. (6) and

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rearranging, we obtain the final discretized equation for any general variable φ as follows:
o o aP φP = aEφE + aW φW + aN φN + aSφS + aPφP + b + pterm

(8)

where
aE = aW = aN = aS =
o aP =

Γe Δy + max ⎡ − ( ρ u ⎣ Δxe

)e Δy, 0⎤ ⎦

Γ w Δy + max ⎡( ρu )w Δy, 0⎤ ⎣ ⎦ Δxw Γn Δx + max ⎡− ( ρ v )n Δx , 0⎤ ⎣ ⎦ Δyn Γ s Δx + max ⎡( ρ v ) s Δx , 0⎤ ⎣ ⎦ Δys

ρΔxΔy

Δt o aP = aE + aW + aN + aS + aP − S p + ΔF ΔF =

( ρu )e Δy − ( ρu )w Δy + ( ρ v )n Δx − ( ρ v )s Δx
b1 = Sdc + ( Sc )bc S p = ( s p )eqn ΔxΔy + ( S p )bc

b = ( sc )eqn ΔxΔy + b1

(9)

⎡ ⎤ ⎡ ⎤ Sdc = − max ⎣( ρu )e Δy, 0⎦ (φe − φP ) + max ⎣− ( ρu )e Δy, 0⎦ (φe − φE ) − max ⎡ − ( ρu ) w Δy, 0⎤ (φw − φP ) + max ⎡( ρu )w Δy, 0⎤ (φw − φW ) ⎣ ⎦ ⎣ ⎦ − max ⎡( ρ v )n Δx , 0⎤ (φn − φP ) + max ⎡ − ( ρ v )n Δx, 0⎤ (φn − φN ) ⎣ ⎦ ⎣ ⎦ − max ⎡ − ( ρ v ) s Δx, 0⎤ (φs − φP ) + max ⎡( ρ v ) s Δx, 0⎤ (φs − φS ) ⎣ ⎦ ⎣ ⎦ ⎧= −( pe − pw )Δy for x-momentum equation ⎪ pterm = ⎨= −( pn − ps )Δx for y-momentum equation ⎪= 0 for all other equations ⎩ ( s p )eqn , ( sc )eqn = source terms per unit volume in the differential equation (buoyancy, drag for ( S p )bc , ( Sc )bc = source contributions of near-boundary points

where b represents all discretized source terms, excluding the pressure term. The term Sdc is the source contribution, which results from the adoption of the deferred-correction
o procedure in which the face values of the independent variable, φP is the value of φP

from the previous time step. φe, φw, φn, φs are calculated from a suitable high order

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scheme such as QUICK. The term Sbc is the source contribution of the near boundary points. For example, for a west boundary, if a Dirihlet boundary condition φ = φw exists, then, for a point near a west boundary, the source contribution is Sbc = aWφw, where aW would be the coefficient if that point were an interior point. Similarly, (Sp)bc is the source contribution of the near boundary points. Also, note that for source terms small letters correspond to per unit mass of the source. That is, S = sΔV, Sc = scΔV, and Sp = spΔV, where ΔV is the volume of the control volume. It can be observed that the coefficients of the discretized x- and y-momentum equations are the same in collocated grid system (excluding the near boundary points), provided that the diffusion coefficients Γ are the same in x and y-directions. In order to slow down the changes of dependent variables in consecutive solutions, an underrelaxation factor is introduced into the discretized equation as follows:

αφ

aP

o o φP = aEφE + aW φW + aN φN + aSφS + aPφP + b + pterm +

(1 − α ) a φ
φ

αφ

n −1 P P

(10)

where the superscript (n-1) refers to the previous iteration. In that case, the terms in Eq. (9)are redefined as aP n −1 ⎧ ⎪b ← b + (1 − α ) α φP ⎪ ⎨ ⎪ a ← aP ⎪ P α ⎩ Equation (10) can be written as

φP =
or

αφ
aP

(a φ

E E

o o n + aW φW + aN φN + aSφS + bP + aPφP + (1 − αφ ) φP −1 +

)

αφ pterm
aP

(11)

φP =

αφ
aP

( aEφE + aW φW + aN φN + aSφS + BP ) +

αφ pterm
aP

(12)

where
o o BP = bP + aPφP +

(1 − α ) a φ
φ

αφ

n −1 P P

(13)

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4. Momentum Interpolation
4.1. Momentum interpolation for steady-state problem
n Note that for the steady problems BP = bP + ⎡(1 − α u ) α u ⎤ aP uP−1 [Eq.(13)]. For the ⎣ ⎦

velocity component u at nodes P and E, Eq. (12) can be written as

uP =

α u ( ∑i ai ui + B p ) P

( aP ) P

α u Δy ( pe − pw ) P

( aP ) P

(14)

uE =

α u ( ∑i ai ui + B p ) E

( aP ) E

α u Δy ( pe − pw ) E

( aP ) E

(15)

