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Journal of Shanghai University (English Edition), 2007, 11(1): 17–21 Digital Object Identifier(DOI): 10.1007/s 11741-007-0102-5

Letter Numerical study of the turbulent flow around a circular pier

ZHAO Wei (

),

HUHE Ao-de ( )

Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, P. R. China

Abstract

In practical problems, the variation of the free surface around a circular pier is severe. For the Fluent CFD, the

multiphase flow models cannot be used together with the LES model to calculate the free surface. Present paper provides a two-step method which joints the 2D compressible ideal-gas equations and the LES model to calculate the 3D flow field with

free surface around the pier. The effects of the free surface on the flow structures are studied in detail.

Keywords

large eddy simulation, free surface, Fluent CFD, flow structures, two-step method.

2000 Mathematics Subject Classification 76D17, 76D25

1 Introduction

The turbulent flow field around a circular pier is a complex three-dimensional unsteady flow including a flow separation, the formation of the horseshoe vor- tex, the wake vortex shedding and its interaction with the horseshoe vortex. The numerical studies on this flow field are carried out mostly based on the Reynolds- averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations with statisti- cal turbulence models [15] . In [6], the calculations of the flow past a square cylinder for flat bed with LES model and RANS equations were compared with the experi- mental measurements. It is shown that in all RANS calculations with various versions of statistical turbu- lence models the turbulent fluctuations were strongly underpredicted. The LES approach gave a better result. We simulated the flow field around a circular cylinder for flat bed by the LES model and the RANS equations with standard k ε turbulence model. In Fig.1 the sim- ulation results of the mean turbulent kinetic energy are compared with the experimental measurement [7] . It can be seen that the results of the LES model are in good agreement with the measurement, and the RANS equa- tion result is severely low. Meanwhile in most of the previous numerical investigations, the water surface is assumed to be the flat surface. Salaheldin, et al. [4] cal- culated the variation of the free surface with the multi- phase flow model.

In this paper, the Fluent CFD software is applied to calculate the three-dimensional (3D) flow field with free surface. Because the LES approach cannot be used together with the multiphase flow models, a two-step method is introduced to calculate the free surface and the flow field around the pier.

Received Sep.13, 2006 Corresponding author ZHAO Wei, PhD, E-mail: hsei@sohu.com

Journal of Shanghai University ( English Edition ), 2007, 11 (1): 17–21 Digital Object Identifier(DOI): 10.1007/s

Fig.1

Comparison of the mean turbulent kinetic energy calculated with the LES approach and the RANS equations at Re =7040

  • 2 Mathematical model

The mathematical model contains two steps, the first one is to calculate the variation of the free surface with the two-dimensional (2D) ideal-gas compressible equa- tions which are analogous to the shallow-water equa- tions; the second step is to simulate the 3D flow field. The 2D simulation provides pressure boundary for the top flat surface in the 3D simulation. The two steps

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can be jointed with the user-defined function (UDF) of

fluent. The UDF can complete the transient transfer of

the water surface data between the calculation of the

2D free surface and the 3D flow field.

2.1

2D free surface calculation equations

To integrate the three dimensional Navier-Stokes

equations along flow depth, we can obtain the follow-

ing shallow water equations:

∂H

∂t

U

∂t

+

∇ · (H U )=0,

+ (U · ∇)U = g η + ν 2 U ,

(1)

(2)

where H is the flow depth with H = h + η (see Fig.2).

Let density ρ˜ = ρH (ρ is density of water), pressure

˜

P

= g ρ˜ 2 /(2ρ), then (1) and (2) can be written in the

following forms:

∂ ρ˜

∂t

+ ∇ · ρU )=0,

ρU )

∂t

˜

+ (˜ρU · ∇)U = −∇ P + ρg˜ h + ρν˜ 2 U .

(3)

(4)

Thus the shallow-water equations can be analogous to

the 2D ideal-gas compressible equations of γ =2(γ is

specific heat ratio). The gas density is corresponding to

the flow depth.

Fig.2

18 Journal of Shanghai University can be jointed with the user-defined function (UDF) of fluent. The

Coordinate of the bed form and the water surface

2.2

3D flow governing equations

In LES approach, the spatially-filtered 3D Navier-

Stokes equations can be written as

∂ u¯ i

∂x

i

= 0,

t (ρu¯ i ) +

∂x j

(ρu¯ i u¯ j ) =

∂x j μ ∂x

∂ u¯

i

j

(5)

∂ p¯

∂x i

∂τ ij

∂x j

,

(6)

where ρ and μ is density and viscosity coefficient respec-

tively. τ ij is the subgrid-scale stress,

τ ij = ρu i u j ρu¯ i u¯ j .

(7)

The effect of the unresolved small-scale motion is

simulated with the subgrid-scale model. In the present

simulations, the Smagorinsky-Lilly eddy viscosity model

has been applied as

τ ij 1

3 τ kk δ ij =

2μ t

¯

S ij ,

μ t = ρL 2 2

s

¯

S ij

¯

S ij ,

¯

S ij =

1

∂ u¯ i

( ∂x j

∂ u¯ j

2

∂x

i

+

),

L s = min(κd, C s V 1/3 ),

(8)

(9)

(10)

(11)

where μ t is the subgrid-scale turbulent viscosity, κ =

0.42, C s = 0.1, d is the distance to the closest wall, and

V is the volume of the computational cell.

The governing equations are discretized using

a second-order accurate, cell-centered finite-volume

method with upwinding scheme. A second-order im-

plicit scheme is used for all time dependent terms, which

is unconditionally stable with respect to time step size.

The pressure-velocity coupling scheme of the pressure-

implicit with splitting of operators (PISO) is used which

can dramatically decrease the number of iterations re-

quired for convergence.

