Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 i
Solving Engineering Problems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1 Setting Up Engineering Problem in Flow Simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Selecting Geometrical and Physical Features of the Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Creating the Model and the Flow Simulation Project. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
2 Solving Engineering Problem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Strategy of Solving Engineering Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Settings for Resolving the Geometrical Features of the Model and for Obtaining the Required
Solution Accuracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Monitoring the Calculation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Viewing and Analyzing the Obtained Solution. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Estimating the Reliability and Adequacy of the Obtained Solution. . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
3 Frequent Errors and Improper Actions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
Advanced Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
1 Mesh  Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Types of Cells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Mesh Construction Stages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Basic Mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Control Planes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Resolving Small Features by Using the Control Planes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Contracting the Basic Mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Resolving Small Solid Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Curvature Refinement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Tolerance Refinement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Narrow Channel Refinement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
Local Mesh Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212
Contents
ii
Recommendations for Creating the Computational Mesh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
2 Meshassociated Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
Visualizing the Basic Mesh Before Constructing the Initial Mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
Enhanced Capabilities of the Results Loading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
Viewing the Initial Computational Mesh Saved in the .cpt Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216
Viewing the Computational Mesh Cells with the Mesh Option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216
Visualizing the Real Computational Geometry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
Switching off the Interpolation and Extrapolation of Calculation Results . . . . . . . . 219
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
3 Meshing  Additional Insight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
Initial Mesh Generation Stages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Basic Mesh Generation and Resolving the Interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Narrow Channel Refinement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Thin walls resolution. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
Square Difference Refinement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226
Mesh Diagnostic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
Refinements at Interfaces Between Substances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
Small Solid Features Refinement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
Curvature Refinement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
SSFRL or CRL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230
Tolerance Refinement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
Local Mesh Settings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
The "Optimize thin walls resolution" option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
Postamble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
4 Calculation Control Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
Finishing the Calculation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234
Refinement of the Computational Mesh During Calculation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
5 Flow Freezing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240
What is Flow Freezing? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240
How It Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240
Flow Freezing in a Permanent Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
Flow Freezing in a Periodic Mode. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Advanced Features Guide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
1 Cavitation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Physical model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Engineering Cavitation Model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Isothermal Cavitation Model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 iii
Examples of use. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
2 Steam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Physical model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Interface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Example of use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310
Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310
3 Humidity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
Physical model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
Interface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
Example of use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
4 Real Gases. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Physical model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Interface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 316
Example of use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
5 Rotation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
Physical model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
Local Rotating Regions  Additional Information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
Interface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
Global Rotating Reference Frame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
Local Rotating Regions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Examples of Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324
Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326
iv
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 11
1
Solving Engineering Problems
Introduction
The most common problem, which almost every engineer faces every day, is to design a
device or process with the desired parameters, having only limited resources both for the
design effort itself and for the resulting device or process operation. Various tools and
methods are used to solve this problem.
Flow Simulation can help the engineer to predict and optimize fluid flows and heat
transfer in a wide variety of applications, and makes solving the engineering problems
easier and faster.
In general, there are three approaches to solving engineering problems:
an experimental approach: a hardware rig or prototype, i.e., the fullscale object
and/or its model, is manufactured and the experiments needed for designing the
object are conducted with this hardware;
a computational approach: the computations needed for designing the object are
performed and their results are directly used for designing the object, without
conducting any experiments;
a computationalexperimental approach combines computations and
experiments (with the manufactured fullscale object and/or its model) needed for
designing the object; their sequence and contents depend on the solved problem and
iterative procedures may be run.
Each of the first two approaches has advantages and disadvantages.
The purely experimental approach, being properly conducted, does not require additional
validation of the obtained results, but is very expensive, even if it is performed on the
object models, since testing facilities and hardware are required anyway. Moreover, if the
object models are tested, the obtained results must be scaled to the fullscale object, so
some computations are still involved.
Solving Engineering Problems
12
The purely computational approach, being properly performed, is substantially less
expensive than the experimental one, both in terms of finances and time, but it requires
assurance in adequacy of the obtained computational results. Naturally, such assurance
must be based on numerous verifications and validations of the used computational codes,
both on the mathematical accuracy of the obtained results (the results adequacy to the used
mathematical model) and on the adequacy of the used mathematical model to the
governing physical processes, which is validated by comparing the computation results to
the available experimental data.
The third approach, if it combines experiments and computations reasonably, joins the
advantages of both of the first two abovementioned approaches and avoids their
disadvantages. Complex engineering problems are solved mainly in this way. A
computational code validated on available experimental data allows quickly selecting the
optimal object design and/or its optimal operating mode. Then necessary experiments are
conducted to verify the selection.
When selecting a computational code most suitable for solving your problems, it is
necessary to consider the following suggestions.
Any computational code is based, firstly, on a mathematical model of the governing
physical processes (expressed in the form of a set of differential and/or integral equations
derived from physical laws, and include, if necessary, semiempirical and empirical
constants and relationships) and, secondly, on a method of solving these equations. Since
the equations of the mathematical model cannot be solved analytically, they are solved
numerically, in a discrete form on a computational mesh, and the solution of the
mathematical problem is obtained with a certain degree of accuracy.
Naturally, the accuracy of the solution of a mathematical problem depends on both the
method of discretising the differential and/or integral equations and on the method of
solving the obtained discrete equations. Once these methods have been selected, the
accuracy of solution of the mathematical problem depends on how well the computational
mesh resolves the regions of a nonlinear behavior in the problem. To provide a good
accuracy, the mesh has to be rather fine in these regions. Moreover, the usual way of
estimating the accuracy of the solution consists in obtaining solutions on several different
meshes, from coarse to fine. So, if beginning from some mesh in this set, the difference in
the physical parameters of interest between the solutions obtained on the finer and coarser
meshes becomes negligible from the standpoint of the solved problem (the solution
flattens), then the accuracy of the solution of the mathematical problem required for
solving this engineering problem is considered to be attained, since the socalled solution
mesh convergence is attained. Naturally, the solution of the mathematical problem can
differ from the experimental values, and this difference depends, firstly, on the conformity
of the mathematical model and the simulated physical processes, and, secondly, on the
error, which these experimental values have been measured with, and which is known and
tends to decrease upon increasing the number of tests performed to measure them.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 13
Correspondingly, the computational codes differ from each other not only in their cost, but
also in the accuracy of the mathematical simulation of physical problems, as well as in the
procedure of specifying the initial data, in the amount of the user time needed for this
specification, in the procedure of solving a problem and the computer memory and CPU
time needed for obtaining a solution of the required accuracy, and in the procedures of
processing and visualization of the obtained results and the user time needed for that.
Naturally, a highly accurate solution requires a fine computational mesh, and,
consequently, substantial computer memory and CPU time, as well as, in some cases,
increased user time and efforts for specifying the initial data for the calculation. As the
result, if the time needed to solve an engineering problem with a computational code
exceeds some threshold time, then either the engineering problem becomes irrelevant (for
instance, because your competitors have outpaced you by that time), or alternative
approaches, which may be not so accurate, but are surely faster, are used instead to solve
the problem within given time limits.
Before getting acquainted with the recommended procedure of obtaining a reliable and
accurate solution of an engineering problem with Flow Simulation, it is expedient to
consider Flow Simulation features governing the belowdescribed strategy of solving
engineering problems with Flow Simulation.
Since Flow Simulation is based on solving timedependent NavierStokes equations,
steadystate problems are solved through a steadystate approach. To obtain the
steadystate solution quicker, a method of local time stepping is employed over the
computational domain considered. A multigrid method is used for accelerating the
solution convergence and suppressing parasitic oscillations. The computational domain is
designed as a parallelepiped enveloping the model with planes orthogonal to the axes of
the Cartesian Global coordinate system of the model. The computational mesh is built by
dividing the computational domain into parallelepiped cells with its sides orthogonal to
the Global coordinate system axes. (The cells lying outside the fluidfilled regions and
outside solids with heat conduction specified do not participate in the calculations).
Procedures of the computational mesh refinement (splitting) are used to resolve the model
features better, such as highcurvature surfaces in contact with fluid, thin walls surrounded
by fluid, narrow flow passages (gaps), and the specified insulator boundaries. During the
calculation the computational mesh can be refined additionally (if that is allowed by the
userdefined settings) to better resolve the highgradient flow and solid regions revealed in
the calculation (SolutionAdaptive Meshing).
Since steadystate problems are solved in Flow Simulation through the steadystate
approach, it is necessary to determine the termination moment for the calculation properly.
If the calculation is finished too early, when the steady state solution has not been attained
yet, then the obtained solution can depend on the specified initial conditions and so be not
very reliable. On the contrary, if the calculation is finished too late, then some time is
wasted. To optimize the termination moment for the calculation and to determine physical
parameters of interest (such as a force acting on a model surface, or a model hydraulic
resistance) with a sufficient accuracy, you can specify them as the calculation goals.
Solving Engineering Problems
14
The way to simulate an engineering problem with SolidWorks+Flow Simulation correctly
and adequately from the physical standpoint, i.e. to state the corresponding model
problem, and to solve this model problem properly and reliably with Flow Simulation, is
described in the chapters Setting Up Engineering Problem in Flow Simulation and
Solving Engineering Problem.
1 Setting Up Engineering Problem in Flow Simulation
It is necessary to remember that a fast but inaccurate beginning will cost you more efforts
and time spent not only for specifying the initial data, but, even worse, for the subsequent
calculations, until they finally become reliable. Therefore, we strongly recommend that
you carefully read this section.
Selecting Geometrical and Physical Features of the Problem
Before you open or create a SolidWorks model and define a Flow Simulation project, it is
necessary to understand which geometrical and physical features most substantially
influence the problem solution  first of all, those that are important for estimating the
possibility of solving the problem with Flow Simulation. For example,
if the problem contains movable parts, then it is necessary to estimate the
importance of taking into account their motions when solving the problem, and, if
these motions are important, to estimate the possibility of solving this problem with
a quasistationary approach, since model parts motions during the calculation are
not considered in Flow Simulation (however, you may specify a translational and/or
rotational motion of the specific wall or a rotating reference frame),
if the problem includes fluids of different types (for example, a gas and a liquid),
and there is an interface between them or these fluids are mixing, then it is
necessary to estimate the importance of taking this into account, since Flow
Simulation does not consider a free fluid surface, or mixing of fluids of different
types.
We can present other examples of a clear impossibility of solving some engineering
problems with Flow Simulation, as well as of simplifying the engineering problems for
solving them with Flow Simulation, but it is impossible to envision and describe all the
possible situations in the present document, so in each particular case you will have to
make decision by yourself.
Creating the Model and the Flow Simulation Project
If a SolidWorks model has already been created when designing the object, and it is fully
adequate to the object, then, to solve the engineering problem with Flow Simulation, it can
be required:
to simplify the model by removing the parts, which do not influence the problem
solution, but consume computer resources, i.e. memory and CPU time. For
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 15
example, a corrugated model surface which will result in an exceedingly large
number of mesh cells required to resolve it can be specified instead as a smooth
surface with equivalent wall roughness. If the model has narrow fluidfilled blind
holes, whose influence on the overall flow pattern is, by rough estimate, barely
perceptible, it would be better to remove these features in order to avoid the
excessive mesh splitting around them.
to add auxiliary parts to the model such as inlet and outlet tubes for stabilization of
the flow, lids to cover the inlet and outlet openings, and parts to denote rotating
regions, local initial meshes or other areas where special conditions are applied.
All these actions, being executed properly, can be very pivotal in obtaining a reliable and
accurate solution. On the contrary, adding auxiliary parts to a model will inevitably cause
an increase of the computational mesh cells and, consequently, the required computer
memory and CPU time, therefore these parts dimensions must be adequate to the stated
problem.
If a model has not been created yet, it is expedient to consider all the abovementioned
factors when creating it.
If all effects of these actions are not clear enough, it can be worthwhile to vary the model
parts and/or their dimensions in a series of calculations in order to determine their
influence on the obtained solution.
Then, in accordance with the problem physical features revealed and adapted to Flow
Simulation capabilities, the basic part of the Flow Simulation project is specified: the
problem type (internal or external), fluids and solids involved in the problem, physical
features considered (such as heat conduction in solids, timedependent analysis,
gravitational effects, etc.), boundaries of the calculation domain, initial and boundary
conditions, and, if necessary, fluid subdomains, rotating regions, volume and/or surface
heat sources, fans and other features and conditions.
The specified boundary conditions, as well as heat sources, fans, and other conditions and
features must correspond to the statement of the physical problem and must not conflict
with each other.
Eventually, you specify the physical parameters of interest as the Flow Simulation project
goals. They can be local or integral, defined within the whole computational domain or in a
certain volume, on a surface or in a point. The parameters determined over some region are
expressed in the form of their minimum, or maximum, average, or bulk average values. This
allows you to increase the reliability and accuracy of determination of these parameters,
since the goal values are saved on each iteration during the calculation and can be analyzed
later. On the contrary, the convergence behavior of the parameters not specified as goals
