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Large-Eddy Simulations of Molecular Mixing in a Recirculating Shear Flow


Matheou, Georgios (2008) Large-Eddy Simulations of Molecular Mixing in a Recirculating Shear Flow. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/VFKF-SC30.


The flow field and mixing in an expansion-ramp geometry is studied using large-eddy simulation (LES) with subgrid scale (SGS) modeling based on the stretched-vortex model. The expansionramp geometry was developed to provide enhanced mixing and flameholding characteristics while maintaining low total-pressure losses, elements that are important in the design and performance of combustors for hypersonic air-breathing propulsion applications. The mixing was studied by tracking a passive scalar without taking into account the effects of chemical reactions and heat release.

In order to verify the solver and the boundary closure implementation, a method utilizing results from linear stability analysis (LSA) theory is developed. LSA can be used to compute unstable perturbations to a flow, subject to certain approximations. The perturbations computed from LSA are used as an inflow condition to the flow computed by the solver been assessed. A projection based metric is constructed that only assumes the shape of the solution and not the growth rate of the perturbations, thus also allowing the latter to be determined as part of the verification. The growth rate of the perturbations for an unbounded (effectively) incompressible shear layer and a confined compressible shear layer is found to be in agreement with the prediction of the LSA.

The flow and mixing predictions of the LES are in good agreement with experimental measurements. Total (resolved and subgrid) probability density functions (PDFs) of the passive scalar are estimated using an assumed beta-distribution model for the subgrid scalar field. The improved mixing characteristics of the expansion-ramp geometry compared to free shear layers are illustrated by the shapes of the PDFs. Moreover, the temperature rise and the probability of mixed fluid profiles are in good agreement with the experimental measurements, indicating that the mixing on a molecular scale is correctly predicted by the LES–SGS model. Finally, the predictions of the LES are shown to be resolution-independent. The mean fields and passive scalar PDFs have essentially converged at the two finer grid-resolutions used.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:backward-facing step; large-eddy simulation; Navier-Stokes equations numerical solution; recirculation; shear layer; turbulent mixing; verification
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Dimotakis, Paul E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Dimotakis, Paul E. (chair)
  • Pullin, Dale Ian
  • Meiron, Daniel I.
  • Shepherd, Joseph E.
  • Colonius, Tim
Defense Date:9 May 2008
Non-Caltech Author Email:georgios.matheou (AT)
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05262008-152803
Persistent URL:
Matheou, Georgios0000-0003-4024-4571
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2117
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:02 Jun 2008
Last Modified:25 Oct 2023 22:53

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