  • 2.3 Calculation domain and boundary con- ditions

The calculation domain is 30D × 12D × 3D . In order

to investigate the flow field near bed in detail, the un-

structured grids are used and the near-wall mesh spacing

is Z + < 5. The total grid number is 1390820.

In the 2D simulation, at the inlet (X =10D ) and the

outlet (X =20D ) boundary the pressure-far-field condi-

tions are applied and the pressure (p = gH 2 /2), tem-

perature (T = p/(ρR) = gH/(2R)) and Mach number

(M = U/ gH ) are specified; the symmetry boundary

is applied at the two sides (Y = ±6D ).

For the 3D simulation, at the inlet boundary the

transverse velocity is set to zero and the longitudinal ve-

locity is composed with mean and fluctuating velocity;

a vanishing gradient of velocity is applied at the outlet

boundary; on the top flat surface, a pressure boundary

condition is prescribed which is obtained from the 2D

simulation (p = ρgH ); symmetry boundaries are used at

two sides; at the bed and the cylinder surface, a non-slip

and no-penetration boundary conditions are specified.

  • 3 Results and discussion

The change of the water level around a circular pier is

closely related to the approaching velocity. Fig.3 shows

the shape of the free surface around the pier at Re =7040

(the approaching velocity U =0.22 m/s) and Re =12800

(U =0.4 m/s). It can be seen that the water level in-

creases gradually in the area ahead of the pier until it

reaches the maximum at the stagnation point of the up-

stream face. At the two sides of the pier the water level

Vol. 11

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Feb. 2007

ZHAO W, et al. :

Numerical study of the turbulent flow around a circular pier

19

decreases rapidly. In the wake region, the water level

increases away from the pier until it reaches the flow

depth not influenced by the presence of the pier. As

the approaching velocity increases, the variation of the

water level around the pier is large.

The mean vorticities at the water surface and the

bed bottom are shown in Fig.4. At the water surface,

the maximum vorticity, the affected region of the high

vorticity and the affected degree of the free surface in-

crease as the approaching velocity increases (Fig.4(a)

and Fig.4(b)). At Re =7040, the effect of the free sur-

face on the vorticity of the bed bottom is lower for the

present flow depth (Fig.4(c)). But at Re =12800, the free

surface has obvious effect on the bed bottom vorticity

all around the pier (Fig.4(d)).

Vol. 11 No. 1 Feb. 2007 ZHAO W, et al . : Numerical study of the

Fig.3

Contours of the water level around the pier (averag- ing flow depth Z = 3D )

Vol. 11 No. 1 Feb. 2007 ZHAO W, et al . : Numerical study of the

Fig.4

Comparison of the mean vorticities at the water surface and the bed bottom

The calculation results of the turbulent kinetic en-

ergy are shown in Fig.5. At Re =7040, the effect of

the

free surface is small and restricted in the region near

the water surface. As the incoming velocity increases,

the range of the high turbulent kinetic energy expands

(Fig.5(a) and Fig.5(b)).

Fig.6 shows the mean bed shear stress. For Re =7040,

the influence of the free surface variation on the bed

shear stress is low. In the wake of the pier, the position

of the higher bed shear stress moves downstream slightly

for the free surface (Fig.6(a)). While at Re =12800, the

bed shear stress for the free surface increases more ob-

viously than that for flat surface at the side of the pier.

The

mean pressure coefficient (C p = (p p 0 )/

(2ρU 2 )) in the symmetry plane of the pier is shown in

Fig.7. At Re =7040, the affection of the free surface is

restricted in the range of the water surface downstream

of the pier (Fig.7(a)). As the approaching velocity in-

creases, the affected range is all around the pier and

the effect of the free surface variation on the pressure

increases in the near wake (Fig.7(b)).

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20 Journal of Shanghai University Fig.5 Comparison of the mean turbulent kinetic energy in the symmetry

Fig.5

Comparison of the mean turbulent kinetic energy in the symmetry plane of the pier

20 Journal of Shanghai University Fig.5 Comparison of the mean turbulent kinetic energy in the symmetry

Fig.6

Comparison of the mean bed shear stress

20 Journal of Shanghai University Fig.5 Comparison of the mean turbulent kinetic energy in the symmetry

Fig.7

Comparison of the mean pressure coefficient in the symmetry plane of the pier

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ZHAO W, et al. :

Numerical study of the turbulent flow around a circular pier

21

4 Conclusions

In practical problems, the variation of the free sur-

face under the action of the wave or the current is severe.

In Fluent CFD, the multiphase flow models cannot be

used together with the LES model for the free surface

calculation. Present paper provides a two-step calcula-

tion method, which is simple and efficient to solve the

3D flow field with free surface by the LES.

The results show that for the shallow water, at the

incoming velocity U =0.22 m/s, the influence of the free

surface is small. As the approaching velocity increases,

the free surface variation has more effects on the flow

structures, for example the vorticity, the turbulent in-

tensity, the bed shear stresses and the pressure field.

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[3] Kamil H M, Ali K O. Simulation of flow around piers[J], Journal of Hydraulic Research, 2002, 40(2): 161–174.

[4] Salaheldin T M, Imran J, Chaudhry M H. Numerical modeling of three-dimensional flow field around circu- lar piers[J]. ASCE Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 2004, 130(2): 91–100.

[5]

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dimensional numerical model for turbulent flow around

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[6] Rodi W. Comparison of LES and RANS calculations of the flow around bluff bodies[J]. Journal of Wind En- gineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 1997, 69-71:

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[7] Zhao Wei, Huhe Ao-de. Experimental investigation of scour mechanism around a circular cylinder[J]. Acta Mechanica Sinica, 2006, 38(5): 577–585 (in Chinese).

(Editor WANG Hai-jiang )