Mathematical Problems in Engineering (2015-01-01)

An Extended Assessment of Fluid Flow Models for the Prediction of Two-Dimensional Steady-State Airfoil Aerodynamics

  • José F. Herbert-Acero,
  • Oliver Probst,
  • Carlos I. Rivera-Solorio,
  • Krystel K. Castillo-Villar,
  • Santos Méndez-Díaz

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2015


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This work presents the analysis, application, and comparison of thirteen fluid flow models in the prediction of two-dimensional airfoil aerodynamics, considering laminar and turbulent subsonic inflow conditions. Diverse sensitivity analyses of different free parameters (e.g., the domain topology and its discretization, the flow model, and the solution method together with its convergence mechanisms) revealed important effects on the simulations’ outcomes. The NACA 4412 airfoil was considered throughout the work and the computational predictions were compared with experiments conducted under a wide range of Reynolds numbers (7e5≤Re≤9e6) and angles-of-attack (-10°≤α≤20°). Improvements both in modeling accuracy and processing time were achieved by considering the RS LP-S and the Transition SST turbulence models, and by considering finite volume-based solution methods with preconditioned systems, respectively. The RS LP-S model provided the best lift force predictions due to the adequate modeling of the micro and macro anisotropic turbulence at the airfoil’s surface and at the nearby flow field, which in turn allowed the adequate prediction of stall conditions. The Transition-SST model provided the best drag force predictions due to adequate modeling of the laminar-to-turbulent flow transition and the surface shear stresses. Conclusions, recommendations, and a comprehensive research agenda are presented based on validated computational results.