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Computational Fluid Dynamics of

Compressible Flows
21 April 2010

Dr. Edgar A. Matida
Department of Mechanical &
Aerospace Engineering
Term project report

Student: Aymen Sakka
Carleton ID: 100828756

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The flying distance of a golf ball is influenced not only by its material, but also by the aerodynamics of
the dimples on its surface. By using ANSYS CFX, the aerodynamics characteristics and to the drag forces
over the golf balls were studied. The drag coefficient variation with different Re numbers was studied.
The validation is done by comparison to a flow over a smooth sphere. The results qualitatively agreed
with the literature.

Although poorly documented, golf is believed to have originated in the early 1400s [1]. It was first played
as a very casual game for which no standard rules existed. A wooden ball was used in conjunction with
wooden clubs prior to 1618[1], when the “featherie" (a ball made of stitched leather and tightly packed
with feathers) was introduced. The featherie was favored for its more forgiving feel on the hands of
players when it was struck and was used until 1848 when the invention of the “Gutta” surpassed the
“feathery” in both durability and cost. The “Gutta” was made of gutta-percha packing material which was
not brittle and became soft and moldable at 100°C.
The Gutta's pliability made it necessary to roll the ball on a “smoothing board” in order to maintain its
shape and keep it free of imperfections which were created during normal play of the game. The smooth
Gutta was used for only a few years before players began to realize that balls that had not been well
maintained and had many nicks and scratches had a much more favourable flight. Thus began the practice
of hammering the Gutta with a sharp-edged hammer in a regular pattern to increase the consistency of the
ball's play.
In 1898 the first “Balata” ball was created by wrapping rubber thread around a solid rubber core which
was then covered by a solid layer of rubber that later became known as the “ball cover”. The Balata was
the first sign of a modern age of golf technology for it allowed molds to be used to create consistent cover
patterns. In 1908 makers discovered the superiority of a regular “dimple” pattern over the haphazard grid
pattern favoured by players at the time. Dimples are small indentations on the exterior of the golf ball.
They are typically round in shape and vary in diameter from 2-5mm in diameter and are about .2mm
deep. Modern golf balls pack anywhere from 300-450 dimples of varying size arranged in a regular
pattern on the outside of every ball [3]. Dimples have been one of the most influential developments in
golf ball design because they alter the dynamics of the balls flight in such a way that gives golfers a
significant amount of control over the height and shape of their shots.


Figure 1: geometry of the golf ball

0.725 mm
3.5868 mm
0.7 mm

Figure 2: geometry of the golf ball dimples
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The golf ball has 389 dimples (See Figure 1). Advancing front method is used for the volume mesh as well. y. Figure 3: Surface and volume mesh of a smooth sphere Page 3 Figure 4: Volume mesh for the golf ball . it is defined as: RMSerr = n 2 i=1 erri Methods Meshing The mesh details for the smooth sphere and the golf ball are listed in appendix-2-.58681 mm. The golf ball diameter is 42.Figures.The domain size is 600 mm × 400 mm × 400 mm in the x. and z-directions (See appendix-1.6 mm while the dimples diameter is 3.84 × 10−5 𝑘𝑔 𝑚 𝑠 𝜗 = 1. The fluid is air at 25°C and the relative pressure is 1 atm. Air properties at 25°C and P= 1 atm: 𝜌 = 1.18 𝑘𝑔/𝑚3 𝜇 = 1. Both of the meshes use Delaunay surface meshing and advancing front and inflation meshing strategy.). 1 and 2 show the geometry and boundary of a typical golf ball. The inlet velocity is changed to vary the Reynolds number.595 × 10 −5 𝑚2 𝑠 The root mean square of errors (RMS) was set to 10E-04.

