Large-eddy simulations of scramjet engines
The main objective of this dissertation is to develop large-eddy simulation (LES) based computational tools for supersonic inlet and combustor design. In the recent past, LES methodology has emerged as a viable tool for modeling turbulent combustion. LES computes the large scale mixing process accurately, thereby providing a better starting point for small-scale models that describe the combustion process. In fact, combustion models developed in the context of Reynolds-averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) equations exhibit better predictive capability when used in the LES framework. The development of a predictive computational tool based on LES will provide a significant boost to the design of scramjet engines. Although LES has been used widely in the simulation of subsonic turbulent flows, its application to high-speed flows has been hampered by a variety of modeling and numerical issues. In this work, we develop a comprehensive LES methodology for supersonic flows, focusing on the simulation of scramjet engine components. This work is divided into three sections. First, a robust compressible flow solver for a generalized high-speed flow configuration is developed. By using carefully designed numerical schemes, dissipative errors associated with discretization methods for high-speed flows are minimized. Multiblock and immersed boundary method are used to handle scramjet-specific geometries. Second, a new combustion model for compressible reactive flows is developed. Subsonic combustion models are not directly applicable in high-speed flows due to the coupling between the energy and velocity fields. Here, a probability density function (PDF) approach is developed for high-speed combustion. This method requires solution to a high dimensional PDF transport equation, which is achieved through a novel direct quadrature method of moments (DQMOM). The combustion model is validated using experiments on supersonic reacting flows. Finally, the LES methodology is used to study the inlet-isolator component of a dual-mode scramjet. The isolator is a critical component that maintains the compression shock structures required for stable combustor operation in ramjet mode. We simulate unsteady dynamics inside an experimental isolator, including the propagation of an unstart event that leads to loss of compression. Using a suite of simulations, the sensitivity of the results to LES models and numerical implementation is studied.