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Fluid dynamic is the science of fluid (example: air, water) in motion and it take place everywhere around the Earth. The properties that describe a fluid flow composed of velocity, temperature, pressure, and density as functions of space and time. In order to understand the interaction of a flow with an object, it will take a long time for a theoretical analyse using pencil and paper calculation, which is why Computer Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is an essential tools to simulate the fluid flow with the use of computer. CFD solves the fluid flow problems by using numerical methods and algorithm based on 7 equations: Continuity equation Momentum equation (3 sets) Energy equation Equations of states (2 sets)

It is widely used in many industries such as aerospace, automotive, medical, power generation and many others fluid-related field. As the analysis is done by computer, CFD can be performed in everywhere without building the real model and environment, which in return save costs and time. Since CFD is a predictor of fluid flow, the result may not always give an actual display of fluid in real environment yet it may be sufficient to show the behaviour of fluid. An accurate analyse will also require extensive usage of computer and ones knowledge in fluid mechanic as well as long period of time. CFD is carried out in 3 stages:

Geometry Creation


Meshing Domain


Boundary conditions setup

Result (Visualisation)

Case Study Computing (Iteration) 1 Figure 1: CFD Process

There are many commercial software available today to perform CFD with own characteristic. We will use PHOENICS as our learning asset in CFD. The topic of interest for this assignment is simulation of a labyrinth flow. Tutorial is provided by PHOENICS to develop the environment of this labyrinth flow. The setup is as below:

Figure 2: Setup of Labyrinth Flow There will be three different mesh generation on this labyrinth flow and comparison will be made based on the result obtained from these three different analysing setup. In PHOENICS, the mesh generation is structured multi-box and it gives user the freedom to alter the mesh generation in 3 axes. The iteration of solver for each mesh generation is 100. As default, the mesh generation is 20 boxes in X-axis, 1 box in Y-axis and 20 boxes in Z-axis located at the middle of domain in Y-axis (covering from inlet to outlet). This default mesh generation may give a display of critical area (such as circulation of flow) in this labyrinth flow and it serves as reference for the other two mesh generation to further improve the accuracy of analyse. Based on the guideline from tutorial, a better mesh generation is the one which attempt to achieve (or approach) source balance in SATELLITE Command Prompt in PHOENICS by having net sum of mass flow (R1) and energy (TEM1) as close to zero or converge in solution with no changes in the next iteration. The flow velocity profile is chosen as the reference of discussion as it is able to give a clear illustration of flow circulation in the domain compared to temperature and pressure profiles.

1st Mesh: NX=20, NY=1, NZ=20




Figure 3: Post-Processor GUI in velocity profile.

Figure 4: Force, Mass, and Energy in domain from SATTELITE command prompt.

Figure 5: Monitor plot. There is circulation of flow at Wall-E, right side of both In-Plate and In-Block as shown in Figure 3. This 3 region should be the area of interest in the next domain meshing to obtain more detail results about the flow in this domain. In Figure 4, mass flow (R1) net sum is close to zero but energy (TEM1) is high. This shows that the converging is not complete which is the same result displayed by monitor plot in Figure 5. A converged solution will give a graph of percentage error in monitor plot that moving to zero. The incomplete converging solution may be due to the number of iteration and improper mesh generation.

2nd mesh: NX=30, NY=1, NZ=40; *Black line circle shows the region with finer mesh.

Figure 6: Post-Processor GUI in velocity profile.

Figure 7: Force, Mass, and Energy in domain from SATTELITE command prompt.

Figure 8: Monitor plot The 2nd mesh generation has finer mesh near Wall-E, H-Block and L-Block and it refines the velocity profile around the area where circulation happens. The center of circulation has the lowest velocity compared to surrounding. The R1 and TEM1 value are decreased and closer to zero. This indicates the 2nd mesh may be a better model to describe the flow yet the

converging is still not completed as shown in Figure 4 and Figure 5. One may assume that the finer mesh behind In-Block will give a more converge result.

3rd mesh: NX=40, NY=1, NZ=40

Figure 9: Post-Processor GUI in velocity profile.

Figure 10: Force, Mass, and Energy in domain from SATTELITE command prompt.

Figure 12: Monitor Plot As we refine the mesh behind In-Block, the R1 and TEM1 values are greater than that in 2nd meshing. This shows that a higher density meshing does not necessary will assure a converged solution and the assumption made earlier is not valid. Generally, the meshing for this labyrinth flow can be further optimised other than these three meshes as they do not give a converged solution.

As a conclusion, the simulation of labyrinth flow has room of improvement to achieve better result. Due to inadequate knowledge in fluid mechanics and practice in PHOENICS, the domain meshing does not give a complete converged solution for this labyrinth flow. In CFD, the time consuming part usually is the mesh generation stage as user will need to select the suitable mesh based on experience and knowledge in fluid mechanic as well as in using CFD software. All in all, this simulation did give exposure to user about PHOENICS and deliver the beauty of CFD in analysing fluid dynamics.

Tutorial Simulation of a Labyrinth Flow. Retrieved from

file:///C:/phoenics/d_polis/d_wkshp/wrkshp1.htm on 3th November 2013. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Arifin Ahmad (n.d.). Computational Fluid Dynamics EAS 4201. Personal Collection of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kamarul Arifin Ahmad, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor.