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Module 1

Governing Equations
Lecture 1.0
Orientation to the Course
CFD for Turbomachinery
Turbomachinery is an important application area for engineers.
Solution to turbomachinery problems require a thorough
understanding of fluid mechanics, thermo dynamics and other
allied subjects like gas dynamics and heat transfer.
Traditionally the turbomachinery problems are broadly grouped
as the analysis type or the design type.
For the past two decades, CFD techniques are being widely used
to solve these problems and analyze the solutions.
A number of CFD codes, available both in-house and
commercial, are currently used for the analysis rather than for
the design. It is expected that this limitation soon fades away.
However, a student at post-graduate level is often encountered
with a situation where there is no comprehensive study material
readily available in this important area.
It is the authors experience and the feed-back received (from the
academic as well as industrial participants of several short term
courses) that prompted them to prepare this material.
With a good back ground in the areas related to thermal sciences
and engineering and with programming skills, one can venture
to develop an in-house code. One such code, developed by the
authors is demonstrated with examples in the last module of this
The course is thus expected to be helpful also for advanced
students who would like to either develop their own code or use
commercial codes with an insight to the code.
Thus, if one wants to develop a CFD code, the authors believe
that the course material provides the required domain
Basics of CFD Analysis
The following eleven generic steps highlight the essentials of a
CFD code. An orientation of these steps is given in this lecture.
1 Problem statement Available information and the expected outcome
2 Mathematical model Governing differential equations, initial and boundary conditions
3 Geometry model Geometry model defined by the physics of the problem
4 Mesh generation Methodology of generating nodes/cells and time instants
5 Space discretization Knowledge of discretization models for space derivatives/systems
6 Time discretization ODE solvers along with their stability constraints.
7 Algebraic solver Direct or iterative solvers and handling of large discrete data
8 Implementation Software code may be written to implement the solution method.
9 Simulation run Stopping criteria for the iterative processes; parametric study
10 Verification Model validation / adjustment as required
11 Post processing Analysis of data and presentation
Problem Statement and Expected Outcome
The statement of the turbomachinery problem typically describes
the physics and specifies the data that is necessary to formulate
the problem mathematically and solve it numerically.
The numerical solution should lead to estimate the expected
engineering information, which may also form a part of the
problem statement.
It is important to prepare a physical model from the description
available in the problem statement.
Introductory lectures of Module 1 give the basics required for
formulating the mathematical problem from the given physics in
the problem statement.
Mathematical Model
The fluid properties and scales for all the physical variables
should be chosen suitable to describe fluid motion in the domain.
The description of fluid motion may be identified as
inviscid/viscous, laminar/turbulent, incompressible/compressible
(subsonic/transonic/supersonic) etc. based on the flow
The governing differential equations, written in the chosen
coordinate system as described in Module 1, should be selected
according to the statement of the problem.
The generalized equations for coding can be written in the
following form for a general variable
Mathematical Model (contd.)
{ }
Net rate of decrease of due to
Rate of increase of
convection across the boundaries
Rate of increase of due to
Net rate of creation of
diffusion across the boundaries

u +

= + u
The Governing Equations in the Integral Form
or in the differential form as
where some possible physical quantities of ,

and S

given in the Table 1.0.1. Here

is called the exchange

coefficient and S

is the source term.

