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Computational Science, Engineering & Technology Series
ISSN 1759-3158
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping, J.M. Adam, F.J. Pallarés, R. Bru and M.L. Romero
Chapter 6

Computational Modelling of Flows through Rotating Systems

T.N. Croft, D. Carswell, M. Cross, D. McBride, S. Rolland, A.K. Slone and A.J. Williams

Centre for Civil and Computational Engineering, School of Engineering, Swansea University, United Kingdom

Full Bibliographic Reference for this chapter
T.N. Croft, D. Carswell, M. Cross, D. McBride, S. Rolland, A.K. Slone, A.J. Williams, "Computational Modelling of Flows through Rotating Systems", in B.H.V. Topping, J.M. Adam, F.J. Pallarés, R. Bru and M.L. Romero, (Editors), "Developments and Applications in Engineering Computational Technology", Saxe-Coburg Publications, Stirlingshire, UK, Chapter 6, pp 131-148, 2010. doi:10.4203/csets.26.6
Keywords: computational fluid dynamics, parallel computing, scalability, rotating systems.

There is an increasing demand for the computational modelling of flows through systems which are rotating. The geometries involved here tend to be quite complex and so the computational challenge is significant in a number of respects.

There are really three approaches to capturing the impact of rotating machinery in complex flows:

The sink-source method which essentially involves the addition of a simple source method in the momentum equations and enables the computational fluid mechanics (CFD) code to be applied in its conventional fashion
The non-inertial reference frame where the coordinate system rotates at the speed of the rotating equipment
Part of the mesh rotates in relation to a static background mesh here the mesh rotates in the neighbourhood of the rotating equipment and this gives rise to one surface mesh sliding over another (static) mesh.

This chapter summarises each of these approaches within a finite volume unstructured mesh code context and discuss where and how they might be used in a challenging range of applications on high performance parallel computing systems, involving examples from:

marine turbines to illustrate the utility and limitations of the source-sink method
heart pumps to illustrate the use on the non-inertial reference frame using a vertex based discretization strategy within the context of difficult to mesh complex geometries, and
wind turbines, assessing the performance of vertical axis systems using the rotating mesh method.

The sink-source method and the non-inertial frame approach are essentially adaptations of the standard Navier-Stokes flow equations they are relatively straightforward to implement and work as well as solving the standard flow equations and are as scalable in parallel as well. The method which contains the rotating mesh requires additional data exchange due to one surface mesh sliding over another. The method described in this contribution appears to impact only marginally on the scalability of the standard CFD code.

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