cannot be analyzed afterwards, as they are saved only at the last iteration and, optionally, at
the userspecified iterations in transient simulations.
Solving Engineering Problems
16
2 Solving Engineering Problem
As soon as you have specified the basic part of the Flow Simulation project that is unlikely
to be changed in the subsequent calculations, the next step is to select the strategy of
solving the engineering problem with Flow Simulation to obtain a reliable and accurate
solution of the problem.
Strategy of Solving Engineering Problems
As it is mentioned in Introduction, by performing a series of calculations on a set of
computational meshes ranging from coarse to fine ones, we can estimate the accuracy of
the solution of the mathematical problem. As soon as the calculation on a finer mesh does
not yield a noticeably different (from the engineering problem standpoint) solution, i.e. the
solution flattens with respect to the mesh cell number, we can conclude that the solution of
the mathematical problem has achieved mesh convergence, which means that the required
mathematical solution accuracy is attained. Naturally, first you must determine the
threshold for the solutionvs.mesh change, so that the change smaller than this threshold
will be considered as negligible. Since the determination of this threshold is only possible
in relation to some physical parameter, it is natural to connect it to the physical parameters
of interest in the engineering problem, in particular, with the admissible error in
determination of these physical parameters. Moreover, since steadystate problems are
solved in Flow Simulation through the steadystate approach, monitoring the behavior of
the calculation goals during the calculation can serve two purposes. Firstly, if these
parameters oscillate during the calculation, it will allow you to determine their values and
observation errors more accurately by averaging them over a number of iterations and
determining their deviation from this average value. Secondly, you may want to intervene
in the calculation process by finishing the calculation manually if you see that either the
solution is unacceptable for you by some reasons, or, vice versa, if the solution has already
converged, so that there is no reason to continue the calculation any further.
Therefore, the strategy of solving an engineering problem with Flow Simulation consists,
first of all, in performing several calculations on the same basic project (with the same
model, inside the same computational domain, and with similar boundary and initial
conditions) varying only the computational mesh. Since the computational mesh is built
automatically in Flow Simulation, it can be changed by varying the project parameters that
govern the mesh (the initial computational mesh on which the calculation starts, and
maybe its refinement during the calculation): Result Resolution Level, Minimum Gap
Size, Minimum Wall Thickness and other.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 17
An additional item in this strategy of solving an engineering problem with Flow
Simulation consists in varying the auxiliary elements added to the model as needed to
solve the problem with Flow Simulation (such as inlet and outlet tubes attached to the inlet
and outlet openings, for internal problems), the dimensions of which are questionable
from the standpoint of their necessity and sufficiency. Those physical parameters of the
engineering problem, whose values are not known exactly and which, in your opinion, can
influence the problem solution, must be varied also. When performing these calculations,
there is no need to investigate the solutionvs.mesh convergence again, since it has
already been achieved before. It is enough to just perform these calculations with the
project mesh settings that provided the solution with satisfactory accuracy during the
solutionvs.mesh convergence investigation. The same applies also to the parametric
engineering calculations where you change the model geometry and/or flow parameters.
However, you must keep in mind the potential necessity for checking the
solutionvs.mesh convergence, because in doubtful cases it must be checked again.
In spite of the apparent simplicity of the proposed strategy, its full implementation is
usually troublesome due to the substantial difficulties including, first of all, a dramatic
increase in the requirements for computer memory and CPU time when you substantially
increase the number of cells in the computational mesh. Since both the computer memory
and the time for which the engineering problem must be solved are usually restricted, the
specific implementation of this strategy eventually governs the accuracy of the problem
solution, whether it will be satisfactory or not. Perhaps, a further simplification of the
model and/or reducing the computational domain will be required.
Some specific description of this strategy is presented in the next sections of this
document.
Settings for Resolving the Geometrical Features of the Model and for
Obtaining the Required Solution Accuracy
The computational mesh variation described in the previous section is the key item of the
proposed strategy for solving engineering problems with Flow Simulation.
The result resolution level governs the number of basic mesh cells, the criteria for
refinement (splitting) of the basic mesh to resolve the model geometry, creating the initial
mesh, as well as the criteria for refinement (splitting) of the initial mesh during the
problem solution. The Result resolution level parameter, specified in the Wizard, defines
the following parameters in the created project: the Level of initial mesh and the Results
resolution level. The Level of initial mesh only governs the initial mesh and is accessible
(after the Wizard is finished) from the Initial Mesh dialog. The Results resolution level is
accessible from the Calculation Control Options dialog and controls the refinement of
computational mesh during the calculation and the calculation finishing conditions. The
geometry resolution options that also influence the initial mesh can be changed both in the
Wizard and on the Automatic Settings tab of the Initial Mesh and Local Initial Mesh
dialogs. The effects of the geometry resolution options can be altered on the other tabs of
these dialogs.
Solving Engineering Problems
18
Before creating the initial mesh, Flow Simulation automatically determines the Minimum
gap size and the Minimum wall thickness for the walls contacting the fluid with both
sides. This is required for resolving the geometrical features of the model with the
computational mesh. Flow Simulation creates the initial mesh so that the number of the
mesh cells along the normal to the model surface must not be less than a certain number, if
the distance along this normal from this surface to the opposite wall is not less than the
minimum gap size. This insures that a flow passage or gap with the width larger than the
specified minimum gap size will be resolved with a certain number of cells across it.
The Minimum wall thickness governs the resolution of the sharp edges such as tips of
thin fins or, if the Optimize thin walls resolution option is not selected, the overall
resolution of the thin walls in the same way as the minimum gap size governs resolution of
the flow passages and gaps in the model.
In the automatic mode these mesh parameters are determined from the dimensions of the
surfaces with the boundary conditions specified, such as the model inlet and outlet
openings in an internal analysis, as well as the surfaces and volumes with the heat sources,
local initial conditions, surface and/or volume goals and some of the other conditions and
features. If you select the options to specify the Minimum gap size and the Minimum wall
thickness manually, you can see the their values determined by Flow Simulation. If these
values cannot provide an adequate resolution of the model geometry, you can change
them. At that, it is necessary to remember that the number of the computational mesh cells
generated to resolve the model geometrical features depends on the specified result
resolution level.
Evidently, when creating a Flow Simulation project, it is always worthwhile to make sure
that both the minimum gap size and the minimum wall thickness are relevant to the model
geometry. However, if the model geometry is complicated (for instance, there are
noncircular flow passages, sharp edges protruding into the stream, etc.), it can be difficult
to determine these parameters unambiguously. In this case it can be useful to perform
several calculations by varying these parameters within a reasonable range in order to
reveal their influence on the problem solution. In accordance with the strategy of solving
engineering problems, these calculations must be performed at various result resolution
levels.
The initial mesh created at the result resolution levels of 35 is not changed during the
calculation, so it is not adapted to the solution. Result resolution levels of 57 yield the
same initial mesh, but at the result resolution levels of 6 and 7 the mesh is refined during
the calculation in the regions of increased physical parameters gradients. At level 8, a finer
initial mesh is generated and refinements during calculation take place.
It makes sense to perform calculations at the result resolution level of 3 if both the model
geometry and the flow field are relatively smooth. For more complex problems we
recommend, first of all, to perform the calculation at the result resolution level of 4 or 5
(naturally, explicitly specifying the minimum gap size and minimum wall thickness).
After that, if the calculation at the result resolution level of 5 is finished properly, we
recommend, in order to ascertain the mesh convergence, to perform the calculation at the
result resolution level of 7 and, if the computer resources allow you to do this, at the result
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 19
resolution level of 8.
Monitoring the Calculation
Monitoring the calculation  at least, monitoring the behavior of the physical parameters
specified by you as the project goals (you can also inspect physical parameters fields at the
specified planar crosssections) is useful for the following reasons:
you can intervene in the process of calculation  for instance, manually finish the
calculation before it finishes automatically, if you see that either the calculation is
unacceptable for you for some reasons (for example, if Flow Simulation generates
warnings), or, vice versa, when solving a steadystate problem (and some transient
problems also), the solution has already converged, so that there is no reason to
continue the calculation;
if a steadystate problem is solved, and the physical parameters specified by you as
the project goals oscillate with iterations, then inspecting the behavior of these
parameters during the calculation will allow you to determine their values and
determination errors more accurately by averaging their values over the iterations
and determining their deviations from these average values;
if the physical parameters of interest do not change substantially during the
calculation, you can obtain their intermediate (preliminary) values beforehand and
use them for engineering analysis, while letting the calculation to continue until the
final values are reached;
if you solve a timedependent problem, you can see the calculation results obtained
at the current physical time moment before the calculation is finished.
The first abovementioned reason is particularly useful since it allows you to substantially
reduce the CPU time in some cases. For example, if you do not specify the high Mach
number gas flow in the project settings, whereas in fact the flow reaches high Mach
numbers, or if Flow Simulation warns you about a vortex at the model outlet, both
situations substantially reducing the calculation accuracy and making it necessary to
change some of the problem settings (specify high Mach number flow for the first case or
lengthen the model outlet tube for the second one). If you solve a steadystate problem at
the result resolution level of 7 or 8 and you see that the computational mesh refinements
performed during the calculation do not increase the number of cells in the mesh and,
therefore, do not noticeably improve the problem solution (the values of the project goals
do not change), you can finish the calculation relatively early (say, after 12 travels have
been performed).
Solving Engineering Problems
110
Viewing and Analyzing the Obtained Solution
When viewing and analyzing the obtained solution after finishing the calculation, it is
recommended to plot the history of the project goals during the calculation, if you did not
monitor them directly as the calculation went on. If a steadystate problem is solved, and
you specified the physical parameter of interest as the project goal, then, if this parameter
oscillated during the calculation, you can determine its value more accurately by
averaging it over the last iterations interval, in which its steadystate oscillation is seen.
This way you can also determine the variance of this goal, i.e. its deviation from the
average value, that characterizes the goal determination error in the obtained solution.
It is also useful to check for vortices at the model outlet, as well as to see the flow pattern
in the model and, if heat transfer in solids is considered, the temperature distribution
through the solid parts of the model. Naturally, first of all it is expedient to see the
obtained field of the physical parameter of interest, not only in the region of interest, but
also in a broader area, in order to check this field for apparently inconsistent results.
It is also worthwhile to examine the obtained fields of other physical parameters related to
the parameter of interest. For example, if you are interested in the total pressure loss, you
may want to see the velocity field, whereas if you are interested in the temperature of
solid, a picture of the fluidtosolid heat flux field is also useful.
Estimating the Reliability and Adequacy of the Obtained Solution
In accordance with the general approach to estimating the reliability and accuracy of the
engineering problem solution obtained with a computational code, this estimation consists
of the following two parts: an estimation of how accurate is the solution of the
mathematical problem corresponding to the mathematical model of the physical process,
and an estimation of the accuracy of simulating the physical process with the given
mathematical model.
The accuracy of solution of the mathematical problem is determined by mathematical
methods, independently of the consistency of the model to the physical process under
consideration. In our case, this accuracy estimation is based on analyzing the mesh
convergence of the problem solutions obtained on different computational meshes. Then,
since steadystate problems are solved with Flow Simulation via a steadystate approach
by employing local time steps, it is useful to verify additionally the accuracy of the
obtained solution by solving the similar timedependent problem not employing local time
steps.
As soon as the mathematical problem solution of a satisfactory accuracy is obtained, the
next step consists in estimating the accuracy the physical process simulation with the
mathematical model employed in the computational code. To do this, the obtained solution
is compared with the available experimental data (considering the errors which consist of
measurement errors and experimental errors arising from possible spurious influences).
Naturally, since experimental data are always restricted, for the validation it is desirable to
select the data which are as close to the engineering problem being solved as possible. To
validate the computational code against the available experimental data, you must solve
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 111
the corresponding test problem in addition to the practical engineering problem you are
solving (preferably before you start to solve the practical problem following the
abovementioned strategy). This operation increases the reliability of estimating the
obtained solution of the engineering problem so substantially that the required additional
time and efforts will fully pay back later on, in particular when solving similar engineering
problems.
If after solving the test problem you see that the accuracy of its solution obtained with
Flow Simulation is not satisfactory from your standpoint, check to see that you have
properly specified the Flow Simulation project, that all substantial features of the
engineering problem hare considered, and, finally, that Flow Simulation restrictions do not
impede solving this engineering problem.
3 Frequent Errors and Improper Actions
Let us consider the most common errors and improper actions that can occur when solving
engineering problems with Flow Simulation.
When Specifying Initial Data:
not considering physical features which are important for the engineering
problem under consideration: for instance, high Mach number gas flow (it must
be considered if M>3 for steadystate and M>1 for transient problems or if the
supersonic flow occurs in about a half of the computational domain or greater),
gravitational effects (must be considered if either the fluid velocity is small, the
fluid density is temperaturedependent, and a heat source is considered, or
several fluids having substantially different densities are considered in a
gravitational field), necessity of a timedependent analysis (for instance, at the
moderate Reynolds numbers, when unsteady vortices are generated);
incorrectly specifying symmetry planes as the computational domain boundaries
(for instance, at the moderate Reynolds numbers, when unsteady vortices are
generated; you should keep in mind that the symmetry of model geometry and
initial and boundary conditions does not guarantee the symmetry of the flow
field);
if you specify symmetry planes and intend to specify a mass or volume flow rate
at a model inlet or outlet opening, please do not forget to adjust the flow rate
accordingly, instead of specifying the total flow rate: for instance, if the
symmetry plane crosses the inlet opening and splits it in two halves, specify a
half of the flow rate value;
if you specify integral boundary or volume conditions (heat transfer rates, heat
generation rate, etc.), please remember that their values specified in the Flow
Simulation dialog boxes correspond to the fraction of area or volume laying
inside the computational domain;
Solving Engineering Problems
112
if you specify a flow swirl on a model inlet or outlet opening (in the Fans or
Boundary Conditions dialogs), please do not forget to properly specify their
swirl axes and the coordinate system;
if you specify a Unidirectional or Orthotropic porous medium, please do not
forget to specify their directions;
please make sure that the specified boundary conditions do not conflict with each
other. For example, if you deal with gas flows and the model inlet flow is
subsonic, whereas the flow inside the model becomes supersonic, it is incorrect
to specify flow velocity or volume flow rate as the boundary condition at the
model inlet, since they are fully determined by the geometry of the model flow
passage and the fluid specific heat ratio;
if you solve a timedependent problem, and this problem has cyclicintime
boundary conditions, thus leading to a steadystate cyclicintime solution, to
obtain which you have to calculate the flow several times in cycle, every time
specifying the solution from the previous calculation as the initial condition for
the next calculation, there is no need to specify the boundary conditions for
several cycles. Instead it is more convenient to specify them for a cycle and
perform a series of calculations, running each calculation with the Take previous
results check box selected in the Run dialog;
when specifying Surface Goals, Volume Goals, Point Goals or Equation
Goals, it is better to give them sensible names to identify these goals
unambiguously;
if you want to monitor the intermediate calculation results at certain sections of
the model during the calculation, it is better to determine these sections positions
in the Global coordinate system before actually running the calculation, since
during the calculation it is more difficult;
When Monitoring a Calculation:
when monitoring intermediate calculation results during a calculation, please do
not forget the spatial nature of the problem being solved (of course, if the
problem itself is not 2D). To take a look at the full pattern it is expedient to see
the results at least in 2 or 3 intersecting planes;
When Viewing the Obtained Solution after Finishing a Calculation:
to view different result features in different panes simultaneously, you can
