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A dimensionally split Cartesian cut cell method for Computational Fluid Dynamics



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Gokhale, Nandan Bhushan 


We present a novel dimensionally split Cartesian cut cell method to compute inviscid, viscous and turbulent flows around rigid geometries.

On a cut cell mesh, the existence of arbitrarily small boundary cells severely restricts the stable time step for an explicit numerical scheme. We solve this `small cell problem' when computing solutions for hyperbolic conservation laws by combining wave speed and geometric information to develop a novel stabilised cut cell flux. The convergence and stability of the developed technique are proved for the one-dimensional linear advection equation, while its multi-dimensional numerical performance is investigated through the computation of solutions to a number of test problems for the linear advection and Euler equations. This work was recently published in the Journal of Computational Physics (Gokhale et al., 2018).

Subsequently, we develop the method further to be able to compute solutions for the compressible Navier-Stokes equations. The method is globally second order accurate in the L1 norm, fully conservative, and allows the use of time steps determined by the regular grid spacing. We provide a full description of the three-dimensional implementation of the method and evaluate its numerical performance by computing solutions to a wide range of test problems ranging from the nearly incompressible to the highly compressible flow regimes. This work was recently published in the Journal of Computational Physics (Gokhale et al., 2018). It is the first presentation of a dimensionally split cut cell method for the compressible Navier-Stokes equations in the literature.

Finally, we also present an extension of the cut cell method to solve high Reynolds number turbulent automotive flows using a wall-modelled Large Eddy Simulation (WMLES) approach. A full description is provided of the coupling between the (implicit) LES solution and an equilibrium wall function on the cut cell mesh. The combined methodology is used to compute results for the turbulent flow over a square cylinder, and for flow over the SAE Notchback and DrivAer reference automotive geometries. We intend to publish the promising results as part of a future publication, which would be the first assessment of a WMLES Cartesian cut cell approach for computing automotive flows to be presented in the literature.





Nikiforakis, Nikos


Cartesian grid, Cut cell, Dimensional splitting, Complex geometry, Adaptive mesh refinement, Immersed boundary method, Navier–Stokes


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
My time as a PhD student at the University of Cambridge was funded by a scholarship from the Cambridge Commonwealth, European & International Trust.