The inlet boundary is defined by normal velocity whereas a zero gauge pressure condition was set at the outlet. the RMS residuals were set to 10-5 for the sphere simulations and to 10-4 for the golf ball simulations. as they offer a good compromise between numerical effort and computational accuracy. k is the turbulence kinetic energy and is defined as the variance of the fluctuations in velocity. The automatic scaling was chosen for time and conservative for space. which is provided from the solution of its transport equation. The dissipation rate of the turbulent kinetic energy is provided from the solution of its transport equation. The turbulent length scale is estimated from two properties of the turbulence field. the turbulence velocity scale is computed from the turbulent kinetic energy. ANSYS CFX theory Two Equation Turbulence Models Two-equation turbulence models are very widely used. Two-equation models are much more sophisticated than the zero equation models. In two-equation models. It has dimensions of (L2 T-2). which is air at 25 °C. The domain walls are considered as free slip walls. The SST model has a slight additional cost over other two equation models since a wall scale equation is also solved. and the energy equation. The k-epsilon and SST Models in ANSYS CFX The present numerical simulation of the airflow distribution around a golf ball requires the use of various theoretical mathematical models based on fluid dynamics principles. ε is the turbulence eddy dissipation (the rate at which the Page 4 . m2/s2.Figure 5: Surface mesh of the golf ball Under solver control. The smooth sphere and the golf ball are considered to have a smooth wall with a no slip condition to take into account the viscosity of the fluid. The k-ε and k-ω two-equation models use the gradient diffusion hypothesis to relate the Reynolds stresses to the mean velocity gradients and the turbulent viscosity. As for convergence criteria. Both the velocity and length scale are solved using separate transport equations (hence the term „two equation'). The turbulent viscosity is modeled as the product of a turbulent velocity and turbulent length scale. for example. the advection scheme and the turbulence numerics are set to “High resolution”. usually the turbulent kinetic energy and its dissipation rate. The k-ω based Shear-Stress Transport (SST) model was designed to give highly accurate predictions of the onset and the amount of flow separation under adverse pressure gradients by the inclusion of transport effects into the formulation of the eddy-viscosity. The present model in CFX consists of the continuity equation. the momentum equation.

Continuity equation: 𝜕𝜌 + ∇. The k-ε model is given as 𝜕(𝜌𝑘) 𝜇𝑡 + ∇. ∇𝜀 + 𝐺1 𝐺 + 𝐵 (1 + 𝐶3 𝑅𝑓 ) − 𝐶2𝜀 𝜌 𝜕𝑡 𝜎𝜀 𝑘 𝑘 Where 𝐺 = 2𝜇𝑡 𝐸𝑖𝑗 .velocity fluctuations dissipate). for example. One remedy to this scenario is to introduce a wall function so that the low Reynolds number air flow near the wall and the high Reynolds number flow far away from the wall can be simulated at the same time. In this paper. 𝜌𝑈 𝑈 = −∇𝑃 + ∇. Therefore. 𝜌𝜀𝑈 = ∇. m2/s3. 𝐺1 = 2𝐵 Calculation of the drag coefficient [4] The drag equation is a practical formula used to calculate the force of drag experienced by an object moving through a fluid. 𝜌𝑘𝑈 = ∇. 𝜇𝑣 ∇𝑈 + 𝜌𝐹 𝜕𝑡 Where 𝜇𝑣 = 𝜇 + 𝜇𝑡 In early research. the development of turbulence model for low Reynolds numbers has been an intensive focus for research activities. the turbulent model used is the amended standard κ-ε model because it has been proven to give good predictions for complex flows. 𝜌𝑈 = 0 𝜕𝑡 Momentum equation 𝜕(𝜌𝑈) + ∇. turbulent model was applied in high Reynolds number incompressible flows. ∇𝑘 + 𝐺 + 𝐵 − 𝜌𝜀 𝜕𝑡 𝜎𝑘 𝜕(𝜌𝜀) 𝜇𝑡 𝜀 𝜀2 + ∇. But it was later experimentally proven that the air flow near the wall is associated with low Reynolds numbers.These equations employed in the present numerical model are presented below. 𝐸𝑖𝑗 𝐵 = 𝛽𝑔𝑖 𝛽=− 𝜇 𝜕𝜌 𝜎𝑇 𝜕𝑇 1 𝜕𝜌 𝜌 𝜕𝑇 𝜇𝑡 = 𝜌𝐶𝜇 𝑘2 𝜀 −𝐺 1 𝑅𝑓 = 2(𝐵+𝐺) . The force on a moving object due to a fluid due to Lord Rayleigh is Page 5 . and has dimensions of k per unit time (L2 T-3).

