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# Chapter 8.

## Modeling Basic Fluid Flow

This chapter describes the basic physical models that FLUENT provides for uid ow and
the commands for dening and using them. Models for ows in moving zones (including
sliding and dynamic meshes) are explained in Chapter 9, models for turbulence are
described in Chapter 10, and models for heat transfer (including radiation) are presented
in Chapter 11. An overview of modeling species transport and reacting ows is provided
in Chapter 12, details about models for species transport and reacting ows are described
in Chapters 1317, and models for pollutant formation are presented in Chapter 18. An
overview of multiphase modeling is provided in Chapter 20, the discrete phase model is
described in Chapter 21, general multiphase models are described in Chapter 22, and the
melting and solidication model is described in Chapter 23. For information on modeling
porous media, porous jumps, and lumped parameter fans and radiators, see Chapter 6.
The information in this chapter is presented in the following sections:
Section 8.1: Overview of Physical Models in FLUENT
Section 8.2: Continuity and Momentum Equations
Section 8.3: Periodic Flows
Section 8.4: Swirling and Rotating Flows
Section 8.5: Compressible Flows
Section 8.6: Inviscid Flows
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
8.1 Overview of Physical Models in FLUENT
FLUENT provides comprehensive modeling capabilities for a wide range of incompressible
and compressible, laminar and turbulent uid ow problems. Steady-state or transient
analyses can be performed. In FLUENT, a broad range of mathematical models for
transport phenomena (like heat transfer and chemical reactions) is combined with the
ability to model complex geometries. Examples of FLUENT applications include laminar
non-Newtonian ows in process equipment; conjugate heat transfer in turbomachinery
and automotive engine components; pulverized coal combustion in utility boilers; exter-
nal aerodynamics; ow through compressors, pumps, and fans; and multiphase ows in
bubble columns and uidized beds.
To permit modeling of uid ow and related transport phenomena in industrial equip-
ment and processes, various useful features are provided. These include porous media,
lumped parameter (fan and heat exchanger), streamwise-periodic ow and heat transfer,
swirl, and moving reference frame models. The moving reference frame family of models
includes the ability to model single or multiple reference frames. A time-accurate sliding
mesh method, useful for modeling multiple stages in turbomachinery applications, for ex-
ample, is also provided, along with the mixing plane model for computing time-averaged
ow elds.
Another very useful group of models in FLUENT is the set of free surface and multi-
phase ow models. These can be used for analysis of gas-liquid, gas-solid, liquid-solid,
and gas-liquid-solid ows. For these types of problems, FLUENT provides the volume-of-
uid (VOF), mixture, and Eulerian models, as well as the discrete phase model (DPM).
The DPM performs Lagrangian trajectory calculations for dispersed phases (particles,
droplets, or bubbles), including coupling with the continuous phase. Examples of multi-
phase ows include channel ows, sprays, sedimentation, separation, and cavitation.
Robust and accurate turbulence models are a vital component of the FLUENT suite of
models. The turbulence models provided have a broad range of applicability, and they
include the eects of other physical phenomena, such as buoyancy and compressibility.
Particular care has been devoted to addressing issues of near-wall accuracy via the use
of extended wall functions and zonal models.
Various modes of heat transfer can be modeled, including natural, forced, and mixed
convection with or without conjugate heat transfer, porous media, etc. The set of radia-
tion models and related submodels for modeling participating media are general and can
take into account the complications of combustion. A particular strength of FLUENT
is its ability to model combustion phenomena using a variety of models, including eddy
dissipation and probability density function models. A host of other models that are
very useful for reacting ow applications are also available, including coal and droplet
combustion, surface reaction, and pollutant formation models.
8-2 c Fluent Inc. January 28, 2003
8.2 Continuity and Momentum Equations
8.2 Continuity and Momentum Equations
For all ows, FLUENT solves conservation equations for mass and momentum. For ows
involving heat transfer or compressibility, an additional equation for energy conservation
is solved. For ows involving species mixing or reactions, a species conservation equation
is solved or, if the non-premixed combustion model is used, conservation equations for
the mixture fraction and its variance are solved. Additional transport equations are also
solved when the ow is turbulent.
In this section, the conservation equations for laminar ow (in an inertial (non-accelerating)
reference frame) are presented. The equations that are applicable to rotating reference
frames are presented in Chapter 9. The conservation equations relevant to heat transfer,
turbulence modeling, and species transport will be discussed in the chapters where those
models are described.
The Euler equations solved for inviscid ow are presented in Section 8.6.
The Mass Conservation Equation
The equation for conservation of mass, or continuity equation, can be written as follows:

t
+ (v) = S
m
(8.2-1)
Equation 8.2-1 is the general form of the mass conservation equation and is valid for
incompressible as well as compressible ows. The source S
m
is the mass added to the
continuous phase from the dispersed second phase (e.g., due to vaporization of liquid
droplets) and any user-dened sources.
For 2D axisymmetric geometries, the continuity equation is given by

t
+

x
(v
x
) +

r
(v
r
) +
v
r
r
= S
m
(8.2-2)
where x is the axial coordinate, r is the radial coordinate, v
x
is the axial velocity, and v
r
Momentum Conservation Equations
Conservation of momentum in an inertial (non-accelerating) reference frame is described
by 

t
(v) + (vv) = p + () + g +

F (8.2-3)
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
where p is the static pressure, is the stress tensor (described below), and g and

F are
the gravitational body force and external body forces (e.g., that arise from interaction
with the dispersed phase), respectively.

