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**NUMERICAL SIMULATION OF SUBSONIC WIND TUNNELS: A PRELIMINARY APPROACH
**

Andronicos E. Filios1, Dionissios P. Margaris2, Athanasios G. Bouras1, Maria K. Koukou3, Nicolaos W. Vlachakis3 ASETEM/SELETE., Researcher in Fluid Mechanics Lab., Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics Department, University of Patras, 26500 Patras, Greece, e-mail: afilio@tee.gr 2 Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics Department, University of Patras, 26500 Patras, Greece, e-mail: margaris@mech.upatras.gr 3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technological Educational Institution of Chalkida, 34400, Psachna, Greece, e-mail: koukosan@otenet.gr & vlachakis@teihal.gr Keywords: Wind tunnel, contraction, screen, numerical prediction. Abstract. The numerical investigation of the flow in a subsonic wind tunnel of circular cross section is presented. The considered geometry comprises the settling chamber with one wire screen, the contraction and the working section, as they are common in all tunnels despite of the type of circuit, i.e. open or closed. The computation of the steady incompressible flow field is based on the solution of the Navier-Stokes equations applying the finite volume method provided by a commercial code. The performed computations provide velocity and pressure profiles along and across the tunnel centerline. The aim is the development of a CFD technique that will serve flow quality predictions in a subsonic wind tunnel. Moreover it can be used for the correlation of experimental data with available theories or design methods. 1 INTRODUCTION Despite of the rapid expansion in the area of the computational fluid dynamics, the wind tunnel remains an essential tool in engineering, both for model tests and basic research. The main aim when designing any wind tunnel is the production of a steady flow with spatial uniformity in the test section over a range of Reynolds number. This requirement can never be perfectly attained since there are always present small eddies of varying size and intensity which are collectively described as the turbulence of the air stream. The wind tunnel fan, the corner guide vanes and the upstream walls are the main sources of the test section turbulence. A more than seventy years experience in wind tunnel design and testing proves that the settling chamber and contraction combination helps to accomplish the uniform low turbulence field in the test section. The degree of achievement of the required flow quality depends on the various flow manipulators (i.e. honeycomb, screens) installed in the settling chamber as well as on the area ratio and the shape of the contraction. Based on certain assumptions, various theories and empirical formulas have been proposed for computing the effect of flow manipulators and contraction on the intensity and uniformity of turbulent flow. Theoretical and experimental investigations regarding the effect both of screens and the contraction on the characteristics of the turbulent flow have been carried out from the decade of 30’s. The most representative studies regarding the effect of screens are those by Prandtl[1], Dryden and Schubauer[2], and Taylor and Batchelor[3]. The effect of contraction on turbulence studied theoretically, by Prandtl[1], Taylor[4], Ribner and Tucker[5], and Batchelor and Proudman[6]. According to the reported studies, the quenching action of the screen on the turbulence velocity fluctuations is related to the magnitude of the screen resistance coefficient that depends on its porosity and the Reynolds number. In the case of few screens followed by a contraction with a medium area ratio, the comparison of measurements and calculations indicate a reasonable agreement. The aim of the research work is the development and validation of a computational fluids dynamic model that will be served as a flow quality predictor for various combinations of screens–contractions and moreover it can be used for the correlation of experimental data or design methods. Preliminary results from the application of the developed model to the computation of the steady incompressible flow field in a settling chambercontraction-test section arrangement of the NBS wind tunnel[2] are presented and discussed. The computation is based on the solution of the Navier-Stokes equations applying the finite volume method embodied in the commercial code Phoenics.

1

Andronicos E. Filios , Dionissios P. Margaris , Athanasios G. Bouras, Maria K. Koukou , Nicolaos W. Vlachakis

