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and Industrial Aerodynamics 93 (2005) 115–135

www.elsevier.com/locate/jweia

Y. Gaoa, W.K. Chowb,

a

Department of Building Engineering, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China

b

Department of Building Services Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,

Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China

Received 21 March 2003; received in revised form 5 October 2004; accepted 15 November 2004

Abstract

In this paper, air approach ﬂow moving towards a cube will be studied using computational

ﬂuid dynamics (CFD). The Reynolds Averaging of Navier–Stokes (RANS) equation types of

k2 turbulence model are used. Some RANS predicted results are compared with different

upstream air speeds. Flow separation at the corner above the top of the cube, level of

separation and reattachment are investigated. Reference is made to the experimental data on

wind tunnels reported in the literature.

A method similar to ‘recirculation bubble promoter’ is used for different approach ﬂow

speed distributions. Problems encountered in numerical simulations due to the sharp corner

are discussed with a view to obtaining better prediction on recirculation ﬂow in regions above

the top of the cube. Correlations between the turbulent kinetic energy above the cube and the

recirculation bubble size are derived for different distributions of approach ﬂow speed.

By limiting the longitudinal velocities in the ﬁrst cell adjacent to the sharp edge of the cube

or rib, and making good use of the wall functions at the intersection cells of the velocity

components, positions of maximum turbulent kinetic energy and the ﬂow separation and

reattachment can be predicted by a standard k2 model. The results agree with those obtained

in the experiments.

r 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Standard k2 turbulence model; Turbulent kinetic energy; Upstream ﬂow velocity; Flow

separation and reattachment

Corresponding author. Tel.: +852 2766 5843; fax: +852 2765 7198.

E-mail address: bewkchow@polyu.edu.hk (W.K. Chow).

0167-6105/$ - see front matter r 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.jweia.2004.11.001

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116 Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135

Nomenclature

v velocity component in y-direction

r air density

p pressure

P0 stagnant pressure

u0 bulk velocity in inﬂow boundary

u u=u0 non-dimensional velocity in x-direction

k turbulent kinetic energy

Re Reynolds number

P01 stagnation pressure on y40.5H

P02 stagnation pressure on yo0.5H

H height of cubic model

YB height of wind tunnel

XR reattachment length at the top of the cube

XF reattachment length behind the cube

All properties presented here are made non-dimensional by H and u0.

1. Introduction

would be useful to study the separation, reattachment, scale and direction of

backﬂow, and variation of pressure gradient of upstream air ﬂowing around a cube

(or a rib). The results can be applied to the natural ventilation design of buildings

and the associated problem of ﬁre spreading. Although a cube has a simple shape,

the air ﬂows around it are found to be very complicated. This is due to the

interaction between the strain-rate tensor and vorticity tensor at the near-wall region

of the cube and the different ﬂow speeds u, which vary with the height y to the power

1=m: Most of the works reported in the literature [1–14] are numerical studies of the

turbulent ﬂow around a surface-mounted cube of higher Reynolds number (Re).

There have been relatively few experimental works on wind tunnels.

Two cases of approach ﬂow towards a cube as pointed out and discussed by

Baetke et al. [1] are considered (see Fig. 1):

Case A is a simple assumption with constant upstream ﬂow. Lower wall surface is

perfectly smooth so that no energy is lost and there is no shearing effect.

Case B is a more realistic scenario with values of Re varied due to the coarse

surface. The horizontal velocity u at vertical height y is given in terms of an

exponent 1/m, and two other constants C1 and C2:

u ¼ C 1 y1=m þ C 2 : (1)

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Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135 117

YB

XR

y H

x

H XF

Experiments on separation and reattachment on the top of the cube were conducted

by Castro and Robins [2]. Numerical simulations with a standard k2 turbulence

model for Case B with different ground roughness lengths were reported by Paterson

and Apelt [3–4]. The effects of the velocity at the leading edge were presented. Four

sets of non-dimensional turbulent kinetic energy k contours along a vertical

symmetry plane were compared. The local maxima of k moved from the leading edge

to the middle of the cube when the rough wall ﬂow changed into smooth wall ﬂow.

Setting the longitudinal velocity adjacent to the front edge to zero might work better

than using the wall functions.

