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16.0 Release

Introduction

Lecture Theme:

Performing a transient calculation is in some ways similar to performing a steady state

calculation, but there are additional considerations. More data is generated and extra

inputs are required. This lecture will explain these inputs and describe transient data

post-processing.

Learning Aims:

You will learn:

How to set up and run transient calculations in Fluent

How to choose the appropriate time step size for your calculation

How to post-process transient data and make animations

Learning Objectives:

Transient flow calculations are becoming increasingly common due to advances in high

performance computing (HPC) and reductions in hardware costs. You will understand

what transient calculations involve and be able to perform them with confidence.

Introduction Unsteady Flow Time Step Setup Post-Processing Summary

2 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Motivation

Nearly all flows in nature are unsteady!

Steady-state assumption is possible if we:

Ignore unsteady fluctuations

Employ ensemble/time-averaging to remove unsteadiness

this is what is done in modeling RANS turbulence

In CFD, steady-state methods are preferred

Lower computational cost

Easier to post-process and analyze

Many applications require resolution of unsteady flow:

Aerodynamics (aircraft, land vehicles, etc.) vortex shedding

Rotating Machinery rotor/stator interaction, stall, surge

Multiphase Flows free surfaces, bubble dynamics

Deforming Domains in-cylinder combustion, store separation

Unsteady Heat Transfer transient heating and cooling

Many more

3 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Origins of Unsteady Flow

Natural unsteadiness

Unsteady flow due to growth of instabilities within the fluid or a non-equilibrium initial fluid

state

Examples: natural convection flows, turbulent eddies of all scales, fluid waves (gravity

waves, shock waves)

Forced unsteadiness

Time-dependent boundary conditions, source terms drive the unsteady flow field

Examples: pulsing flow in a nozzle, rotor-stator interaction in a turbine stage

Cloud Instability in an Axial Compressor

Introduction Unsteady Flow Time Step Setup Post-Processing Summary

4 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Unsteady CFD Analysis

Simulate a transient flow field over a specified time period

Solution may approach:

Steady-state solution Flow variables stop changing with time

Time-periodic solution Flow variables fluctuate with repeating pattern

Your goal may also be simply to analyze the flow over a prescribed time interval

Free surface flows,

Moving shock waves,

Extract quantities of interest

Natural frequencies (e.g. Strouhal Number)

Time-averaged and/or RMS values

Time-related parameters (e.g. time required to cool a hot solid, residence time of a pollutant)

Spectral data Fourier Transform (FT)

5 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Unsteady CFD Analysis

Transient simulations are solved by computing Time steps = 2 s

a solution for many discrete points in time

Initial Time = 0 s

At each time point we must iterate to the

Total Time = 20 s

solution

Residual

2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20

Time (seconds)

Several iterations per time step

Introduction Unsteady Flow Time Step Setup Post-Processing Summary

6 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Selecting the Transient Time Step Size

The time step size is an important parameter in transient simulations

t must be small enough to resolve time-dependent features

True solution Time step too large to resolve

Variable of transient changes

interest - Note the solution points generally will

not lie on the true solution because the

true behaviour has not been resolved

t

Time

Variable of A smaller time step can

interest resolve the true solution

- At least, 10-20 t per period

t

Time

Introduction Unsteady Flow Time Step Setup Post-Processing Summary

7 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Convergence Behavior

Residual plots for transient simulations are

not always indicative of a converged

solution

You should select the time step size such

that the residuals reduce by around three

orders of magnitude within one time step

This will ensure accurate resolution of

transient behavior

For smaller time steps, residuals may only

drop by 1-2 orders of magnitude - look for

a monotonic decrease throughout the time Typical residual plot for a simple

step transient calculation

8 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Selecting the Transient Time Step Size

and it must be small enough to maintain solver stability

The quantity of interest may be changing very slowly (e.g. temperature in a solid),

but you may not be able to use a large time step if other quantities (e.g. velocity)

have smaller timescales

Courant Number =

Typical Cell Size

This gives the number of mesh elements the fluid passes through in one time step

Typical values are 1 10, but in some cases higher values are acceptable

9 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Selecting the Transient Time Step Size

Tips & Tricks for the estimation of the time step:

Usual Case : t =

1 L

. L = Characteristic length

3 V

restrictive but safe for convergence with L=cell characteristic size

V = Characteristic velocity

1 Number of Blades

Turbomachinery : t = .

10 Rotational Velocity

L

Natural Convection : t =

(g. . T.L)1/2

L2

Conduction in solids : t =

.Cp

10 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Transient Flow Modeling Workflow

Similar set-up as steady-state simulation, then:

2. Set up physical models and boundary conditions as usual

Transient boundary conditions are possible you can use either a UDF or

profile to accomplish this

3. Prescribe initial conditions

Best to use a physically realistic initial condition, such as a steady solution

4. Assign solver settings and configure solution monitors

5. Configure animations and data output/sampling options

6. Select time step and max iterations per time step

7. Prescribe the number of time steps

8. Run the calculations (Iterate)

Introduction Unsteady Flow Time Step Setup Post-Processing Summary

11 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Enabling the Transient Solver

To enable the unsteady solver, select the Transient button on the General problem

setup form

12 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Set Up Time Step Size

Set the time step size

This controls the spacing in time

between the solution points

Options are:

