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1. INTRODUCTION TO CFD 1.1 What is computational fluid dynamics? 1.2 Principles of fluid mechanics 1.

3 Different ways of expressing the fluid-flow equations 1.4 Basic principles of CFD 1.5 The main discretisation methods Examples

SPRING 2008 (Revised)

1.1 What is Computational Fluid Dynamics? Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is the use of computers and numerical techniques to solve problems involving fluid flow. CFD has been successfully applied in a huge number of areas, including many of interest in civil engineering (highlighted in the list below): aerodynamics (aircraft; automobiles); hydrodynamics (ships; submersibles); engine flows (internal-combustion and jet engines); turbomachinery; heat transfer; combustion; process engineering (chemical industry); wind and wave power; wind loading (forces and dynamic response of structures); ventilation; fire and explosion hazards; environmental engineering (transport of pollutants and effluent); coastal and offshore engineering (loading on coastal and marine structures); hydraulics (pipe networks; channels; weirs; spillways); sediment transport (sediment load; scour; morphology); hydrology (flow in rivers and aquifers); oceanography (tidal flows; ocean currents); meteorology (numerical weather forecasting); high-energy physics (plasma flows); biomedical engineering (blood flow); electronics (heat dissipation). This range of applications is broad and encompasses many different fluid phenomena and CFD techniques. In particular, CFD for high-speed aerodynamics (where compressibility is significant but viscous effects are often relatively unimportant) is very different from that used to solve low-speed, frictional flows typical of mechanical and civil engineering. Although many elements of this course are generally applicable, the focus will be on simulating viscous, incompressible flow by the finite-volume method.



David Apsley

1.2 Principles of Fluid Mechanics 1.2.1 Definitions A fluid is a substance that continuously deforms under a shearing force, no matter how small. Fluids may be liquids (have a definite volume and free surface) or gases (expand to fill any container). Hydrostatics is the study of fluids at rest; hydrodynamics is the study of fluids in motion. Hydraulics is the study of the flow of liquids (usually water); aerodynamics is the study of the flow of gases (usually air). All fluids are compressible to some extent, but their flow can be approximated as incompressible if flow-induced pressure changes dont cause significant density changes. This is usually the case for velocities much less than the speed of sound (1480 m s1 in water, 340 m s1 in air). An ideal fluid is one with no viscosity; it doesnt exist, but it can be a good approximation. A real fluid is one where viscous effects are assumed to be present. Real flows may be laminar (adjacent layers slide smoothly over each other) or turbulent (subject to random fluctuations about a mean flow). Turbulence is the natural state at high Reynolds number. The majority of engineering and environmental flows are fully turbulent.

1.2.2 Notation Position/time: x (x, y, z) or (x1, x2, x3) position; (z is usually vertical) t time Field variables: u (u, v, w) or (u1, u2, u3) velocity p pressure (p patm is the gauge pressure; p* = p + gz is the piezometric pressure.) T temperature concentration (amount per unit mass or per unit volume) Fluid properties: density dynamic viscosity ( / is the kinematic viscosity) bulk modulus surface tension diffusivity speed of sound



David Apsley

1.2.3 Mechanical Principles Hydrostatics At rest, pressure forces balance weight. This can be written mathematically as dp p= g z or = g (1) dz The same equation also holds in a moving fluid if there is no vertical acceleration, or, as an approximation, if vertical acceleration is much smaller than g. If density is constant, (1) can be written (2) p* p + gz = constant p* is called the piezometric pressure, combining the effects of pressure and weight. For a constant-density flow without a free surface, gravitational forces can be eliminated entirely from the equations by working with the piezometric pressure.

Equation of State Pressure, density and temperature are connected by an equation of state. The most important example is the ideal gas law: p = RT , R = R0 /m (3) where R0 is the universal gas constant, m is the molar mass and T is the absolute temperature. Dynamics The most important equations are those governing fluid motion. They represent the following fundamental principles: mass: change of mass = 0 momentum: (rate of) change of momentum = force energy: change of energy = work + heat and for non-homogeneous fluids: conservation of individual constituents. There are different ways of expressing these physical principles mathematically (Section 2). Note that the role of energy is different in compressible and incompressible flows. For CFD of incompressible flow there is no need to solve a separate energy equation because the mechanical energy principle (change of kinetic energy = work done) is formally equivalent to the momentum equation.



David Apsley

1.3 Different Ways of Expressing the Fluid-Flow Equations 1.3.1 Control-Volume (Integral) Approach Continuum (as opposed to particle) mechanics considers changes to the total amount of some physical quantity (mass, momentum, energy, ) within specified regions of space (control volumes).