2

PHYSICS ON THE FLOW MANIPULATION

2.1 Settling chamber Screens have been used to improve flow quality in wind tunnels since 1930s. Firstly, Prandtl[1] gave a simple theory regarding the contribution of screens in improving the velocity distribution. Dryden and Schubauer[2] gave a physical explanation for the flow-manipulator role of the screen and they derived a simple theory for the reduction of turbulence intensity based on the assumption that the effect of a screen is partly to absorb the kinetic energy of turbulence. Taylor and Batchelor[3] produced a detailed analysis of the effect of screens on small disturbance. Their theory is linearized on the assumption that there is negligible natural decay of turbulence while the field is translated through the ‘region of influences’. Batchelor[7], on the assumption of isotropic turbulence far upstream, showed that the equations for the factors of reduction of turbulence intensity become relatively easy to compute. Screens have three main effects on the flow passing through them: i) reduction of mean velocity variationleading to prevention of, or delay in, boundary layer separation; ii) reduction of turbulent fluctuations and iii) refraction of inclined flow – towards the local normal to the screen. An overview of the various empirical formulae that are applied for the calculation of the pressure loss coefficient (ks) of a screen in terms of porosity of the screen and the Reynolds number is presented by Loehrke and Nagib[8]. Prandtl[1] states that screens can be used to obtain a more uniform velocity distribution across the duct section and that a moderate velocity difference is approximately lowered by the factor 1/(1+ks). Dryden and Schubauer[2] shown that the energy change across the screen is equated to the difference between the upstream turbulent energy and the downstream turbulent energy. Since the turbulent velocity is proportional to the square root of the turbulent energy, the turbulent reduction factor becomes 1/(1+ks)0,5. A direct comparison of the turbulence reduction factors proposed by the above theories and the correlation with measurements is provided in Refs. [8,9]. The installation of several screens in series, results to a reduction of the incoming turbulence in each one by its turbulence factor. However, it must be kept in mind that beyond the screen, in addition to the turbulence passing through, there is also the turbulence created by the screen itself, the screen turbulence. The turbulence generated by the last screen determines the minimum attainable turbulence in the entrance of the wind tunnel contraction. 2.2 Contraction The contracting nozzle is placed upstream of the test section for two main reasons: a) It increases the flow mean velocity allowing the honeycomb and screens to be placed in the lower speed regions, thus reducing the pressure losses and the tunnel power factor. b) Both mean and fluctuating velocity variations are reduced to a smaller fraction of the average velocity at a given cross section. The most important single parameter in determining these effects is the contraction ratio. The theoretical studies by Prandtl[1], Taylor[4] and Batchelor and Proudman[6] imply that the contraction does exert a selective effect on the rms components of the fluctuating velocity, i.e. the longitudinal component is reduced while the lateral components are increased. The investigation carried out by Klein and Ramjee[10] shows that the shape of the contraction does not have significant influence on the turbulence intensities at the exit of the contraction. The published theories defining the turbulence level reduction in contractions are limited for axisymmetric configurations and while they have been partially correlated with results from 2-D and 3-D geometries they also be applied herein. 3 NUMERICAL INVESTIGATION OF THE FLOW IN A WIND TUNNEL

3.1 The configuration studied In this research work preliminary results from the application of the developed mathematical model to simulate the steady incompressible flow field in the settling chamber-contraction-test section arrangement of the NBS 4,5 ft wind tunnel are presented. The NBS 4,5 ft is an early American closed circuit octagonal tunnel constructed in Washington in 1918 by the National Bureau of Standards for research on air turbulence and boundary layer phenomena. The selection of that tunnel is due to the availability of published experimental data[2], which are considered as reference and repeatedly have been used in wind tunnel design studies[11]. The 3D geometry of the settling chamber-contraction-test section arrangement which has an octagonal cross section in a lack of simplicity for the present preliminary investigation is considered as ax-symmetric, i.e the cross section is a circle, and it is shown in figure 1. Stations 1, 2, 3 and 4 indicate the ends of each section. Station-i indicates the position of the wire screen and station-m indicates the position where experimental data regarding turbulence intensities are available.

**Andronicos E. Filios , Dionissios P. Margaris , Athanasios G. Bouras, Maria K. Koukou , Nicolaos W. Vlachakis
**

Damping Screen Settling Chamber Contraction Test Section

1

i

2 3 m 4

U

um

z

Figure 1: Tunnel layout for the numerical study (not in scale).