Number of time steps

Maximum number of iterations

per time step

13 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Solver Control

"Transient Formulation" defines the

numerical algorithm for the transient

term

First Order Implicit is the default because

it is more stable

For problems with higher accuracy

requirements, it is recommended to

change this setting to Bounded Second

Order Implicit

14 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Initialization

Physically realistic initial conditions should be

used

A converged steady state solution is often used as the

starting point

If a transient simulation is started from an

approximate initial guess, the initial transient

Residuals

results will not be accurate

The first few time steps may not converge

A smaller time step may be needed initially to maintain

solver stability

For cyclic behavior the first few cycles can be ignored

until a repeatable pattern is obtained 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

2

Time (seconds)

Introduction Unsteady Flow Time Step Setup Post-Processing Summary

15 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Tips for Success in Transient Flow Modeling

With Pressure-based Solvers, use PISO scheme for Pressure-

Velocity Coupling this scheme provides faster convergence for

unsteady flows than the standard SIMPLE approach

it is better to reduce the time step size than to do too many iterations

per time step

Remember that accurate initial conditions are as important as

boundary conditions for unsteady problems

initial conditions should always be physically realistic!

This will instruct the solver to converge the current time step only

16 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Summary

When solving any unsteady flow problem in Fluent

The time step size will be determined by the minimum of

The value at which the solution will converge

The value needed to resolve mean flow physical time scales (e.g. vortex shedding

frequency given by Strouhal number) and/or turbulent eddies (Courant number <= 1)

The solution must converge at every time step

Non-convergence within the very first steps may be acceptable when there is a non-

physical initial condition

If the solution is not converging, it is almost always more efficient to reduce the time

step size

Solution monitors are an important tool for ensuring the solution is correct

Watch out for physically unrealistic behavior of monitored variables

The Bounded Second Order transient formulation is almost always preferred

17 2016 ANSYS, Inc. February 23, 2016

Appendix

Non-iterative Time Advancement

Non-iterative Time Advancement

(NITA) is available for faster

computation time

scheme

based solvers only

NITA schemes are not available for

multiphase (except VOF), reacting flows,

radiation models, porous media, fan

models, etc.

Consult the Fluent Documentation for

additional details

Non-iterative Time Advancement

using sub-iterations per time step

Overall time- Truncation Splitting error

discretization error for = +

error: O(t2) (due to eqn

2nd-order scheme: segregation):

O(t2) O(tn)

- PISO (NITA/PISO)

- Fractional-step method (NITA/FSM)

About 20% cheaper than NITA/PISO on a per time-

step basis

ITA NITA

Unsteady Flow Modeling Options

Adaptive Time Stepping

Automatically adjusts time-step size

based on local truncation error analysis

Customization possible via UDF

Extrapolate Variables

Speed up the transient solution by reducing required sub-

iteration

Using Taylor series expansion solution will be

extrapolated to the next time level to improve the

predicted initial value

Particularly useful for LES turbulence calculations

Unsteady Flow Modeling Animations

Another method in Fluent is available

which makes use of the Execute

Commands feature

which are executed by the solver at

prescribed iteration or time step intervals

high-quality animations of CFD results

A command is defined which generates an

animation frame (contour plot, vector plot,

etc.) and then writes that frame to a hard

copy file.

Third-party software can then be used to link

the hard copy files into an animation file

(AVI, MPG, GIF, etc.)

CFD-Post: Dynamic Text Objects

CFD-Post: Typical Keyframe Animation Procedure

1. Timestep Selector load the first time step

2. Create necessary plots and position the view

3. Create the first Keyframe

4. Load the last time step

5. If necessary change the plots and the view

6. Create the second Keyframe

7. Select the first Keyframe and set the # of Frames

This is the # of Frames in between the first and

second Keyframes

If we have a total of 100 time steps, then setting # of

In this example the first and second Keyframes used a

Frames to 98 will produce a total of 100 frames (98

plus first, plus last) and therefore 1 frame per time different view position and the Transparency of the

step Plane was changed from 0 to 1. The changes between

8. Set the Movie options Keyframes are interpolated gradually over each

animation frame

9. Rewind to the first Keyframe and click Play

CFD-Post: Transient Charts

XY Transient or Sequence

Plots an expression (usually Time)

versus a variable at a point locator

Typically used to show the transient

variation of a variable at a point

Unless the data from every time step

is saved and loaded into CFD-Post,

create a point surface in Fluent and

write the data at every time step

If desired, the data in the Fluent

monitor output file can be plotted

in a CFD-Post chart

CFD-Post: Fourier Transform

FT can be applied to signals to extract frequency data

FT of Signal Showing

Dominant Frequency

Original Signal

Unsteady Flow Modeling Animations

You must set up any animations BEFORE performing iterations

Animation frames are written/stored on-the-fly during calculations

CFD-Post: Timestep Selector

Transient results can also be post-

processed in CFD-Post.

You need to instruct Fluent when to export

data (every n time steps)

Otherwise, by default, Fluent does not write

any data to disk during the solution, and

interim results will be forgotten.

So in Fluent, under Calculation Activities,

select Autosave

In CFD Post, select the first results file, then

tick Load Complete History as a Single Case

The clock icon will open up a window from

where you can select the desired time step

CFD-Post: Animations

There are two modes of animation in CFD-Post:

Quick Animation

Keyframe

CFD-Post: Animations

Quick Animation:

Selection of animation objects

Animation of primary object variable:

Plane: Coordinate

Streamline: Dynamic, velocity dependent

symbols on streamlines

Time steps

Limited control

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