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COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS – TASK # 1

GRID INDEPENDENCE TEST (SIZE AND TIME)

1. SITUATION DESCRIPTION
Water flows through a rectangular duct with a vertical rectangular shaped solid placed in the center of the
length and the cross sectional area of the duct (As it could be seen on figure 1). The objective is to establish
under steady state conditions which is the minimum grid base size to achieve results independence between
the meshes and which mesh model has a better performance to model the phenomenon effectively.

Figure 1. Situation Geometry


2. METHODOLOGY
To perform the grid independence test, the following meshing models were used:
 Polyhedral
 Tetrahedral
 Trimmer
Each meshing model was tested with the following base sizes:
Mesh ID Base Size (cm)
1 0,2
2 0,3
3 0,4
4 0,5
5 0,6
6 0,7
7 0,8
8 0,9
9 1
10 1,5
11 2
Table 1. Mesh identification with the established base size
To determine the grid independence, the following process was applied:

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Figure 2. Grid independence test methodology
The idea of measuring the punctual pressure inside the domain is to establish the frequency of pressure change
caused by the turbulence of the fluid, when the grid starts showing independency, this frequency will be crucial
to determine if the results are equivalent.
3. RESULTS
3.1 Model selection impact
Depending on the meshing model the amount of iteration cells change, the obtained amount of cells were:
Element Account
Mesh ID Base Size (cm)
Polyhedral Model Tetrahedral Model Trimmer Model
1 0,2 1246810 6062044 543280
2 0,3 503787 2203279 322464
3 0,4 213572 799495 211080
4 0,5 125240 451307 96748
5 0,6 94759 322278 69920
6 0,7 60811 185801 55376
7 0,8 44757 123524 44480
8 0,9 30958 82512 18888
9 1 26414 67756 16248
10 1,5 26254 66993 35158
11 2 26702 68913 16248
Table 2. Elements per meshing model on each mesh
The examples of the obtained meshes are shown on the following figures:

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Figure 3. Obtained mesh with polyhedral model and 0.5cm Base Size

Figure 4. Obtained mesh with tetrahedral model and 0.5cm Base Size

Figure 5. Obtained mesh with trimmer model and 0.5cm Base Size

Figures 3 to 5 explain the fact that tetrahedral model has a larger element account compared to the polyhedral
and trimmer models, to continue the comparison the obtained residuals were compared:

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Mesh ID Continuity X-Momentum Y-Momentum Z-Momentum Tke Tdr
1 0,000273736 0,00015453 0,000266894 0,000861321 5,01995E-05 4,86479E-08
2 0,000310028 0,00038809 0,000291782 0,000682568 0,000121219 9,58233E-08
3 0,00131174 0,007152607 0,002365455 0,005115792 0,000774825 1,46778E-06
4 0,051685874 0,033523591 0,184541543 0,009287604 0,193628827 0,003210678
5 0,01508405 0,028720288 0,11229865 0,007421632 0,028550028 0,000223311
6 0,035370609 0,013773254 0,053551808 0,003520631 0,659404208 0,04711429
7 8,32176E-13 1,91632E-14 7,34327E-14 3,90505E-12 2,08269E-13 4,50244E-15
8 1,55956E-12 2,53148E-14 9,38667E-14 7,34648E-12 1,58394E-14 5,01011E-15
9 1,51896E-12 2,59582E-14 9,78533E-14 5,82486E-12 5,35486E-16 8,66643E-17
10 5,3354E-07 2,12571E-09 1,10159E-09 1,38849E-09 1,37772E-09 4,4966E-09
11 3,05164E-07 1,17662E-09 6,51539E-10 6,8403E-10 4,01599E-10 7,31201E-10
Averages 0,009457898 0,007610215 0,032119649 0,002444505 0,080229937 0,004595445
Table 3. Obtained stable residual with every mesh size and the polyhedral meshing model
Mesh ID Continuity X-Momentum Y-Momentum Z-Momentum Tke Tdr
1 0,000205649 0,00040415 0,000446724 0,00180028 0,00010379 3,56957E-07
2 0,000204053 0,000140397 0,000153378 0,000247535 3,87136E-05 4,1547E-08
3 0,000252498 0,000116485 0,000156859 0,00025816 3,34144E-05 3,03673E-08
4 0,000274506 0,00033912 0,000353699 0,000937806 6,41557E-05 7,84222E-08
5 0,000208958 0,000121981 0,000122171 0,000416289 1,95632E-05 3,50457E-08
6 0,023200176 0,020242102 0,036519342 0,00374999 0,253049252 0,016693213
7 0,002129957 0,012372698 0,024375256 0,004806342 0,002051358 2,34182E-06
8 0,010481214 0,02019558 0,038822492 0,004635102 0,019958602 0,00049825
9 0,017114926 0,022464509 0,036038561 0,005312302 0,031847957 0,00553976
10 0,022175519 0,017387407 0,025942541 0,00383273 0,063050028 0,00534132
11 0,027539065 0,0205188 0,032881263 0,004859902 0,258833115 0,018281065
Averages 0,009435138 0,010391203 0,017801117 0,002805131 0,057186359 0,004214227
Table 4. Obtained stable residual with every mesh size and the tetrahedral meshing model