F also contains other model-dependent source
terms such as porous-media and user-dened sources.
The stress tensor is given by
=
_
(v +v
T
)
2
3
vI
_
(8.2-4)
where is the molecular viscosity, I is the unit tensor, and the second term on the right
hand side is the eect of volume dilation.
For 2D axisymmetric geometries, the axial and radial momentum conservation equations
are given by

t
(v
x
) +
1
r

x
(rv
x
v
x
) +
1
r

r
(rv
r
v
x
) =
p
x
+
1
r

x
_
r
_
2
v
x
x

2
3
( v)
__
+
1
r

r
_
r
_
v
x
r
+
v
r
x
__
+ F
x
(8.2-5)
and

t
(v
r
) +
1
r

x
(rv
x
v
r
) +
1
r

r
(rv
r
v
r
) =
p
r
+
1
r

x
_
r
_
v
r
x
+
v
x
r
__
+
1
r

r
_
r
_
2
v
r
r

2
3
( v)
__
2
v
r
r
2
+
2
3

r
( v) +
v
2
z
r
+ F
r
(8.2-6)
where
v =
v
x
x
+
v
r
r
+
v
r
r
(8.2-7)
and v
z
is the swirl velocity. (See Section 8.4 for information about modeling axisymmetric
swirl.)
8-4 c Fluent Inc. January 28, 2003
8.3 Periodic Flows
8.3 Periodic Flows
Periodic ow occurs when the physical geometry of interest and the expected pattern of
the ow/thermal solution have a periodically repeating nature. Two types of periodic ow
can be modeled in FLUENT. In the rst type, no pressure drop occurs across the periodic
planes. (Note to FLUENT 4 users: This type of periodic ow is modeled using a cyclic
boundary in FLUENT 4.) In the second type, a pressure drop occurs across translationally
periodic boundaries, resulting in fully-developed or streamwise-periodic ow. (In
FLUENT 4, this type of periodic ow is modeled using a periodic boundary.)
This section discusses streamwise-periodic ow. A description of no-pressure-drop pe-
riodic ow is provided in Section 6.15, and a description of streamwise-periodic heat
transfer is provided in Section 11.4.
Information about streamwise-periodic ow is presented in the following sections:
Section 8.3.1: Overview and Limitations
Section 8.3.2: Theory
Section 8.3.3: User Inputs for the Segregated Solver
Section 8.3.4: User Inputs for the Coupled Solvers
Section 8.3.5: Monitoring the Value of the Pressure Gradient
Section 8.3.6: Postprocessing for Streamwise-Periodic Flows
8.3.1 Overview and Limitations
Overview
FLUENT provides the ability to calculate streamwise-periodicor fully-developed
uid ow. These ows are encountered in a variety of applications, including ows in
compact heat exchanger channels and ows across tube banks. In such ow congura-
tions, the geometry varies in a repeating manner along the direction of the ow, leading
to a periodic fully-developed ow regime in which the ow pattern repeats in succes-
sive cycles. Other examples of streamwise-periodic ows include fully-developed ow in
pipes and ducts. These periodic conditions are achieved after a sucient entrance length,
which depends on the ow Reynolds number and geometric conguration.
Streamwise-periodic ow conditions exist when the ow pattern repeats over some length
L, with a constant pressure drop across each repeating module along the streamwise
direction. Figure 8.3.1 depicts one example of a periodically repeating ow of this type
which has been modeled by including a single representative module.
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
Velocity Vectors Colored By Velocity Magnitude (m/s)
3.57e-03
3.33e-03
3.09e-03
2.86e-03
2.62e-03
2.38e-03
2.14e-03
1.90e-03
1.67e-03
1.43e-03
1.19e-03
9.53e-04
7.15e-04
4.77e-04
2.39e-04
1.01e-06
Figure 8.3.1: Example of Periodic Flow in a 2D Heat Exchanger Geometry
Constraints on the Use of Streamwise-Periodic Flow
The following constraints apply to modeling streamwise-periodic ow:
The ow must be incompressible.
The geometry must be translationally periodic.
If one of the coupled solvers is used, you can specify only the pressure jump; for the
segregated solver, you can specify either the pressure jump or the mass ow rate.
No net mass addition through inlets/exits or extra source terms is allowed.
Species can be modeled only if inlets/exits (without net mass addition) are included
in the problem. Reacting ows are not permitted.
Discrete phase and multiphase modeling are not allowed.
8.3.2 Theory
Denition of the Periodic Velocity
The assumption of periodicity implies that the velocity components repeat themselves in
space as follows:
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8.3 Periodic Flows
u(r) = u(r +

L) = u(r + 2

L) =
v(r) = v(r +

L) = v(r + 2

L) = (8.3-1)
w(r) = w(r +

L) = w(r + 2

L) =
where r is the position vector and

L is the periodic length vector of the domain considered
(see Figure 8.3.2).
L

A B C
u
B
u
A
u
C
= =
v
B
v
A
v
C
= = p
B
p
A
p
C
=
p
B
- -
p
B
p
A
p
C
= =

Figure 8.3.2: Example of a Periodic Geometry
Denition of the Streamwise-Periodic Pressure
For viscous ows, the pressure is not periodic in the sense of Equation 8.3-1. Instead,
the pressure drop between modules is periodic:
p = p(r) p(r +

L) = p(r +

L) p(r + 2

L) = (8.3-2)
If one of the coupled solvers is used, p is specied as a constant value. For the segregated
solver, the local pressure gradient can be decomposed into two parts: the gradient of a
periodic component, p(r), and the gradient of a linearly-varying component,

L
|

L|
:
p(r) =

L
|

L|
+ p(r) (8.3-3)
where p(r) is the periodic pressure and |r| is the linearly-varying component of the
pressure. The periodic pressure is the pressure left over after subtracting out the linearly-
varying pressure. The linearly-varying component of the pressure results in a force acting
on the uid in the momentum equations. Because the value of is not known a priori,
it must be iterated on until the mass ow rate that you have dened is achieved in the
computational model. This correction of occurs in the pressure correction step of the
SIMPLE, SIMPLEC, or PISO algorithm where the value of is updated based on the
dierence between the desired mass ow rate and the actual one. You have some control
over the number of sub-iterations used to update , as described in Section 8.3.3.
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
8.3.3 User Inputs for the Segregated Solver
If you are using the segregated solver, in order to calculate a spatially periodic ow eld
with a specied mass ow rate or pressure derivative, you must rst create a grid with
translationally periodic boundaries that are parallel to each other and equal in size. You
can specify translational periodicity in the Periodic panel, as described in Section 6.15.
(If you need to create periodic boundaries, see Section 5.7.5.)
Once the grid has been read into FLUENT, you will complete the following inputs in the
Periodicity Conditions panel (Figure 8.3.3):
Dene Periodic Conditions...
Figure 8.3.3: The Periodicity Conditions Panel
1. Select either the specied mass ow rate (Specify Mass Flow) option or the specied
ow rate across the periodic boundary will be a known quantity; for others, the
mass ow rate will be unknown, but the pressure gradient ( in Equation 8.3-3)
will be a known quantity.
2. Specify the mass ow rate and/or the pressure gradient ( in Equation 8.3-3):
If you selected the Specify Mass Flow option, enter the desired value for the
Mass Flow Rate. You can also specify an initial guess for the Pressure Gradient,
but this is not required.
For axisymmetric problems, the mass ow rate is per 2 radians. !
If you selected the Specify Pressure Gradient option, enter the desired value for
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8.3 Periodic Flows
3. Dene the ow direction by setting the X,Y,Z (or X,Y in 2D) point under Flow
Direction. The ow will move in the direction of the vector pointing from the
origin to the specied point. The direction vector must be parallel to the periodic
translation direction or its opposite.
4. If you chose in step 1 to specify the mass ow rate, set the parameters used for the
calculation of . These parameters are described in detail below.
After completing these inputs, you can solve the periodic velocity eld to convergence.
Setting Parameters for the Calculation of
If you choose to specify the mass ow rate, FLUENT will need to calculate the appropriate
value of the pressure gradient . You can control this calculation by specifying the
Relaxation Factor and the Number of Iterations, and by supplying an initial guess for .
All of these inputs are entered in the Periodicity Conditions panel.
The Number of Iterations sets the number of sub-iterations performed on the correction
of in the pressure correction equation. Because the value of is not known a priori,
it must be iterated on until the Mass Flow Rate that you have dened is achieved in
the computational model. This correction of occurs in the pressure correction step of
the SIMPLE, SIMPLEC, or PISO algorithm. A correction to the current value of is
calculated based on the dierence between the desired mass ow rate and the actual one.
The sub-iterations referred to here are performed within the pressure correction step to
improve the correction for before the pressure correction equation is solved for the
resulting pressure (and velocity) correction values. The default value of 2 sub-iterations
should suce in most problems, but can be increased to help speed convergence. The
Relaxation Factor is an under-relaxation factor that controls convergence of this iteration
process.
You can also speed up convergence of the periodic calculation by supplying an initial guess
for in the Pressure Gradient eld. Note that the current value of will be displayed in
this eld if you have performed any calculations. To update the Pressure Gradient eld
with the current value at any time, click on the Update button.
8.3.4 User Inputs for the Coupled Solvers
If you are using one of the coupled solvers, in order to calculate a spatially periodic ow
eld with a specied pressure jump, you must rst create a grid with translationally
periodic boundaries that are parallel to each other and equal in size. (If you need to
create periodic boundaries, see Section 5.7.5.)
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
1. In the Periodic panel (Figure 8.3.4), which is opened from the Boundary Conditions
panel, indicate that the periodicity is Translational (the default).
Dene Boundary Conditions...
Figure 8.3.4: The Periodic Panel
2. Also in the Periodic panel, set the Periodic Pressure Jump (p in Equation 8.3-2).
After completing these inputs, you can solve the periodic velocity eld to convergence.
8.3.5 Monitoring the Value of the Pressure Gradient
If you have specied the mass ow rate, you can monitor the value of the pressure
as the variable to be monitored. See Section 24.16.2 for details about using this feature.
8.3.6 Postprocessing for Streamwise-Periodic Flows
For streamwise-periodic ows, the velocity eld should be completely periodic. If a
coupled solver is used to compute the periodic ow, the pressure eld reported will be the
actual pressure p (which is not periodic). If the segregated solver is used, the pressure
eld reported will be the periodic pressure eld p(r) of Equation 8.3-3. Figure 8.3.5
displays the periodic pressure eld in the geometry of Figure 8.3.1.
If you specied a mass ow rate and had FLUENT calculate the pressure gradient, you
can check the pressure gradient in the streamwise direction () by looking at the current
value for Pressure Gradient in the Periodicity Conditions panel.
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8.4 Swirling and Rotating Flows
Contours of Static Pressure (pascal)
1.68e-03
1.29e-03
8.98e-04
5.07e-04
1.16e-04
-2.74e-04
-6.65e-04
-1.06e-03
-1.45e-03
-1.84e-03
-2.23e-03
-2.62e-03
-3.01e-03
-3.40e-03
-3.79e-03
-4.18e-03
Figure 8.3.5: Periodic Pressure Field Predicted for Flow in a 2D Heat Exchanger Geom-
etry
8.4 Swirling and Rotating Flows
Many important engineering ows involve swirl or rotation and FLUENT is well-equipped
to model such ows. Swirling ows are common in combustion, with swirl introduced in
burners and combustors in order to increase residence time and stabilize the ow pattern.
Rotating ows are also encountered in turbomachinery, mixing tanks, and a variety of
other applications.
Information about rotating and swirling ows is provided in the following subsections:
Section 8.4.1: Overview of Swirling and Rotating Flows
Section 8.4.2: Physics of Swirling and Rotating Flows
Section 8.4.3: Turbulence Modeling in Swirling Flows
Section 8.4.4: Grid Setup for Swirling and Rotating Flows
Section 8.4.5: Modeling Axisymmetric Flows with Swirl or Rotation
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
When you begin the analysis of a rotating or swirling ow, it is essential that you classify
your problem into one of the following ve categories of ow:
axisymmetric ows with swirl or rotation
fully three-dimensional swirling or rotating ows
ows requiring a rotating reference frame
ows requiring multiple rotating reference frames or mixing planes
ows requiring sliding meshes
Modeling and solution procedures for the rst two categories are presented in this section.
The remaining three, which all involve moving zones, are discussed in Chapter 9.
8.4.1 Overview of Swirling and Rotating Flows
Axisymmetric Flows with Swirl or Rotation
Your problem may be axisymmetric with respect to geometry and ow conditions but
still include swirl or rotation. In this case, you can model the ow in 2D (i.e., solve
the axisymmetric problem) and include the prediction of the circumferential (or swirl)
velocity. It is important to note that while the assumption of axisymmetry implies
that there are no circumferential gradients in the ow, there may still be non-zero swirl
velocities.
Momentum Conservation Equation for Swirl Velocity
The tangential momentum equation for 2D swirling ows may be written as