The reference area A is the area of the projection of the object on a plane perpendicular to the direction of motion (i. cross-sectional area). The reason d'Alembert's ideal theory failed to explain the true aerodynamic behavior of a sphere is that he ignored the influence of friction in his calculations. Results and discussion Flow over a smooth sphere Early aerodynamics researchers were quite puzzled by the theoretical result stating that there is no drag on a sphere because it contradicted experimental measurements indicating that a sphere does generate drag. the lift is the sum of the forces on the wall in the vertical direction. It is important to note that forces do not include reference pressure effects. The actual flowfield around a sphere looks much different than his theory predicts because friction causes a phenomenon known as flow separation.𝐹= 1 𝜌 𝑉 2 𝐶𝐷 𝐴 2 F is the force of drag. These are summed over all the surface elements in the Wall. named for famous French mathematician and physicist Jean le Rond d'Alembert (1717-1783) who first discovered the discrepancy[5]. In the above diagram. where and are the pressure and viscous moments respectively. We Page 6 . the sum of the pressure force and the viscous force components in the y direction. The pressure and viscous moments are related to the pressure and viscous forces calculated at the Wall.e. The pressure force is calculated as the integral of the relative pressure over the wall area and not as the integral of the sum of the reference and relative pressures. The CFX-Solver calculates the pressure and viscous components of forces on all boundaries specified as Walls. the drag is the sum of the forces on the wall in the horizontal direction. ρ is the density of the fluid. i. The pressure moment is the vector product of the pressure force vector and the position vector r. In the above diagram.e. It is apparent from this that viscous force is not a pure shear force since it also has a small component in the normal direction. Figure 6: Drag forces on a body Drag is the net force on the body in the direction of the flow. The drag force on any wall can be calculated from these values as follows: Lift is the net force on the body in the direction perpendicular to the direction of flow. arising in part from a normal component in the laminar flow shear stress. A is the reference area. i. V is the velocity of the object relative to the fluid. the sum of the pressure force and the viscous force components in the x direction. The conflict between theory and experiment was one of the great mysteries of the late 19th century that became known as d'Alembert's Paradox.e.e. The viscous moment is the vector product of the viscous force vector and the position vector r. 𝐶𝐷 is the drag coefficient (a dimensionless constant). i.

Recirculating vortices in the wake are pointing out from the main axis of the flow. results in the maximum difference in pressure between the front and rear faces (Figure 7).52 0.can better understand this effect by studying the following diagram of the actual flow around a smooth sphere. we say that the flow is attached.53 0.45 0 50000 100000 150000 200000 Reynolds number 250000 300000 Although the values of critical Reynolds numbers are not exactly the same. Figure 7: Pressure streamlines around the smooth sphere for V=1 m/s Figure 8: Drag coefficient variation as a function of increasing Reynolds number 0. The point at which the flow breaks away from the surface is called the separation point. Whereas the flow around the ideal sphere continued to follow the surface along the entire rear face.56 0.54 Drag coefficient 0. Here we see that the flowfield around the sphere is no longer symmetrical. This large wake maximizes the region of low pressure and. This difference creates a large drag like that seen below the transition Reynolds number. the actual flow no longer does so. recirculating vortices that create a wake[5]. When the airflow follows along the surface.47 0.51 0. The region of separated flow is dominated by unsteady.46 0. it creates a very large wake over the entire rear face. and the flow downstream of this point is referred to as separated.55 0. Since the laminar boundary layer around the smooth sphere separates so rapidly.48 0. Page 7 . therefore.5 Cd=f(Re) 0.49 0. the computational prediction is acceptable as far as the overall trend is concerned. The drag coefficient plot as a function of Reynolds numbers displays a slightly higher value for Re= 105 than the chart in appendix-3-.