Although k is important in understanding the properties of a ﬂow ﬁeld, there is a

lack of experimental data on distribution for k near a real building. Precise

measurements of the turbulent ﬂow, including the measurement of k, around a

building model were reported by Murakami and coworkers [5–11]. Further

numerical simulations can be performed on those cases to compare with the

experimental data and their reported numerical works.

In the wind tunnel test, the distribution of k around the 2D square rib or the cube

as reported [5–10] are shown in Figs. 2a and 3a. The maximum turbulent kinetic

energy kmax was found above the centre of the roof. The velocity vector distributions

on the 2D square rib and the central vertical section of the cube are shown in Figs. 2b

and 3b. Values of k are relatively small around the frontal corner of the roof. On the

other hand, k around the frontal corner of the roof was overestimated in using the

standard k2 model in Figs. 2c and 3c. This overestimation of k was improved when

the LK model and the MMK model was used as shown in Figs. 2d and e [10,11].

The large eddy simulation (LES) concept was ﬁrst applied by Murakami et al. [8]

to calculate the ﬂow over a periodic arrangement of cubes in a simulated

atmospheric boundary layer, i.e. applying periodic boundary conditions in the main

ﬂow direction. Good agreement was found between numerical results and

experimental data in a wind tunnel.

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118 Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135

Fig. 2. Turbulent kinetic energy k and velocity vectors around the 2D square rib [10]: (a) wind tunnel

experiment, (b) wind tunnel experiment, (c) standard k2 model, (d) LK model and (e) MMK model.

Fig. 3. Over-prediction of k by the standard k2 model at the central section of cube [11]: (a) wind tunnel

experiment, (b) wind tunnel experiment and (c) standard k2 model.

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Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135 119

Various Reynolds stress models (RSM) were compared by Murakami [11] for the

ﬂow ﬁeld around a cube. Two reattachment lengths, XR and XF, on the roof and on

the ﬂoor, were compared. The results of the standard LES for XR and XF (0.6 and

1.4) agree fairly well with the experiment (0.7 and 1.2). However, the reattachment

length on the roof was not predicted well using RSM models (X R 41:0H; ﬂow did

not reattach on the roof), and the reattachment lengths ðX F 2:022:3Þ on the ﬂoor

are much longer than the experimental value for all models [11].

A non-linear k2 model is presented [15] with distributions of the predicted k around

the cube shown in Fig. 4. Values of k at the edge of the upstream surface of the cube are

overpredicted for the ST and NL models as shown in Figs. 4a and b. However, the

production of k in the KH model is suppressed. A possible explanation is that this is due

to the excessive production of turbulent kinetic energy k in using the standard k2

model for the ﬂows with impinging regions. As demonstrated in Fig. 4c, excessive

production of k near the impinging region is suppressed by the non-linear k2 model.

However, the quadratic terms have no effect for suppressing the production term.

The turbulent velocity ﬁeld of ﬂow around a surface-mounted cube measured by

Laser Doppler Anemometry was reported by Hussein and Marinuzzi [13] and

Larousse et al. [16]. They presented an experimental investigation of the

inhomogeneous, three-dimensional ﬂow around a surface-mounted cube of half-

channel height placed in a fully developed, turbulent channel ﬂow (Re ﬃ 80; 000;

based on the channel height, and bulk velocity u0). The inferred streamlines

downstream of the leading edge along the central vertical plane are shown in Fig. 5.

Generally, the mean ﬂow did not reattach on the obstacle top side (the shear layer

originating at the leading edge did not reattach downstream). The reattachment

point along the plane of symmetry was located at XF of 1.69 behind the cube.

As shown in Fig. 5, the path of the local k maxima is correlated with the location

of the local velocity maximum and hence the shear layer. The distribution of k is also

Fig. 4. Turbulent kinetic energy distributions around the cube along the x-axis [15]: (a) ST model, (b) NL

model and (c) KH model.

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120 Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135

Fig. 5. (a) Inferred streamline pattern along the plane of symmetry [13] and (b) k proﬁle distributions

along the plane of symmetry [13].

related to the shear layer, from the very thin and concentrated distribution over the

cube to the rather broad expansion directly downstream of the reattachment. The

magnitude of k is fairly uniform in the recirculation. Further results were presented

by Martinuzzi and Havel [14].