The contraction ratio is 6,6 and the inlet radius is 1,829m. Since no information was obtained regarding the contraction geometry, the shape of the ax-symmetric contour was derived applying the method proposed by Boerger[12]. The quality of the flow in section 1 depends on upstream conditions. It is noticeable that no bell mouth inlet is present. In fact, upstream of section 1, a 90 deg bend is present delivering the air stream from the return leg of the wind tunnel circuit. The upstream influence could be taking into account making use experimental data. 3.2 The governing equations A three dimensional curvilinear mesh has been used, the side view of which is shown in figure 2. The size of the grid used in the computations is 2x64x269. A grid independence study is currently conducting to investigate whether further refinement will show change in the calculated results. The flow and transport of air in the wind tunnel is described through the conservation equations of mass, and momentum in a three-dimensional curvilinear grid, under steady state conditions. As turbulence plays a major role in the whole process, it is described by using an adequate turbulence model in which the kinetic energy of turbulence, k, and its dissipation rate, e, are solved as explained in the following section. The generalized conservation equation for any variable of interest, Φ, is[13-15]:

div(ρvΦ + ΓΦ gradΦ ) = S Φ

(1)

where ρ is the density (equal to 1,2kg.m-3), v is the velocity vector, ΓΦ is the effective exchange coefficient of variable Φ and S Φ is the source/sink term expressing the production/consumption of Φ inside the domain of interest. ΓΦ is equal to ΓΦ=ΓΦl+ΓΦt, where the ΓΦl and ΓΦt refer to laminar and turbulent flow respectively. In the momentum equations, ΓΦ is equal to the mixture viscosity µ (kinematic viscosity ν is equal to 1,5 ·10-5 m2.s1 ). The term div(ρvΦ ) expresses the transfer of the quantity Φ due to convection with the fluid and the term div(ΓΦ gradΦ ) expresses the transfer of Φ due to diffusion.

Figure 2: Side view of the computational grid used in the simulations.

3.3 Turbulence modeling Turbulence plays a major role in the whole process and is described by using an adequate turbulence model

Andronicos E. Filios , Dionissios P. Margaris , Athanasios G. Bouras, Maria K. Koukou , Nicolaos W. Vlachakis

in which the kinetic energy of turbulence, k and its dissipation rate e are solved. In general, turbulent flow is characterized from the existence of rotational structures, called eddies; its velocity and other properties become unsteady and time dependent in a random and chaotic way. One way of modeling turbulence can be the solution of a time dependent problem, with computational cells smaller than the smallest eddy (direct modeling), but such approach would require extreme amounts of computational power. To overcome this problem, several models have been proposed, that are based in the modeling of time-averaged properties[16,17]. In this work, the high-Re form of the k-e model plus wall functions are used. With the wall-function approach the viscous sublayer is bridged by employing empirical formulae, wall functions, to provide near-wall boundary conditions for the mean-flow and turbulence transport equations. The advantages of this approach are that it escapes the need to extend the computations right down to the wall, and it avoids the need to account for viscous effects in the turbulence model. The well-known logarithmic law of the wall is applied for velocities, and strictly this law is valid as y+ values are in the range 30-100. This constraint has been satisfied by moving the grid closer to the wall (figure 2). Furthermore, the boundary condition for kinetic energy, k, assumes that the turbulence is in local equilibrium. 3.4 Boundary conditions The set of the partial-differential equations for the various dependent variables is solved in conjuction with the following boundary and internal conditions describing the physical problem studied. Inlet: Air temperature at the inlet is 20oC while the inlet velocity profile is calculated by: U=Umax*(1-y/R)1/10 (2)

where y is the distance from the wind tunnel wall, R is inlet radius and Umax=4,65m.s-1. In a first instance the inlet values of k and e are taken as uniform, with a dimensionless turbulence energy value of k=0,0194 and a dimensionless value of e=0,1643*(k)**1,5/(x), where x is the dimensionless lengthscale. Wire screen: Referring to figure 1 one wire screen is located into the settling chamber at 1m after the wind tunnel inlet. The type of the screen is M18D and it has the following characteristics: Mesh=18 (i.e. 18 meshes in 1 in), wire diameter=0,28mm, and porosity ε=0,6436. Screen is modelled as a pressure drop ∆p in the appropriate momentum equation, using the following expression: 1 ∆p = k s ρU 2 (3) 2 [18] where, ks is the pressure loss coefficient equal to 0,9 (calculated according to Wieghardt ) and ρ is the air density (kg.m-3). Walls: The fluid-to-wall friction losses were computed by the log-law functions at the wind tunnel walls[17,19]. Outlet: At the outlet, the external pressure is assumed in radial direction uniform and the computed pressures are relative to the outlet pressure. The values of all variables are properly calculated at the outlet, because of the upwind interpolation. 3.5 Computational details The resulting system of partial differential equations, along with the boundary and inlet conditions, in their three-dimensional form has been solved with the finite control volume method embodied in the general Phoenics package[14-17] using curvilinear coordinates and an iterative procedure, based on a staggered grid arrangement. Finite domain equations are derived by the integration of the partial differential equations over finite control volumes that cover the entire domain of interest. Under-relaxation techniques for all the solved variables are applied to reach convergence. The calculations have been performed in a Pentium IV-1,7GHz. Approximately 2000 sweeps were required to obtain converged results. 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Typical contours of the radial velocity, axial velocity and pressure distributions as predicted by the numerical simulations are given in figures 3, 4 and 5. Note the presence of a strong favorable pressure gradient on the curved wall near the contraction outlet, which is shown in figure 9, too. Especially it is appeared downstream of the inflection point of the contraction wall shape. Beyond of the adverse pressure gradient, the computations predicted an attached boundary layer along the entire length of the contraction.