( ) ( )
( )
t CV t A
t A t CV
dV dt n u dAdt
n grad dAdt S dVdt

u u
| |
u + u
\ .
= I u +
} } } }
} } } }
( )
( )
j j j
t x x x

u u
c u (
c u
c cu
+ = I +
c c c c


(exch. Coef.) S

1 0 0
- p/x
+ B
+ S
h k/C
T k/C
Table 1.0.1: Possible physical quantities
Mathematical Model (contd.)
Initial and Boundary conditions
The initial conditions specify the state of the fluid at time t=0. It
is essential to specify the initial condition for any initial value
The boundary conditions are generally specified at the inlet
and exit boundaries of the domain and on the solid walls.
On the solid walls, flow tangency condition has to be specified
for inviscid flows and no-slip condition has to be specified for
viscous flows.
For turbomachinery flows, periodic or cyclic boundary
conditions may be specified on the periodic or cyclic boundaries
to reduce computational effort. The various types of boundary
conditions for turbomachinery problems are discussed in
Module 1.
Mathematical Model (contd.)
Initial and Boundary conditions
When a time-marching iterative method is used, an initial
solution needs to be guessed. The better the initial guess, the
faster the convergence.
In turbomachinery problems it is better to specify the initial
solution which gives the flow directions as accurately as
possible, apart from satisfying the governing equations.
It may be even desirable to solve a set of lower order equations
by using analytical or relatively simple numerical methods to
obtain an initial guess.
Geometric Model
Selection of appropriate coordinate reference frames, scales for
the geometry, simplifications needed, if any, to idealize the
geometry are some of the steps to be carried out.
The geometric model is given in the form of a statement/table of
coordinates or drawings.
This step can also be accomplished by importing the same from
the already developed CAD files.
Module 2 suggests the techniques by which it can be built.
Mesh Generation
Usually it is not possible nor advisable to generate a single grid
(mesh) for the entire geometrically complex computational
domain. Amulti block approach is therefore followed.
The physical solution in a particular block will depend on the
preceding neighboring blocks and will influence the succeeding
neighboring blocks.
A data structure is therefore required for exchange of
information between the blocks. These data structures will also
be helpful for communicating the data among multiple
processors, if used.
Mesh Generation (contd.)
Continuity of the variable and its gradient should be satisfied
across the interface between two blocks which are exchanging
the information.
Automatic grid generation techniques for structured or
unstructured meshes are given in Module 3.
The grid or mesh that has been generated normally consists of
triangles or quadrilaterals in two dimensions, and tetrahedra,
hexahedra, prisms or pyramids in three dimensions. Some of
these elements are shown in Module 3.
Mesh Generation (contd.)
In structured grids, each grid point (vertex, node) is uniquely
identified by the indices and the corresponding coordinates. The
grid cells are quadrilaterals in 2-D and hexahedra in 3-D . If the
grid is body-fitted, it could be curvilinear.
In unstructured grids, the cells as well as nodal points have no
particular ordering, i.e., neighboring cells or grid points cannot
be directly identified by their indices.
The grid cells may be triangles in 2D and tetrahedra in 3D.
However, they may consist of a mix of quadrilaterals and
triangles in 2D and of hexahedra, tetrahedra, prisms and
pyramids in 3D.
Mesh Generation (contd.)
Such type of hybrid or mixed grids are widely used in order to
resolve the near-wall boundary layer and other features that
require clustered meshes.
Regardless of the method used, it is essential that the
implementation of the numerical schemes on the discretized
governing equations is carried out on the chosen type of grid.
Further the results need to be validated with available data on
either the same physical model or a similar one.
The details of grid independence and adaptation are also
presented in Module 3.
Space Discretization
Among the three popular methods for discretization, the finite
difference, finite volume and finite element, several numerical
schemes exist to perform spatial discretization.
For example, viscous fluxes are discretized using central
averaging scheme on a structured grid. On unstructured and
mixed grids, the same viscous flux is discretized using Gelerkin
methodology or modified gradient averaging methodology for
both finite volume and finite element methods.
Some of the finite difference and finite volume methods
developed for elliptic, parabolic and hyperbolic type equations
are described in Module 4.
Temporal discretization
Two important temporal discretization schemes are explicit and
implicit methods.
The most popular and widely used explicit methods are the Euler
and multistage Runge-Kutta schemes. These schemes advance
he solution in time. These methods however are restricted by the
stability constraints.
The methods are described in Module 4
Local time stepping schemes with maximum permissible time
