Research Papers: Flows in Complex Systems

J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):121101-121101-13. doi:10.1115/1.4037279.

The freezing of water around immersed unfinned and finned horizontal tubes is simulated numerically. The impact of natural convection as well as the water density inversion with temperature is considered. The equations governing both fluid flow and heat transfer around the tubes and through the solid–liquid interface are solved using finite difference schemes. To follow the moving solid–liquid boundary, dynamic grid generation is performed using the elliptic partial differential equation method with iterative interpolating smoothing to avoid divergence. For validation, the present results for unfinned tubes are compared with experimental studies reported in the literature. The present numerical simulations are aimed at improving our understanding of the parameters affecting the freezing process around both finned and unfinned tubes. The results showed that the flow patterns are similar in both tube configurations with one main vortex in the liquid region when there is no inversion in the water density. The presence of fins complicates the distribution of local Nusselt number along the solid–liquid interface in comparison with the unfinned tube. The impact of natural convection on the rate of ice formation is limited to the initial period of the freezing process. The results also show the freezing enhancement when utilizing fins. An accumulated ice mass correlation is developed for each tube configuration. This model can be used to optimize the design of both finned and unfinned tubes in energy storage systems, which are viable tools for air conditioning load shifting and leveling.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):121102-121102-11. doi:10.1115/1.4037057.

A progressing cavity pump (PCP) is a positive displacement pump with an eccentric screw movement, which is used as an artificial lift method in oil wells. Downhole PCP systems provide an efficient lifting method for heavy oil wells producing under cold production, with or without sand. Newer PCP designs are also being used to produce wells operating under thermal recovery. The objective of this study is to develop a set of theoretical operational, fluid property, and pump geometry dimensionless groups that govern fluid flow behavior in a PCP. A further objective is to correlate these dimensionless groups to develop a simple model to predict flow rate (or pressure drop) along a PCP. Four PCP dimensionless groups, namely, Euler number, inverse Reynolds number, specific capacity number, and Knudsen number were derived from continuity, Navier–Stokes equations, and appropriate boundary conditions. For simplification, the specific capacity and Knudsen dimensionless groups were combined in a new dimensionless group named the PCP number. Using the developed dimensionless groups, nonlinear regression modeling was carried out using large PCP experimental database to develop dimensionless empirical models of both single- and two-phase flow in a PCP. The developed single-phase model was validated against an independent single-phase experimental database. The validation study results show that the developed model is capable of predicting pressure drop across a PCP for different pump speeds with 85% accuracy.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):121103-121103-14. doi:10.1115/1.4037278.

Due to the penetration of alternative renewable energies, the stabilization of the electrical power network relies on the off-design operation of turbines and pump-turbines in hydro-power plants. The occurrence of cavitation is however a common phenomenon at such operating conditions, often leading to critical flow instabilities which undercut the grid stabilizing capacity of the power plant. In order to predict and extend the stable operating range of hydraulic machines, a better understanding of the cavitating flows and mainly of the transition between stable and unstable flow regimes is required. In the case of Francis turbines operating at full load, an axisymmetric cavitation vortex rope develops at the runner outlet. The cavity may enter self-oscillation, with violent periodic pressure pulsations. The flow fluctuations lead to dangerous electrical power swings and mechanical vibrations, dictating an inconvenient and costly restriction of the operating range. The present paper reports an extensive numerical and experimental investigation on a reduced scale model of a Francis turbine at full load. For a given operating point, three pressure levels in the draft tube are considered, two of them featuring a stable flow configuration and one of them displaying a self-excited oscillation of the cavitation vortex rope. The velocity field is measured by two-dimensional (2D) particle image velocimetry (PIV) and systematically compared to the results of a simulation based on a homogeneous unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (URANS) model. The validation of the numerical approach enables a first comprehensive analysis of the flow transition as well as an attempt to explain the onset mechanism.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):121104-121104-9. doi:10.1115/1.4037281.