Figure 3: Contours of cartesian resolute of radial velocity.

Figure 4: Contours of cartesian resolute of axial velocity.

**Figure 5: Contours of pressure.
**

0,0042

1,0 0,9 0,8 0,7 0,6 r/R 0,5 0,4 0,3 0,2 0,1 0,0 -0,15

-0,42m, screen-upstream -0,10m, screen-upstream -0,02m, screen-upstream +0,06m, screen-downstream

Centerline Middle Wall

(p-patm )/patm

0,0041

0,0040 0,10 0,11 0,12 0,13 0,14 0,15

-0,10

-0,05

0,00 (u-um)/um

0,05

0,10

0,15

x/L

Figure 6: Computed velocities upstream and downstream of the wire screen.

Figure 7: Computed pressure drop along the wire screen.

The effect of the wire screen in reducing the turbulence of the incoming air stream and therefore in the ‘smoothing’ of the air stream is shown in figure 6. The uniformity of the axial-velocity profile is expressed as a difference of the local velocity from the mean velocity um, with the difference normalized to the latter. At the centerline it is shown an almost 2,5% reduction of the flow non-uniformity. The pressure drop, which is expressed in terms of pressure loss coefficient for the selected wire screen, is shown in figure 7. The calculations indicate that the pressure close to the wire screen in the upstream and downstream direction is not constant in the section perpendicular to the centerline and it is expected since the flow breaks to be parallel.

The calculated axial velocity profiles along the contraction and the test section are shown in figure 8. The effect of the contraction in reducing the mean velocity variation as much as 1/C2, with C the contraction ratio, is almost confirmed. The velocity profile is ‘smoothing’ in the downstream direction obtaining an almost flat front in the middle of the test section. The overshooting of the velocity inside the contraction is explained from where the strong acceleration of the flow. The position z=3,98m in figure 8, corresponds to x/L=0,5 in figure 9.

0,005

1,0 0,9 0,8

0,004 0,003

Centerline Middle Wall

(p-patm )/patm

0,7 0,6

Z=2,14m, contraction inlet Z=3,98m, into contraction Z=4,98m, contraction outet Z=8,78m, into test section

0,002 0,001 0,000 -0,001 -0,002 0,3 0,4 0,5 0,6 0,7

r/R

0,5 0,4 0,3 0,2 0,1 0,0 -0,20

-0,15

-0,10

-0,05

0,00

0,05

0,10

0,15

0,20

x/L

(u-um)/um

Figure 8: Velocity profiles in contraction and working section.

Figure 9: Computed pressure variation along the tunnel layout.

5

CONCLUSIONS

Predictions of the flow in a subsonic wind tunnel have been conducted. The numerical simulation was performed to study the effectiveness of screen in combination to the contraction for the flow uniformity management in the test section of a subsonic wind tunnel. A commercial CFD code, theories and design methods from the previous state of knowledge are the background of the present work. The aim of this preliminary investigation is the development and validation of a computational fluids dynamic model that will be served as a flow quality predictor for various combinations of screens–contractions and moreover it can be used for the correlation of experimental data or design methods. The present findings enlarge somewhat on the previous state of knowledge, primarily by focusing on the region immediately downstream of the screens and contraction. The information available on the effect of the wall shapes of a three-dimensional contraction is not sufficient to permit the exact computation of the turbulence levels to be expected in wind tunnels. 6 NOMENCLATURE C= e= k= ks= L= p= patm= r= R= Re= SΦ = contraction ratio (-) dissipation rate of turbulence (m2·s-3) turbulence kinetic energy (m2·s-2) pressure loss coefficient (-) reference tunnel length (m) local static pressure (Pa) atmospheric pressure (Pa) radial distance (m) inlet radius of wind tunnel (m) Reynolds number (-) source/sink term expressing the production/consumption of Φ ui= velocity resolute (m.s-1) um= mean velocity (m.s-1) U= velocity in Εq. (2) (m.s-1) Umax= inlet maximum velocity in Εq. (2) (m.s-1) friction velocity (τw/ρ)1/2 (m.s-1) uτ=