step are used to accelerate the convergence when the interest is
to obtain only the steady state solution.
Algebraic Solvers
In implicit schemes the algebraic equations obtained at each grid
point form a system of linear equations. The final system is
solved using either direct or iterative methods.
A variety of schemes exist for discretizing the convective fluxes.
They are central schemes, artificial dissipation schemes, matrix
dissipation schemes etc.
Other advanced upwind spatial discretization schemes which
distinguish upstream and downstream influences are flux vector
splitting, flux difference splitting, total variation diminishing
(TVD) and fluctuation splitting schemes etc.
The Advanced Upstream Splitting method, implemented in an
in-house code on an unstructured finite volume mesh, along with
the other schemes are discussed in Module 5.
Iterative Solver
Direct methods are not preferred for large systems, especially for
three-dimensional problems, as they require high computational
For structured grids, iterative methods like Alternating Direction
Implicit (ADI) scheme, line Jacobi, Lower-Upper (LU)
successive over relaxation and triangular decomposition schemes
may be employed.
On the unstructured grids, implicit iterative methods based on
Gauss-Siedel relaxation schemes are popular. Conjugate gradient
or generalized minimal residual methods are also used.
Some of these schemes are discussed in Module 5.
In the cases where the source terms become dominant (this
happens especially with turbulence models) the flow variables
change rapidly in space and time.
The changes due to strong source term happen at much smaller
time scales than those of the flow equations. This increases the
stiffness (the ratio of the largest to smallest Eigen value of the
Jacobian Matrix) of the governing equations significantly.
In such cases one has to reduce the time step considerably in
order to stabilize the time integration.
The time step on structured or unstructured grids maybe either
local time step or global time step. If time accuracy is important
the global time step, which is the minimum of all local time
steps of all control volumes, can be used.
Implementation (contd.)
For steady state problems it is sufficient to use local time step.
Further it is possible to accelerate the scheme using the largest
possible time step for each control volume. This is called
acceleration technique of local time stepping.
When a time-marching iterative method is used, an initial
solution needs to be guessed. The better the initial guess, the
faster the convergence.
In turbomachinery problems it is better to specify the initial
solution which gives the flow directions as accurately as
possible, apart from satisfying the governing equations. It may
be even desirable to solve a set of lower order equations by using
analytical or relatively simple numerical methods to obtain an
initial guess.
Implementation (contd.)
Several acceleration techniques such as enthalpy damping,
residual smoothing, multigrid, preconditioning exist in the
The above steps are implemented through a computer code. The
code may be a serial or a parallel one with standard interface.
The important steps involved in the coding are: reading the input
data; formulating the algebraic equations for the nodal points
generated in the computational domain in accordance with the
governing equations, the boundary conditions and the numerical
scheme; and solving the set of equations.
Simulation Runs
The developed code needs to be executed for different numerical
values of the parameters that enter the problem. For each set of
input data, the solution should be converged.
For iterative solvers, the criterion should be evolved to stop the
iterations after reaching a chosen accuracy level.
Grid independence studies need to be also carried out.
Verification (Validation)
Having obtained the solution, it should be verified against a
Normally benchmark solutions are not available for all classes of
problems. It is especially true for turbomachinery. In such cases
comparison with experimental data may be made.
Even when experimental data is not available, a benchmark
problem resembling closest to the problem at hand should be
solved with methodology (physical modeling, meshing and
numerical schemes) adopted and the results must be compared.
The accuracy of these comparisons give an indication of the
credibility of the method used.
Post Processing
From the solution, all process variables, that enter the problem,
are available as numerical data. These variables may be directly
plotted as a function of independent variables such as space and
Also certain functions (for e.g. lift and drag coefficients, skin
friction factor, heat transfer coefficients etc.) may be defined and
estimated as per the problem statement. They may also be
plotted as required.
Module 6 demonstrates the above steps implemented for
problems useful for turbomachinery applications.
The material presented in the following lectures is influenced by
the scholarly articles/books listed in the Bibliography. Some of
the references may not have been listed by oversight. The
authors gratefully acknowledge all the sources.