split the SolidWorks graphics area into 2 or 4 panes and build different result
features in different graphical areas through their individual Cut Plots, 3D
Plots, Surface Plots, Flow Trajectories, Isosurfacesdefined in these areas;
if you intend to see integral physical parameters (such as area, mass or volume
flow rates, heat generation rates, forces, etc.) with the Surface Parameters
dialog box, please remember that:
the shown values are determined over the parts of the surface that belong to
the computational domain;
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 113
their determination errors include errors of representing these surfaces in
SolidWorks and Flow Simulation, the latter depends on the computational
mesh;
Solving Engineering Problems
114
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 21
2
Advanced Knowledge
Introduction
The present document supplies you with our experience of employing the advanced Flow
Simulation capabilities, organized in the following topics:
Manual adjustment of the initial computational mesh settings
Meshassociated tools (viewing the mesh before and after the calculation and
advanced postprocessing tools)
Calculation control options (refinement of the computational mesh during calculation,
conditions of finishing the calculation)
Flow freezing
1 Mesh  Introduction
This chapter provides the fundamentals of working with the Flow Simulation
computational mesh, describes the mesh generation procedure and explains the use of
parameters governing both automatically and manually controlled meshes.
First, let us introduce a set of definitions.
Types of Cells
Any Flow Simulation calculation is performed in a rectangular parallelepipedshaped
computational domain which boundaries are orthogonal to the axes of the Cartesian
Global Coordinate System. A computational mesh splits the computational domain with a
set of planes orthogonal to the Cartesian Global Coordinate System's axes to form
rectangular parallelepipeds called cells. The resulting computational mesh consists of
cells of the following four types:
Advanced Knowledge
22
Fluid cells are the cells located entirely in the fluid.
Solid cells are the cells located entirely in the solid.
Partial cells are the cells which are partly in the solid and partly in the fluid. For
each partial cells the following information is kept: coordinates of intersections of
the cell edges with the solid surface and normal to the solid surface within the cell.
As an illustration let us look at the original model (Fig.1.1) and the generated
computational mesh (Fig.1.2).
Fig.1.1 The original model.
Fig.1.2 The computational mesh cells of different types
Zero level cell (basic cell)
Solid cell
Partial cell
First level cell
Fluid cell
Partial cell
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 23
Mesh Construction Stages
Refinement is a process of splitting a rectangular computational mesh cell into eight cells
by three orthogonal planes that divide the cell's edges in halves. The nonsplit initial cells
that compose the basic mesh are called basic cells or zero level cells. Cells obtained by the
first splitting of the basic cells are called first level cells, the next splitting produces
second level cells, and so on. The maximum level of splitting is seven. A seventh level cell
is 8
7
times smaller in volume than the basic cell.
The following rule is applied to the processes of refinement and merging: the levels of two
neighboring cells can only be the same or differ by one, so that, say, a fifth level cell can
have only neighboring cells of fourth, fifth, or sixth level.
The mesh is constructed in the following steps:
Construction of the basic mesh taking into account the Control Planes and the
respective values of cells number and cell size ratios.
Resolving of the interface between substances, including refinement of the basic mesh
at the solid/fluid and solid/solid boundaries to resolve the relatively small solid features
and solid/solid interface, tolerance and curvature refinement of the mesh at a
solid/fluid, solid/porous and a fluid/porous boundaries to resolve the interface
curvature (e.g. smallradius surfaces of revolution, etc).
Narrow channels refinement, that is the refinement of the mesh in narrow channels
taking into account the respective userspecified settings.
Refinement of all fluid, and/or solid, and/or partial mesh cells up to the userspecified
level.
Mesh conservation, i.e. a set of control procedures, including check for the difference
in area of cell facets common for the adjacent cells of different levels.
After each of these stages is passed, the number of cells is increased to some extent.
In Flow Simulation you can control the following parameters and options which govern
the computational mesh:
1 Nx, the number of basic mesh cells (zero level cells) along the X axis of the Global
Coordinate System. 1 N
x
1000
2 Ny, the number of basic mesh cells (zero level cells) along the Y axis of the Global
Coordinate System. 1 N
y
1000.
3 Nz, the number of basic mesh cells (zero level cells) along the Z axis of the Global
Coordinate System. 1 N
z
1000.
During the solutionadaptive meshing the cells can be refined and
merged. See Refinement of the Computational Mesh During
Calculation on page 37.
If you switch on or off heat conduction in solids, or add/move
insulators, you should rebuild the mesh.
Advanced Knowledge
24
4 Control planes. By adding and relocating them you can contract and/or stretch the
basic mesh in the specified directions and regions. Six control planes coincident with
the computational domain's boundaries are always present in any project.
5 Small solid features refinement level (L
b
). 0 Lb 9.
6 Curvature refinement level (L
cur
). 0 L
cur
9.
7 Curvature refinement criterion (C
cur
). 0 C
cur
t.
8 Tolerance refinement level (L
tol
). 0 L
tol
9.
9 Tolerance refinement criterion (C
tol
). 0 C
tol
.
10 Narrow channels refinement: Characteristic number of cells across a narrow channel,
Narrow channels refinement level, The minimum and maximum height of narrow
channels to be refined.
These options are described in more detail below in this chapter.
Basic Mesh
The basic mesh is a mesh of zero level cells. In case of 2D calculation (i.e. if you select the
2D plane flow option in the Computational Domain dialog box) only one basic mesh cell
is generated automatically along the eliminated direction. By default Flow Simulation
constructs each cell as close to cubic shape as possible.
The number of basic mesh cells could be one or two less than the
userdefined number (N
x
, N
y
, N
z
). There is no limitation on a cell
oblongness or aspect ratio, but you should carefully check the
calculation results in all cases for the absence of too oblong or
stretched cells.
Fig.1.3 Basic mesh examples.
a) 10x12x1
b) 40x36x1
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 25
Control Planes
The Control Planes option is a powerful tool for creating an optimal computational mesh,
and the user should certainly become acquainted with this tool if he is interested in
optimal meshes resulting in higher accuracy and decreasing the CPU time and required
computer memory. Control planes allow you to resolve small features, contract the basic
mesh locally to resolve a particular region by a denser mesh and stretch the basic mesh to
avoid excessively dense meshes.
Resolving Small Features by Using the Control Planes
If the level of splitting is not high enough, small solid features may be not resolved
properly. In this case, two methods can be used to improve the mesh:
increase the level of splitting. However, this may result in unnecessary increase of
the number of cells in other regions, creating a nonoptimal mesh, or
set a control plane crossing the relevant small feature (e.g. a solid's sharp edge).
This will allow you to resolve this feature better without creating an excessively
dense mesh elsewhere. It is especially convenient in cases of sharp edges oriented
along the Global Coordinate System axes.
Contracting the Basic Mesh
Using control planes you may contract the basic mesh in the regions of interest. To do this,
you need to set control planes surrounding the region and assign the proper Ratio values to
the respective intervals. The cell sizes on the interval are changed gradually so that the
proportion between the first and the last cells of the interval is close (but not necessarily
equal) to the entered Ratio value. Negative values of the ratio correspond to the reverse
order of cell size increase. Alternatively, you may explicitly set the Number of cells for
each interval, in which case the Ratio value becomes mandatory. For example, assume
that there are two control planes Plane1 and Plane2 (see Fig.1.4) and the ratio on the
interval between them is set to 2. Then the basic mesh cells adjacent to the Plane1 will be
approximately two times longer than the basic mesh cells adjacent to the Plane2.
It is recommended that you place a control plane slightly submerged
into the solid, and avoid placing it coincident with the solid surface.
Advanced Knowledge
26
Use of control planes is especially recommended for external analyses, where the
computational domain may be substantially larger than the model.
In the Fig.1.6 two custom control planes are set through the center of the body with the
ratio set to 5 and 5, respectively, on the intervals to the both sides of each plane.
Fig.1.5 Default control planes. Fig.1.6 Two custom control planes.
Fig.1.4 Specifying custom control planes.
Default control plane
Default control plane
Custom control plane
Custom control plane
Interval 3:
number of cells=3 (automatic)
ratio=1
Interval 2:
number of cells=12 (manual)
ratio=1
Interval 1:
number of cells=12 (automatic)
ratio=2
Plane 4
Plane 3
Plane 2
Plane 1
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 27
Resolving Small Solid Features
The procedure of resolving small solid features refines only the cells where the solid/fluid
(solid/solid, solid/porous as well as fluid/porous) interface curvature is too high: the
maximum angle between the normals to a solid surface inside the cell exceeds 120, i.e.
the solid surface has a protrusion within the cell.
Such cells are split until the the Small solid features refinement level of splitting mesh
cells is achieved.
Curvature Refinement
The curvature refinement level is the maximum level to which the cells will be split during
refinement of the computational mesh until the curvature of the solid/fluid or fluid/porous
interface within the cell becomes lower than the specified curvature criterion (C
cur
).
The curvature refinement procedure has the following stages:
1 Each solid surface is triangulated: Flow Simulation gets triangles that make up the
SolidWorks surfaces.
2 A local (for each cell) interface curvature is determined as the maximum angle
between the normals to the triangles within the cell.
3 If this angle exceeds the specified C
cur
, and the curvature refinement level is not
reached then the cell is split.
The performance settings do not govern the triangulation
performance.
Advanced Knowledge
28
The curvature refinement is a powerful tool, so that the competent usage of it allows you
to obtain proper and optimal computational mesh. Look at the following illustrations to
the curvature refinement by the example of a sphere.
Fig.1.7 Curvature refinement level is 0;
Total number of cells is 64.
Fig.1.8 Curvature refinement level is 1;
Total number of cells is 120.
Fig.1.9 Curvature refinement level is 2;
Curvature criterion is 0.317;
Total number of cells is 120.
Fig.1.10 Curvature refinement level is 2;
Curvature criterion is 0.1;
Total number of cells is 148.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 29
Tolerance Refinement
Tolerance refinement allows you to control how well (with what tolerance) mesh polygons
approximate the real interface. The tolerance refinement may affect the same cells that
were affected by the small solid features refinement and the curvature refinement. It
resolves the interface's curvature more effectively than the small solid features refinement,
and, in contrast to the curvature refinement, discerns small and large features of equal
curvature, thus avoiding refinements in regions of less importance (see images below).
Any surface is approximated by a set of polygons which vertices are surface's intersection
points with the cells' edges. This approach accurately represents flat faces though
curvature surfaces are approximated with some deviations (e.g. a circle can be
approximated by a polygon). The tolerance refinement criterion controls this deviation. A
cell will be split if the distance (h, see below) between the outermost interface's point
within the cell and the polygon approximating this interface is larger than the specified
criterion value.
Fig.1.11 Curvature refinement level is 3; Curvature criterion is 0.1;
Fig.1.12 Tolerance refinement level is 3; Tolerance criterion is 0.1 mm;
Advanced Knowledge
210
Narrow Channel Refinement
The narrow channel refinement is applied to each flow passage within the computational
domain (or a region, in case that local mesh settings are specified) unless you specify for
Flow Simulation to ignore passages of a specified height. The Narrow Channels term is
conventional and used for the definition of the flow passages of the model in the direction
normal to the solid/fluid interface.
The basic concept of narrow channel refinement is to resolve the narrow channels with a
sufficient number of cells to provide a reasonable level of solution accuracy. It is
especially important to have narrow channels resolved in analyses of low Reynolds
numbers or analyses with long channels, i.e. in such analyses where the boundary layer
thickness becomes comparable to the size of the partial cells where the layer is developed.
The narrow channel settings available in Flow Simulation are the following:
Narrow channels refinement level the maximum level of cells refinement in
narrow channels with respect to the basic mesh cell.
Characteristic number of cell across a narrow channel the number of cells
(including partial cells) that Flow Simulation will attempt to set across the model
flow passages in the direction normal to the solid/fluid interface. If possible, the
number of cells across narrow channels will be equal to the specified characteristic
number, otherwise it will be as close to it as possible. The Characteristic number
of cells across a narrow channel (let us denote it as N
c
) and the Narrow channels
refinement level (let us denote it as L) both influence the mesh in narrow channels
in the following manner: the basic mesh in narrow channels will be split to have N
c
number per channel, if the resulting cells satisfy the specified L. In other words,
whatever the specified N
c
, the smallest possible cell in a narrow channel is 8
L
times
smaller in volume (or 2
L
times smaller in each linear dimension) than the basic
mesh cell. This is necessary to avoid undesirable mesh splitting in very fine
channels that may cause the number of cells to increase to an unreasonable value.
The minimum height of narrow channels, The maximum height of narrow
channels the minimum and maximum bounds for the height outside of which a
flow passage will not be considered as a narrow channel and thus will not be refined
by the narrow channel resolution procedure.
For example, if you specify the minimum and maximum height of narrow channels, the
cells will be split only in those fluid regions where the distance between the opposite walls
of the flow passage in the direction normal to wall lies between the specified minimum
and maximum heights.
The narrow channel refinement operates as follows: the normal to the solid surface for
each partial cell is extended up to the next solid surface, which will be considered to be the
opposite wall of the flow passage. If the number of cells per this normaltowall direction
is less than the specified N
c
, the cells will be split to satisfy the narrow channel settings as
described above.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 211
Although the settings that produce an optimal mesh depends on a particular task, here are
some ruleofthumb recommendations for narrow channel settings:
1 Set the number of cells across narrow channel to a minimum of 5.
2 Use the minimum and maximum heights of narrow channels to concentrate on the
regions of interest.
3 If possible, avoid setting high values for the narrow channels refinement level, since it
may cause a significant increase in the number of cells where it is not necessary.
Fig.1.13 Small solid features refinement level is 3; Narrow channel refinement is disabled.
Fig.1.14 Small solid features refinement level is 3; Narrow channel refinement is on: 5 cells across
narrow channels, Narrow channels refinement level is 2.
Advanced Knowledge
212
Local Mesh Settings
The local mesh settings option is one more tool to help create an optimal mesh. Use of
local mesh settings is especially beneficial if you are interested in resolving a particular
region within a complex model.
The local mesh settings can be applied to a component, face, edge or vertex. You can
apply local mesh settings to fluid regions and solid bodies. To apply the local mesh
settings to a fluid region you need to specify this region as a solid part or subassembly and
then disable this component in the Component Control dialog box. The local mesh settings
are applied to the cells intersected with the selected component, face, edge, or a cell
enclosing the selected vertex. However, cells adjacent to the cell of the local region may
be also affected due to the refinement rules described in the Mesh Construction Stages
chapter.
Fig.1.15 Small solid features refinement level is 3; Narrow channel refinement is on: 5 cells across
narrow channels, Narrow channels refinement level is 5.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 213
Recommendations for Creating the Computational Mesh
1 At the beginning create the mesh using the default (automatic) mesh settings. Start
with the Level of initial mesh of 3. On this stage it is important to recognize the
appropriate values of the minimum gap size and minimum wall thickness which will
provide you with the suitable mesh. The default values of the minimum gap size and
minimum wall thickness are calculated using information about the overall model
dimensions, the Computational Domain size, and area of surfaces where conditions
(boundary conditions, sources, etc.) and goals are specified. Don't switch off the
Optimize thin walls resolution option, since it allows you to resolve the model's thin
walls without the excessive mesh refinement.
2 Closely analyze the obtained automatic mesh, paying attention to the total numbers of
cells, resolution of the regions of interest and narrow channels. If the automatic mesh
does not satisfy you and changing of the minimum gap size and minimum wall
thickness values do not give the desired effect you can proceed with the custom mesh.
3 Start to create your custom mesh with the disabled narrow channel refinement, while
the Small solid features refinement level and the Curvature refinement level are
both set to 0. This will produce only zero level cells (basic mesh only). Use control
planes to optimize the basic mesh.
4 Next, adjust the basic mesh by stepbystep increase of the Small solid features
refinement level and the Curvature refinement level. Then, enable the narrow
channels refinement.
5 Finally, try to use the local mesh settings.
Fig.1.16 The local mesh settings used: Two narrow channels are refined to have 10 cells across them.
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2 Meshassociated Tools
Introduction
Since the mesh settings is an indirect way of constructing the computational mesh, to
better visualize the resulting mesh various postprocessing tools are offered by Flow
Simulation. In particular, these tools allow to visualize the mesh in detail before the
calculation, substantially reducing the CPU and user time.
The computational mesh constructed by Flow Simulation or other CFD codes cannot
resolve the model geometry at the mesh cell level exactly. A discrepancy can lead to
prediction errors. To facilitate an analysis of these errors and/or to avoid their appearance,
Flow Simulation offers various options for visualizing the real computational geometry
corresponding to the computational mesh used in the analysis.
Since the numerical solution is obtained inevitably in the discrete form, i.e., in the centers
of computational mesh cells, it is interpolated and extrapolated by the postprocessor to
present the results in a smooth form, which is typically more convenient to the user. As a
result, some prediction errors can stem from these interpolations and extrapolations. To
facilitate an analysis of such errors and/or to prevent their appearance, Flow Simulation