Mimicking the formulation of u E and u P , we can obtain the following expression for the interface velocity at the cell face e.

ue =

α u ( ∑i ai ui + B p )e

( a P )e

α u Δy ( pE − pP )

( a P )e

(16)

where the terms on the right-hand side with subscript e should be interpolated in an appropriate manner. The interface velocity at cell faces w, n, and s can be obtained similarly. In Rhie and Chow’s momentum interpolation, the first term and 1 ( aP )e in second term of the Eq.(16) are linearly interpolated from their counterparts in Eqs.(14) and (15):

∑i ai ui + B p ⎞ ∑i ai ui + B p ⎞ ⎛ ∑i ai ui + B p ⎞ +⎛ + ⎛ ⎜ ⎟ = fe ⎜ ⎟ + 1 − fe ⎜ ⎟ aP aP aP ⎝ ⎠e ⎝ ⎠E ⎝ ⎠P

(

)

(17)

1 1 = f e+ + 1 − f e+ ( aP )e ( aP ) E

(

) ( a1 )

(18)

P P

where f e+ is a linear interpolation factor defines as

f e+ =

Δx P 2δ x e
e

(19)

In order to have a better understanding of Eq. (16), substituting ( ∑i ai ui + B p aP ) from Eq. (17) and ( ∑ i ai ui + B p aP ) , ( ∑ i ai ui + B p aP )
P E

from Eqs. (14) and (15) into Eq.

o o (16) and omitting the term aP uP , we obtain

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ue = ⎡ f e+ u E + 1 − f e+ ⎣

(

)

⎧ α u Δy ( pE − pP ) α u Δy ( pe − pw ) E ⎫ + f e+ ⎪− ⎪ ( aP )e ( aP ) E ⎪ ⎪ uP ⎤ + ⎨ ⎬ ⎦ α u Δy ( pe − pw ) P ⎪ ⎪ + ⎪+ 1 − fe ⎪ ( aP ) P ⎩ ⎭

(

)

(20)

Equations (16) and (20) are essentially equivalent. However, Eq. (20) separates the interfacial velocity into two parts: a linear interpolation part and the additional one. The term in first set of brackets of Eq. (20) is the arithmetic-averaged values (linear interpolation method) of two neighbor nodal velocities. The term in braces can be regarded as a correction term, which has the function of smoothing the pressure field, and it is this term that may remove the unrealistic pressure field. Equations (16) with (17) and (18) or equation (20) constitute the Rhie and Chow’s Original Momentum Interpolation Method (OMIM). Majumdar (1988) reported that solutions of steady-state problems from Rhie and Chow OMIM are dependent on the underrealxation factor. To eliminate this underrelaxation factor dependency, an iteration algorithm was proposed by him to calculate the cell-face velocity for steady-state problem as follows:
ue =

α u ( ∑i ai ui + bp )e

( aP )e

α u Δy ( pE − pP )

( aP )e

n n + (1 − α u ) ⎡uen −1 + f e+ u E−1 − 1 − f e+ u P−1 ⎤ ⎣ ⎦

(

)

(21)

where superscript n-1 refer to previous iteration values. This iterative implementation algorithm can achieve a unique solution that is independent of underrelaxation factors.

4.2. Momentum interpolation for unsteady problems
Choi (1999) reported that, the solution using the original Rhie and Chow scheme is time step size dependent. He proposed a modified Rhie and Chow scheme for an unsteady problem as follows, which is quite similar to Majumdar’s scheme for a steady problem:
⎛ ∑ a u + bp ⎞ α u Δy ( pE − pP ) α ao o ue = α u ⎜ i i i − + (1 − α u ) uen −1 + u e ue ⎟ aP ( aP )e ( aP )e ⎝ ⎠e

(22)

with
o ae =

ρδ xe Δy
Δt

(23)

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It is to be noted that body-force term is neglected for simplicity of presentation. By a similar substitution process as the one for the Majumdar’s interpolation in Eq. (21), the Eq. (22) can be written equivalently as
⎧ α u Δy ( pE − pP ) ⎫ α u Δy ( pe − pw ) E + f e+ ⎪− ⎪ ( aP )e ( aP ) E ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪+ 1 − f + α u Δy ( pe − pw ) P ⎪ e ⎪ ⎪ aP ) P ( uP ⎤ + ⎨ ⎬ ⎦ n n ⎪+ (1 − α u ) ⎡uen −1 + f e+ uE−1 − 1 − f e+ uP−1 ⎤ ⎪ ⎣ ⎦ ⎪ ⎪ o o ⎪ ⎡ o ⎤⎪ α a α a ⎪+ ⎢ α u ae u o − f + u P E u o − 1 − f + u P P u o ⎥ ⎪ e e ⎪ ⎢ ( aP ) e ( aP ) E E ( aP ) P P ⎥ ⎪ e ⎦⎭ ⎩ ⎣

ue = ⎡ f e+ u E + 1 − f e+ ⎣

(

)