Adding back vanes to the rear shroud of centrifugal pumps is sometimes practiced in order to alleviate large axial forces. Effective design and flow characteristics of back vanes remain obscure due to lack of knowledge associated with experimental complexities in study of this area. In this study, various design parameters of the conventional noncurved rectangular back vanes are evaluated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Furthermore, the complex flow structure at the rear chamber of these pumps is illustrated and discussed with the advantage of CFD which is a highly costly and taxing job if one chooses to capture it using experimental methods. Effect of back vanes outer radius, width, clearance, thickness, vane angle, and number of vanes on pump characteristics and axial thrust has been investigated. New findings of this study show that back vanes are capable of canceling the axial thrust in a large range of flow rates without a penalty to the machine efficiency, provided that suitable design parameters are selected. In addition, the best efficiency point (BEP) will not be affected by usage of back vanes. The rear chamber’s flow pattern suggest that back vanes have a repumping effect causing increased pump head at longer back vane configurations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):121105-121105-17. doi:10.1115/1.4037490.

Small vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) are good candidates to extract energy from wind in urban areas because they are easy to install, service, and do not generate much noise; however, the efficiency of small turbines is low. Here-in a new turbine, with high efficiency, is proposed. The novel design is based on the classical H-Darrieus VAWT. VAWTs produce the highest power when the blade chord is perpendicular to the incoming wind direction. The basic idea behind the proposed turbine is to extend that said region of maximum power by having the blades continue straight instead of following a circular path. This motion can be performed if the blades turn along two axes; hence, it was named dual vertical axis wind turbine (D-VAWT). The analysis of this new turbine is done through the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) simulations. While 2D is used to validate the methodology, 3D is used to get an accurate estimate of the turbine performance. The analysis of a single blade is performed and the turbine shows that a power coefficient of 0.4 can be achieved, reaching performance levels high enough to compete with the most efficient VAWTs. The D-VAWT is still far from full optimization, but the analysis presented here shows the hidden potential and serves as proof of concept.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):121106-121106-10. doi:10.1115/1.4037507.

Hybrid low pressure air extractors are an economic way to enhance indoor air quality. The evaluation of their energetic performances needs the analysis of flow parameters that is typically done with wind tunnel data and numerical simulations. The purpose of this study is to analyze, numerically and experimentally, the flow and the energetic performances of a hybrid rooftop extractor. This innovative extractor has two main features: it works at low difference of pressure, below 50 Pa, and its fan is placed far above the duct outlet, out of the fluid flow. The hybrid extractor works following three modes of operation: stack effect, Venturi effect, and fan rotation. The two first modes of operation allow large energy saving. To analyze the three modes of operation, three sets of corresponding Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) simulations are developed. The first one allows us to estimate the pressure drop due to the geometry of the air extractor. The second one is used to check the ability of the extractor to generate a suction into the duct in the presence of wind. The final one involves multiple reference frame (MRF) modeling in order to study the flow when the electric motor drives the fan. The numerical simulation configurations are validated with experimental data. A good behavior of the extractor is found for simulations of stack effect mode and Venturi effect mode. The stack effect and the Venturi effect allows the hybrid extractor to work most of the time without electric power. Finally, energetic comparisons are given.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Fundamental Issues and Canonical Flows

J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):121201-121201-12. doi:10.1115/1.4037280.

The effects of several surface parameters on equivalent sand roughness (ks) in fully rough regime are investigated by means of direct numerical simulation (DNS) of flow in channels with different wall geometries at Reτ500. The roughness geometry is generated by randomly distributing roughness elements of random size and prescribed shape on a flat surface. The roughness generation approach allows systematic variation of moments of surface height probability density function (PDF), size distribution of roughness peaks, and surface slope. A total number of 38 cases are solved. It is understood that a correlation based on surface height skewness and effective slope (ES) can satisfactorily predict ks normalized with maximum peak-to-valley roughness height within a major part of the studied parameter space. Such a correlation is developed based on the present data points and a number of complementary data points from the literature. It is also shown that the peak size distribution can independently influence the skin friction; at fixed values of rms surface height, skewness, kurtosis, and ES, a surface with uniform size peaks causes higher skin friction compared to one with nonuniform peak sizes. Additionally, it is understood that a roughness generated by regular arrangement of roughness elements may lead to a significantly different skin friction compared to a random arrangement. A staggered and an aligned regular arrangement are examined in this paper and it is observed that the former produces significantly closer results to the corresponding random arrangement.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):121202-121202-11. doi:10.1115/1.4037494.