offers an option to visualize the physical parameters values calculated at the centers of
computational mesh cells, so that when presenting results by coloring an area with a
palette, the results are considered constant within each cell.
Visualizing the Basic Mesh Before Constructing the Initial Mesh
Using this option the user can inspect the Basic mesh and its Control planes corresponding
to the mesh settings, which can be made manually or retained by default. The plot appears
as soon as these settings have been made or changed, so you immediately see the resulting
mesh. (See Help or Users Guide defining the Basic mesh and its Control planes).
To enable this option, select the Show basic mesh option in the Flow Simulation,
Project menu, or in the Initial Mesh dialog box. The option is accessible both before and
after the calculation.
Using this option, you may shifting the Control planes to desired positions to assure that
certain features of the model geometry are captured by the computational mesh.
Enhanced Capabilities of the Results Loading
Flow Simulation allows to view not only the calculation results and the current
computational mesh, which they have been obtained on, but also the initial computational
mesh (i.e., which the calculation begins on). The latter can be viewed either before or after
the calculation, allowing the user to compare the initial and current (i.e., refined during the
calculation) computational meshes.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 215
To view various meshes, you must open the corresponding file via the Load results dialog
box. The calculation results, including the current computational mesh, are saved in the
.fld files, whereas the initial computational mesh is saved separately in the .cpt file. All
these files are saved in the project folder, which name (a numeric string) is formed by
Flow Simulation and must not be changed. The .cpt files and the final (i.e., with the
solution obtained at the last iteration) .fld files have the name similar to that of the project
folder, whereas the solutions obtained during the calculation at the previous iterations
(corresponding to certain physical time moments, if the problem is timedependent) are
saved in the .fld files with names r_<iteration number>, e.g. the project initial data are
saved in the r_000000.fld file.
Do not try to load the calculation results obtained in another project
with a different geometry; the effect will be unpredictable.
Fig.2.1 The Basic mesh (left) and the Initial mesh (right).
Fig.2.2 The Load Results dialog box.
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Viewing the Initial Computational Mesh Saved in the .cpt Files
To optimize the process of solving an engineering problem and to save time, in some cases
it may be useful to view the initial computational mesh before performing the calculation,
particularly to be sure that the model features are resolved well by this mesh. To view the
initial computational mesh after loading the .cpt file, Flow Simulation offers you Cut
Plots, Surface Plots, and the Mesh option (see below), which are also used for viewing
the calculation results.
Viewing the Computational Mesh Cells with the Mesh Option
To view fluid cells of the computational mesh cells (i.e. the cells lying fully in the fluid),
solid cells (lying fully in the solid), and partial cells lying partly in the fluid and partly in
the solid, Flow Simulation offers you the Mesh option.
Different colors can be used to better differentiate between the computational mesh cells
of each of the abovementioned types. To see the cells in a certain parallelepiped region,
the user must specify the coordinates of the region boundaries in the Global Coordinate
System.
Using the Mesh option, you can also save the information concerning the mesh cells,
including the physical parameters values obtained in their centers, in ASCII or
Microsoft Excel files.
Visualization of a large amount of computational mesh cells (e.g. all
fluid cells in the whole computational domain) may be impractical,
since it could require substantial time and memory, and even then
you might not be able to see all the visualized cells because the
majority of them will likely be screened from view by other cells.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 217
Visualizing the Real Computational Geometry
Since the SolidWorks model geometry, especially its highcurvature parts, cannot be
resolved exactly at the cell level by the rectangular (parallelepiped) computational mesh,
the real computational geometry corresponding to the computational mesh used in the
analysis can be viewed after the calculation to avoid or estimate the prediction errors
stemming from this discrepancy. If no solutionadaptive meshing occurs during the
calculation, the real computational geometry can be viewed just after the mesh generation.
This option is employed by clearing the Use CAD geometry check box in Cut Plots, 3D
Plots, Surface Plots, Flow Trajectories, Point Parameters and XY Plots. The result is
especially clear when colored Contours are used to visualize a physical parameter values
(see Fig.2.3).
This capability is especially useful for revealing important surface regions in the model,
which are inadequately resolved by the computational mesh.
On the other hand, this option may be useful when creating Surface Plots for SolidWorks
models containing rippled surfaces, where ripples, which are supposed to be not essential
from the problem solution viewpoint, were not resolved by the computational mesh. In
this case, coloring of the simplified solid/fluid interface instead of coloring the actual
SolidWorks model faces can lead to substantial reduction of the CPU time and memory
requirements.
Fig.2.3 Cut Plots around the SolidWorks model outer surface (left) and on its computational
realization (right).
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If the computational mesh has resolved the SolidWorks model well,
so the obtained computational results are adequate, then enable the
Use CAD geometry option before performing the final Cut Plots and
Surface Plots to obtain smooth pictures which are more convenient
for the analysis.
Notice that when creating a Surface Plot with the Use CAD
geometry option switched off, only the solid/fluid interfaces of
partial cells within the computational mesh will be colored. When a
Surface Plot is created in the Use all faces mode, solid/fluid
interfaces of all partial cells will be colored. However, when a
Surface Plot is created on a selected surface, the solid/fluid interfaces
are colored only in the partial cells intersected by the SolidWorks
model surface approximated by triangles inside SolidWorks, which
may differ from the meshapproximated surface of the model.
Depending on the problem considered, there may be such cases when
certain partial cells are not intersected by the triangulated surface and
therefore the corresponding solid/fluid interfaces would not be
colored. Naturally, this circumstance concerns visualization only and
does not affect the calculation results.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 219
Switching off the Interpolation and Extrapolation of Calculation
Results
Since the numerical solution is obtained inevitably in the discrete form, i.e., in the form of
values in the centers of the computational mesh cells in Flow Simulation, it is interpolated
and extrapolated by the postprocessor to present the results in a smooth form, which is
typically more convenient to the user. As a result, prediction errors can stem from and/or
be hidden by such interpolation and extrapolation that smoothens the calculation results.
To facilitate the revealing, analysis, and elimination of such errors, Flow Simulation offers
an option to visualize the physical parameter values as is, i.e. without interpolation,
when presenting calculation results in Cut Plots and Surface Plots (other result features,
namely, isolines, isosurfaces, flow streamlines and particle trajectories can not be built at
all without interpolation), so when coloring a surface with a palette, the results are
considered constant within the mesh cells (see Fig.2.4).
Since the mesh cells centers used in coloring the surface can lie at
different distances from the surface, this can introduce an additional
variegation into the picture, if the value of the displayed parameter
depends noticeably on this distance (see Fig.2.4).
Fig.2.4 The fluid velocity Surface Plots in the nearwall region created with the interpolation of the
calculation results (left) and without interolation (right).
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Conclusion
The presented meshassociated tools of Flow Simulation are additional tools for obtaining
reliable and accurate results with this code. These tools are summarized in the table:
3 Meshing  Additional Insight
Flow Simulation considers the real model created in SolidWorks and generates a
rectangular computational mesh automatically distinguishing the fluid and solid domains.
The corresponding computational domain is generated in the form of a rectangular
parallelepiped enclosing the model. In the mesh generation process, the computational
domain is divided into uniform rectangular parallelepipedshaped cells, which form a
socalled basic mesh. Then, using information about the model geometry, Flow
Simulation further constructs the mesh by means of various refinements, i.e. splitting of
the basic mesh cells into smaller rectangular parallelepipedshaped cells, thus better
representing the model and fluid regions. The mesh, which the calculation starts from,
socalled initial mesh, is fully defined by the generated basic mesh and the refinement
settings.
Option
Application
Reason
Basic
mesh
Initial
mesh
After the
calculation
Visualizing the
Basic mesh
+ + +
To inspect the Basic mesh and
setting its Control planes
Widened
capabilities of
loading the results
+ +
To view the Initial mesh and
the calculation results
Viewing the Initial
mesh
+ +
To analyze the Initial mesh
Viewing mesh cells
of different type
+ +
To view mesh cells and save
the respective physical
parameters values
Visualizing the
computational
geometry
+ +
For analysis of inadequate
results and quick
postprocessing of the results
of complicated models
Switching off the
interpolation of
results
+
For analysis of inadequate
results
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 221
Each refinement has its criterion and level. The refinement criterion denotes which cells
have to be split, and the refinement level denotes the smallest size, which the cells can be
split to. Regardless of the refinement considered, the smallest cell size is always defined
with respect to the basic mesh cell size so the constructed basic mesh is of great
importance for the resulting computational mesh.
The main types of refinements are:
Small Solid Features Refinement
Curvature Refinement
Tolerance Refinement
Narrow Channel Refinement
Square Difference Refinement
In addition, the following two types of refinements can be invoked locally:
Cell Type Refinement
Solid Boundary Refinement
During the calculation, the initial mesh can be refined further using the
SolutionAdaptive Refinement.
Though it depends on a refinement which criterion or level is available for user control,
we will consider all of them (except for the SolutionAdaptive Refinement) to give you a
comprehensive understanding of how the Flow Simulation meshing works.
In the chapter below the most important conclusions are marked with the blue italic font.
For abbreviation list refer to the Glossary paragraph.
Initial Mesh Generation Stages
Basic Mesh Generation and Resolving the Interface
1 Create basic mesh cells which sizes are governed by the computational domain size,
the userspecified Control Planes and the number of the basic mesh cells. [Nx, Ny, Nz,
Control Planes. Parameters which act on each stage are summarized in square
brackets at the end of the stage.]
2 Analyze triangulation in each basic mesh cell at the interfaces between different
substances (such as solid/fluid, solid/porous, solid/solid and porous/fluid interfaces) in
order to find the maximum angle between normals to the triangles which compose the
interface within the cell.
3 Depending on the maximum angle found, the decision whether to split the cell or not is
made in accordance with the specified Small solid features refinement level (SSFRL),
Narrow channel refinement level (NCRL), Curvature refinement level (CRL) and
Curvature criterion (CRC), Tolerance refinement level (TRL) and Tolerance
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Refinement Criterion (TRC) (see the Refinements at Interfaces Between
Substances paragraph). [SSFRL, NCRL, CRL and CRC].
4 If a basic mesh cell is split, the resulting child cells are analyzed as described in items 2
and 3, and split further, if necessary. The cell splitting will proceed until the interface
resolution satisfies the specified SSFR criterion, CRC and TRC, or the corresponding
level of splitting reaches its specified value.
5 The operations 2 to 4 are applied for the next basic mesh cell and so on, taking into
account the following Cell Mating rule: two neighboring cells (i.e. cells having a
common face) can be only cells which levels are similar or differ by one. This rule has
the highest priority as it is necessary for simplifying numerical algorithm in solver.
The mesh at this stage is called the primary mesh. The primary mesh implies the complete
basic mesh with the resolution of the solid/fluid (as well as solid/solid, solid/porous, etc.)
interface by the small solid features refinements and the curvature refinement also taking
into account the local mesh settings.
If a cell belongs to a local initial mesh area, then the corresponding
local refinement levels will be applied (see the Local Mesh Settings
paragraph).
The specified levels of splitting denote the maximum admissible
splitting, i.e. they show to which level a basic mesh cell can be split
if it is required for resolving the solid/fluid interface within the cell.
The fourthlevel red cells appearing
after resolving the cog cause the
neighboring cells to be split up to
third level (yellow cells), that, in
turn, causes the subsequent
refinement producing second level
cells (green cells) and first level
cells (blue cells). The white zero
level cell (basic mesh cell) remains
unsplit since it borders on first level
cells only, thus satisfying the rule.
The Cell Mating rule is strict and has higher priority than the other
cell operations. The rule is also enforced for the cells that are entirely
in a solid.
Fig.3.1
Fluid cell refinement due to the Cell Mating rule.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 223
Narrow Channel Refinement
After the primary mesh has been created, the narrow channel refinement is put in action.
The Narrow Channels term is conventional and used for the definition of the model flow
passages which are narrow in the direction normal to the solid/fluid interface.
Regardless of the real solid curvature, the mesh approximation is that the solid boundary is
always represented by a set of flat elements, which nodes are the points where the model
intersects with the cell edges. Thus, whatever the model geometry, there is always a flat
element within a partial cell and the normal to this element denotes the direction normal to
the solid/fluid interface for this partial cell.
The narrow channel refinement operates as follows:
1 For each partial cell Flow Simulation calculates the local narrow channel width as
the distance between this partial cell and the next partial cell found on the line normal
to the solid/fluid interface of this cell (i.e. normal to the flat surface element located in
the cell).
2 If the distance value falls within the range defined by the Minimum height of narrow
channel (NCH
min)
and Maximum height of narrow channel (NCH
max
) options, the
number of cells per this interval is calculated including both partial cells and taking
into account which portion of each partial cell is in fluid. [NCH
min
, NCH
max
].
3 More precisely, the number of cells across the channel (i.e. on the interval between the
two partial cells) is calculated as N = N
f
+ n
p1
+ n
p2
, where N
f
is the number of fluid
cells on the interval, and n
p1
and n
p2
are the fluid portions of the both partial cells. This
value is compared with the specified Characteristic number of cells across a narrow
channel (CNC). If N is less than the specified CNC then the cells on this interval are
split. For example, on Fig.3.2 N
f
= 2, n
p1
= n
p2
= 0.4, and N = 2+0.4+0.4 = 2.8 which is
less than the criterion. On Fig.3.3 the partial cells are split, so that the fluid portions of
the newlyformed partial cells are n
p1
= n
p2
= 9/10, and the criterion is satisfied (N >
CNC).
If the line normal to the solid/fluid interface crosses a local initial
mesh area, then the corresponding local narrow channel refinement
settings is applied to the cells in this direction.
Fig.3.2
NCRL = 2; CNC = 3;
N = 2.8 < CNC
Fig.3.3
NCRL = 3; CNC = 3;
N = 3.8 > CNC
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The narrow channel refinement is symmetrical with respect to the midpoint of the interval
and proceeds from the both ending partial cells towards the midpoint. [CNC, NCRL].
In Fig.3.4, the specified Characteristic number of cells across a channel is 5 but only two
cells were generated since the maximum refinement level of one allows only basic mesh
cells and firstlevel cells to be generated.
In Fig.3.5, the specified Narrow channel refinement level is high enough to allow five
cells to be placed across the channel.
5 Next, for all the fluid cells within the entire computational domain the following Fluid
Cell Leveling procedure is applied: if a fluid cell is located between two cells of higher
level, it is split to be equalized with the level of neighboring smaller cells.
Like in the other refinements, the Narrow channel refinement level
(NCRL) denotes the maximum level to which the cells can be split to
satisfy the CNC criterion. The NCRL has higher priority than the
CNC, so the refinement will proceed until the CNC criterion is
satisfied or all the cells reach the Narrow channel resolution level.
Fig.3.4
CNC = 5; NCRL = 1
Fig.3.5
CNC = 5; NCRL = 3
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 225
Thin walls resolution
In contrast to the narrow channels, thin walls can be resolved without the mesh refinement
inside the wall, since the both sides of the thin wall may reside in the same cell. Therefore,
the amount of cells needed to resolve a thin wall is generally lower than the number of
cells needed to properly resolve a channel of the same width. See Fig.3.6  3.8 illustrating
the thin walls resolution technology and its limitations.
Fig.3.6
One mesh cell can contain more than one fluid and/or solid volume; during calculation
each volume has an individual set of parameters depending on its type (fluid or solid).
Solid 1
Solid 2
Fluid 1
Fluid 2
Fig.3.7
If the wall thickness is greater than the basic mesh cell's size across the wall or if the
wall creates only one fluid volume in the cell, then the opposite sides of the wall will not
lay within the same cell. Such walls are resolved with two or more cells across.
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Square Difference Refinement
The Square Difference Refinement checks the neighboring partial cells of different levels
for the difference between their fluid passage areas. If the difference between the fluid
passage area of the higherlevel cell and the total fluid passage areas of the adjacent
lowerlever cells exceeds the Square Difference Refinement Criterion (SDRC) then the
greaterlevel cell is split to the level of adjacent cells in order to equalize the fluid passage
areas (see Fig.3.9). The Square Difference Refinement is always enabled and cannot be
disabled since it is a strict solver requirement. As with the Cell Mating rule, this is another
condition imposed by the solver to provide stability for the convergence processes.
Though you cannot turn off the Square Difference Refinement, you can control its
criterion, which is directly proportional to the Curvature refinement criterion. [CRC].
Fig.3.9
Two adjacent partial cells of
different levels at the cylinder
surface.
Fig.3.10
Cut plot of the cylinder. The concerned cells are blue.
SSFRL = 2; CRL = 0; CRC = 3.14; NCRL = 1.
Fig.3.8
The edges of thin walls ending within a mesh cell may be trimmed in certain cases. These mesh cells
are called Trimmed cells.
Model geometry Meshed geometry
Trimmed edge
Trimmed cell
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 227
Fig.3.9 shows neighboring partial cells of different levels at the cylinder's solid/fluid
interface. The fluid passage area of the higherlevel cell is the ABDE polygon. The total