. Figure 10: Pressure vortex around the smooth sphere for V=20 m/s Page 8 .Figure 9: Velocity streamlines around the smooth sphere for V=100 m/s Figure 10: Eddy viscosity contour plot for the flow over the sphere for V=100 m/s . on the other hand. For a given sphere diameter.The transition to a turbulent boundary layer. either increase the speed of the flow over the sphere to increase the Reynolds number beyond transition or make the surface rough in order to create turbulence. This thin wake reduces the low-pressure region on the rear face and reduces the difference in pressure between the front and back of the sphere. Since separation is delayed. a designer has only two options encourage this transition. The latter case is often referred to as "tripping" the boundary layer. adds energy to the flow allowing it to remain attached to the surface of the sphere. the resulting wake is much narrower.These results tell us that causing a turbulent boundary layer to form on the front surface significantly reduces the sphere's drag. This smaller difference in pressure creates a smaller drag force comparable to that seen above the transition Reynolds number.

and this velocity is insufficient to exceed the transition Reynolds number. This allows the smoothly flowing air to follow the ball's surface a little farther around the back side of the ball. The flying golf ball also leaves behind a turbulent wake region where the air flow is fluctuating or agitated (Figure 11). See figure 12. Figure 11: Velocity 3D streamlines around the golf ball for V=100 m/s Air flows smoothly over the contours of the front side and eventually separates from the ball toward the back side. Dimples on a golf ball create a thin turbulent boundary layer of air that clings to the ball's surface. This turbulence helps the flow remain attached to the surface of the ball and reduces the size of the separated wake so as to reduce the drag it generates in flight. The size of the wake affects the amount of drag on the object. That leaves tripping the boundary layer as the only realistic alternative to reducing the drag on a golf ball.Flow over a golf ball In the case of a golf ball. The purpose of the dimples is to do just that--to create a rough surface that promotes an early transition to a turbulent boundary layer. increasing the speed is not an option since a golfer can only swing the club so fast. thereby decreasing the size of the wake. When the drag is reduced. Figure 12: Pressure 3D streamlines around the golf ball for V=100 m/s Page 9 . the ball flies farther. resulting in lower pressure behind it.

as the air detaches and shears away. We see that the cumulative effect of the vortices cause air to come down onto the ball to delaying energy-wasting separation. the vectors are pointing against the flow main stream which allows the wake to have a counter effect the drag force on the ball. Figure 15: Velocity vectors in the vortex core region around the golf ball for V=100m/s Page 10 . from front to back within a single dimple. This convergence pattern of the vertices tends to reduce the size of the wake. These lines of whirlpools follow the scallops of the dimples in the direction of the airstream. Golf balls with dimples turn out to be more slippery than smooth spheres. we see the airflow evolve. Hence. varying with the stream‟s direction. we can see a number of trains of vortices are developed (Figure 13). In the behaviour of the air shown just around a pair of dimples (Figure 14). In fact. the velocity vectors field is pointing to the center of the wake.Figure 13: Velocity contour plot in the vortex core region around the golf ball for V=100 m/s Figure 14: Detaching vertices from dimples in the vortex core region for V=100 m/s Moving in to about 45 degrees from the leading surface of the golf ball. As figure 15 shows.

If the surface air in the boundary layer becomes turbulent. the higher kinetic energy in the turbulent region will help the air stick to the surface longer before separating (Figure 16). For example. the dimples on a golf ball cause the laminar boundary layer to become turbulent sooner and this moves the separation point rearward decreasing the from drag and the drag coefficient as shown in figure. Figure 18: Pressure contour plot around the golf ball for V=100 m/s Page 11 . Hence anything that effects the location of the separation point has a large effect on the drag coefficient. In the case of separated flow around a sphere the drag force and hence drag coefficient is dominated by form drag which depends on the separation point on the sphere. Figure 17 illustrates the high level of turbulence by a maximum eddy viscosity values just behind and very close to the golf ball. Drag coefficient It is the difference between the high and low pressure values that account for drag forces a body experiences.Figure 16: Turbulence kinetic energy contour plot around the golf ball for V=100m/s Figure 17: Eddy viscosity contour plot around the golf ball for V=100m/s Turbulence around the golf ball has a beneficial effect on reducing the wake of an object. The result is lower form drag.

