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AbstractIn this exercise, steady two-dimensional flow through porous media is modeled. The dimensions of the

pipe and porous zone can be specified. The flow can be modeled as laminar or turbulent. Coarse, medium, and fine

mesh types are available. The material properties for the fluid and porous medium (porosity, viscous and inertial

resistance) can be specified. The effects of inlet velocity and porous medium properties on pressure drop across the

porous insert can be studied. Mass flow rate, total pressure drop, pressure drop in porous zone, and cross-sectional

averaged velocity at the center of the porous insert are reported. Velocity vectors, pressure contours, and streamlines

can be displayed.

Introduction

Porous media can be used for modeling a wide variety of engineering applications, including flows through

packed beds, filters, perforated plates, flow distributors, and tube banks. It is generally desirable to determine the pressure drop across the porous medium and to predict the flow field in order to optimize a given

design.

2

Modeling Details

The fluid region is represented in two dimensions. The procedure for solving the problem is:

1. Create the geometry.

2. Set the material properties and boundary conditions.

3. Mesh the domain.

FlowLab creates the geometry and mesh, and exports the mesh to FLUENT. The boundary conditions and

flow properties are set through parametrized case files. FLUENT converges the problem until the convergence

limit is met, or the specified number of iterations is achieved.

2.1

Geometry

The geometry consists of a pipe wall, porous medium, velocity inlet, and a pressure outlet as shown in

Figure 2.1. The length of the porous insert (P ), the radius of the pipe (R), the length of the pipe (L), and

the distance from the porous center to the inlet (Xc) can be specified.

L

Xc

Inlet

Wall

Outlet

Porous Medium

Axis

2.2

Mesh

Coarse, medium, and fine mesh types are available. Mesh density varies based upon the assigned Refinement

Factor. The Refinement Factor values for the mesh densities available in this exercise are given in Table 2.1.

Mesh Density

Fine

Medium

Coarse

Refinement Factor

1

1.414

2

Using the Refinement Factor, First Cell Height is calculated using the following formula:

Y plus (Characteristic Length0.125 Viscosity 0.875 )

(0.199 Velocity 0.875 Density 0.875 )

(2-1)

Reynolds number is used to determine Yplus. Yplus values for turbulent flow conditions are summarized

in Table 2.2.

Reynolds Number

Re 2300

2300 < Re 50000

Re > 50000

Flow Regime

Laminar

Turbulent, Enhanced Wall Treatment

Turbulent, Standard Wall Functions

Yplus

First Cell Height = Pipe Radius/24

Yplus < 10.0

Yplus > 30.0

The number of intervals along each edge is determined using geometric progression and the following equation:

+ 1.0}

Log{

F irst Cell Height

Intervals = IN T

Log(Growth ratio)

(2-2)

The edges are meshed using the First Cell Height and the calculated number of intervals. The entire domain

is meshed using a map scheme. The resulting mesh is shown in Figure 2.2.

2.3

Based on the Reynolds number, the following physical models are recommended:

Re 2300

Re > 2300

Laminar Flow

k Model

The appropriate wall treatment is applied based on the Reynolds number.

2.4

The default fluid properties provided in this exercise represent water. Properties for other fluids such as air,

engine-oil, and glycerin are also available. Properties for any fluid of interest may also be specified. The

following properties are required:

Density

Viscosity

2.5

The default porous media properties provided in this exercise represent black slate powder. Properties for

other media such as sand, soil, wire crimps, and silica powder are also available. Properties for any porous

media of interest may also be specified. The following properties are required:

Porosity

Viscous resistance

Inertial resistance

2.6

Boundary Conditions

A fully developed velocity profile may be supplied at the Inlet. The following boundary conditions are

assigned in FLUENT:

Boundary

Inlet

Outlet

Wall

Assigned As

Velocity inlet

Pressure outlet

Wall

R2

Vr = 2 U 1 max

r2

(2-3)

where,

Vr

U

Rmax

=

=

=

Mean velocity

Radius of the pipe

For turbulent flow, the velocity profile is defined by the power law as follows:

Vr = Umax

Rmax r

Rmax

B

(2-4)

where,

Vr

Umax

U

Rmax

=

=

=

=

Maximum velocity, calculated as Umax = U (1 + B)

Mean velocity

Radius of the pipe

1

7

2.7

Solution

The Reynolds number at the inlet is calculated based on the boundary conditions and fluid properties

specified.

The mesh is exported to FLUENT along with the physical properties and the initial conditions specified.

The material properties and the initial conditions are read through the case file. Instructions for the solver

are provided through a journal file. When the solution is converged or the specified number of iterations

is met, FLUENT exports the data to a neutral file and to .xy plot files. GAMBIT reads the neutral file

for postprocessing activities.

3

Difficulty in obtaining convergence, or poor accuracy may result if input values are used outside of the

upper and lower limits suggested in the problem overview.

4

4.1

Exercise Results

Reports

Mass flow rate

Pressure drop across the porous zone

Total pressure drop

Sectional-averaged velocity in the porous zone

Mass imbalance

4.2

XY Plots

Residuals

Axial velocity distribution

Axial pressure distribution

Wall Yplus distribution *

* Available only when the flow is modeled as turbulent.

Figures 4.1 and 4.2 present axial velocity and pressure distributions respectively.

6

4.3

Contour Plots

Contours of velocity magnitude, x-velocity, y-velocity, turbulence intensity and dissipation rate, stream

function, density, viscosity, specific heat, thermal conductivity, and temperature can be displayed. Figure 4.3

presents contours of static pressure.

4.4

Comparative Study

Figure 4.4 shows the axial pressure distribution for different porous medium lengths. It can be observed

that the pressure drop increases as the length of the porous medium increases. Further, for a constant

Reynolds number, the rate of pressure drop remains unchanged.

Figure 4.4: Axial Pressure Distribution for Different Porous Media Lengths

Verification of Results

The results for pressure drop verification are presented in Table 5.1. These results were obtained using the

fine mesh option, default fluid material properties, and the following geometric dimensions:

Length of the pipe (L)

Radius of the pipe (R)

Length of the porous zone (P)

Porous location (Xc)

=

=

=

=

2m

0.25 m

0.5 m

1m

The mean inlet velocity was maintained constant at 0.001 m/s and the porous media properties were varied

to obtain the desired pressure drop per unit length. In each run, the porosity value was set to 1.

Table 5.1 compares the pressure drop predicted by FlowLab with the theoretical prediction.

Viscous Resistance

(1/m2 )

2.5e+10

1.0e+10

1.339e+11

1.56e+12

7.2e+08

Inertial Resistance

(1/m)

700

100

300

500

1000

FlowLab

Theory

2.48e+04

2.51e+04

9.94e+03

1.00e+04

1.39e+05

1.40e+05

1.55e+06

1.56e+06

7.16e+02

7.23e+02

The theoretical pressure drop per unit length presented in Table 5.1 was predicted using the following

relation:

1

p

2

=

U + c U

l

K

2

(5-1)

where,

p

l

1

K

U

c

6

Viscous resistance

=

=

=

=

Fluid viscosity

Fluid density

Mean fluid velocity

Inertial resistance

Reference

[1] Nield, A.D. and Bejan, A., Convection in Porous Media, Springer Verlag, N.Y., 1999.

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