fluid passage area of the lowerlevel cells is the ABCDE polygon, so the difference
between the fluid passages is the yellow BCD triangle. In this example we have increased
the curvature refinement criterion to t, thereby increasing the Square Difference
Refinement Criterion so that the fluid passage difference (BCD) is smaller than the
criterion, and thus, there is no need to split the higherlevel cell.
Note that the Square Difference Refinement may cause a domino effect when one splitting
produces cells which become lowerlevel cells for the next adjacent cell causing it to split
too, and so on, resulting in an increased number of cells.
In the Fig.3.11 the total number of cells is nearly 20% more than in the Fig.3.12 in spite of
the fact that the Curvature refinement is disabled (CRL = 0) in the first case. Here, the
model geometry is similar and before the Square Difference Refinement the mesh is
practically the same in both cases and mostly governed by the Small Solid Features
Refinement when the SSFRL exceeds the CRL, i.e. changing the CRL from 0 to 3 would
not change substantially the number of cells. However, in the first case the curvature
criterion is lower, resulting in a more stringent criterion of the Square Difference
Refinement. So the smaller Square Difference Refinement criterion leads to a greater
number of cells subject to the Square Difference Refinement. In the Fig.3.11 you can see a
stripe of the third level cells along the cylinder. This is the result of the Square Difference
Refinement and the domino effect when a cell on the cylinder edge involves the
neighboring cell in the refinement procedure and so forth along the cylinder.
If in the first case we specify the same CRC as in the second case (0.5054 rad), the total
number of cells decreases to 40963.
Fig.3.11
SSFRL = 3, CRL = 0; CRC = 0.45
Total cells = 49391.
Fig.3.12
SSFRL = 3, CRL = 2; CRC = 0.50;
Total cells = 41376.
Increase of the curvature criterion will increase the Square
Difference Refinement Criterion, and, in turn, decrease the number
of cells in both cases.
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Mesh Diagnostic
The mesh diagnostic is intended to inspect the resulting initial mesh but not to change the
total number of cells.
Refinements at Interfaces Between Substances
Different interface types (solid/fluid, solid1/solid2, solid/porous or porous/fluid) are
checked on different refinement criteria, namely: small solid features criterion, curvature
refinement criterion, tolerance refinement criterion and narrow channel refinement
criterion for solid/fluid and solid/porous interfaces; small solid features criterion for
solid1/solid2 interfaces; small solid features criterion and curvature refinement criterion
for porous/fluid interfaces. Whereas the specified refinement levels are equally applied to
any interface type.
Small Solid Features Refinement
The small solid features refinement acts on the cells where the maximum angle between
normals to the surfaceforming triangles is strictly greater than 120. To make this
120degreecriterion easier to understand, let us consider simple small solid features of
planar faces only. The normal to triangles that form the planar face is normal to the planar
face too. Therefore, instead of considering the normals to the triangles we can consider
normals to faces, or better the angle between faces.
In Fig.3.13 the cells with the cogs of 150 and 60 degrees were not split by the small solid
features refinement because the maximum angles between the faces (i.e. between normals
to the triangles enclosed by the cell) are 30 and 120, respectively. If the angle between
the normals becomes greater than 120 (121 for the 59cog) then the cell is split. The
cell with the square spike surely has to be split because the lateral faces of the spike have
their normals at the angle of 180, thus satisfying the 120degree criterion.
Note that rectangular corners (like in the rightmost cell) do not satisfy the criterion and
therefore will not be resolved by the small solid features refinement.
Fig.3.13
SSFRL = 1, CRL = 0, NCRL = 0
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 229
From Fig.3.14 it is clear that the cells are split by the 120degree criterion up to the first
level, as defined by the narrow channel refinement level.
For the information about how the NCRL influences the narrow channel refinement see
the Narrow Channel Refinement paragraph.
Curvature Refinement
The curvature refinement works in the same manner as the small solid features refinement
with the difference that the critical angle between the normals can be specified by the user
(in radians) as curvature refinement criterion (CRC). Here, the smaller the criterion, the
better resolution of the solid curvature. To give more precise and descriptive explanation,
the following table presents several CRC values together with the corresponding angles
between normals and the angles between planar faces.
Remember that if the Narrow channel refinement is enabled, the
maximum level to which the small solid features refinement can split
the cells is set as the maximum level from the specified SSFRL and
Narrow channel refinement level (NCRL). In other words, if the
Narrow channel refinement is enabled, the SSFRL has no effect if it
is smaller than the NCRL.
Table 2.1: Influence of the curvature criterion on the solid curvature resolution.
Curvature
criterion, rad 0.3176 0.4510 0.5548 0.6435 1.0472 1.5708 2.0944 3.1416
o' between
normals, [degrees]
>19 >25 >31 >36 >60 >90 >120 180
o between faces,
[degrees]
<161 <154 <148 <143 <120 <90 <60 0
Fig.3.14 SSFRL = 0, CRL = 0, NCRL = 1
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The table states that if the CRC is equal to 0.4510 rad, then all the cells where the angle
between normals to the surfaceforming triangles is more than 25 degrees will be split.
You can see that the curvature criterion set to 0.4510 rad splits the cells with the
150degrees cog.
However, the default curvature criterion values are small enough to resolve obtuse angles
and curvature well. Increasing the curvature criterion is reasonable if you want to avoid
superfluous refinement but it is recommended that you try different criteria to find the
most appropriate one.
The curvature criterion also denotes the criterion of the Square Difference Refinement.
The square difference refinement criterion is directly proportional to the CRC, so the
smaller CRC, the smaller square difference refinement criterion, resulting in a greater
number of cells appearing after the Square Difference Refinement.
SSFRL or CRL
Why is it necessary to have two criteria? As you can see, the curvature refinement has
higher priority than the small solid features refinement if the curvature criterion is smaller
than 2/3 t. Note that Flow Simulationspecified values of the curvature criterion are
always smaller than 2/3 t.
Nevertheless, the advantage of the small solid features refinement is that being sensitive to
relatively small geometry features it does not notice the largescale curvatures, thus
avoiding refinements in the entire computational domain but resolving only the areas of
small features. At the same time, the curvature refinement can be used to resolve the
largescale curvatures. So both the refinements have their own coverage providing a
flexible tool for creating an optimal mesh.
Fig.3.15 CRL = 1, CRC = 0.5548,
SSFRL = 0, NCRL = 0
Fig.3.16 CRL = 1, CRC = 0.451,
SSFRL = 0, NCRL = 0
Note that the curvature refinement works exactly as the small solid
features refinement when the curvature criterion is equal to 2.0944
rad (2/3t).
In other words, if you did not set the CRC greater than 2/3 t and if
the SSFRL and NCRL are smaller than the CRL, then the small solid
feature refinement would be idle.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 231
Tolerance Refinement
Any surface is approximated by a set of polygons which vertices are the points of
intersection of this surface with the cells' edges. This approach accurately represents flat
faces though curved surfaces are represented by some approximation (e.g. as a circle can
be represented by a polygon). The tolerance refinement criterion controls the precision of
this approximation. A cell will be split if the distance between the outermost point of the
surface within the cell and the polygon approximating this surface is larger than the
specified criterion value.
Local Mesh Settings
The local mesh settings influence only the initial mesh and do not affect the basic mesh in
the local area, but are basic mesh sensitive in that all refinement levels are set with respect
to the basic mesh cell.
The local mesh settings are applied to the cells intersected with the local mesh region
which can be represented by a component, face, edge or vertex.
If a cell intersects with different local mesh setting regions, the refinement settings in this
cell will be used to achieve the maximum refinement.
Cell Type Refinement. The refinement level of cells of a specific type (all cells, fluid and
partial cells, solid and partial cells, or only partial cells) denotes the minimum level to
which the corresponding cells must be split if it doesnt contradict the Cell Mating rule.
Small Solid Feature Refinement
(refinement occurs regardless of the
features size)
Tolerance Refinement
Tolerance criterion = 0.1
Tolerance criterion
= 0.08
Curvature Refinement
(refinement occurs regardless of the
curvature only)
Tolerance Refinement
Tolerance criterion = 0.1
Refines cells only if the solid part cut by
the polygon is large enough (h > 0.1)
Tolerance
criterion = 0.03
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If different cell types are to be refined, the refinement level of partial cells is set as the
maximum level among all selected levels.
The local mesh settings have higher priority over the initial mesh settings. Therefore, the
local mesh cells will be split to the specified local refinement levels regardless of the
general SSFRL, CRL and NCRL (specified in the Initial Mesh dialog box). This, however,
may cause refinement of cells located outside of the local region due to imposing the Cell
Mating rule.
The "Optimize thin walls resolution" option
In the earlier versions of Flow Simulation refinement of the mesh around model's walls
was needed to resolve thin walls properly, but it could also lead to increase in number of
cells in adjacent fluid regions, especially in narrow channels between walls. If this
additional mesh refinement is critical for obtaining proper results and you want to perform
calculation on the same mesh as in the earlier version of Flow Simulation, clear the
Optimize thin walls resolution check box. In this case the mesh will be almost the same
as in the early versions. (see Fig.3.17).
The minimum level means the lower bound to which it is obligatory
to split cells, though the cells can be split further if it is required to
satisfy the other criteria such as Small solid features refinement,
Curvature refinement, Narrow channels refinement or Solid
Boundary Refinement.
Fig.3.17
Mesh refinement around a thin wall: (a) the Optimize thin walls resolution option is switched
off, i.e. the mesh cells are split as in the previous versions of Flow Simulation; (b) the Optimize thin
walls resolution option is selected (the default state), i.e. the mesh cells are not split.
(a) (b)
solid/fluid
interfaces
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 233
Postamble
The problem of resolving a model with the computational mesh is always modelspecific.
In general, a denser mesh will provide better accuracy but you should tend to create an
optimal mesh and to avoid redundant refinement.
When performing a calculation, try different mesh settings and analyze the obtained
results carefully in order to understand whether it is necessary to refine the mesh or a
coarser resolution is acceptable for the desired accuracy.
Glossary
N
x
, N
y
, N
z
Number of basic mesh cells per X, Y and Z directions, respectively.
SSFRL Small solid features refinement level.
CRL Curvature refinement level.
CRC Curvature refinement criterion.
TRL Tolerance refinement level.
TRC Tolerance refinement criterion.
NCRL Narrow channel refinement level.
CNC Characteristic number of cells across a narrow channel.
NCH
min
The minimum height of narrow channels.
NCH
max
The maximum height of narrow channels.
SDRC Square difference refinement criterion.
4 Calculation Control Options
Introduction
The Calculation Control Options dialog box introduced into Flow Simulation allows you
to control:
conditions of finishing the calculation,
saving of the results during the calculation,
refinement of the computational mesh during the calculation,
freezing the flow calculation,
time step for a timedependent analysis,
Advanced Knowledge
234
number of rays traced from the surface if radiating heat transfer is enabled.
This dialog box is accessible both before the calculation and during the calculation. In the
last case the newmade settings are applied to the current calculation starting from the next
iteration.
The main information on employing the options of Finishing the calculation and
Refining the computational mesh during calculation is presented in this document.
Finishing the Calculation
Flow Simulation solves the timedependent set of equations for all problems, including
steadystate cases. For such cases it is necessary to recognize the moment when a
steadystate solution is attained and therefore the calculation should be finished. A set of
independent finishing conditions offered by Flow Simulation allow the user to select the
most appropriate conditions and criteria on when to stop the calculation. The following
finishing conditions are offered by Flow Simulation:
maximum number of refinements;
maximum number of iterations;
maximum physical time (for timedependent problems only);
maximum CPU time;
maximum number of travels;
convergence of the Goals.
In Flow Simulation you can select the finishing conditions that are most appropriate from
your viewpoint to solve the problem under consideration, and specify their values. For the
latter two conditions (i.e., for the maximum number of travels and the Goals convergence
settings) Flow Simulation presents their default values (details are described below). You
can also select the superposition mode for multiple finishing conditions in the Finish
Conditions value cell: either to finish the calculation when all the selected finishing
conditions are satisfied or when at least one of them is satisfied.
In any case, information on the finishing conditions due to which the calculation has
finished is shown in the Monitors Log box.
Travel is the number of iterations required for the propagation of a
disturbance over the whole computational domain. Current number
of iterations per one travel is presented in the Info box of the
Calculation monitor.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 235
The Goals convergence finishing condition is complex since it consists of satisfying all the
specified Goals criteria. A specified Goal criterion includes a specified dispersion, which
is the difference between the maximum and minimum values of the Goal, and a specified
analysis interval over which this difference (i.e., the dispersion) is determined. The
interval is taken from the last iteration rearwards and is the same for all specified Goals.
The analysis interval is applied after an automatically specified initial calculation period
(in travels), and, if refinement of the computational mesh during calculation is enabled,
after an automatically or manually specified relaxation period (in travels or in iterations)
since the last mesh refinement is reached. As soon as the Goal dispersion obtained in the
calculation becomes lower than the specified dispersion, the Goal is considered
converged. As soon as all Goals included in the Goals convergence finishing condition (by
selecting them in the On/Off column) have converged, this condition is considered
satisfied. The Goals not included into the Goals convergence finishing condition are used
for information only, i.e., with no influence on the calculation finishing conditions.
Let us consider the Flow Simulation default values for the maximum number of travels
and the Goals convergence settings in detail. These default (recommended by Flow
Simulation) values depend on the Result resolution level either specified in the Wizard or
changed by pressing the Reset button in the Calculation Control Options dialog box. For
higher Result resolution levels the finishing conditions are tighter.
The default maximum number of travelsdepends on
the type of the specified Goal (i.e., dynamic or diffusive, see below);
the specified Result resolution level;
the problem's type (i.e., incompressible liquid or compressible gas, low or high
Mach number gas flow, timedependent or steadystate).
The default Goals convergence settings are the default analysis interval, which is shown
in the Finish tab of the Calculation Control Options dialog box, and the default Goals
criterion dispersion values, which are not shown in the Calculation Control Options dialog
box, but, instead, are shown in the Monitors Goal Table or Goal Plot table (in the Criteria
column), since they depend on the values of the Goal physical parameter calculated in the
computational domain, and therefore are not known before the calculation and, moreover,
can change during it. In contrast, the Goals criterion dispersion values specified manually
do not change during the calculation.
The Dynamic goalsare: Static Pressure, Dynamic Pressure, Total
Pressure, Mass Flow Rate, Forces, Volume Flow Rate, and Velocity.
The Diffusive goalsare: Temperature, Density, Mass in Volume,
Heat flux, Heat transfer rate, Concentrations, Mass Flow Rate of
species, and Volume Flow Rate of species.
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236
As for the automatically specified initial calculation period (measured in travels), it
depends on the problem type, the Goal type, and the specified Result resolution level.
the manually specified analysis interval for the Goals
convergence finishing criteria must be substantially longer than
the typical period of the flow field oscillation (if it occurs);
the Goals determined on solid/fluid interfaces or model
openings, as well as the Postprocessor Surface Parameters, yield
the most accurate and correct numerical information on flow or
solid parameters, especially integral ones;
Global Goals yield the most reliable information on flow or solid
parameters, although they may be too general;
the CPU time depends slightly on the number of the specified
Goals, but, in some cases, vary substantially in the case of
presence of a Surface Goal;
Surface and Volume Goals provide exactly the same information
that may be obtained via the Surface and Volume Parameters
Postprocessor features, respectively.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 237
Refinement of the Computational Mesh During Calculation
Solutionadaptive refinement of the computational mesh during the calculation is a
process of splitting the computational mesh cells in areas where the calculation error
(specifically, the local truncation error (LTE)) may be sufficiently large and merging of the
computational mesh cells in areas where the calculation error is definitely small.
In the solution adaptive refinement the computational mesh cells are split until the
specified Refinement level is satisfied. The Refinement level specifies how much times
the initial mesh cells can be split to achieve the solutionadaptive refinement criteria, and
thus governs the minimum computational mesh cell size. If specified Refinement level
allows, the remeshing adaptation cycles are performed with a sequentially increasing
refinement level. If the Refinement level is already reached, the remeshing occurs
anyway, but at a constant refinement level.
To locate regions of the computational domain that need mesh refinement, it is necessary
to analyze the solution obtained with the mesh that existed at the last refinement cycle.
Indicator functions are used to locate regions where the solution requires a mesh
refinement to reduce the local truncation errors. The output of an indicator function is used
to determine if the mesh cell must be split or merged or is adequately resolved.
The indicator function for the momentum conservation law is defined as follows:
where is a convolution of the strain rate tensor, n is the total number of
adjacent cells, n
min
is the number of the coordinate directions (plus or minus) in which at
least one cell is adjacent cell, foamis the cell level gap displacement factor, which shifts
the region where the mesh cells must be split to the area where the local truncation error is
definitely small, h is the characteristic cell size defined as follows:
where u is the fluid velocity.
, ,
min
S h foam
n
n
C
m