t
(w)+
1
r

x
(ruw)+
1
r

r
(rvw) =
1
r

x
_
r
w
x
_
+
1
r
2

r
_
r
3

r
_
w
r
_
_

vw
r
(8.4-1)
where x is the axial coordinate, r is the radial coordinate, u is the axial velocity, v is the
radial velocity, and w is the swirl velocity.
Three-Dimensional Swirling Flows
When there are geometric changes and/or ow gradients in the circumferential direction,
your swirling ow prediction requires a three-dimensional model. If you are planning
a 3D FLUENT model that includes swirl or rotation, you should be aware of the setup
constraints listed in Section 8.4.4. In addition, you may wish to consider simplications
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8.4 Swirling and Rotating Flows
to the problem which might reduce it to an equivalent axisymmetric problem, especially
for your initial modeling eort. Because of the complexity of swirling ows, an initial
2D study, in which you can quickly determine the eects of various modeling and design
choices, can be very benecial.
For 3D problems involving swirl or rotation, there are no special inputs required during !
the problem setup and no special solution procedures. Note, however, that you may want
to use the cylindrical coordinate system for dening velocity-inlet boundary condition
inputs, as described in Section 6.4.1. Also, you may nd the gradual increase of the
rotational speed (set as a wall or inlet boundary condition) helpful during the solution
process. This is described for axisymmetric swirling ows in Section 8.4.5.
Flows Requiring a Rotating Reference Frame
If your ow involves a rotating boundary which moves through the uid (e.g., an impeller
blade or a grooved or notched surface), you will need to use a rotating reference frame to
model the problem. Such applications are described in detail in Section 9.2. If you have
more than one rotating boundary (e.g., several impellers in a row), you can use multiple
reference frames (described in Section 9.3) or mixing planes (described in Section 9.4).
8.4.2 Physics of Swirling and Rotating Flows
In swirling ows, conservation of angular momentum (rw or r
2
= constant) tends to
create a free vortex ow, in which the circumferential velocity, w, increases sharply as the
radius, r, decreases (with w nally decaying to zero near r = 0 as viscous forces begin
to dominate). A tornado is one example of a free vortex. Figure 8.4.1 depicts the radial
distribution of w in a typical free vortex.
axis
r
Figure 8.4.1: Typical Radial Distribution of w in a Free Vortex
It can be shown that for an ideal free vortex ow, the centrifugal forces created by the
p
r
=
w
2
r
(8.4-2)
As the distribution of angular momentum in a non-ideal vortex evolves, the form of this
highly non-uniform pressures that result. Thus, as you compute the distribution of swirl
in your FLUENT model, you will also notice changes in the static pressure distribution
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
and corresponding changes in the axial and radial ow velocities. It is this high degree
of coupling between the swirl and the pressure eld that makes the modeling of swirling
ows complex.
In ows that are driven by wall rotation, the motion of the wall tends to impart a forced
vortex motion to the uid, wherein w/r or is constant. An important characteristic
of such ows is the tendency of uid with high angular momentum (e.g., the ow near
the wall) to be ung radially outward (Figure 8.4.2). This is often referred to as radial
pumping, since the rotating wall is pumping the uid radially outward.
axis of rotation
Contours of Stream Function (kg/s)
7.69e-03
6.92e-03
6.15e-03
5.38e-03
4.62e-03
3.85e-03
3.08e-03
2.31e-03
1.54e-03
7.69e-04
0.00e+00
Figure 8.4.2: Stream Function Contours for Rotating Flow in a Cavity (Geometry of
Figure 8.4.3)
8.4.3 Turbulence Modeling in Swirling Flows
If you are modeling turbulent ow with a signicant amount of swirl (e.g., cyclone ows,
swirling jets), you should consider using one of FLUENTs advanced turbulence models:
the RNG k- model, realizable k- model, or Reynolds stress model. The appropriate
choice depends on the strength of the swirl, which can be gauged by the swirl number.
The swirl number is dened as the ratio of the axial ux of angular momentum to the
axial ux of axial momentum:
S =
_
rwv d

R
_
uv d

A
(8.4-3)
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8.4 Swirling and Rotating Flows
where

For ows with weak to moderate swirl (S < 0.5), both the RNG k- model and the
realizable k- model yield appreciable improvements over the standard k- model. See
Sections 10.4.2, 10.4.3, and 10.10.1 for details about these models.
For highly swirling ows (S > 0.5), the Reynolds stress model (RSM) is strongly recom-
mended. The eects of strong turbulence anisotropy can be modeled rigorously only by
the second-moment closure adopted in the RSM. See Sections 10.6 and 10.10 for details
For swirling ows encountered in devices such as cyclone separators and swirl combustors,
near-wall turbulence modeling is quite often a secondary issue at most. The delity of the
predictions in these cases is mainly determined by the accuracy of the turbulence model
in the core region. However, in cases where walls actively participate in the generation
of swirl (i.e., where the secondary ows and vortical ows are generated by pressure
gradients), non-equilibrium wall functions can often improve the predictions since they
use a law of the wall for mean velocity sensitized to pressure gradients. See Section 10.8
8.4.4 Grid Setup for Swirling and Rotating Flows
Coordinate-System Restrictions
Recall that for an axisymmetric problem, the axis of rotation must be the x axis and the
grid must lie on or above the y = 0 line.
Grid Sensitivity in Swirling and Rotating Flows
In addition to the setup constraint described above, you should be aware of the need
for sucient resolution in your grid when solving ows that include swirl or rotation.
Typically, rotating boundary layers may be very thin, and your FLUENT model will
require a very ne grid near a rotating wall. In addition, swirling ows will often involve
steep gradients in the circumferential velocity (e.g., near the centerline of a free-vortex
type ow), and thus require a ne grid for accurate resolution.
8.4.5 Modeling Axisymmetric Flows with Swirl or Rotation
As discussed in Section 8.4.1, you can solve a 2D axisymmetric problem that includes
the prediction of the circumferential or swirl velocity. The assumption of axisymmetry
implies that there are no circumferential gradients in the ow, but that there may be
non-zero circumferential velocities. Examples of axisymmetric ows involving swirl or
rotation are depicted in Figures 8.4.3 and 8.4.4.
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
Region to
be modeled
Rotating Cover