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Mesh ID Continuity X-Momentum Y-Momentum Z-Momentum Tke Tdr
1 0,000782949 0,000309706 0,000368053 0,001676769 0,000270558 2,44635E-07
2 1,59843E-05 5,60514E-05 1,23215E-05 0,00022382 8,07689E-06 1,02739E-08
3 0,001280004 0,00704926 0,009367221 0,004364705 0,000962745 3,69818E-06
4 0,002848665 0,017637495 0,007454371 0,016762406 0,003002868 6,84243E-06
5 0,006269811 0,087109037 0,069892145 0,015672103 0,020102383 0,000206687
6 0,014577291 0,09866844 0,097396571 0,015968322 0,026323899 0,00111395
7 0,025935126 0,136714411 0,128175678 0,023684802 0,052935682 0,005371543
8 3,57113E-15 1,0297E-14 2,26161E-15 3,88656E-15 2,84995E-16 3,06826E-17
9 3,81283E-15 5,92596E-15 1,64262E-15 3,4061E-15 8,21077E-16 4,39697E-17
10 5,19069E-06 1,94935E-07 3,89281E-07 1,40516E-06 2,73841E-07 1,05229E-08
11 3,79151E-15 5,962E-15 1,66162E-15 3,48252E-15 7,30831E-16 7,62163E-17
Averages 0,004701366 0,031594963 0,02842425 0,007123121 0,009418771 0,000609362
Table 5. Obtained stable residual with every mesh size and the trimmer meshing model
The comparison of the average residuals of each meshing model is shown on the following figure:

0,080229937
Polyhedral Tetrahedral Trimmer

0,09

0,08
0,057186359
0,07
Residual Magnitude

0,06
0,032119649
0,031594963

0,05
0,02842425

0,04
0,017801117
0,010391203
0,009457898
0,009435138

0,009418771

0,03
0,007610215

0,007123121
0,004701366

0,004595445
0,004214227
0,002805131
0,002444505

0,000609362

0,02

0,01

0
Continuity X-Momentum Y-Momentum Z-Momentum Tke Tdr

Figure 6. Residual comparison between the selected meshing models


It could be seen that there is not a clear pattern in terms of which model gives a lower residual magnitude, in
certain terms it could be preferred to work with the Tetrahedral model only looking at the residual behavior,
and also it could be stated that a proper convergence state of the solution wasn’t reached (The last one can be
inferred form the residual magnitudes).

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3.2 Property profiles
The obtained property profiles are shown on the following figures:

Figure 7. Pressure Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Polyhedral Model

Figure 8. Velocity Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Polyhedral Model

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Figure 9. Pressure Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Tetrahedral Model

Figure 10. Velocity Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Tetrahedral Model

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Figure 11. Pressure Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Trimmer Model

Figure 12. Velocity Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Trimmer Model

The figures from 7 to 12 evidence that the turbulence of the flow makes the profile reading inaccurate due to
the fact that depending on the grid size the flow can describe different values, so it is extremely difficult to find
the exact same moment on different grid sizes.

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3.3. Properties in a Point
Due to the difficulty to follow a steady profile on the cross sectional area measurement of instant pressure or
velocity, an additional measuring point was established and over that point, the pressure was monitored during
the simulation processes in order to determine if a high-low pressure cycle was identified as sign of a cyclic
steady state. The results are:

Figure 13. Pressure Monitoring for the Different Meshes on the Polyhedral Model

From figure 13, it could be inferred that neither the wave amplitude nor the frequency are similar between the
different monitors, so it is not accurate to establish a proper convergence state under steady state simulation
conditions on this meshing model.

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Figure 14. Pressure Monitoring for the Different Meshes on the Tetrahedral Model
Just as it happened with the polyhedral model, neither the frequency nor the amplitude of the monitored
pressure waves was similar, so no numeric relation could be applied making the steady state simulation
inaccurate, so a proper base size cannot be identified.

Figure 15. Pressure Monitoring for the Different Meshes on the Trimmer Model
Equally to the previous models no relationship was found so the simulation with this meshing model under
steady state conditions cannot determine the grid independence.

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3.6 Unsteady state simulation
Due to the lack of accuracy on the steady state simulation, the phenomenon was simulated under unsteady
state conditions with the following conditions:
 Time model: Implicit unsteady
 Time step size: 0.01 second
 Iterations per time step: 20
 Simulation time: 3 seconds
The processed meshes were:
Element Account
Mesh ID Base Size (cm)
Polyhedral Model Tetrahedral Model Trimmer Model
1 0,5 125240 451307 96784
2 0,75 51223 146316 49872
3 1 26414 67756 16248
4 1,25 26380 67543 12114
5 1,5 26254 66993 35158
6 2 26702 68913 16248
7 3 26475 68117 36968
8 4 26651 68821 16248
9 5 18606 43530 11680
10 10 5237 8477 4648
11 20 2418 3306 2326
Table 6. Elements per meshing model on unsteady state simulation
The obtained property profiles on every meshing model are shown on the following figures:

Figure 16. Pressure Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Polyhedral Model

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On the figure 16, it could be seen that the obtained profiles start to converge on base sizes below 3cm.