.

\

I = foam
n
n


.

\

+ = I 1 1
min
ij ij
S S S = 5 . 0
=
=
c
c
c
c
=
j i j j
i
j
j i j
j
i
x
u
h
x
u
h
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238
The indicator functions for the mass, energy and species conservation laws are defined as
follows:
The mesh cell are split if the following condition is satisfied:
or or or
and the mesh refinement level is less than the current maximum refinement level.
The child mesh cells are merged if all following condition is satisfied for each child cell:
and and and
and if the refinement level difference between the resulting merged mesh cells and their
neighbors will not exceed 1.
All limiting values (c
split
and c
merge
) are determined automatically at each refinement
cycle by using mesh histograms.
The solutionadaptive refinement can dramatically increase the number of cells so that the
available computer resources (physical RAM) will not be enough for running the
calculation. To limit the total number of cells the Approximate Maximum Cells value can
be specified. If the maximum cells number is exceeded, the number of cells will be limited
for the last refinement cycle in such a way that the LTE, increasing at the refinement level
gap surface, is minimized.
For a transient analysis the following three strategies are available:
Periodic refinement;
Tabular Refinement;
Manual Only refinement.
In the first two strategies the refinement moment is known beforehand. The solution
gradients are analyzed over iterations belonging to the Relaxation interval, which is
calculated from the current moment rearwards. As the result, only steadystate gradients
are considered. The default length of the Relaxation interval can be adjusted manually.
On the other hand, the analysis must not continue with the same relaxation interval
defined from the start of the calculation, in order to avoid considering the initial highly
unsteady period. Therefore, a period of at least two relaxation intervals is recommended
before the first refinement. If the first assigned refinement is scheduled in a shorter term
from the beginning, the period over which the gradients are analyzed is shortened
accordingly, so that in an extreme case it can be as short as one current iteration. If you
initiate a refinement manually within this period, the gradients are analyzed in one current
iteration only. Naturally, such a short period gives not very reliable gradients and hence
may result in an inadequate solution or excessive CPU time and memory requirements.
,
1
2
1
2
(
(


.

\

c
c
I =
i
i
i
h
x
C
,
1
2
1
2
(
(


.

\

c
c
I =
i
i
i
e
h
x
T
T
C
2
1
2
(
(


.