(

)

(

)

(24)

( )

(

)

( )

According to Yu et al. (2002), solutions by using this scheme are still time step size dependent, though the dependence is quite small. They proposed a different interpolation technique for the terms appearing in equation (22) which appears to be both under relaxation factor and time step size independent. In this method the first term on the right-hand side of Eq. (22) is interpolated as follows:

f e+ ( ∑i ai ui + b1 ) E + 1 − f e+

(

)(∑ a u + b )
i i i

1 P

+ ⎡ + ⎤ ⎛ ∑i ai ui + bp ⎞ + ⎣ f e ( sc ) E + 1 − f e ( sc ) P ⎦ δ xe Δy = + ⎜ ⎟ aP f e ( ∑i ai ) E + 1 − f e+ ( ∑i ai ) P ⎝ ⎠e

− ⎡ f e+ ⎣

( ) ( s ) + (1 − f ) ( s )
p E + e

(

)

(25)

p P

o ⎤ δ xe Δy + ae ⎦

where b1 is defined in Eq. (9). Also, the denominator of the second and third terms in Eq. (22) is interpolated as follows:

( a P )e =

f e+ ( ∑i ai ) E + 1 − f e+ − ⎡ f e+ ⎣
p E + e

( )(∑ a ) ( s ) + (1 − f ) ( s ) ⎤ δ x Δy + a ⎦
i i P p P e

o e

(26)

Equation (22) combined with Eq. (25) and Eq. (26) is Yu et al.’s (2002) new scheme. Substituting Eq. (25) into Eq. (22) the following equation is obtained:

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⎧⎡ f + ( a ) u + 1 − f + ( a ) u ⎤ ⎫ e P P P⎦ ⎪⎣ e P E E ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ + + + ⎡ fe ( sc ) + 1 − fe ( sc ) δ xeΔy − fe ( sc ) ΔxE Δy ⎤ ⎪ E P E ⎪ ⎢ ⎥ ⎪+αu ⎢ ⎪ + ⎥ ⎪ ⎪ ⎣− 1 − fe ( sc ) P ΔxP Δy ⎦ ⎪ 1 ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ + + ue = ⎨+αu ⎡−Δy ( pE − pP ) + fe Δy ( pe − pw ) E + 1 − fe Δy ( pe − pw ) P ⎤ ⎬ ⎦ ( aP )e ⎪ ⎣ ⎪ n n ⎪+ (1 − αu ) ⎡ aP uen−1 − fe+ aP uE−1 − 1 − fe+ aP uP−1 ⎤ ⎪ e E P ⎣ ⎦ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪+α ⎡aouo − f + ao uo − 1 − f + ao uo ⎤ ⎪ e P P P⎦ ⎪ u⎣ e e e P E E ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎭ ⎩

(

)

(

(

)

)

(

)

(

)

(27)

( )

( )

( ) ( ( )( )

)( )

where ( aP )e is found from equation (26). It should be noted that the term in the parenthesis, which is multiplied by (1–αu) is incorrect in the paper of Yu et al.’s (2002).

It should also be noted that the cell face velocities found from the momentum interpolation method are used to determine the mass fluxes across the cell faces. They should not be used for the cell face value of the independent variable φ in the deferred correction term bdc in eq. (9) in the case φ stands for u or v in the x- or ymomentum equations. The face values of the independent variable φ are calculated using a suitable convection scheme, such as UPWIND or QUICK.

The SIMPLE Algorithm
* For a guessed pressure field p* the corresponding face velocity ue can be written using

Eq. (22) as u =
* e

α u ( ∑i ai ui* + bp )

( aP )e

e

* * α u Δy ( pE − pP )

( a P )e

+ (1 − α u ) uen −1 +

( a P )e

α u aeo

o ue

(28)

* A similar equation can be written for the face velocity vn . Now we define the correction

p' as the difference between the correct pressure field p and the guessed pressure field p* so that p = p * + p′ Similarly we define velocity corrections u' and v' as
* ′ ue = u e + u e

(29)

(30)

9

* ′ vn = vn + vn

(31)

Subtracting Eq. (28) from Eq. (22) gives ′ ue =

α u ( ∑i ai ui′ + bp )e

( a P )e

′ ′ α u Δy ( pE − pP )

( a P )e

(32)

As an approximation, in SIMPLE method the first term in the above equation is neglected giving ′ ′ ′ ue = d eu ( pP − pE ) where d eu = (33)