We perform global linear stability analysis on low-Re flow past an isolated cylinder with rounded corners. The objective of the present work is to investigate the effect of cylinder geometry (corner radius) on the stability characteristics of the flow. Our investigation sheds light on new physics that the flow can be stabilized by partially rounding the cylinder in the critical and weakly supercritical flow regimes. The flow is first stabilized and then gradually destabilized as the cylinder varies from square to circular geometry. The sensitivity analysis reveals that the variation of stability is attributed to the different spatial variation trends of the backflow velocity in the near- and far-wake regions for various cylinder geometries. The results from the stability analysis are also verified with those of the direct simulations, and very good agreement is achieved.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):121203-121203-14. doi:10.1115/1.4037277.

The present study investigates the two-dimensional flow past an inclined triangular cylinder at Re = 100. Numerical simulation is performed to explore the effect of cylinder inclination on the aerodynamic quantities, unsteady flow patterns, time-averaged flow characteristics, and flow unsteadiness. We also provide the first global linear stability analysis and sensitivity analysis on the targeted physical problem for the potential application of flow control. The objective of this work is to quantitatively identify the effect of cylinder inclination on the characteristic quantities and unsteady flow patterns, with emphasis on the flow unsteadiness and instability. Numerical results reveal that the flow unsteadiness is generally more pronounced for the base-facing-like cylinders (α → 60 deg) where separation occurs at the front corners. The inclined cylinder reduces the velocity deficiency in the near-wake, and the reduction in far-wake is the most notable for the α = 30 deg cylinder. The transverse distributions of several quantities are shifted toward the negative y-direction, such as the maximum velocity deficiency and maximum/minimum velocity fluctuation. Finally, the global stability and sensitivity analysis show that the spatial structures of perturbed velocities are quite similar for α ≤ 30 deg and the temporal growth rate of perturbation is sensitive to the near-wake flow, while for α ≥ 40 deg there are remarkable transverse expansion and streamwise elongation of the perturbed velocities, and the growth rate is sensitive to the far-wake flow.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):121204-121204-12. doi:10.1115/1.4037523.

The integral form of the equation for x momentum is solved for the skin friction coefficient, in external thin boundary layer flow, on surfaces whose technical roughness elements' size is given. This is done by using a “roughness depression function” in the law of the wall and wake which serves as the needed velocity profile. The method uses the equivalent sand grain size concept in its calculations. Predictions are made of the friction coefficient, Cf, as a function of momentum thickness Reynolds number and also, of Cf's dependence on the ratio of momentum thickness to the size of the technical (actual) roughness elements. In addition, boundary layer thicknesses and velocity profiles on rough surfaces are calculated and, when available, comparisons are made with the experimental data from a number of sources in the literature. Also, comparisons are made with the results of another major predictive scheme which does not use the equivalent sand grain concept.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Multiphase Flows

J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):121301-121301-9. doi:10.1115/1.4037678.

Fine solid materials can be transported with the use of water as a carrier liquid. From the practical point of view, the economy of designing and maintenance is usually the most important factor. That way of transport has a lot of advantages for many industry processes. However, the problems of pressure flow are more complicated for slurries than for liquids. The transient flow is one of the most difficult problems to describe. A deep analysis of transients in slurries is crucial, both theoretically and practically. In this paper, the analysis of the transient flow in high-density polyethylene pressure pipelines is described. At the first stage, a laboratory model was build. Experiments made for different volume concentrations were performed. The results were used to build a numerical model of transient flow, which was the second stage of investigation. Due to relatively difficult description of the volumetric concentration bottom layer depth, these parameters vary in time and volume of slurry, and an alternative approach was proposed. The equivalent density was introduced to express the unknown parameters. Performed numerical simulations lead to promising results. In all analyzed episodes, the calculated pressure characteristics demonstrated satisfactory coincidence with observations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Technical Brief

J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(12):124501-124501-7. doi:10.1115/1.4037495.

The starting flow due to a sudden pressure gradient in a channel containing two layers of different fluids is studied for the first time. The necessary eigenvalues and eigenfunctions, including orthogonality, for the composite regions are developed. Infinite series analytic solution is obtained for the starting transient. The properties of the instantaneous velocity profiles depend on the thickness ratio of the layers, the viscosity ratio, and the density ratio. Starting times are determined for the important cases of air over water and oil over water. The bulk flow is greatly increased when there exists a low-viscosity layer buffeting the channel wall. An important conclusion is that, in general, Navier's partial slip condition cannot be applied to unsteady starting flows.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In