Time-accurate Numerical Simulations of Swirling Flow with Rotor-stator Interaction
Journal article, 2015

A series of numerical simulations is undertaken to study a highly swirling turbulent flow generated by rotor-stator interaction in a swirl generator. The purpose is to assess the applicability of different turbulence models in swirling flow with a high level of unsteadiness and a significant production and dissipation of turbulence in the flow away from the wall. Nine turbulence models are compared: four high-Reynolds URANS, two low-Reynolds URANS and three hybrid URANS-LES. These are the standard k−𝜖, SST k−ω, realizable k−𝜖, R N G k−𝜖, Launder-Sharma k−𝜖, Lien-Cubic k−𝜖, delayed DES Spalart-Allmaras, DDES SST k−ω and improved DDES-SA. The URANS models are capable of capturing the main unsteady feature of this flow, the so-called helical vortex rope, which is formed by the strong centrifugal force and an on-axis recirculation region. However, the size of the on-axis recirculation region is overestimated by the URANS models. Although the low-Reynolds URANS formulations resolve the boundary layers in the runner and the draft tube more accurately, they still encounter difficulties in predicting the main flow features in the adverse pressure gradient in the draft tube. It is shown that a more detailed resolution, which is provided by the hybrid URANS-LES methods, is necessary to capture the turbulence and the coherent structures. The flow contains a strong disintegration of the vortex rope which is predicted well by the hybrid RANS-LES models. The hybrid methods also capture the blade wakes better than the other models, elucidating the wake interaction with the vortex rope. The frequency of the vortex rope is predicted well and the total turbulence (resolved and modeled), suggested by DDES-SA, corresponds reasonably well to the experimental results.


Swirl generator

Vortex rope


Ardalan Javadi

Chalmers, Applied Mechanics, Fluid Dynamics

Håkan Nilsson

Chalmers, Applied Mechanics, Fluid Dynamics

Flow, Turbulence and Combustion

1386-6184 (ISSN) 1573-1987 (eISSN)

Vol. 95 4 755-774

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance



C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)

Subject Categories

Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics



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