x
y
Figure 8.4.3: Rotating Flow in a Cavity
Region to be modeled

## Figure 8.4.4: Swirling Flow in a Gas Burner

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8.4 Swirling and Rotating Flows
Problem Setup for Axisymmetric Swirling Flows
For axisymmetric problems, you will need to perform the following steps during the prob-
lem setup procedure. (Only those steps relevant specically to the setup of axisymmetric
swirl/rotation are listed here. You will need to set up the rest of the problem as usual.)
1. Activate solution of the momentum equation in the circumferential direction by
turning on the Axisymmetric Swirl option for Space in the Solver panel.
Dene Models Solver...
2. Dene the rotational or swirling component of velocity, r, at inlets or walls.
Dene Boundary Conditions...
Remember to use the axis boundary type for the axis of rotation. !
The procedures for input of rotational velocities at inlets and at walls are described in
detail in Sections 6.4.1 and 6.13.1.
Solution Strategies for Axisymmetric Swirling Flows
The diculties associated with solving swirling and rotating ows are a result of the
high degree of coupling between the momentum equations, which is introduced when the
inuence of the rotational terms is large. A high level of rotation introduces a large radial
pressure gradient which drives the ow in the axial and radial directions. This, in turn,
determines the distribution of the swirl or rotation in the eld. This coupling may lead
to instabilities in the solution process, and you may require special solution techniques
in order to obtain a converged solution. Solution techniques that may be benecial in
swirling or rotating ow calculations include the following:
(Segregated solver only) Use the PRESTO! scheme (enabled in the Pressure list
for Discretization in the Solution Controls panel), which is well-suited for the steep
pressure gradients involved in swirling ows.
Ensure that the mesh is suciently rened to resolve large gradients in pressure
and swirl velocity.
(Segregated solver only) Change the under-relaxation parameters on the velocities,
perhaps to 0.30.5 for the radial and axial velocities and 0.81.0 for swirl.
(Segregated solver only) Use a sequential or step-by-step solution procedure, in
which some equations are temporarily left inactive (see below).
If necessary, start the calculations using a low rotational speed or inlet swirl velocity,
increasing the rotation or swirl gradually in order to reach the nal desired operating
condition (see below).
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
See Chapter 24 for details on the procedures used to make these changes to the solution
parameters. More details on the step-by-step procedure and on the gradual increase of
the rotational speed are provided below.
Step-By-Step Solution Procedures for Axisymmetric Swirling Flows
Often, ows with a high degree of swirl or rotation will be easier to solve if you use the
following step-by-step solution procedure, in which only selected equations are left active
in each step. This approach allows you to establish the eld of angular momentum, then
leave it xed while you update the velocity eld, and then nally to couple the two elds
by solving all equations simultaneously.
Since the coupled solvers solve all the ow equations simultaneously, the following pro- !
cedure applies only to the segregated solver.
In this procedure, you will use the Equations list in the Solution Controls panel to turn
individual transport equations on and o between calculations.
1. If your problem involves inow/outow, begin by solving the ow without rotation
or swirl eects. That is, enable the Axisymmetric option instead of the Axisymmetric
Swirl option in the Solver panel, and do not set any rotating boundary conditions.
The resulting ow-eld data can be used as a starting guess for the full problem.
2. Enable the Axisymmetric Swirl option and set all rotating/swirling boundary condi-
tions.
3. Begin the prediction of the rotating/swirling ow by solving only the momentum
equation describing the circumferential velocity. This is the Swirl Velocity listed
in the Equations list in the Solution Controls panel. Let the rotation diuse
throughout the ow eld, based on your boundary condition inputs. In a turbulent
ow simulation, you may also want to leave the turbulence equations active during
this step. This step will establish the eld of rotation throughout the domain.
4. Turn o the momentum equations describing the circumferential motion (Swirl
Velocity). Leaving the velocity in the circumferential direction xed, solve the
momentum and continuity (pressure) equations (Flow in the Equations list in the
Solution Controls panel) in the other coordinate directions. This step will establish
the axial and radial ows that are a result of the rotation in the eld. Again, if
your problem involves turbulent ow, you should leave the turbulence equations
active during this calculation.
5. Turn on all of the equations simultaneously to obtain a fully coupled solution. Note
the under-relaxation controls suggested above.
In addition to the steps above, you may want to simplify your calculation by solving
isothermal ow before adding heat transfer or by solving laminar ow before adding a
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8.4 Swirling and Rotating Flows
turbulence model. These two methods can be used for any of the solvers (i.e., segregated
or coupled).
Gradual Increase of the Rotational or Swirl Speed to Improve Solution Stability
Because the rotation or swirl dened by the boundary conditions can lead to large com-
plex forces in the ow, your FLUENT calculations will be less stable as the speed of
rotation or degree of swirl increases. Hence, one of the most eective controls you can
apply to the solution is to solve your rotating ow problem starting with a low rotational
speed or swirl velocity and then slowly increase the magnitude up to the desired level.
The procedure for accomplishing this is as follows:
1. Set up the problem using a low rotational speed or swirl velocity in your inputs for
boundary conditions. The rotation or swirl in this rst attempt might be selected
as 10% of the actual operating conditions.
2. Solve the problem at these conditions, perhaps using the step-by-step solution
strategy outlined above.
3. Save this initial solution data.
4. Modify your inputs (boundary conditions). Increase the speed of rotation, perhaps
doubling it.
5. Restart the calculation using the solution data saved in step 3 as the initial solution
for the new calculation. Save the new data.
6. Continue to increment the speed of rotation, following steps 4 and 5, until you
reach the desired operating condition.
Postprocessing for Axisymmetric Swirling Flows
Reporting of results for axisymmetric swirling ows is the same as for other ows. The
following additional variables are available for postprocessing when axisymmetric swirl
is active:
Swirl Velocity (in the Velocity... category)
Swirl-Wall Shear Stress (in the Wall Fluxes... category)
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
8.5 Compressible Flows
Compressibility eects are encountered in gas ows at high velocity and/or in which there
are large pressure variations. When the ow velocity approaches or exceeds the speed of
sound of the gas or when the pressure change in the system (p/p) is large, the variation
of the gas density with pressure has a signicant impact on the ow velocity, pressure,
and temperature. Compressible ows create a unique set of ow physics for which you
must be aware of the special input requirements and solution techniques described in
this section. Figures 8.5.1 and 8.5.2 show examples of compressible ows computed
using FLUENT.
Contours of Mach Number
1.57e+00
1.43e+00
1.29e+00
1.16e+00
1.02e+00
8.82e-01
7.45e-01
6.07e-01
4.70e-01
3.32e-01