the computational prediction is acceptable as far as the overall trend is concerned.65 0. The turbulence model being validated is the shear stress transport model. Page 12 .45 0. Figure 19 below shows the comparison of drag coefficients at different Reynolds numbers for the golf ball against the smooth ball. Through this small error. which is near the critical Reynolds number. Magnus lift is present because a driven golf ball has backspin[6].7 Drag coefficient 0. it is a good indication of the accuracy of the chosen domain and confirming this choice stated in the literature [7]. do increase drag at low Reynolds numbers.5 0. Drag coefficient is the lowest at the critical Reynolds number of 4×104.Validation of the simulations For validation.017.3 1000 10000 100000 1000000 Reynolds number A golf ball usually flies at a Reynolds number more than 105. that peculiar lifting force experienced by rotating bodies travelling through a medium. Figure 19 shows that for Reynolds bigger than 105. Still. These simulations (that came up with a fatal error at CFX-post except three cases) have an RMS error of 0. drag coefficient will raise slowly with Reynolds number. Figure 19: Drag coefficient variation with Reynolds number 0.6 0. After that. The dimples. The drag coefficient of the sphere starts to drop off at a Reynolds number of 8×104.4 0.5 bigger in each direction. Domain convergence analysis An attempt has been made to simulate different flows around the golf ball with different Reynolds numbers with a domain 1. this study used a 3-D sphere. we cannot judge the error of the other flows. but stays fairly constant afterwards. These results qualitatively agree well with each other. paradoxically.75 0. the drag coefficient for the golf ball starts to decrease with higher intensity than the smooth sphere. But they also increase "Magnus lift". Although the values of critical Reynolds number are not exactly the same.55 Smooth sphere Golf Ball 0.35 0. This corresponds to the transition of air flow from laminar to turbulent.

The only practical way of reducing this differential is to design the ball so that the main stream of air flowing by it is as close to the surface as possible. Therefore. the coefficient of drag becomes lower for the dimpled ball. the drag decreases. the pressure drag is much larger than the skin friction. laminar flow. which augment the turbulence very close to the surface. For a smooth sphere. - Dimpled surface causes air to “grip” the ball for a longer period of time before passing. Unfortunately. is also prone to separation. Recr is much larger than the average Reynolds number experienced by a gold ball. This situation is achieved by a golf ball's dimples. The effect is plotted in figure 19. There was a lot of pressure drag to be reduced so the increase in skin friction is an acceptable trade off. so adding dimples is beneficial. Recr is the Reynolds number at which the flow transitions from a laminar to a turbulent state. The dimpled ball has a lower Recr and the drag is fairly constant for Reynolds numbers greater than Recr. - Computational Fluid Dynamics can be a powerful tool to investigate effects of dimple geometry on the flow field around a golf ball and enable more efficient design process of dimple geometry for less drag and longer flight distances. A smoother surface will allow the air to flow easier over the ball creating what is called laminar flow. - The critical Reynolds number (Recr) holds the explanation for the fact that golf balls have dimples. which shows that for Reynolds numbers achievable by hitting the ball with a club. - On the golf ball. while initially having less drag. creating turbulence and a thickened boundary layer. which implies a reduction in drag. Page 13 . bringing the high-speed airstream closer and increasing the pressure behind the ball. This is a good property in a sport like golf where the main goal is to maintain the ball in this post-critical regime throughout its flight. which produces an increased drag.Conclusions - Drag on a golf ball comes mainly from air-pressure forces. This causes the flow to remain attached longer on a dimpled golf ball. As the speed of the dimpled golf ball is increased. This drag arises when the pressure in front of the ball is significantly higher than that behind the ball. the dimples cause Recr to decrease. which implies that the flow becomes turbulent at a lower velocity than on a smooth sphere.

A. [5] Applied and Computational Fluid Mechanics. pp. [4] ANSYS CFX 12. and acoustics. [2] "Flying Characteristics and Flow Pattern of a Sphere with Dimples". Nakayama. [7] Effects of golf ball dimple configuration on aerodynamics. vol. 6.aerospaceweb. Yamaguchi and Y. Takeyoshi Kimura and Mitsuru Sumiyama. K. April 2010. Qing-Shan Hong. 2003. [6] A statistical study on reduction of drag force for golf balls. Vol.34.References [1] Materials in sports equipment. Chih-Yeh Chao. 2003 . LLC. Page 14 . K. Scott Post. 2004.Woodhead Publishing Ltd and CRC Press LLC. 67-76. 2011 copyright (c) by Jones and Bartlett publishers. Memoirs of Fukui University of Technology.0 help. Journal Of Visualization. Jik-Chang Leong. Mike Jenkins. Aoki. 18 April 2010. Department of Mechanical engineering. Chang-Hsien Tai . trajectory. [3] http://www. no. National Ping-Tung University of Science and Technology. 1. Part 1. volume 1.