Figure 17. Velocity Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Polyhedral Model
On the figure 17, it could also be seen the convergence of the profiles, in this case the property profile starts
to group on base sizes below 4cm (Mesh 8).

Figure 18. Pressure Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Tetrahedral Model
Even that in the case of the tetrahedral model it does not seems to be as clear as in the previous model, some
convergence of the profiles with base sizes below 4cm (Mesh 8).

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Figure 19. Velocity Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Tetrahedral Model
Also the velocity profiles tend to group with base sizes below 4cm (Mesh 8).

Figure 20. Pressure Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Trimmer Model
It could be seen that in this case the grouping of the profiles takes place below a base size of 3cm (Mesh 7).

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Figure 21. Velocity Exit Profiles for the Different Meshes on the Trimmer Model
In the case of the velocity, for the trimmer model the profiles below 10cm (Mesh 10) tended to group.

So it could be stated that for unsteady state simulation of the phenomenon, the biggest base sizes for each
model were:

Model Mesh Base Size (cm) Element Account


Polyhedral 6 2 26702
Tetrahedral 7 3 68117
Trimmer 6 2 16248
Table 7. Mesh independence identified meshes
So it could be stated that the mesh sizes shown on the table 7, are the ones were the independence starts to
show on the solution. Now in order to establish a complete analysis, the time step was also evaluated, the levels
used are shown on the following list:
 0.100s
 0.075s
 0.050s
 0.025s
 0.010s
The objective was to determine if the results also showed independence of the time step using the identified
optimal base size for each meshing model. The obtained information is shown on the following figures:

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Figure 22. Pressure Profiles Obtained with Different Time Steps on the Polyhedral Model Simulation
On the figure 22, it could be seen that the profiles start to group with time steps up to 0,05s (Time 3).

Figure 23. Velocity Profiles Obtained with Different Time Steps on the Polyhedral Model Simulation
All the profiles are grouped without any influence of the selected time steps.

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Figure 24. Pressure Profiles Obtained with Different Time Steps on the Tetrahedral Model Simulation
From the figure 24 it could be inferred that the profiles are significantly similar with time steps up to 0,075s for
this meshing model (Time 2).

Figure 25. Velocity Profiles Obtained with Different Time Steps on the Tetrahedral Model Simulation

Just like it happened with the pressure profile, the results tend to group with time steps up to 0,075s (Time 2).

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Figure 26. Pressure Profiles Obtained with Different Time Steps on the Trimmer Model Simulation
In the case of the trimmer model the pressure profiles tend to group with time steps up to 0,05s.

Figure 27. Velocity Profiles Obtained with Different Time Steps on the Trimmer Model Simulation

Just like in the case of the polyhedral model it could be inferred that there is no significant difference between
time steps and the result of the simulation.

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According to the previous analysis, the following are the recommended mesh base size and time steps for the
selected meshing models:

Model Time Steps (s) Base Size (cm)


Polyhedral 0,050 2
Tetrahedral 0,075 3
Trimmer 0,050 2
Table 8. Time Step and Base Size for the Selected Meshing Models According to the Independence Tests

4. RESULTS VALIDATION
In order to determine if the selected models with the base sizes and time steps are performing a correct
interpretation of the phenomenon, in order to do that, the drag coefficient was calculated under each condition
of the table 8 and compared with the approximation for flat surface with vortex generation presented by
Castilla R. and Gamez-Montero. The results are shown on the following chart:

Time Steps Base Size Calculated Drag Reference Deviation


Model
(s) (cm) Coefficient Value Absolute %
Polyhedral 0,05 2 2,089564 1,98 0,109564 5,53%
Tetrahedral 0,075 3 1,946836 1,98 0,033164 1,67%
Trimmer 0,05 2 1,810970 1,98 0,169030 8,54%
Table 9. Drag Coefficient Comparison
It could be seen that the three models tend to the reference value with different deviations, the tetrahedral
model was more accurate on the approximation, probably due to the large amount of elements that includes
in the process.

5. CONCLUSIONS
 It is extremely important to determine the nature of the flow to be analyzed prior to start a simulation
in a CFD computational tool, establishing clearly the regime of flow, fluid conditions and proper
response variables, this ensures an accurate solution and a more understandable process.
 It is important to develop a logic step by step process to perform a CFD simulation that allow the user
to properly understand the total and partial outcome of the operations, minimizing the risk of error
and allowing the user to maximize the use of the obtained information.
 The grid independence analysis is a very important tool that saves computational time and increases
the accuracy of the solution, also allows the user to establish differences between meshing models
and the deviations between the different amount and type of used element on the discretization.
 In the particular case of the analyzed problem, the most recommended model is the Tetrahedral
approach, due to the large amount of elements per base size provided, this increases the accuracy of
the solution without having to decrease significantly the element base size.
 Finally, time step size also has a significant role on the simulation, performing a time step
independence test, allows the user to establish the proper time step on the discretization, which leads
to minimize the computational cost of the operations.

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