1.95e-01
Figure 8.5.1: Transonic Flow in a Converging-Diverging Nozzle
Information about compressible ows is provided in the following subsections:
Section 8.5.1: When to Use the Compressible Flow Model
Section 8.5.2: Physics of Compressible Flows
Section 8.5.3: Modeling Inputs for Compressible Flows
Section 8.5.4: Floating Operating Pressure
Section 8.5.5: Solution Strategies for Compressible Flows
Section 8.5.6: Reporting of Results for Compressible Flows
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8.5 Compressible Flows
Contours of Static Pressure (pascal)
2.02e+04
1.24e+04
4.68e+03
-3.07e+03
-1.08e+04
-1.86e+04
-2.63e+04
-3.41e+04
-4.18e+04
-4.95e+04
-5.73e+04
Figure 8.5.2: Mach 0.675 Flow Over a Bump in a 2D Channel
8.5.1 When to Use the Compressible Flow Model
Compressible ows can be characterized by the value of the Mach number:
M u/c (8.5-1)
Here, c is the speed of sound in the gas:
c =
_
RT (8.5-2)
and is the ratio of specic heats (c
p
/c
v
).
When the Mach number is less than 1.0, the ow is termed subsonic. At Mach numbers
much less than 1.0 (M < 0.1 or so), compressibility eects are negligible and the variation
of the gas density with pressure can safely be ignored in your ow modeling. As the Mach
number approaches 1.0 (which is referred to as the transonic ow regime), compressibility
eects become important. When the Mach number exceeds 1.0, the ow is termed
supersonic, and may contain shocks and expansion fans which can impact the ow pattern
signicantly. FLUENT provides a wide range of compressible ow modeling capabilities
for subsonic, transonic, and supersonic ows.
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
8.5.2 Physics of Compressible Flows
Compressible ows are typically characterized by the total pressure p
0
and total tem-
perature T
0
of the ow. For an ideal gas, these quantities can be related to the static
pressure and temperature by the following:
p
0
p
=
_
1 +
1
2
M
2
_
/(1)
(8.5-3)
T
0
T
= 1 +
1
2
M
2
(8.5-4)
These relationships describe the variation of the static pressure and temperature in the
ow as the velocity (Mach number) changes under isentropic conditions. For example,
given a pressure ratio from inlet to exit (total to static), Equation 8.5-3 can be used to
estimate the exit Mach number which would exist in a one-dimensional isentropic ow.
For air, Equation 8.5-3 predicts a choked ow (Mach number of 1.0) at an isentropic
pressure ratio, p/p
0
, of 0.5283. This choked ow condition will be established at the
point of minimum ow area (e.g., in the throat of a nozzle). In the subsequent area
expansion the ow may either accelerate to a supersonic ow in which the pressure will
continue to drop, or return to subsonic ow conditions, decelerating with a pressure rise.
If a supersonic ow is exposed to an imposed pressure increase, a shock will occur, with
a sudden pressure rise and deceleration accomplished across the shock.
Basic Equations for Compressible Flows
Compressible ows are described by the standard continuity and momentum equations
solved by FLUENT, and you do not need to activate any special physical models (other
than the compressible treatment of density as detailed below). The energy equation
solved by FLUENT correctly incorporates the coupling between the ow velocity and the
static temperature, and should be activated whenever you are solving a compressible
ow. In addition, if you are using the segregated solver, you should activate the viscous
dissipation terms in Equation 11.2-1, which become important in high-Mach-number
ows.
The Compressible Form of the Gas Law
For compressible ows, the ideal gas law is written in the following form:
=
p
op
+ p
R
Mw
T
(8.5-5)
where p
op
is the operating pressure dened in the Operating Conditions panel, p is the
local static pressure relative to the operating pressure, R is the universal gas constant,
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8.5 Compressible Flows
and M
w
is the molecular weight. The temperature, T, will be computed from the energy
equation.
8.5.3 Modeling Inputs for Compressible Flows
To set up a compressible ow in FLUENT, you will need to follow the steps listed below.
(Only those steps relevant specically to the setup of compressible ows are listed here.
You will need to set up the rest of the problem as usual.)
1. Set the Operating Pressure in the Operating Conditions panel.
Dene Operating Conditions...
(You can think of p
op
as the absolute static pressure at a point in the ow where you
will dene the gauge pressure p to be zero. See Section 7.12 for guidelines on setting
the operating pressure. For time-dependent compressible ows, you may want to
specify a oating operating pressure instead of a constant operating pressure. See
Section 8.5.4 for details.)
2. Activate solution of the energy equation in the Energy panel.
Dene Models Energy...
3. (Segregated solver only) If you are modeling turbulent ow, activate the optional
viscous dissipation terms in the energy equation by turning on Viscous Heating in
the Viscous Model panel. Note that these terms can be important in high-speed
ows.
Dene Models Viscous...
This step is not necessary if you are using one of the coupled solvers, because the
coupled solvers always include the viscous dissipation terms in the energy equation.
4. Set the following items in the Materials panel:
Dene Materials...
(a) Select ideal-gas in the drop-down list next to Density.
(b) Dene all relevant properties (specic heat, molecular weight, thermal con-
ductivity, etc.).
5. Set boundary conditions (using the Boundary Conditions panel), being sure to choose
a well-posed boundary condition combination that is appropriate for the ow regime.
See below for details. Recall that all inputs for pressure (either total pressure or
static pressure) must be relative to the operating pressure, and the temperature
inputs at inlets should be total (stagnation) temperatures, not static temperatures.
Dene Boundary Conditions...
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
These inputs should ensure a well-posed compressible ow problem. You will also want to
consider special solution parameter settings, as noted in Section 8.5.5, before beginning
the ow calculation.
Boundary Conditions for Compressible Flows
Well-posed inlet and exit boundary conditions for compressible ow are listed below:
For ow inlets:
Pressure inlet: Inlet total temperature and total pressure and, for supersonic
inlets, static pressure
Mass ow inlet: Inlet mass ow and total temperature
For ow exits:
Pressure outlet: Exit static pressure (ignored if ow is supersonic at the exit)
It is important to note that your boundary condition inputs for pressure (either total
pressure or static pressure) must be in terms of gauge pressurei.e., pressure relative to
the operating pressure dened in the Operating Conditions panel, as described above.
All temperature inputs at inlets should be total (stagnation) temperatures, not static
temperatures.
8.5.4 Floating Operating Pressure
FLUENT provides a oating operating pressure option to handle time-dependent com-
pressible ows with a gradual increase in the absolute pressure in the domain. This option
is desirable for slow subsonic ows with static pressure build-up, since it eciently ac-
counts for the slow changing of absolute pressure without using acoustic waves as the
transport mechanism for the pressure build-up.
Examples of typical applications include the following:
combustion or heating of a gas in a closed domain
pumping of a gas into a closed domain
Limitations
The oating operating pressure option should not be used for transonic or incompressible
ows. In addition, it cannot be used if your model includes any pressure inlet, pressure
outlet, exhaust fan, inlet vent, intake fan, outlet vent, or pressure far eld boundaries.
