Direct numerical simulations of the swirling von Kármán flow using a semi-implicit moving immersed boundary method

M. Houssem Kasbaoui, Tejas Kulkarni, Fabrizio Bisetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We present a novel moving immersed boundary method (IBM) and employ it in direct numerical simulations (DNS) of the closed-vessel swirling von Kármán flow in laminar and turbulent regimes. The IBM extends direct-forcing approaches by leveraging a time integration scheme, that embeds the immersed boundary forcing step within a semi-implicit iterative Crank–Nicolson scheme. The overall method is robust, stable, and yields excellent results in canonical cases with static and moving boundaries. The moving IBM allows us to reproduce the geometry and parameters of the swirling von Kármán flow experiments in (F. Ravelet, A. Chiffaudel, and F. Daviaud, JFM 601, 339 (2008)) on a Cartesian grid. In these DNS, the flow is driven by two-counter rotating impellers fitted with curved inertial stirrers. We analyze the transition from laminar to turbulent flow by increasing the rotation rate of the counter-rotating impellers to attain the four Reynolds numbers 90, 360, 2000, and 4000. In the laminar regime at Reynolds number 90 and 360, we observe flow features similar to those reported in the experiments and in particular, the appearance of a symmetry-breaking instability at Reynolds number 360. We observe transitional turbulence at Reynolds number 2000. Fully developed turbulence is achieved at Reynolds number 4000. Non-dimensional torque computed from simulations matches correlations from experimental data. The low Reynolds number symmetries, lost with increasing Reynolds number, are recovered in the mean flow in the fully developed turbulent regime, where we observe two tori symmetrical about the mid-height plane. We note that turbulent fluctuations in the central region of the device remain anisotropic even at the highest Reynolds number 4000, suggesting that isotropization requires significantly higher Reynolds numbers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105132
JournalComputers and Fluids
StatePublished - Nov 15 2021


  • CFD
  • Immersed boundary method
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Engineering


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