Journal article

Intercomparison of Terrain-Following Coordinate Transformation and Immersed Boundary Methods for Large-Eddy Simulation of Wind Fields over Complex Terrain

Accurate modeling of complex terrain, especially steep terrain, in the simulation of wind fields remains a challenge. It is well known that the terrain-following coordinate transformation method (TFCT) generally used in atmospheric flow simulations is restricted to non-steep terrain with slope angles less than 45 degrees. Due to the advantage of keeping the basic computational grids and numerical schemes unchanged, the immersed boundary method (IBM) has been widely implemented in various numerical codes to handle arbitrary domain geometry including steep terrain. However, IBM could introduce considerable implementation errors in wall modeling through various interpolations because an immersed boundary is generally not co-located with a grid line. In this paper, we perform an intercomparison of TFCT and IBM in large-eddy simulation of a turbulent wind field over a three-dimensional (3D) hill for the purpose of evaluating the implementation errors in IBM. The slopes of the three-dimensional hill are not steep and, therefore, TFCT can be applied. Since TFCT is free from interpolation-induced implementation errors in wall modeling, its results can serve as a reference for the evaluation so that the influence of errors from wall models themselves can be excluded. For TFCT, a new algorithm for solving the pressure Poisson equation in the transformed coordinate system is proposed and first validated for a laminar flow over periodic two-dimensional hills by comparing with a benchmark solution. For the turbulent flow over the 3D hill, the wind-tunnel measurements used for validation contain both vertical and horizontal profiles of mean velocities and variances, thus allowing an in-depth comparison of the numerical models. In this case, TFCT is expected to be preferable to IBM. This is confirmed by the presented results of comparison. It is shown that the implementation errors in IBM lead to large discrepancies between the results obtained by TFCT and IBM near the surface. The effects of different schemes used to implement wall boundary conditions in IBM are studied. The source of errors and possible ways to improve the IBM implementation are discussed.


Related material