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1.2 Basic principles of CFD

1.3 Forms of the governing fluid-flow equations

1.4 The main discretisation methods

Appendix

Examples

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is the use of computers and numerical techniques to

solve problems involving fluid flow.

CFD has been successfully applied in a huge number of areas, including aerodynamics of

aircraft and cars, hydrodynamics of ships, pumps and turbines, combustion and heat transfer,

chemical engineering. Applications in civil engineering include wind loading on structures,

wind and wave power, ventilation, fire and explosion hazards, dispersion of pollutants and

effluent, wave loading on coastal and offshore structures, hydraulic structures, sediment

transport, hydrology. More specialist applications include ocean currents, weather

forecasting, plasma physics, blood flow, heat dissipation from electronic circuitry.

This range of applications is broad and encompasses many different fluid phenomena and

CFD techniques. In particular, CFD for high-speed aerodynamics (where compressibility is

significant but viscous effects are often unimportant) is very different from that used to solve

low-speed, frictional flows typical of mechanical and civil engineering.

Although many elements of this course are generally applicable, the focus will be on

simulating viscous, incompressible flow by the finite-volume method.

1.2 Basic Principles of CFD continuous discrete

curve approximation

The approximation of a continuously-varying

quantity in terms of values at a finite number of

points is called discretisation.

simulation are:

(1) The flow field is discretised; i.e. field variables ( , u, v, w, p, …) are approximated

by their values at a finite number of nodes.

(2) The equations of motion are discretised (approximated in terms of values at nodes):

control-volume or differential equations algebraic equations

(continuous) (discrete)

(3) The resulting system of algebraic equations is solved to give values at the nodes.

Pre-processing:

– problem formulation (governing equations; boundary conditions);

– construction of a computational mesh.

Solving:

– discretisation of the governing equations;

– numerical solution of the governing equations.

Post-processing:

– visualisation;

– analysis of results.

The equations governing fluid motion are based on the fundamental physical principles:

• mass: change of mass = 0

• momentum: change of momentum = force × time

• energy: change of energy = work + heat

Additional conservation equations for individual constituents may apply for non-

homogeneous fluids (e.g. containing dissolved chemicals or imbedded particles).

When applied to the fluid continuum these may be expressed mathematically as either:

• integral (i.e. control-volume) equations;

• differential equations.

1.3 Forms of the Governing Fluid-Flow Equations

quantity (mass, momentum, energy, …) within a specified

V

region of space (control volume).

For an arbitrary control volume the balance of a physical quantity over an interval of time is

change = amount in − amount out + amount created

In fluid mechanics this is usually expressed in rate form by dividing by the time interval (and

transferring the net amount passing through the boundary to the LHS of the equation):

RATE OF CHANGE + NET FLUX = SOURCE

out of boundary inside V (1)

inside V

advection – movement with the fluid flow;

diffusion – net transport by random (molecular or turbulent) motion.

through boundary of V inside V (2)

inside V

The important point is that this is a single, generic scalar-transport equation, irrespective

of whether the physical quantity concerned is mass, momentum, chemical content etc. Thus,

instead of dealing with lots of different equations we can consider the numerical solution of a

general scalar-transport equation (Section 4).

The finite-volume method, which is the subject of this course, is based on approximating

these control-volume equations.

In regions without shocks, interfaces or other discontinuities, the fluid-flow equations can

also be written in equivalent differential forms. These describe what is going on at a point

rather than over a whole control volume. Mathematically, they can be derived by making the

control volumes infinitesimally small. This will be demonstrated in Section 2, where it will

also be shown that there are several different ways of writing these differential equations.

The finite-difference method is based on the direct approximation of a differential form of the

governing equations.

1.4 The Main Discretisation Methods

i,j+1

i-1,j i,j i+1,j

Discretise the governing differential equations directly; e.g.

∂u ∂v u i +1, j − u i −1, j vi , j +1 − vi , j −1

0 = + ≈ + i,j-1

∂x ∂y 2∆x 2∆y

vn

net mass outflow = ( uA) e − ( uA) w + ( vA) n − ( vA) s = 0

vs

Express the solution as a weighted sum of shape functions S (x), substitute into some form of

the governing equations and solve for the coefficients (aka degrees of freedom or weights).

e.g., for velocity,

u (x) = ∑ u S (x)

Finite-difference and finite-element methods are covered in more detail in the Computational

Mechanics course. This course will focus on the finite-volume method.

• it has considerable geometric flexibility;

• general-purpose codes can be used for a wide variety of physical problems.

• it rigorously enforces conservation;

• it is flexible in terms of both geometry and the variety of fluid phenomena;

• it is directly relatable to physical quantities (mass flux, etc.).

cells called a computational mesh or grid.

terms of values at nodes – to form a set of algebraic equations.

APPENDIX

A1. Notation

Position/time:

x ≡ (x, y, z) or (x1, x2, x3) position; (in this course z is usually vertical)

t time

Field variables:

u ≡ (u, v, w) or (u1, u2, u3) velocity

p pressure

(p – patm is the gauge pressure; p* = p + gz is the piezometric pressure.)

T temperature

φ concentration (amount per unit mass or per unit volume)

Fluid properties:

density

dynamic viscosity

( ≡ / is the kinematic viscosity)

diffusivity

Statics

dp

p=− g z or =− g (3)

dz

The same equation also holds in a moving fluid if there is no vertical acceleration, or, as an

approximation, if vertical acceleration is much smaller than g.

p* ≡ p + gz = constant (4)

p* is called the piezometric pressure, combining the effects of pressure and weight. For a

constant-density flow without a free surface, gravitational forces can be eliminated entirely

from the equations by working with the piezometric pressure.

Pressure, density and temperature are connected by an equation of state; e.g. ideal gas law:

p = RT , R = R0 /m (5)

where R0 is the universal gas constant, m is the molar mass and T is the absolute temperature.

Dynamics

The equations governing fluid motion are based on the following fundamental principles:

• mass: change of mass = 0

• momentum: change of momentum = force × time

• energy: change of energy = work + heat

and for non-homogeneous fluids:

• conservation of individual constituents.

Examples

The following simple examples develop the notation and control-volume framework to be

used in the rest of the course.

Q1.

Water (density 1000 kg m–3) flows at o

2 m s–1 through a circular pipe of 45

10 cm

2 m/s

diameter 10 cm. What is the mass S1 S2

flux C across the surfaces S1 and S2?

D=10 cm Q2.

A water jet strikes normal to a fixed plate (see left).

F Neglect gravity and friction, and compute the force F

u=8 m/s required to hold the plate fixed.

Q3.

A fire in the Pariser hydraulics laboratory released 2 kg of a toxic gas into a room of

dimensions 30 m × 8 m × 5 m. Assuming the laboratory air to be well-mixed and to be vented

at a speed of 0.5 m s–1 through an aperture of 6 m2, calculate: (a) the initial concentration of

gas in ppm by mass; (b) the time taken to reach a safe concentration of 1 ppm.

(For air, density = 1.20 kg m–3.)

Q4.

A burst pipe at a factory causes a chemical to seep into a river at a rate of 2.5 kg hr–1. The

river is 5 m wide, 2 m deep and flows at 0.3 m s–1. What is the average concentration of the

chemical (in kg m–3) downstream of the spill?

Answers

Q2. 503 N

(b) 2895 s ( 48 minutes)

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