Section: Overall Objectives

Turbulent flows with complex interactions

This interdisciplinary project brings together researchers coming from different horizons and backgrounds (applied mathematics and fluid mechanics), who gradually elaborated a common vision of what should be the simulation tools for fluid dynamics of tomorrow. Our applications will be focused on wall bounded turbulent flows, featuring complex phenomena such as aeroacoustics, hydrodynamic instabilities, phase change processes, complex walls, buoyancy or localized relaminarization. Because such flows are exhibiting a multiplicity of time and length scales of fluctuations resulting from complex interactions, their simulation is extremely challenging. Even if various methods of simulation (DNS (Direct numerical simulation)) and turbulence modeling(RANS (Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes), LES (Large-eddy simulation), hybrid RANS-LES) are available and have been significantly improved over time, none of them does satisfy all the needs encountered in industrial and environmental configurations. We consider that all these methods will be useful in the future in different situations or regions of the flow, if combined in the same simulation in order to benefit from their respective advantages wherever relevant, while mutually compensating their known limitations. It will thus lead to a description of turbulence at widely varying scales in the computational domain, hence the name multi-scale simulations. For example, the RANS mode may extend throughout regions where turbulence is sufficiently close to equilibrium, leaving to LES or DNS the handling of regions where large-scale coherent structures are present. However, a considerable body of work is required to:

  • Establish the behavior of the different types of turbulence modeling approaches when combined with high order discretization methods.

  • Elaborate relevant and robust switching criteria between models, similar to error assessments used in automatic mesh refinement, but based on the physics of the flow, in order to adapt on the fly the scale of resolution from one extreme of the spectrum to another (say from the Kolmogorov scale to the geometrical scale, i.e., from DNS to RANS).

  • Ensure a high level of accuracy and robustness of the resulting simulation tool to address a large range of flow configurations, i.e., from a generic lab-scale geometry for validation to practical systems of interest of our industrial partners.

But the best agile modeling and high-order discretization methods are useless without the recourse to high performance computing (HPC) to bring the simulation time down to values compatible with the requirement of the end users. Therefore, a significant part of our activity will be devoted to the proper handling of the constantly evolving supercomputer architectures. But even the best ever simulation library is useless if it is not disseminated and increasingly used by the CFD community as well as our industrial partners. In that respect, the significant success of the low-order finite volume simulation suite OpenFOAM (http://www.openfoam.com) or the more recently proposed SU2 (http://su2.stanford.edu/) from Stanford are considered as examples of quite successful dissemination stories that could be, if not followed, but at least considered as a source of inspiration. Our natural inclination though will be to promote the use of the library in direction of our present and future industrial and academic partners, with a special interest on the SMEs active in the highly competitive and strategic economical sectors of energy production and aerospace propulsion. Indeed, these sectors are experiencing a revolution of the entire design process especially for complex parts with an intimate mix between simulations and additive manufacturing (3D printing) processes in the early stages of the design process. For large companies, such as General Electric or Safran (co-developing the CFM Leap-1 engines with 3D printed fuel nozzles), as well as medium-size companies such as Aerojet Rocketdyne, this is a unique opportunity to reduce the duration and hence the cost of development of their systems, while preserving if not strengthening their capability of designing innovative components that cannot be produced by classical manufacturing processes. On the other hand, for the small companies of this sector, this may have a rather detrimental effect on their competitiveness since their capability of mastering both these new manufacturing processes and advanced simulation approaches is far more limited. Thus, through our sustained direct (EDF, Turbomeca, PSA group, AD Industrie, Dassault Aviation) or indirect (European programs: WALLTURB, KIAI, IMPACT-AE, SOPRANO; ANR program MONACO_2025) partnership with different companies, we are able to identify relevant generic configurations, from our point of view of scientists, to serve as support for the development of our approach. This methodological choice was motivated by the desire to lead an as efficient as possible transfer activity, while maintaining a clear distinction between what falls within our field of competence of researchers and what is related to the development of their products by our industrial partners. The long-term objective of this project is to develop, validate, promote and transfer an original and effective approach for modeling and simulating generic flows representative of flow configurations encountered in the field of energy production and aeronautical/automotive propulsion. Our approach will be combining mesh (h) + turbulence model (m) + discretization order (p) agility. This will be achieved by:

  • Contributing to the development of new turbulence models.

  • Improving high order numerical methods, and increasing their efficiency in the constantly evolving High Performance Computing context.

  • Developing experimental tools.

Concerning applications, our objective are :

  • To reinforce the long term existing partnership with industrial groups active in the sector of energy production and aeronautical/automotive propulsion, and the other European partners involved in the same European projects as we are.

  • To consolidate and develop partnership with SMEs operating in the aeronautical sector.