\

c
c
I =
i
i
i
y
h
x
y
C
m
split m
C c >
c
split
C >
e
split e
C c >
y
split y
C c >
m
merge m
C c <
c
merge
C <
e
merge e
C c <
y
merge y
C c <
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 239
The figure below illustrates this concept. Here, the letter r denotes the relaxation interval.
This figure involves both the Periodic and Tabular refinements. Case 1is the
recommended normal approach. In the Case 2the first refinement is too close to the
starting point of the calculation, so the gradients are analyzed over the shorter interval
(which could even be reduced to just one current iteration in an extreme case). Case 3is a
particular case when the refinement is initiated manually just before a previously assigned
refinement. As the result, the manual refinement is welldefined, since the gradients have
been analyzed over almost the entire relaxation interval, but on the other hand, the
previously assigned refinement is performed on the substantially shorter interval, and
therefore its action can be incorrect. Thus, Case 3demonstrates the possible error of
performing manual and previously assigned refinements concurrently.
Fig.4.1 Refinement strategy.
Collecting of the statistics is prohibited
Monitoring interval where statistics are collected
Refinement
Case 1
Auto ref.
0
0
Ref. point 1 Ref. point 2
Case 2 Case 3
Ref. point 1
r
1
Manual ref.
r
2
r
r
r r
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240
5 Flow Freezing
What is Flow Freezing?
Sometimes it is necessary to solve a problem that deals with different processes
developing at substantially different rates. If the difference in rates is substantial (10 times
or higher) then the CPU time required to solve the problem is governed almost exclusively
by the slower process. To reduce the CPU time, a reasonable approach is to stop the
calculation of the fastest process (which is fully developed by that time and does not
change further) and use its results to continue the calculation of the slower processes. Such
an approach is called freezing.
In the case of problems solved with Flow Simulation the processes of convective mass,
momentum, and energy transport are the fastest processes to develop and to converge,
whereas the processes of mass, momentum, and energy transfer by diffusion are the
slowest ones. Accordingly, Flow Simulation offers the Flow Freezing option that allow
you to freeze, or fix, the pressure and velocity field while continuing the calculation of
temperature and composition. This option is especially useful in solving steadystate
problems involving diffusion processes that are important from the users viewpoint, e.g.
species or heat propagation in dead zones of the flow. Timedependent analyses with
nearly steadystate velocity fields and diffusion processes developing with time are also
examples of this class of problems. As a result, the CPU time for solving such problems
can be substantially reduced by applying the Flow Freezing option.
Flow Simulation treats Flow Freezing for the High Mach number flows differently. All
flow parameters are frozen, but the temperature of the solid is calculated using these fixed
parameters at the outer of the boundary layer and user defined time step. Temperature
change on the solid's surface and relevant variation of the heat flows are accounted in the
boundary layer only. It is impossible (and makes no sense) to use Flow Freezing for
calculation of concentration propagation in the High Mach number flow. If custom time
step is not specified, the steadystate temperature of solid will be reached in one time step
assumed to be infinite.
How It Works
To access the Flow Freezing option, open the Calculation Control Options dialog box,
then the Advanced tab. This option has three modes: Disabled (by default), Periodic, and
Permanent.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 241
Flow Freezing in a Permanent Mode
As an example of applying the Flow Freezing option, let us consider a plane flow (2D)
problem of heating the vortex core in a vessel (Fig.5.1).
At the beginning the entire fluid region is filled with a cold (T=300 K) liquid. A hot
(T=400K) liquid enters the vessel through the lower channel (the upper channel is the
exit). As a result, a vortex with a cold core is developed in the vessel. The vortex core
temperature is changed mainly due to heat diffusion. To measure it, a small body is placed
at the vortex center and disabled in the Component Control dialog box, so that it is treated
by Flow Simulation as a fluid region. Its minimum temperature (i.e., the minimum fluid
temperature in this region) is the Volume Goal of the calculation.
First of all, let us consider Flow Freezing operating in the Permanent mode. The only
userspecified parameter in Permanent mode is the starting moment of enabling the Flow
Freezing option. Until this moment the calculation runs in a usual manner. After this
moment the fluid velocity field becomes frozen, i.e., it is no longer calculated, but is taken
from the last iteration performed just before the Flow Freezing Start moment. For the
remainder of the run only the equations terms concerning heat conduction and diffusion
are calculated. As a result, the CPU time required per iteration is reduced.
The starting moment of the Flow Freezing option should be set not too early in order to let
the flow field to fully develop. As a rule, an initial period of not less than 0.25 travels is
required to satisfy this condition. In most problems the 0.5 travel initial period is
sufficient, but there are problems that require a longer initial period.
The Flow Freezing Start moment, as well as other parameters of the
Calculation Control Options dialog box can be changed during a
calculation.
Fig.5.1 Heating the vortex core in a vessel.
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242
When first solving the problem under consideration we set the maximum number of
travels to 10. The calculation performed without applying the Flow Freezing option then
required about 10 travels to reach the convergence of the project Goal (the steadystate
minimum fluid temperature in the vortex core). However, the steadystate fluid velocity
field was reached in about 0.5 travels, i.e., substantially earlier. So, by applying the Flow
Freezing option in the Permanent mode (just after 0.5 travels) the same calculation
requires substantially less time on the same computer to reach the convergence of the
project Goal.
If it is necessary to perform several calculations with the same fluid velocity field, but
different temperatures and/or species concentrations, it is expedient to first calculate this
fluid velocity field without applying the Flow Freezing option. Then, clone the Flow
Simulation project into several projects (including copying the calculation results), make
the required changes to these projects, and perform the remaining calculations for these
projects using the calculated results as initial conditions and applying the Flow Freezing
option in the Permanent mode with a zero Start period.
Flow Freezing in a Periodic Mode
In some problems the flow field depends on temperature (or species concentrations), so
both the velocity and the temperature (concentrations) change simultaneously throughout
the calculation. Nevertheless, since they change in a different manner, i.e., the velocity
field changes faster than the temperature (concentrations) field, therefore approaching its
steady state solution earlier, the Flow Freezing option can be used in a Periodic mode to
reduce the CPU time required for solving such problems. The Periodic mode of the Flow
Freezing option consists of calculating the velocity field not in each of the iterations (time
steps), but periodically for a number of iterations specified in No freezing (iterations)
after a period of freezing specified in the Freezing (iterations) (see Fig.5.2) The
As soon as the Flow Freezing option is invoked, only the slowest
processes are calculated. As a result, the convergence and finishing
criteria can become nonoptimal. Therefore, to avoid obtaining
incorrect results when enabling the Flow Freezing option, it is
recommended to increase the maximum number of travels specified
at the Finish tab of the Calculation Control Options dialog box by
1.55 times compared to the number that was set automatically or
required for the calculation performed without the Flow Freezing
option.
If you forget to use the calculated results as initial conditions, then
the saved fluid velocity field will be lost in the cloned project, so the
project must be created again. To use the calculated results as initial
conditions for the current project, select the Transferred type of
Parameter definition for the initial conditions in the General Settings
dialog box.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 243
temperatures and concentrations are calculated in each iteration. Examples include
channel flows with specified mass flow rates and pressures, so the fluid density and,
therefore, velocity depend on the fluid temperature, or flows involving free convection,
where due to the buoyancy the hot fluid rises, so the velocity field depends on the fluid
temperature.
As an example, let us consider a 3D external problem of an air jet outflow from a body
face into still air (see Fig.5.3, in which the jet outflow face is marked by a red line). Here,
the wire frame is the computational domain. The other body seen in this figure is
introduced and disabled in the Component Control dialog box (so it is a fluid region) in
order to see the air temperature averaged over its face (the project Goal), depending on the
air temperature specified at the jet outflow face.
This problem is solved in several stages. At the first stage, the calculation is performed for
the cold (T = 300 K, which is equal to the environment temperature) air jet. Then we clone
the project including copying the results. Next, we set the outlet air temperature to T = 400
K, specify the Periodic mode of the Flow Freezing option by its Start moment of 0.25
travels (in order for the heat to have time to propagate along the jet to the measuring face)
and under Duration specify 10 as both the Freezing (iterations) and No freezing
(iterations) values. Then perform the calculation on the same computational mesh with
the Take previous results option in the Run box. As a result, the calculation with flow
freezing takes less CPU time than the similar calculation without the Flow Freezing option
enabled.
Fig.5.2
Start
Freezing
Iterations
No Freezing
Fig.5.3 Air jet outflow from a body face into a still air.
Advanced Knowledge
244
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 31
3
Advanced Features Guide
This chapter gives an overview of the advanced physical simulation features available in
Flow Simulation such as Cavitation, Steam, Humidity and Real Gases. The provided
information includes a general description of the feature, the assumptions and limitations
of the employed physical model, a full description of all interface options and settings you
need to set to include the feature into the analysis, and some examples of the features
application for solving engineering problems.
1 Cavitation
Cavitation is a common problem for many engineering devices in which the fluid is in
liquid state. The deleterious effects of cavitation include: lowered performance, load
asymmetry, erosion and pitting of blade surfaces, vibration and noise, and reduction of the
overall machine life. However, cavitation is also used in some industrial processes, such
as the fuel spray formation in diesel and gasoline engines.
The following models of cavitation are available in Flow Simulation:
Engineering cavitation model (for predefined water only):
This model employs a homogeneous equilibrium approach and is available for
predefined water only. It has the capability to account for the thermal effects.
Isothermal cavitation model:
This model is based on the approach considering isothermal twophase flows. Fluid
density is defined by the barotropic equation of state. The isothermal cavitation
model is only available for userdefined incompressible liquids.
Advanced Features Guide
32
Physical model
Engineering Cavitation Model
The homogeneous equilibrium approach is employed. It is applicable for a variety of
important industrial processes.
The fluid is assumed to be a homogeneous gasliquid mixture with the gaseous phase
consisting of the vapour and noncondensable (dissolved) gas. The vapour mass fraction is
defined at the local equilibrium thermodynamic conditions. The dissolved gas mass
fraction is a constant, which can be modified by user.
The model has the following limitations and/or assumptions:
The properties of the dissolved noncondensable gas are set to be equal to those of
air. By default, the mass fraction of the dissolved noncondensable gas is set to 10
4
,
but it can be modified by the user in the range of 10
3
...10
5
.
The temperature and pressure ranges in the cavitation area must be within the
following bounds:
280 < T < 583.15 K, 800 < P < 10
7
Pa.
The velocities and temperatures of the gaseous (including vapour and
noncondensable gas) and liquid phases are assumed to be the same.
The model does not describe the detailed structure of the cavitation area, i.e
parameters of individual vapour bubbles are not considered.
For mixtures of different liquids the cavitation option cannot be selected.
The volume fraction of vapour is limited by 0.95. The parameters of the flow at the
inlet boundary conditions must satisfy this requirement.
Isothermal Cavitation Model
This model provides a capability to analyze twophase flows of industrial liquids which
thermophysical properties are not described in details.
In the isothermal cavitation model the following assumptions are made:
The fluid temperature is constant and the thermal effects are not considered.
The fluid density is defined by the barotropic equation of state.
The liquid phase is an incompressible fluid.
When liquid turns into vapour completely the vapour and noncondensable gas
density is defined by the ideal gas law.
The fluid contains noncondensable (dissolved) gas. One of the four gases can be
used as dissolved gas: Air, Carbon dioxide, Helium and Methane. By default, the
noncondensable gas is Air and the mass fraction is set to 10
4
. This is a typical
model value appropriated in most cases but it can be modified by the user in the
range of 10
2
...10
6
.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 33
Interface
Isothermal cavitation model can be employed for any userdefined incompressible Liquid
in the Engineering Database by selecting the Cavitation effect check box and specifying
the Molar mass of the liquid and the Saturation pressure at the specific Temperature.
Engineering cavitation model becomes available when you select predefined Water as the
projects Default fluid.
Cavitation option in Flow Simulation is
switched on by selecting the Cavitation
check box under Flow Characteristic
either in the Default Fluid dialog of the
Wizard or the Fluids dialog of General
Settings.
Advanced Features Guide
34
For a fluid subdomain the Cavitation option is switched on under Flow
Characteristic of the Fluid Subdomain dialog.
Once enabled, the Cavitation option requires you to specify the
Dissolved gas mass fraction.
For the predefined water the default value of this parameter is 10
4
.
This value is typical for air dissolved in water under normal conditions
and therefore is appropriate for most cases. For a userdefined liquid
the default Dissolved gas is Air and the default value of the
Dissolved gas mass fraction is 10
4
. This is a typical value under
normal conditions and appropriate in most cases.
If needed, for the predefined water you can specify a different value of
the Dissolved gas mass fraction in the range of 10
3
...10
5
and for a
userdefined liquid in the range of 10
2
...10
6
for each gas which can be selected as the
dissolved gas: Air, Carbon dioxide, Helium or Methane.
Cavitation is represented in the calculation results via the following
parameters: Mass Fraction of Vapour and Volume Fraction of
Vapour, which corresponds to the local mass or volume fraction of the
vapour component. Make sure that those parameters are enabled in the
Parameter list to make them available for selection in the View
Settings dialog.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 35
Examples of use
Rotating impeller
Water flows through a rotating impeller with five blades of a curved shape, as shown on
the picture. The aim of simulation is to predict the impeller characteristics.
Due to the pressure drop on the suction side of the impeller blades, a cavitation may
develop in these areas, which cannot but affect the impeller performance.
The appearance of the calculated cavitation area in the form of isosurfaces is shown below
on Fig.1.1.
Hydrofoil in a tunnel
A symmetric hydrofoil is placed with a nonzero
angle of attack in a sufficiently wide waterfilled
tunnel. Obviously, water flow develops some
pressure drop on the upper surface of the hydrofoil,
which can lead to cavitation under certain
conditions.
Fig.1.2 contains a representation of the calculated
cavitation area visualized in terms of Volume
Fraction of Vapour.
Fig.1.1 Isosurfaces for vapour volume fraction of 10%.
Fig.1.2 Calculated cavitation area.
Advanced Features Guide
36
Ball valve
Water flows inside an halfopened ball valve (see Fig.1.3) at the relatively low pressure
and high velocity producing cavitation.
The results visualized in the form of Cut plot with Volume Fraction of Vapour as displayed
parameter are presented on Fig.1.4. It is clearly seen that sudden expansion of the flow
produces an area of strong cavitation.
Fig.1.3 Model of the ball valve.
Fig.1.4 Distribution of the vapour volume fraction.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 37
Throttle flow
Diesel fuel flows through a throttle (see Fig.1.5) under a relatively high difference
between the injection pressure and back pressure.
When a high velocity fluid passes through a contraction like a nozzle, an area of low
pressure is formed in the wake of its edge. In this wake the pressure can decrease below
the saturation pressure, and thus cause the liquid to cavitate.
The results visualized in the form of Cut plot with Volume Fraction of Vapour as displayed
parameter are presented on Fig.1.6. The red color indicates the region of high vapor
fraction.
Fig.1.5 Model of the throttle.
Nozzle wall
Fig.1.6 Distribution of the vapour volume fraction.
Advanced Features Guide
38
Recommendations
If you analyze a flow of water in some points of which the local static pressure can
reach the saturation pressure at the local temperature causing cavitation or if a
vaporization of water can occur in the water flow due to intense heating, it is
recommended to use the Engineering cavitation model.
Cavitation area growths slowly during calculation and there is a risk that the
calculation will stop before the cavitation area develops completely. To avoid this,
specify Global Goal of Average Density and increase the Analysis interval on the
Finish tab of the Calculation Control Options dialog box. Also make sure that the
other finish conditions do not cause the calculation to stop before goals are
converged. The easiest way to ensure this is to select If all are satisfied in the Value
cell for the Finish conditions on the Finish tab of the Calculation Control Options
dialog box.
The Cavitation option is not applicable if you calculate a flow in the model without
flow openings (inlet and outlet).
The fluid region where cavitation occurs must be well resolved by the
computational mesh.
Besides the Volume Fraction of Vapour you can also select Density as the
visualization parameter to see the cavitation areas in your simulation.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 39
2 Steam
Physical model
Flow Simulation allows you to consider water steam among the project fluids. Like
Humidity, the Steam option may be used to analyze engineering problems concerning
water vapour and its volume condensation, along with the corresponding changes in the
physical properties of the project fluid. Steam option in Flow Simulation describes the
behavior of pure water steam or its mixtures with other gases.
Limitations and Assumptions
The model has the following limitations and/or assumptions:
Flow Simulation project may include pure Steam or its mixture with Gases (but not
with Real gases).
Thermodynamic parameters of steam should be contained within the following
bounds:
200.15 < T < 610 K, P < 10
7
Pa.
The volume fraction of condensed water should never exceed 5%.
Steam option is incompatible with the High Mach number flow option, i.e. the two
can not be employed simultaneously.
The employed model of condensation is fully equilibrium and considers only
volume condensation.
Interface
Steam is treated by Flow Simulation as a
special kind of fluid and may be selected
from the Engineering Database just like
any other fluid.
Steam may be assigned for a fluid
subdomain as well as for the whole project.
Steam may be mixed with any regular
Gases (but not with Real gases). In this case, its concentration in a form
of mass or volume fraction must be specified in Initial conditions, as
well as in all boundary conditions.
Advanced Features Guide
310
Steam content in the mixtures of water steam with other gases is
represented in the calculation results via Mass Fraction of Water
(that represent mass fraction of water wapour) and Relative Humidity
(which is the ratio of the local partial density of water to the density of
saturated water vapor under current conditions). The content of
particular form of water, i.e. vapor or liquid, is represented via Mass
Fraction of Condensate (that represents mass fraction of condensed
steam in the fluid) and Moisture Content (that represents the fraction of condensed steam
with respect to the overall content of steam). Note that you may need to check some of
those parameters in the Parameter list to enable their selection in the View Settings
window.
Example of use
Heat exchanger
Flow Simulation calculates the equilibrium condensation in water steam as steam flows
through a cooled tube of a heat exchanger. Fig.2.1 shows cut plot of the condensate mass
fraction parameter.
Recommendations
To avoid the risk of finishing the calculation before the condensation develops
completely, always specify some goal strongly dependent on condensation, for
example Global Goal of Average Density, and make sure that the calculation will
not stop before this goal is converged.
To see the condensation areas, you may use Relative Humidity or the Condensate
Mass Fraction as the parameter for visualization.
Fig.2.1 Cut plot showing the condensate mass fraction.
Inlet
Outlet
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 311
3 Humidity
Physical model
Flow Simulation allows you to consider the relative humidity of the gas or mixture of
gases. This allows you to analyze engineering problems where the condensation of water
vapor contained in the air (or other gas), or, more generally speaking, where any
differences in physical properties of wet and dry air play an important role. Examples may