Appendices Appendix-1-: Geometry of the domain Problem domain Golf ball sketch Page 1 .

Golf ball surface and volume mesh Page 2 .

5 9e-003 m 3e-002 m 3e-002 m 1.5 30 0 1.Mesh Inputs Smooth sphere Face spacing Option Angular resolution Minimum edge length (mm) Maximum edge length (mm) Radius of influence (mm) Expansion factor Sizing Used advanced sizing Relevance center Smoothing Transition Span angle center Proximity accuracy Min size Max face size Max tet size Growth rate Minimum edge length Inflation Inflation option Transition ratio Maximum layers Growth rate Inflation algorithm Total thickness Angular resolution 18 degrees 1.2 Mesh statistics Total number of nodes Total number of tedrahedral Total number of prisms Total number of elements 59340 307214 980 308194 On: proximity Coarse Medium Slow coarse 0.5 9.Appendix-2.77 5 1.2 Pre 7 mm Volume mesh for the smooth sphere Page 3 .3934e-003 m Smooth transition 0.

1102e-004 m) Max tet size Default(8.5 Maximum edge length [mm] 3 Radius of influence [mm] 0 Expansion factor 1.2204e-004 m) Growth rate 1.1102e-004 m) Max face size Default(4.2 Edge spacing Angular resolution [Degrees] 18 Minimum edge length [mm] 0.5 Maximum edge length [mm] 3 Radius of influence [mm] 0 Expansion factor 1.0) Min size Default(4.2 Dimple spacing Angular resolution [Degrees] 18 Minimum edge length [mm] 0.2 Inflation Inflation option Smooth transition Transition ratio 0.5 Maximum edge length [mm] 1 Radius of influence [mm] 0 Expansion factor 1.Golf ball meshing Mesh spacing Sphere spacing Mesh statistics Total number of nodes Total number of tedrahedral Total number of pyramids Total number of prisms Totalk number of elements 531932 1988165 22456 317746 2328367 Option Angular resolution Angular resolution [Degrees] 18 Minimum edge length [mm] 0.2 Inflation algorithm Pre Sizing Used advanced sizing On: Curvature Relevance center Coarse Smoothing Medium Transition Slow Span angle center Fine Curvature Default (18.77 Maximum layers 5 Growth rate 1.3934e-003 m Page 4 .2 Minimum edge length 9.

Drag coefficient variation with Reynolds numbers for different blunt bodies Page 5 .Appendix-3.

48 - - - - - - Simulation results of the drag coefficient over a dimpled golf ball with a domain expansion factor of 1.157 0.459 1.454 2.472 0.04 0.): Fatal error in CFX-post Page 6 - 1 2671 6E04 0.818 0.639 0.02 0.486 0.359 0.01 0.463 2.09 0.475 0.47 0.467 0.506 0.471 0.011 0.466 0.917 0.002 0.605 1 2671 5E04 0.403 0.461 0.157 0.724 Simulation results of the drag coefficient over a smooth sphere and dimpled golf ball V Re Golf ball F Cd 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 7 5 2 3E+05 2E+05 2E+05 2E+05 2E+05 1E+05 1E+05 80125 53417 26708 18696 13354 5342 4.413 0.041 0.732 .368 0.021 0.Appendix-4-Simulations numerical results V Re Sphere F Cd Golf ball F Cd 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 7 5 3E+05 2E+05 2E+05 2E+05 2E+05 1E+05 1E+05 80125 53417 26708 18696 13354 2 5342 3.985 0.029 0.525 0.634 0.465 0.465 1.463 3.502 3.157 0.021 0.483 0.984 0.892 0.468 0.462 - - - - 1.468 0.548 6E04 0.454 3.5 ( .002 0.489 0.475 0.476 0.457 - 1.463 0.