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8.5 Compressible Flows
Theory
The oating operating pressure option allows FLUENT to calculate the pressure rise
(or drop) from the integral mass balance, separately from the solution of the pressure
correction equation. When this option is activated, the absolute pressure at each iteration
can be expressed as
p
abs
= p
op,oat
+ p (8.5-6)
where p is the pressure relative to the reference location, which in this case is in the cell
with the minimum pressure value. Thus the reference location itself is oating.
p
op,oat
is referred to as the oating operating pressure, and is dened as
p
op,oat
= p
0
op
+ p
op
(8.5-7)
where p
0
op
is the initial operating pressure and p
op
is the pressure rise.
Including the pressure rise p
op
in the oating operating pressure p
op,oat
, rather than in
the pressure p, helps to prevent roundo error. If the pressure rise were included in p, the
calculation of the pressure gradient for the momentum equation would give an inexact
balance due to precision limits for 32-bit real numbers.
Enabling Floating Operating Pressure
When time dependence is active, you can turn on the Floating Operating Pressure option
in the Operating Conditions panel.
Dene Operating Conditions...
(Note that the inputs for Reference Pressure Location will disappear when you enable
Floating Operating Pressure, since these inputs are no longer relevant.)
The oating operating pressure option should not be used for transonic ows or for !
incompressible ows. It is meaningful only for slow subsonic ows of ideal gases, when
the characteristic time scale is much larger than the sonic time scale.
Setting the Initial Value for the Floating Operating Pressure
When the oating operating pressure option is enabled, you will need to specify a value
for the Initial Operating Pressure in the Solution Initialization panel.
Solve Initialize Initialize...
This initial value is stored in the case le with all your other initial values.
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
Storage and Reporting of the Floating Operating Pressure
The current value of the oating operating pressure is stored in the data le. If you visit
the Operating Conditions panel after a number of time steps have been performed, the
current value of the Operating Pressure will be displayed.
Note that the oating operating pressure will automatically be reset to the initial oper-
ating pressure if you reset the data (i.e., start over at the rst iteration of the rst time
step).
Monitoring Absolute Pressure
You can monitor the absolute pressure during the calculation using the Surface Monitors
panel (see Section 24.16.4 for details). You can also generate graphical plots or alphanu-
meric reports of absolute pressure when your solution is complete. The Absolute Pressure
variable is contained in the Pressure... category of the variable selection drop-down list
that appears in postprocessing panels. See Chapter 29 for its denition.
8.5.5 Solution Strategies for Compressible Flows
The diculties associated with solving compressible ows are a result of the high degree
of coupling between the ow velocity, density, pressure, and energy. This coupling may
lead to instabilities in the solution process and, therefore, may require special solution
techniques in order to obtain a converged solution. In addition, the presence of shocks
(discontinuities) in the ow introduces an additional stability problem during the cal-
culation. Solution techniques that may be benecial in compressible ow calculations
include the following:
(segregated solver only) Use conservative under-relaxation parameters on the ve-
locities, perhaps values of 0.2 or 0.3.
(segregated solver only) Set the under-relaxation on pressure to a value of 0.1 or
so and use the SIMPLE algorithm.
Set reasonable limits for the temperature and pressure (in the Solution Limits panel)
to avoid solution divergence, especially at the start of the calculation. If FLUENT
prints messages about temperature or pressure being limited as the solution nears
convergence, the high or low computed values may be physical, and you will need
to change the limits to allow these values.
If required, begin the calculations using a reduced pressure ratio at the boundaries,
increasing the pressure ratio gradually in order to reach the nal desired operating
condition. You can also consider starting the compressible ow calculation from
an incompressible ow solution (although the incompressible ow solution can in
some cases be a rather poor initial guess for the compressible calculation).
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8.5 Compressible Flows
In some cases, computing an inviscid solution as a starting point may be helpful.
See Chapter 24 for details on the procedures used to make these changes to the solution
parameters.
8.5.6 Reporting of Results for Compressible Flows
You can display the results of your compressible ow calculations in the same manner
that you would use for an incompressible ow. The variables listed below are of particular
interest when you model compressible ow:
Total Temperature
Total Pressure
Mach Number
These variables are contained in the variable selection drop-down list that appears in
postprocessing panels. Total Temperature is in the Temperature... category, Total Pressure
is in the Pressure... category, and Mach Number is in the Velocity... category. See
Chapter 29 for their denitions.
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
8.6 Inviscid Flows
Inviscid ow analyses neglect the eect of viscosity on the ow and are appropriate for
high-Reynolds-number applications where inertial forces tend to dominate viscous forces.
One example for which an inviscid ow calculation is appropriate is an aerodynamic
analysis of some high-speed projectile. In a case like this, the pressure forces on the body
will dominate the viscous forces. Hence, an inviscid analysis will give you a quick estimate
of the primary forces acting on the body. After the body shape has been modied to
maximize the lift forces and minimize the drag forces, you can perform a viscous analysis
to include the eects of the uid viscosity and turbulent viscosity on the lift and drag
forces.
Another area where inviscid ow analyses are routinely used is to provide a good ini-
tial solution for problems involving complicated ow physics and/or complicated ow
geometry. In a case like this, the viscous forces are important, but in the early stages of
the calculation the viscous terms in the momentum equations will be ignored. Once the
calculation has been started and the residuals are decreasing, you can turn on the viscous
terms (by enabling laminar or turbulent ow) and continue the solution to convergence.
For some very complicated ows, this is the only way to get the calculation started.
Information about inviscid ows is provided in the following subsections:
Section 8.6.1: Euler Equations
Section 8.6.2: Setting Up an Inviscid Flow Model
Section 8.6.3: Solution Strategies for Inviscid Flows
Section 8.6.4: Postprocessing for Inviscid Flows
8.6.1 Euler Equations
For inviscid ows, FLUENT solves the Euler equations. The mass conservation equation
is the same as for a laminar ow, but the momentum and energy conservation equations
are reduced due to the absence of molecular diusion.
In this section, the conservation equations for inviscid ow in an inertial (non-rotating)
reference frame are presented. The equations that are applicable to non-inertial refer-
ence frames are described in Chapter 9. The conservation equations relevant for species
transport and other models will be discussed in the chapters where those models are
described.
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8.6 Inviscid Flows
The Mass Conservation Equation
The equation for conservation of mass, or continuity equation, can be written as follows:

