Evaluation of the Multiple Reference Frame Approach for the Modelling of an Axial Cooling Fan
Journal article, 2019
The modelling of rotating parts, such as axial fans, is one of the main challenges of current CFD simulations of industrial applications. Different methods are available, but the most commonly used is the multiple reference frame (MRF) method. This paper investigates how different flow properties, such as temperature, pressure and velocity, develop when passing through the MRF domain. The results are compared to the more physical rigid body motion (RBM) approach. It is found that the MRF method transports the upstream properties with the streamlines of the relative velocity from the upstream to the downstream interface. This leads to a non-physical rotation by an angle that is dependent on the length of the domain and the ratio between axial and tangential velocity in the MRF region. The temperature field is more affected than the flow field, since wake structures from upstream obstacles are destroyed due to the wake of the blades. Downstream structures affect the flow in the upstream region by an increase in static pressure, which causes the streamlines in the MRF zone to slow down. Depending on the size of the obstacle, this can cause substantial distortions in the upstream and downstream flow field.
multiple reference frame
rigid body motion