Generation of Turbulent Inflow Data for Spatially-Developing Boundary Layer Simulations

Thomas S. Lund, Xiaohua Wu, Kyle Squires

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1344 Scopus citations


A method for generating three-dimensional, time-dependent turbulent inflow data for simulations of complex spatially developing boundary layers is described. The approach is to extract instantaneous planes of velocity data from an auxiliary simulation of a zero pressure gradient boundary layer. The auxiliary simulation is also spatially developing, but generates its own inflow conditions through a sequence of operations where the velocity field at a downstream station is rescaled and re-introduced at the inlet. This procedure is essentially a variant of the Spalart method, optimized so that an existing inflow-outflow code can be converted to an inflow-generation device through the addition of one simple subroutine. The proposed method is shown to produce a realistic turbulent boundary layer which yields statistics that are in good agreement with both experimental data and results from direct simulations. The method is used to provide inflow conditions for a large eddy simulation (LES) of a spatially evolving boundary layer spanning a momentum thickness Reynolds number interval of 1530-2150. The results from the LES calculation are compared with those from other simulations that make use of more approximate inflow conditions. When compared with the approximate inflow generation techniques, the proposed method is shown to be highly accurate, with little or no adjustment of the solution near the inlet boundary. In contrast, the other methods surveyed produce a transient near the inlet that persists several boundary layer thicknesses downstream. Lack of a transient when using the proposed method is significant since the adverse effects of inflow errors are typically minimized through a costly upstream elongation of the mesh. Extension of the method for non-zero pressure gradients is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-258
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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