v= x= y= y+=

velocity vector in Εq. (1) dimensionless lengthscale (-) axial distance in figures 7,9 (m) distance from the wind tunnel wall (m) dimensionless y in wall units (y.uτ/ν)

Hellenic symbol ΓΦ = effective exchange coefficient of variable Φ (kg.m-1.s-1) ε= screen porosity (-) µ= viscosity (Pa·s) ν= kinematic viscosity (m2.s-1) ρ= fluid density (kg·m-3) τw= wall shear stress (Pa) Φ= variable (units Φ) REFERENCES [1] Prandtl, L. (1933), "Attaining a steady air stream in wind tunnels", NACA T.M. No 726. [2] Dryden, H. L., Schubauer, G. B. (1947), "The use of damping screens for the reduction of wind tunnel turbulence", J. Aeron. Science, Vol. 14, pp.221-228. [3] Taylor, G.I., Batchelor, G.K., (1949), "The effect of wire gauge on small disturbances in a uniform stream", Quart. Journal of Mech. and Applied Mathematics, Vol. II, pp. 1-29. [4] Taylor, G.I. (1935), "Turbulence in a contracting stream", Zeitschrift fur Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik, Vol.15, pp. 91-96. [5] Ribner, H.S., Tucker M. (1953), "Spectrum of turbulence in a contracting stream", NACA TR 1113. [6] Batchelor, G.K., Proudman, I. (1954), "The effect of rapid distortion of a fluid in turbulent motion", Quart. Journal of Applied Mathematics, Vol.7, pp. 83-103. [7] Batchelor, G.K. (1970), The theory of homogenous turbulence, Cambridge Univ. Press, pp. 55-75. [8] Loehrke, R.I., Nagib, H.M. (1972), "Experiments on management of free-stream turbulence", ADARD Report 598. [9] Scheiman, J., Brooks, J.D. (1981), "Comparison of experimental and theoretical turbulence reduction from screens, honeycomb, and honeycomb-screen combinations", J. Aircraft, Vol.18, No.8, pp.638-643. [10] Klein, A., Ramjee, V. (1973), "Effect of contraction geometry on non-isotropic free stream turbulence", The Aeronautical Quarterly, Vol. 24, pp. 34-38. [11] Filios A.E., Margaris D.P., Papanikas D.G., Vrachopoulos M.Gr. (2001), "Direct and inverse design calculations for a settling chamber and contraction arrangement", Proceedings of First Nat. Conf. on Recent Advances in Mech. Eng., Patras Greece, 17-20 September, pp. 1-6. [12] Boerger, G.G. (1973), "Optimierung von windkanaldusen fur den unterschall bereich", Ruhr-Universitat, Bohum, "The optimization of wind tunnel contractions for the subsonic range", Ph.D. Thesis, Ruhr Univ., NASA-TT-F-16899. [13] Spalding, D.B. (1980), "Mathematical modeling of fluid mechanics, heat transfer and chemical reaction processes", Lecture course, HTS/80/1, Imperial College, London. [14] Markatos, N.C. (1989), "Computational fluid flow capabilities and software", Ironmaking and Steelmaking, Vol. 16, 4, pp. 266-273. [15] Markatos, N.C. (1993), "Mathematical modeling of single- and two-phase flow problems in the process industries", Revue de l’ Institut Francais du Petrole, Vol. 48, 6, pp. 631-661. [16] Markatos, N.C. (1986), "The mathematical modeling of turbulent flows", Appl. Math. Model., Vol. 10, pp. 190-219. [17] http://www.cham.co.uk [18] Wieghardt, K.E.G. (1953), "On the resistance of screens", Aeron. Quarterly, Vol. 4., pp.186-192. [19] Rosten, H.I., Worrell, J.K. (1988), "Generalized wall functions for turbulent flow", The Phoenics Journal of Computational Fluid Dynamics and its Applications, Vol. 1, 1, pp.81-109.

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