t
+ (v) = S
m
(8.6-1)
Equation 8.6-1 is the general form of the mass conservation equation and is valid for
incompressible as well as compressible ows. The source S
m
is the mass added to the
continuous phase from the dispersed second phase (e.g., due to vaporization of liquid
droplets) and any user-dened sources.
For 2D axisymmetric geometries, the continuity equation is given by

t
+

x
(v
x
) +

r
(v
r
) +
v
r
r
= S
m
(8.6-2)
where x is the axial coordinate, r is the radial coordinate, v
x
is the axial velocity, and v
r
Momentum Conservation Equations
Conservation of momentum is described by

t
(v) + (vv) = p + g +

F (8.6-3)
where p is the static pressure and g and

F are the gravitational body force and external
body forces (e.g., forces that arise from interaction with the dispersed phase), respectively.

F also contains other model-dependent source terms such as porous-media and user-
dened sources.
For 2D axisymmetric geometries, the axial and radial momentum conservation equations
are given by

t
(v
x
) +
1
r

x
(rv
x
v
x
) +
1
r

r
(rv
r
v
x
) =
p
x
+ F
x
(8.6-4)
and

t
(v
r
) +
1
r

x
(rv
x
v
r
) +
1
r

r
(rv
r
v
r
) =
p
r
+ F
r
(8.6-5)
where
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
v =
v
x
x
+
v
r
r
+
v
r
r
(8.6-6)
Energy Conservation Equation
Conservation of energy is described by

t
(E) + (v(E + p)) =
_
_

j
h
j
J
j
_
_
+ S
h
(8.6-7)
8.6.2 Setting Up an Inviscid Flow Model
For inviscid ow problems, you will need to perform the following steps during the prob-
lem setup procedure. (Only those steps relevant specically to the setup of inviscid ow
are listed here. You will need to set up the rest of the problem as usual.)
1. Activate the calculation of inviscid ow by selecting Inviscid in the Viscous Model
panel.
Dene Models Viscous...
2. Set boundary conditions and ow properties.
Dene Boundary Conditions...
Dene Materials...
3. Solve the problem and examine the results.
8.6.3 Solution Strategies for Inviscid Flows
Since inviscid ow problems will usually involve high-speed ow, you may have to reduce
the under-relaxation factors for momentum (if you are using the segregated solver) or
reduce the Courant number (if you are using the coupled solver), in order to get the
solution started. Once the ow is started and the residuals are monotonically decreasing,
you can start increasing the under-relaxation factors or Courant number back up to the
default values.
Modications to the under-relaxation factors and the Courant number can be made in
the Solution Controls panel.
Solve Controls Solution...
The solution strategies for compressible ows apply also to inviscid ows. See Sec-
tion 8.5.5 for details.
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8.6 Inviscid Flows
8.6.4 Postprocessing for Inviscid Flows
If you are interested in the lift and drag forces acting on your model, you can use the
Force Reports panel to compute them.
Report Forces...
See Section 28.3 for details.
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Modeling Basic Fluid Flow
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