Flow, Turbulence and Combustion

, Volume 81, Issue 3, pp 449-470

First online:

Efficient Generation of Inflow Conditions for Large Eddy Simulation of Street-Scale Flows

  • Zheng-Tong XieAffiliated withSchool of Engineering Sciences, University of Southampton Email author 
  • , Ian P. CastroAffiliated withSchool of Engineering Sciences, University of Southampton

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Using a numerical weather forecasting code to provide the dynamic large-scale inlet boundary conditions for the computation of small-scale urban canopy flows requires a continuous specification of appropriate inlet turbulence. For such computations to be practical, a very efficient method of generating such turbulence is needed. Correlation functions of typical turbulent shear flows have forms not too dissimilar to decaying exponentials. A digital-filter-based generation of turbulent inflow conditions exploiting this fact is presented as a suitable technique for large eddy simulations computation of spatially developing flows. The artificially generated turbulent inflows satisfy the prescribed integral length scales and Reynolds-stress-tensor. The method is much more efficient than, for example, Klein’s (J Comp Phys 186:652–665, 2003) or Kempf et al.’s (Flow Turbulence Combust, 74:67–84, 2005) methods because at every time step only one set of two-dimensional (rather than three-dimensional) random data is filtered to generate a set of two-dimensional data with the appropriate spatial correlations. These data are correlated with the data from the previous time step by using an exponential function based on two weight factors. The method is validated by simulating plane channel flows with smooth walls and flows over arrays of staggered cubes (a generic urban-type flow). Mean velocities, the Reynolds-stress-tensor and spectra are all shown to be comparable with those obtained using classical inlet-outlet periodic boundary conditions. Confidence has been gained in using this method to couple weather scale flows and street scale computations.


Weather scale Urban CFD Coupling Bluff bodies Channel flow