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Sokobanja, Serbia, October 1821, 2011


L. Perkovi*, M. Tomi**, N. Dui*

*Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb


Faculty of Mechanical Engineering Ni,University of Ni

Abstract: The intensity of turbulent combustion inside the closed vessel is mainly determined by
level of turbulence persisting prior to the combustion. The first objective of this work is to introduce
new algorithm for turbulence volume initialization within Large Eddy Simulation (LES)
framework. The second objective of this work is to capture flame propagation, and consequently
pressure-raise function against the experimental results by means of computational fluid dynamics.
New algorithm for volume initialization directly employs vortices in a divergence-free way. The
approach for turbulence flame interacion is Coherent Flame Model within Large Eddy Simulation
framework (CFMLES). Results are showing that turbulence initialization procedure proposed in this
work is able to reconstruct the turbulence field given by the experiment. On the other hand, by
proper initialization of turbulence the flame propagation and pressure raise function are improving
results significantly.
Key words: Turbulent premixed combustion, turbulent flame speed, closed vessel, combustion

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a powerful tool for reducing development time and cost of
new equipment in design phase. CFD still cannot substitute experimental approach completely, but
can reduce their number and enhace their preparation by giving rough outcomes of the process. One
of the biggest issues of CFD approach is turbulence modelling, since turbulence is generally always
present in real-life applications. Different levels of turbulence modelling frameworks are present
today, like Reynolds-averaging (RANS), large eddy simulation (LES) and direct numerical
simulation (DNS).
In our focus is LES framework. LES approach assumes that part of the velocity field is resolved
directly on the computational grid. In accordance with that, suitable methods for initialization on the
boundary (boundary condition) and/or inside volume (initial condition) has been implemented and
presented in this paper.
Method for boundary initialization was proposed by [1] and is called vortex method (VM). Simple
modification was made in order to apply this method to volume initialization. In VM, turbulent
structures (artificial vortices) are constructed from the given integral turbulent values, e.g. turbulent
kinetic energy and dissipation rate, which should be known in advance. Resolved turbulent
fluctuations which are introduced are characterized by number of vortices, (on a surface or in the
volume), size of the vortices and their circulation.
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Verification of the method was performed on a simple cube geometry, where qualitative difference
between two essentially different initial setups is presented. Validation of the method is made by
comparing results against experimental data given by the closed vessel combustion bomb perfomed
by Dyer [3]. This experiment aimed to show the influence of initial turbulence inside closed vessel
on the intensity of the combustion process. The motivation for this comes from the initial request to
apply this method in internal combustion engine CFD simulation. Combustion model used was
Coherent flame model (CFM) adopted for LES framework (CFM-LES) [4], [5], [6], [7]. CFM
model balances so-called flame surface density (FSD) property inside computational domain. FSD
is basically determining where chemical reactions of tubulent combustion occur and with what
intensity (higher FSD > more turbulence intensity > larger reaction rate). There will be no further
explanation of CFM model, since this is already well referenced.

In this method, turbulent structures are characterized by their position vector, orientation vector and
circulation. Position vector is pointing to the origin of the orientation vector. Initial position of
vortices, as well as their orientation, is obtained from a random function. Initial position is
determined by the position vector xv and orientation vector is given by unit vector .

Figure 1. Schematic representation of VM applied on inlet boundary condition. Streamwise flow is in the
direction of orientation vector

Characteristic half-size of the turbulent structures is provided by the well-known relation for
turbulence length scale. This value is dependent on the local turbulent kinetic energy and length

f k,H , x v

C P3 / 4 k x v
2H x v

3/ 2

Number of turbulent structures imposed is given by the simple relation:


f V

V 2S

Structures (2D vortices) are introduced directly on the boundary face. This velocity field is
representing turbulent fluctuations.

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u '||BF x




& AH

*k x & 2 1  exp 

2S k 1

2D vortex structure

Circulation, which represents magnitude of velocity fluctuations, is calculated w.r.t. local value of k
[2]. Circulation has random sign.
*k x

r 1 4

Sk x

N 3 2 log 3  3 log 2

Geometrical quantities defining position and orientation of the vortex structure are:

& & &

d xkv  x
& & &
d ||H d H H
& &
d AH d  d ||H

Position of each vortex, defined by its position vector, is updated after each time step. Its movement
is dependent on the 5% portion of 2D boundary surface velocity field.
x v ,new

x v ,old  0.05u||old
BF 't

Additionally, each vortex has its own life time, depending on the local integral turbulent values.
After vortex life time is expired, vortex is removed and another one is introduced on different
random location.