( a P )e

α u Ae

(34)

where Ae = Δy is the area of the control volume at the east face. Similarly,
v ′ ′ vn = d n ( pP − p′ ) N

(35)

where
v dn =

( aP ) n

α v An

(36)

Then the corrected velocities become
* ′ ′ ue = ue + d eu ( pP − pE )
* v ′ vn = vn + d n ( pP − p′ ) N

(37) (38)

Substituting the corrected face velocities such as that given by Eq.s (37)and (38) into the discretized continuity equation (7) gives ′ ′ ′ ′ aP pP = aW pW + aE pE + aS pS + aN p′ + b N where aE = ( ρ Ad )e b = ρ u* A aW = ( ρ Ad ) w
*

(39)

(

) − ( ρ u A) + ( ρ v A) − ( ρ u A)
* *

aN = ( ρ Ad ) n
n

aS = ( ρ Ad ) s

(40)

w

e

s

After solving the p' field from Eq. (39) the face velocities are corrected using Eq.'s (37) and (38) and the pressure field is corrected by using p = p* + α p p ′ (41)

where αp is the pressure under-relaxation factor which is chosen to be between 0 and 1.

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Similarly the nodal velocities are corrected using
* u ′ ′ u P = u P + d P ( pw − pe )
* v ′ ′ vP = vP + d P ( ps − pn )

(42) (43)

where
u dP =

( aP ) P

α u Ae

and

v dP =

( aP ) P

α v An

(44)

The pressure corrections at the cell faces in Eqs. (42) and (43) are calculated by linear interpolation from the nodal values as

′ ′ pw = f w+ p′ + (1 − f w+ ) pW P ′ ′ ′ pe = f e+ pE + (1 − f e+ ) pP
′ ′ ′ ps = f s+ pP + (1 − f s+ ) pS

(45) (46) (47) (48)

′ pn = f n+ p′ + (1 − f n+ ) p′ N P

Boundary Conditions for Pressure
Since there is no equation for the pressure, no boundary conditions are needed for the pressure at the boundary points. The pressure values at the boundary points can be calculated by linear extrapolation using the two near-boundary node pressures.

Boundary Conditions for Pressure Correction Equation
When the velocities at the boundaries are known, there is no need to correct the velocities at the boundaries in the derivation of the pressure correction equation. For example if the velocity at the west boundary is known then for a control volume near the west boundary:
* ′ ′ ue = ue + d eu ( pP − pE )

(49) (50) (51) (52)

uw = uwall
* v ′ vn = vn + d n ( pP − p′ ) N * ′ ′ vs = vs + d sv ( pS − pP )

Substituting equations (49)-(52) into the discretized continuity equation (7) we obtain the following pressure correction equation for a control volume near the west boundary ′ ′ ′ ′ aP pP = aW pW + aE pE + aS pS + aN p′ + b (53) N

11

where aE = ( ρ Ad )e

aW = 0

aN = ( ρ Ad ) n

aS = ( ρ Ad ) s (54)

aP = aW + aE + aS + aN

b = ( ρ uA ) wall − ρ u * A + ρ v* A − ρ u * A
e s

(

) (

) (

)

n

Comparing Eq.'s (53)-(54) with (39)-(40) for a near boundary control volume the same definition of the coefficients as used for the interior points can be used for a near boundary control volume by setting the corresponding coefficient (aw in this case) to zero and using uwall in the b term. The above formulation corresponds to Neumann boundary condition ∂p´/∂n = 0, where n is normal to the boundary. As a result no value of pressure correction at the boundary ′ ( pw ) is involved in this formulation. However, the value of the pressure correction is needed for correcting the nodal velocities near boundaries. For example, for correcting ′ the u-velocity at a nodal point P near a west boundary, pw at the west boundary is needed in accordance with equation (42). This value can be obtained by using ∂p´/∂n = 0 at the boundary, that is using p′(1, j ) = p′(2, j ) .

References
Choi S. K., "Note on the Use of Momentum Interpolation Method for Unsteady Flows", Numerical. Heat Transfer Part, A, vol. 36, pp. 545-550, 1999. Majumdar S., "Role of Underrelaxation in Momentum Interpolation for Calculation of Flow with Nonstaggered Grids", Numerical Heat Transfer, Part B, vol. 13, pp. 125-132, 1988. Rhie C. M. and Chow W. L., "Numerical Study of the Turbulent Flow Past an Airfoil with Trailing Edge Separation", AIAA Journal, vol. 21, no 11, pp. 1525-1535, 1983. Yu B., Tao W., and Wei J., "Discussion on Momentum Interpolation Method for Collocated Grids of Incompressible Flow", Numerical. Heat Transfer Part B, vol. 42, pp. 141-166, 2002.

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