Improving LES with OpenFOAM by minimising numerical dissipation and use of explicit algebraic SGS stress model

Authors: Montecchia, M.M., Brethouwer, G.B., Wallin, S.W., Johansson, A.V.J.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Year: 2019


There is a rapidly growing interest in using general-purpose CFD codes based on second-order finite volume methods for Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) in a wide range of applications, and in many cases involving wall-bounded flows. However, such codes are strongly affected by numerical dissipation and the accuracy obtained for typical LES resolutions is often poor. In the present study, we approach the problem of improving the LES capability of such codes by reduction of the numerical dissipation and use of an anisotropy-capturing subgrid-scale (SGS) stress model. The latter is of special importance for wall-resolved LES with resolutions where the SGS anisotropy can be substantial. Here we use the Explicit Algebraic (EA) SGS model [Marstorp L, Brethouwer G, Grundestam O, et al. Explicit algebraic subgrid stress models with application to rotating channel flow. J Fluid Mech. 2009;639:403–432], and comparisons are made for channel flow at friction Reynolds numbers up to 934 with the dynamic Smagorinsky model. The numerical dissipation is reduced by using an OpenFOAM based custom-built flow solver that modifies the Rhie and Chow interpolation and allows to control and minimise its effects without causing numerical instability (in viscous, fully turbulent flows). Different resolutions were used and large improvements of the LES accuracy were demonstrated for skin friction, mean velocity and other flow statistics by use of the new solver in combination with the EA SGS model. By reducing the numerical dissipation and using the EA SGS model the resolution requirements for wall-resolved LES can be significantly reduced.