include air conditioning systems (especially in wet climate or in the places where relative
humidity is very important, e.g. libraries, art museums, etc.), tank steamers, steam turbines
and other kinds of industrial equipment. Flow Simulation can calculate equilibrium
volume (but not surface) condensation of steam into water. As a result, the local fractions
of gaseous and condensed steam are determined. In addition, the corresponding changes
of the fluid temperature, density, enthalpy, specific heat, and sonic velocity are determined
and taken into account.
Limitations and Assumptions
The model has the following limitations and/or assumptions:
Humidity is currently available only in Gases (both in individual gases and in
mixtures), but not in Real gases.
Thermodynamic parameters in the fluid areas where humidity is considered should
be contained within the following bounds:
200.15 < T < 610 K, P < 10
7
Pa.
The volume fraction of condensed water should never exceed 5%.
Humidity option is incompatible with the High Mach number flow option, i.e. the
two can not be employed simultaneously.
The model does not describe the condensation process in as subtle detail as the
parameters of individual liquid droplets.
Surface condensation, i.e. the formation of dew on solid surfaces, is not considered.
The condensed steam has no history, since the employed condensation model is
fully equilibrium. In other words, the state of condensed steam at given point is
governed solely by the local conditions at this point.
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Interface
Humidity option in Flow Simulation is
switched on by checking the Humidity
check box either in Wizard or in the
General Settings window. This check box
is present only if the current fluid type is
set to Gases.
Once Humidity is switched on, the relative
humidity of the gas becomes available to
specify in the Initial conditions window.
The relative humidity is defined as the
ratio of the current water vapor density to
that of saturated water vapor under current
conditions.
Humidity can be assigned for a fluid subdomain as well as for the
whole project by selecting the check box of the same name, and, once
assigned, becomes available to specify in the Humidity Parameters
group box.
The relative humidity must be specified within all boundary and initial
conditions in contact with the fluid region for which the calculation of
relative humidity is performed.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 313
Together with the humidity value for boundary and initial
conditions you must also specify the values of Humidity
reference pressure and Humidity reference
temperature that describe the conditions under which the
relative humidity has been determined, since these values
may differ from the current pressure and temperature.
Humidity is represented in the calculation results via the
following parameters: Mass Fraction of Water (that represent mass
fraction of water wapour) and Relative Humidity (which is the ratio
of the local partial density of water to the density of saturated water
vapor under current conditions). The content of particular form of
water, i.e. vapor or liquid, is represented via Mass Fraction of
Condensate (that represents mass fraction of water condensate in the
fluid) and Moisture Content (that represents the fraction of condensed water with respect
to the overall content of water). Note that you may need to check some of those
parameters in the Parameter list to enable their selection in the View Settings window.
Heat
Boundary
condition
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Example of use
Aircraft
An air flow around an aircraft model can be simulated with the Humidity option selected.
The examination of relative humidity distribution (Fig.3.1) reveals broad areas of more
than 80% relative humidity from above of both wings. Naturally, these areas (together
with smaller zones near the cockpit and the tail unit) are enriched with water condensate,
as it may be seen on Fig.3.2.
Recommendations
If your analyze a flow of gas containing some amount of water vapor and the
conditions are likely to get over the dew point, it is recommended to consider
humidity in the calculation as described in this chapter.
To avoid the risk of finishing the calculation before the condensation develops
completely, always specify some goal strongly dependent on condensation, for
example Global Goal of Average Density, and make sure that the calculation will
not stop before this goal is converged.
To see the condensation areas, you may use Relative Humidity or the Condensate
Mass Fraction as the parameter for visualization.
Fig.3.2 Isosurfaces of condensate mass
fraction = 0.00015
Fig.3.1 Flow trajectories colored in
accordance with relative humidity.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 315
4 Real Gases
Physical model
Flow Simulation has an ability to consider real gases. A wide choice of predefined real
gases is presented. The user may also create userdefined real gases by specifying their
parameters. This option may be useful in the engineering problems concerning gases at
nearlycondensation temperatures and/or at nearlycritical and supercritical pressures, i.e.
at conditions where the behavior of the gas can no longer be represented adequately by the
idealgas state equation.
The model of real gas implemented in Flow Simulation employs a custom modification of
the RedlichKwong state equation. Naturally, the equation unavoidably has certain bounds
of applicability, which are explained on the picture below:
The area of validity of the model includes zones 10, 11 and 12. (Each predefined real gas
has its own values of P
min
, P
max
, T
min
, and T
max
, and those are also to be specified for a
userdefined real gas.) If the calculated pressure and/or temperature fall outside of this
area, Flow Simulation issues a warning. The warning for zones 1  8 is: Real gas
parameters (pressure and/or temperature) are outside the definitional domain of
substance properties, with comment: P < P
min
, P > P
max
, T < T
min
, or T > T
max
,
depending on what has actually happen. The warning for zone 9 is: Phase transition in
the Real gas may occur.
Supercritical
Vapor
Liquid
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316
Limitations and Assumptions
The model has the following limitations and/or assumptions:
Real gas may be used in a Flow Simulation project as pure fluid or in mixture with
Gases (but not with other Real gases).
Pressure and temperature of real gas should be contained within certain limits (those
are specified individually for each of the predefined real gases).
Real gas should not be put under conditions that cause its condensation into liquid.
The use of real gas is incompatible with the High Mach number flow option.
The precision of calculation of thermodynamic properties at nearlycritical
temperatures and supercritical pressures may be lowered to some extent in
comparison to other parameter ranges. The calculations involving userdefined real
gases at supercritical pressures are not recommended.
The copying of predefined real gases to userdefined folder is impossible since the
employed models are not exactly similar.
Interface
Real gases are a special type of fluids and
may be selected from the Engineering
Database along with other fluids.
Real gas may be assigned for a fluid
subdomain as well as for the whole project.
Real gases may be mixed with regular
Gases (though not with each other). In this case, substance
concentrations in a form of mass or volume fractions must be specified
in Initial conditions, as well as in all boundary conditions.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 317
To create a userdefined real gas,
the user must create a new item
in the corresponding folder in the
Engineering Database and
specify the following parameters:
Molar mass;
Critical pressurep
c
;
Critical temperatureT
c
;
Critical compressibility factor Z
c
;
RedlichKwong equation type that should be used, i.e. the
original one or its modifications by Wilson, BarnesKing, or
Soave;
Acentric factor e (if applicable);
Minimumtemperature, i.e. the lower margin of validity of the model;
Maximumtemperature, i.e. the corresponding upper margin;
Order of ideal gas heat capacity polynomial, i.e. the order of polynomial function
of temperature that defines the "idealgas" constituent of the real gas specific heat at
constant pressure;
Coefficients of ideal gas heat capacity polynomial, i.e. the coefficients of the
aforementioned polynomial;
Polarity (check if the gas in question has polar molecules);
Vapor viscosity dependence on temperature, i.e. the coefficients a and n in the
equation describing vapor viscosity as q = aT
n
;
Vapor thermal conductivity
dependence on temperature, which
includes the coefficients a and n and the
choice of dependency type between linear = a+nT and powerlaw = aT
n
forms;
Liquid viscosity dependence on temperature, which includes the coefficients a
and n and the choice of dependency type between powerlaw q = aT
n
and
exponential q = 10
a(1/T1/n)
forms;
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318
Liquid thermal conductivity dependence on temperature, which includes the
coefficients a and n and the choice of dependency type between linear = a+nT
and powerlaw = aT
n
forms;
The coefficients of the userspecified dependencies for thermophysical properties should
be entered only in SI unit system, except those for the exponential form of dynamic
viscosity of the liquid, which should be taken exclusively from Ref. 1.
Note that the foregoing dependencies for the specific heat and transport properties cover
only the idealgas constituents of the corresponding properties, i.e. their values at
lowpressure limit, and the actual formulae contain pressuredependent corrections which
are calculated automatically.
The postprocessor display parameters concerning real gas
includes its mass and volume fractions in a mixture (if it is
not a sole component of the fluid) and the Real Gas State.
The latter parameter represents the local phase state of real
gas, which may be Vapor, Liquid, Supercritical, or Out of
range. Once selected, it renders inaccessible the Palette and
Min/Max settings within the Color Bar dialog and replaces
the Color bar with the schematic phase diagram that
provides an explanation of meaning of particular colors, as
shown on the picture.
Example of use
J ouleThomson effect
A flow of nitrogen through a tube containing narrow restriction is simulated. To reduce
computation time, the tube was split in halves by a symmetry plane and Symmetry
condition was applied to the corresponding boundary of the Computational Domain.
The calculation within ideal gas approximation, i.e. with nitrogen selected from Gases as
the project fluid, results in the temperature distribution shown on Fig.4.1. It is clearly seen
that the temperature of the gas, after undergoing a noticeable drop while passing through
the hole, later reinstates its initial value. This is an expected behavior of an ideal gas, as its
enthalpy does not depend on pressure.
Fig.4.1 Field of temperatures for a flow of ideal gas.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 319
The calculation was repeated with fluid changed to nitrogen selected from Real Gases and
all other conditions similar. Now the gas temperature at outlet is different from that at inlet
(see Fig.4.2).
Hence we may conclude that the real gas reveals a nonzero JouleThomson effect, as
expected.
Recommendations
Minimum temperature for userdefined real gas should be set at least 5...10 K higher
than the triple point of the actual substance.
Maximum temperature for userdefined real gas should be set so as to keep away
from the area of dissociation of the gas.
The userspecified dependencies for the specific heat and transport properties of the
userdefined real gases should be valid in the whole temperature range from T
min
to
T
max
(or, as for liquid, in the whole temperature range where the liquid exists).
References
1 R.C. Reid, J.M. Prausnitz, B.E. Poling. The properties of gases and liquids, 4th edition,
McGrawHill Inc., NY, USA, 1987.
Fig.4.2 Field of temperatures for a flow of real gas.
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5 Rotation
Physical model
Flow Simulation is capable of simulating rotation of model parts and components with the
rotating reference frame approach. Depending on the model geometry, you can choose one
of the following two options to simulate your rotating equipment:
Global rotating reference frame. With this option the model and the global
coordinate system are considered rotating with specified angular velocity. Global
rotating reference frame is applicable when all nonrotating model components are
axisymmetrical with respect to the selected rotation axis.
Local regions of rotation. This option allows to specify multiple local rotating
coordinate systems within the model. All model parts and components within the
local rotating regions are considered rotating by default. With this option you can
simulate rotation of specific model components and nonrotating model components
outside rotating regions are not required to be axisymmetrical .
The rotating reference frame approach has the following prerequisites that must be
satisfied in order to apply it successfully and obtain reliable results:
the supposed inlet flow field at the rotating refrence frame boundaries must be
axisymmetrical with respect to the rotation axis,
the supposed outlet flow field at the rotating refrence frame boundaries must be as
close to axisymmetrical with respect to the rotation axis as possible.
Please note that even in case of timedependent (transient) analysis the flow parameters
within a rotating referrence frame are calculated using a steadystate approach and
averaged at the rotating refrence frame boundaries.
If you consider gravitational effects in your analysis, the rotation axis must be parallel to
the gravity vector.
You can specify some model components within a global rotating
reference frame or local rotating region as nonrotating by applying the
Stator wall Boundary Condition to the components surfaces. All
nonrotating components within a rotating reference frame must be
axisymmetrical with respect to the selected rotation axis.
The rotating reference frame boundaries are the computational domain
outer boundaries for the Global rotating option and the rotating region
outer surface for Local regions option.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 321
Local Rotating Regions  Additional Information
In accordance with the employed approach, each rotating solid component is surrounded
by an axisymmetrical Rotating region, which has its own coordinate system rotating
together with the component. To connect solutions obtained within the rotating region and
in nonrotating part of the computational domain, special internal boundary conditions are
set automatically at the fluid boundaries of the rotating region. The rotating regions
boundaries are sliced into rings of equal width as shown on the Fig.5.1. Then the values of
flow parameters transferred as boundary conditions from the adjacent fluid regions are
averaged circumferentially over each of these rings.
Please note that even in the case of timedependent (transient) analysis the flow
parameters within the rotating regions are calculated using a steadystate approach and
averaged on the rotating regions' boundaries as described above.
The rotating region option is not applicable for high Mach number flows.
A rotating region is defined by adding an auxiliary component representing the rotating
region to the model and specifying the angular velocity. A component defining a rotating
region must meet the following requirements:
the rotating component must be fully enclosed by it and the rotating component
walls must not contact or intersect the rotating region boundaries,
it must be axisymmetrical (with respect to the rotating component's rotation axis),
its intersections with other fluid and solid regions must be axisymmetrical too,
the components defining different rotating regions must not intersect.
Computational domain or fluid subdomain
Flow parameters are calculated in the inertial Global Coordinate System
Rotation axis
Flow parameters are
averaged over these rings
Local rotating region
Flow parameters are calculated
in the local rotating coordinate
system
Fig.5.1 Slicing of rotating region boundaries into rings.
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322
Interface
The rotation type is specified in the
Analysis Type dialog box of the Wizard
or General Settings by selecting the
Global rotating or Local region(s)
option.
Global Rotating Reference Frame
For Global rotating reference frame
specify Rotation axis and Angular
velocity. These settings are applied to the
entire computational domain.
To select the rotation axis for the Global
rotating reference frame, click and in the Rotation
Axis dialog box specify either a reference axis or axis of
the reference coordinate system.
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 323
Local Rotating Regions
In the Rotating Region dialog available under Flow
Simulation, Insert, Rotating Region, you select the model
component representing the volume, in which the local rotating
reference frame is applied, and specify Angular velocity.
During the definition of rotating region
in the graphics area you can see the
green arrows denoting the rotation axis
and direction, and the direction of the
angular velocity vector considered as
positive.
The following parameters, available in the results processing tools, are useful for
analyzing the results of a calculation involving rotation:
Axial velocity (m/s) is the fluid velocity component along the rotating coordinate
systems rotation axis, it can be determined both in the rotating coordinate system
and in the absolute (i.e. nonrotating) one.
Circumferential velocity (m/s) is the fluid velocity component along the rotating
coordinate systems peripheral velocity vector relative to the Z axis of the selected
absolute (i.e. nonrotating) coordinate system.
Circumferential velocity RRF (m/s) is the fluid velocity component along the
peripheral velocity vector relative to the Z axis of the selected rotating coordinate
system. Note that if rotation is considered in the project in the form of local rotating
regions (i.e. not as the global rotating reference frame), the values of this parameter
outside the rotating regions are determined in the absolute (i.e. nonrotating)
coordinate system.
Peripheral velocity (m/s) is the circumferential speed of the rotating coordinate
systems rotation: r, where is the angular velocity at which the rotating
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324
coordinate system rotates and r is the radius of the point under consideration in the
cylindrical coordinate system corresponding to the rotating coordinate system.
Velocity RRF (m/s) is the fluid velocity vector and/or its absolute value in the
rotating coordinate system. Note that if rotation is considered in the project in the
form of local rotating regions (i.e. not as the global rotating reference frame), the
values of this parameter outside the rotating regions are determined in the absolute
(i.e. nonrotating) coordinate system.
Note that you may need to Enable some of those parameters in the Parameter list to make
them available for selection in the View Settings dialog.
Examples of Use
Rotating impeller
Flow through the rotating impeller of a centrifugal pump (Fig.5.2) can be simulated with
the Global rotating refrence frame option since all nonrotating components of the pump
are axisymmetrical with respect to the rotation axis. The static pressure distribution in the
impeller flow passage midsection is shown on Fig.5.3.
Fig.5.2 Problem statement Fig.5.3 The static pressure distribution
in the impeller flow passage midsection
Solving Engineering Problems with Flow Simulation 2013 325
Axial fan
An air flow in an axial fan can be simulated with the Local rotating regions option
(Fig.5.4). The rotating region encloses the fan and has a relatively simple shape.
The pressure and velocity vectors distributions are shown on Fig.5.5.
CPU cooler in external flow
An air flow around a CPU cooler is simulated with the Local rotating regions option. The
external air flow from the chassis fan disturbs the flow over the CPU cooler. The resulting
flow field at the boundaries of the rotating region enclosing the cooler fan is not
axisymmetrical. However, this disturbance does not influence the CPU cooler
performance much, and we can use the Local rotating region to simulate the rotation of
the CPU cooler fan. The temperature and velocity vectors distributions are shown on
Fig.5.6.
Fig.5.4 Problem statement
Fig.5.5 Pressure and velocity vectors
distribution
Fig.5.6 Temperature and velocity vectors distributions.
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326
Centrifugal pump
A water flow in a centrifugal pump can be simulated with the Local rotating region option
(Fig.5.7). The centrifugal pump uses a rotating impeller to increase the pressure of the
fluid to move the fluid through a piping system. The fluid enters the pump impeller near
the rotation axis and is accelerated by the impeller, flowing radially outward into the
volute chamber, from where it exits into the piping system downstream. The flow field at
the boundaries of the rotating region enclosing the impeller is not completely
axisymmetrical, but these deviations from axial symmetry are relatively small and do not
influence the pump characteristics much.
The pressure and velocity vectors distributions are shown on Fig.5.8.
Recommendations
Choose such shape of the rotating region, that the flow direction will be as much
perpendicular to the rotating region boundary as possible.
Local rotating region can be used to simulate rotation of a part or component even
if the flow field at the local rotating region boundaries is not axisymmetrical, but
you must consider how it can affect the device performance. If you solve a problem
in which the flow symmetry directly influence the device characteristics, change the
shape or position of the rotating region or make some other modifications, if
possible, to ensure that the flow at the rotating region boundaries is axysimmetrical.
Adjust the mesh settings to have at least 2 or 3 cells across the gaps between the
rotating region boundary and the surface of the rotating component within the
region.
If the rotating model component is a body of revolution, use the Moving Wall
boundary condition instead of a rotating reference frame to simulate rotation of such
component.
Fig.5.8 Pressure and velocity vectors
distribution
Fig.5.7 Problem statement
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You can place rotating region boundary
within a solid body instead of putting it into
a narrow gap between the rotating
component and non rotating model
geometry. This will allow you to reduce
possible negative influence of the flow
disturbances within the narrow gap on the
calculation results.
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