Large eddy simulation of an axial pump with coupled flow rate calculation using the sharp interface immersed boundary method

Mohammad Haji Mohammadi (School of Engineering, University of British Columbia – Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, Canada)
Joshua R. Brinkerhoff (School of Engineering, University of British Columbia – Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, Canada)

International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow

ISSN: 0961-5539

Publication date: 1 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Turbomachinery, including pumps, are mainly designed to extract/produce energy from/to the flow. A major challenge in the numerical simulation of turbomachinery is the inlet flow rate, which is routinely treated as a known boundary condition for simulation purposes but is properly a dependent output of the solution. As a consequence, the results from numerical simulations may be erroneous due to the incorrect specification of the discharge flow rate. Moreover, the transient behavior of the pumps in their initial states of startup and final states of shutoff phases has not been studied numerically. This paper aims to develop a coupled procedure for calculating the transient inlet flow rate as a part of the solution via application of the control volume method for linear momentum. Large eddy simulation of a four-blade axial hydraulic pump is carried out to calculate the forces at every time step. The sharp interface immersed boundary method is used to resolve the flow around the complex geometry of the propeller, stator and the pipe casing. The effect of the spurious pressure fluctuations, inherent in the sharp interface immersed boundary method, is damped by local time-averaging of the forces. The developed code is validated by comparing the steady-state volumetric flow rate with the experimental data provided by the pump manufacturer. The instantaneous and time-averaged flow fields are also studied to reveal the flow pattern and turbulence characteristics in the pump flow field.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use control volume analysis for linear momentum to simulate the discharge rate as part of the solution in a large eddy simulation of an axial hydraulic pump. The linear momentum balance equation is used to update the inlet flow rate. The sharp interface immersed boundary method with dynamic Smagorinsky sub-grid stress model and a proper wall model is used.

Findings

The steady-state volumetric flow rate has been computed and validated by comparing to the flow rate specified by the manufacturer at the simulation conditions, which shows a promising result. The instantaneous and time averaged flow fields are also studied to reveal the flow pattern and turbulence characteristics in the pump flow field.

Originality/value

An approach is proposed for computing the volumetric flow rate as a coupled part of the flow solution, enabling the simulation of turbomachinery at all phases, including the startup/shutdown phase. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first large eddy simulation of a hydraulic pump to calculate the transient inlet flow rate as a part of the solution rather than specifying it as a fixed boundary condition. The method serves as a numerical framework for simulating problems incorporating complex shapes with moving/stationary parts at all regimes including the transient start-up and shut-down phases.

Keywords

Citation

Haji Mohammadi, M. and Brinkerhoff, J.R. (2019), "Large eddy simulation of an axial pump with coupled flow rate calculation using the sharp interface immersed boundary method", International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow, Vol. 29 No. 7, pp. 2253-2276. https://doi.org/10.1108/HFF-09-2018-0502

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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