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ME 7751

Spring 2010

Neil Panchal

[NACA 4415 AIRFOIL]

Using ANSYS ICEM CFX Meshing package and FLUENT 6.3 Simulation software.

INTRODUCTION

The study of the flow over an airfoil is fundamental to aircraft design. The performance

of the airplane largely depends on the correct shape of the airfoils. In this study, we will

exemplify the flow over a standard NACA 4415 airfoil in moderately low Reynolds number.

Airfoils have a envelope of operating range and they perform best in certain conditions. Key

parameters that determine the performance of an airfoil are lift and drag forces, which will be

calculated in this project. Using computer simulations, we can eliminate the cost of prototype

and experimentation, in turn saving time and costs for a fairly accurate deliverables such as lift

and drag.

SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

Software used: ANSYS v12.1 CFD package which includes ANSYS ICEM CFD

meshing tool as well as the FLUENT 6.3 CFD simulation software. Parallel processing was used

to accelerate convergence and computational time. In addition, the airfoil geometry is given as a

sweep of x-y coordinates outlining the NACA 4415 airfoil curves.

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION

The NACA 4415 airfoil is subjected under free stream velocity in a wind tunnel. The

dimensions of the far field are normalized with respect to the length of the airfoil, L. Moreover,

the Reynolds number is based upon the airfoil length is chosen to be 25,000. The experimental

set up is shown in Figure 1.

In order to obtain the free stream velocity imposed upon the airfoil, we need to assume a

length for the airfoil. For simplicity, we assume L = 1m. All the dimensions are normalized

accordingly. Since the Reynolds number is based upon the scaling of the airfoil, we can compute

the free stream velocity as follows:

ߩܷܮ

ܴ=

ߤ

where, R is the Reynolds number (25,000), ρ is the density of the fluid (ρair = 1.225

kg/m3), L is the length of the airfoil (L = 1 m), µ is the dynamic viscosity of the fluid (µair =

1.983 kg/ms at 300 K) . With the aforementioned information, the free stream velocity U is

computed to be 0.405 m/s.

sufficiently accurate. Block structured grid or curvilinear orthogonal grid is the preferred option.

2-D meshing was carried out in ANSYS v12 ICEM CFD meshing tool. The software features

traditional blocking capabilities as well as several mesh optimization tools. Figure 2. shows the

blocking strategy for this project.

To sufficiently capture the proximity of the airfoil, a “C-Grid” block is used. The initial

course mesh using the C-Grid blocking strategy is shown in Figure 3. Since the immediate

airfoil vicinity is of the most interest to us, it is necessary to refine the mesh around the airfoil.

There are several methods to generate a gradient in special discretization. Bi-geometric method

was used to refine the mesh around the airfoil. The mesh was then converted to unstructured

grid and ironed out to eliminate sudden changes in special steps. Moreover, during the

smoothing process, care was taken to ensure orthagonality in the final mesh. Orthagonality plays

a vital role for convergence. The results are illustrated in Figure 4.

Figure 2. Blocking Strategy for the Airfoil Mesh

MODELS & BOUNDARY CONDITIONS

FLUENT 2-D is a comprehensive feature rich simulation package. In our case, we will

be using a pressure-based 2-D planar solver under steady flow. A k-ε turbulence model is

selected for the viscous model. Energy model is turned off as we are assuming incompressible

flow.

As we calculated earlier, the free stream velocity is 0.405 m/s. The left side is set to

velocity-inlet boundary condition in FLUENT. The right edge is set to pressure-outlet boundary

condition with 0 gauge pressure. The surface of the airfoil is modeled as wall which is a no-slip

boundary condition.

discretization, the following schemes are used:

• Pressure – PRESTO

• Momentum – 2nd Order Upwind

• Turbulent Kinetic Energy - 2nd Order Upwind

• Turbulent Dissipation Rate - 2nd Order Upwind

Convergence criteria for x-y velocity and continuity were set to 1e-06. The solution was

iterated 1000 times to ensure stability of the lift and drag coefficients. The results are discussed

in the next section.

RESULTS

The solution was converged relatively quickly. The pressure and velocity (streamlines)

plots are shown in Figure 5 and 6 respectively.

Figure 5. Static Pressure Plot

Lift and drag forces were also calculated on the airfoil surface. The values are tabulated in

Table 1 below. As expected, with R = 25,000 the viscous forces dominate the flow regime and

the consequently the drag force is almost twice the generated lift force. The coefficient of drag

and lift are also tabulated in Table 1. Evidently, the coefficient of drag is higher than the

coefficient of lift.

Drag 0.04277 0.4264

Lift 0.02405 0.2398

CONCLUSION

improvement in the accuracy of results can be obtained by increasing mesh density and

experimenting with various modeling schemes.

With the invention of a modern computer system, numerical methods have become

increasingly useful in simulating various engineering problems. Undoubtedly, computational

fluid dynamics (CFD) plays a vital role in solving complex fluid problems without physical

experimentation. NACA 4415 airfoil simulation shows not only the relative simplicity and ease

of determining airfoil performance, but also the potential of CFD in the grand scheme of

engineering applications. Today, CFD is used in almost every engineering field, from electronic

hardware design to aircraft performance.

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