Currently, the modeling of supercritical-pressure flows through Large Eddy Simulation (LES) uses models derived for atmospheric-pressure flows. Those atmospheric-pressure flows do not exhibit the particularities of high density-gradient magnitude features observed both in experiments and simulations of supercritical-pressure flows in the case of two species mixing. To assess whether the current LES modeling is appropriate and if found not appropriate to propose higher-fidelity models, a LES a posteriori study has been conducted for a mixing layer that initially contains different species in the lower and upper streams, and where the initial pressure is larger than the critical pressure of either species. An initially-imposed vorticity perturbation promotes roll-up and a double pairing of four initial span-wise vortices into an ultimate vortex that reaches a transitional state.

The LES equations consist of the differential conservation equations coupled with a real-gas equation of state, and the equation set uses transport properties depending on the thermodynamic variables. Unlike all LES models to date, the differential equations contain, additional to the subgrid scale (SGS) fluxes, a new SGS term that is a pressure correction in the momentum equation. This additional term results from filtering of Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) equations, and represents the gradient of the difference between the filtered pressure and the pressure computed from the filtered flow field.

A previous a priori analysis, using a DNS database for the same configuration, found this term to be of leading order in the momentum equation, a fact traced to the existence of high-densitygradient magnitude regions that populated the entire flow; in the study, models were proposed for the SGS fluxes as well as this new term. In the present study, the previously proposed constantcoefficient SGS-flux models of the a priori investigation are tested a posteriori in LES, devoid of or including, the SGS pressure correction term. The present pressure-correction model is different from, and more accurate as well as less computationally intensive than that of the a priori study.

The constant-coefficient SGS-flux models encompass the Smagorinsky (SMC), in conjunction with the Yoshizawa (YO) model for the trace, the Gradient (GRC) and the Scale Similarity (SSC) models, all exercised with the a priori study constant coefficients calibrated at the transitional state. The LES comparison is performed with the filtered- and-coarsened (FC) DNS, which represents an ideal LES solution. Expectably, an LES model devoid of SGS terms is shown to be considerably inferior to models containing SGS effects. Among models containing SGS effects, those including the pressure-correction term are substantially superior to those devoid of it. The sensitivity of the predictions to the initial conditions and grid size are also investigated.

Thus, it has been discovered that, additional to the atmospheric-pressure models currently used, a new model is necessary to simulate supercritical-pressure flows. This model depends on the thermodynamic characteristics of the chemical species involved.

This work was done by Josette Bellan and Ezgi Taskinoglu of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NPO-46733

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2012 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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