W xv

k xv
H xv

In order to represent impact on mean (streamwise) flow, linear kinetic model is introduced in order
to account fluctuations in the streamwise direction [1, 2].
u ' A BF

u m
u '||BF &
u m

Finally, after all components of turbulent fluctuations are determined, they are added to the mean
flow providing velocity boundary condition:


(u ' A BF u '||BF )  u m

Method for volume initialization is based on the VM. Therefore, vortices are added in a similar
way. Their position (and origin of the orientation vector) are given in the volume. It should be noted
that all vortical structures are 2D (like in VM). They should be added to the mean flow in a
divergence-free way, i.e. during the volume initialization, incompressible solver has to be activated

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and few small time steps should be ran in order to incorporate fluctuations into the main flow and to
obtain structures 3rd dimension.
Characteristic half-size of the 3D structure is determined in the same way as in VM, but number of
structures is determined differently:

f V

(2V ) 3

Structures are introduced into the main volume through following equation:

& &
u ' x

d 2
d 2

& d AH u H
*k x & 2 1  exp 

k 1

2D vortex structure

Circulation is a function of a local turbulent kinetic energy.

*k x

r 1 4

2k ( x )

When volume initialization is considered, it is important to note that turbulent structures introduced
can be introduced in isotropic or anisotropic way, depending on the definition of the orientation
vector. Principle is given in the following figure:

Figure 2. Difference between isotropic and anisotropic turbulent initialization.

When isotropic turbulence is applied, orientation vector has random orientation. When anisotropic
turbulence is considered, user has to force the orientation vector in a specific direction.

3.1. Verification results

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Following qualitative example demonstrates volume initialization on a simple cube geometry with
an edge length of 10mm. In the following figures, qualitative difference between two sets of k and
are presented.

Figure 3. Volume initialization in a simple cube geometry section view. It can be seen that, when higher
turbulent kinetic energy is applied, magnitude of the fluctuation is also higher. It can also be seen that size of the
vertical structures has significant influence on the flow field turbulence.

Following figures are 3D visualization of the u=1.5 m/s iso-surfaces, coloured by turbulence, for
two values of . Below are given streamlines of the same cases.

Figure 4. 3D qualitative representation of turbulent volume initialization it can be seen how turbulent
structures become finer when smaller vertical structures (with the same kinetic energy), are applied

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3.2. Validation results - Dyer experiment (combustion bomb)

Mesh represents segment of the cylinder covering angle of 45deg, as it is shown in the figure below.
Computational domain had around 110 000 cells, with typical cell size around 0.5mm in wall-free
regions. In near wall cells were shrinked, but without any specific criteria.

Figure 5. Mesh representing 45deg slice of the whole cylinder, with ignition points.

Figure 6: Mesh side view with detail

Side planes were set to be periodic and rest of the BCs is wall. Ignition points are at the same
locations as in the experiment (on the center line). Initial and boundary conditions were also the
same as in the experiment.
Fresh mixture was stoichiometric mixture of pure propane and air. Pure propane was used because
laminar flame speed table was not available for mixture used in the experiment. This is probably the
biggest drawback of the calculation setup.
Ignition was simulated by simply employing FSD property with initial value of 3000 into the small
number of cells in the spark locations (spherical spark). Ignition duration was set to 0.0005. Large
values of initial FSD were used in order to achieve reaction progress variable equal to one in a
reasonable short time of spark plug duration.
Sub-grid scale model was regular Smagorinsky with van Driest damping function in near-wall cells.
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Figure 7. Volume LES initialization velocities along radius for three angles: 0deg, 22.5deg & 45deg. Mean flow
is the same on each angle.

Figure 8. Volume LES initialization - isosurfaces of velocity magnitude at initial time 25m/s (up left); 30m/s (up
right); 35m/s (down left); 40m/s (down right)

Unfortunately, turbulent volume initialization is still in research phase, so obtaining the correct
volume turbulent initialization was not possible. However, the following figure is showing that
volume initialization is affecting the combustion process significantly, so finding the correct
volume initialization method is needed in order to validate Dyer swirl case properly.

Figure 9. Dyer swirl case pressure-time curve, calculation vs. Experiment

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From the Figure 9 it can be seen that volume initialization is needed in order to obtain proper
turbulent conditions for CFMLES. Under these conditions, pressure-time curve evolves
qualitatively good, but relatively large lag w.r.t. the experiment can be seen. This lag can be caused
by intensive turbulence decay, which is probably a problem arising from volume initialization
procedure, like maybe lack of pressure update during the vortices generation.

Figure 10. Dyer swirl case - flame propagation

From Figure 10 it can be seen that flame advances substantially along the walls. The probable
reason for that are high gradients of velocity and RPV which are directly affecting the sources of
chemical reaction equation of the CFM-LES method. It looks like this excessive flame advancement
is cancelling the turbulence decay error coming from the volume initialization. In order to be sure in
that, it is essential to make adjustments to the CFM-LES method (improvement of the near-wall
behaviour) and to make volume initialization better (decrease turbulence decay).
Results presented in this work are mainly representing work-in-progress report about feasibility and
qualitative influence of volume initialization onto combustion process. Results are showing that
turbulence initialization can be reconstructed for different levels of initial turbulence. Future work
should be focused on pressure updating during velocity perturbation procedure in order to retain
fluctuations over time. However, level of results presented are showing high influence of volume
initialization onto turbulent combustion and the main conclusion is that it should not be avoided
when considering closed vessel combustion.

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