For an arbitrary control volume the balance of a physical quantity over an interval of time is change = amount in amount out + amount created In fluid mechanics this is usually expressed in rate form by dividing by the time interval (and transferring the net amount passing through the boundary to the LHS of the equation):

NET FLUX out of boundary

SOURCE inside V


The flux (i.e. rate of transport across a surface) is due to: advection movement with the fluid flow; diffusion net transport by random (molecular or turbulent) motion.


ADVECTION + DIFFUSION through boundary

SOURCE inside V


The important point is that there is a single generic scalar-transport equation of the form (5), regardless of whether the physical quantity is mass, momentum, chemical content etc. Thus, instead of dealing with lots of different equations we can consider the numerical solution of a general scalar-transport equation (Section 4). The finite-volume method, which is the subject of this course, is based on approximating these control-volume equations.

1.3.2 Differential Equations In regions without shocks, interfaces or other discontinuities, the fluid-flow equations can also be written in equivalent differential forms. These describe what is going on at a point rather than over a whole control volume. Mathematically, they can be derived by making the control volumes infinitesimally small. This will be demonstrated in Section 2, where it will also be shown that there are several different ways of writing these differential equations. The finite-difference method is based on the direct approximation of a differential form of the governing equations.



David Apsley

1.4 Basic Principles of CFD The approximation of a continuously-varying quantity in terms of values at a finite number of points is called discretisation.
continuous curve discrete approximation

The fundamental elements of any CFD simulation are: (1) The flow field is discretised; i.e. field variables ( , u, v, w, p, ) are approximated by their values at a finite number of nodes. The equations of motion are discretised (approximated in terms of values at nodes): control-volume or differential equations algebraic equations (continuous) (discrete) The resulting system of algebraic equations is solved to give values at the nodes.



The main stages in a CFD simulation are: Pre-processing: problem formulation (governing equations; boundary conditions); construction of a computational mesh. Solving: discretisation of the governing equations; numerical solution of the governing equations. Post-processing: visualisation; analysis of results.



David Apsley

1.5 The Main Discretisation Methods


(i) Finite-Difference Method

i-1,j i,j i+1,j

Discretise the governing differential equations directly; e.g. u i +1, j u i 1, j vi , j +1 vi , j 1 u v + 0 = + x y 2x 2y


(ii) Finite-Volume Method Discretise the governing control-volume equations directly; e.g. net mass outflow = ( uA) e ( uA) w + ( vA) n ( vA) s

vn ue vs

= 0

(iii) Finite-Element Method Express the solution as a weighted sum of shape functions S (x), substitute into some form of the governing equations and solve for the coefficients (aka degrees of freedom or weights). e.g., for velocity, u (x) = u S (x)

Finite-difference and finite-element methods are covered in more detail in the Computational Mechanics course. This course will focus on the finite-volume method. The finite-element method is popular in solid mechanics (geotechnics, structures) because: it has considerable geometric flexibility; general-purpose codes can be used for a wide variety of physical problems. The finite-volume method is popular in fluid mechanics because: it enforces conservation; it is flexible in terms of both geometry and the variety of fluid phenomena; it is directly relatable to physical quantities (mass flux, etc.). In the finite-volume method ... (1) A flow geometry is defined. (2) The flow domain is decomposed into a set of control volumes or cells called a computational mesh or grid. (3) The control-volume equations are discretised i.e. approximated in terms of values at nodes to form a set of algebraic equations. (4) The discretised equations are solved numerically.



David Apsley

Examples The following rather simple examples develop the notation and control-volume framework to be used in the rest of the course.

Q1. Water (density 1000 kg m3) flows at 2 m s1 through a circular pipe of diameter 10 cm. What is the mass flux across the surfaces S1 and S2?

10 cm

2 m/s




D=10 cm

u=8 m/s

Q2. A water jet strikes normal to a fixed plate (see left). Neglect gravity and friction, and compute the force F required to hold the plate fixed.

Q3. A fire in the hydraulics laboratory released 2 kg of a toxic gas into a room of dimensions 30 m 8 m 5 m. Assuming the laboratory air to be well-mixed and to be vented at a speed of 0.5 m s1 through an aperture of 6 m2, calculate: (a) the initial concentration of gas in ppm by mass; (b) the time taken to reach a safe concentration of 1 ppm. (For air, density = 1.20 kg m3.)

Q4. A burst pipe at a factory causes a chemical to seep into a river at a rate of 2.5 kg hr1. The river is 5 m wide, 2 m deep and flows at 0.3 m s1. What is the average concentration of the chemical (in kg m3) downstream of the spill?



David Apsley