Although little is available in the way of experimental results, at least three sets of

experiments [2,8,13] reported in the literature are worth discussing. A summary of

the experiments is listed in Table 1. Key points are:

In the wind tunnel experiments, for vertical height varying from YB of 10H, 5.2H

and 2H, the ﬂow proﬁle at the tunnel entrance is close to y1/3, y1/4 and y1/7. The

shape of the curve is very close to that of constant upstream ﬂow for u ¼ 1: A

steeper velocity distribution curve will result where the 1/m is smaller and where

the boundary layer thickness is closer to the bottom surface. Flow separation will

be found at the upper part of the cube.

Bubble length XR on the top of the cube is varied. u varies from y to y1/7 to y1/3,

XR varies from X R 41:0 (only separation, no reattachment) to X R ¼ 0:7; and then

to X R 0:2: Castro and Robins [2] reported that no separation occurred for Case

B. This ﬁnding appears to be arguable and is perhaps due to the use of a

separation region which is too small.

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Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135 121

Table 1

Experimental conditions and results

Experiments u YB Re XR

1/3 * 4 5

Castro and Robins [2] py for Case B ¼ 1 10H 2 10 –1 10 no separation for Case B

for Case A X R ¼ 0:2 for Case A

Murakami et al. [8] p y1/4 5.2H 7 104–8.4 104 X R ¼ 0:7

X F ¼ 1:2

Hussein and p y1/7 *

2H 8 104 X R 41:0

Martinuzzi [13]

X F ¼ 1:67

Note: No separation for Case B, or the bubble might have been so small that it was not found.

Velocity distribution curves at the wind tunnel entrance were stated by the authors. Expressions for

u ¼ y1=3 and u ¼ y1=7 are only approximations. Tangential velocity of upstream ﬂow was not given [8,13].

The shape of the curves is slightly different from these expressions. A more accurate expression was

proposed by Hussein and Martinuzzi [13]:

The velocity pattern u is related to the Re number, YB and the scale of H, bottom

layer roughness and ﬂuid viscosity. Figs. 2–5 show the ﬂow separation at the frontal

corner of the cube, the ﬂuid velocity vector after separation and the angle between

the cube surface, whether there will be reattachment on the top of the cube, and the

length and variation of XR. These can be related to the experiments on k proﬁle on

the upper part of the cube by Murakami et al. [8] and Hussein and Martinuzzi [13].

2. Numerical experiments

carried out with the CFD package PHOENICS. Both homogenous and non-

homogenous grid systems were used. The same computational domain of 15.7H

(downstream length), 9.7H (lateral width) and 2.0H or 5.2H (vertical height) was

used for all the simulations. The grid system used was 57, 38, and 45 along the x-, y-,

and z-directions. The computing domain above the cube was extended by another

length H. For some cases, a domain extended to 4H above the cube was also tested.

Simulations were performed on a personal computer with central processor 2 GHz

with computing time from 5 to 20 h, depending on the grid system.

A comparison of upstream ﬂow velocity proﬁle is shown in Figs. 6 and 7. Because

of the different tunnel heights YB and Re used in different experiments, there is a

large difference in the velocity distribution at the tunnel entrance. The variation

pattern of du=dy is different, especially near the bottom layer. This also gives

stagnant pressures P0 along the cube which are very different from the values near

the cube. The upstream ﬂow velocity for different power m when Y B ¼ 2H is shown

in Fig. 6, and the situation for Y B ¼ 6:0H is shown in Fig. 7. In the ﬁgure,

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122 Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135

1 u = y1 3

u = y1 4

u = y1 7

0.5

Y u = y 1 10

u = 1.557 y 4 − 1.7607 y 3−

0 0.7365 y 2 + 1.3897 y + 0.62

0 0.5 1

u

6

u = y1 3

5 u = y1 4

u = y1 7

4 u = y 1 10

u = ln( y + 1)

3

Y

0

0 1 2

u

velocity distribution of wind blowing through buildings under atmospheric

conditions.

When using a standard k2 model and wall function in both two- and three-

dimensional simulations, kmax is found at the sharp corner as shown in Figs. 2c, 3c,

4a and b. It is different from the experimental results as in Figs. 2a, 3a and 5b where

kmax appears on the upper part of the cube. The separation and backﬂow should be

predicted as in Figs. 2b and 3b. These points are investigated to improve the

prediction.

In the literature [8], inﬂow boundary conditions with uðyÞ / y1=4 were summarized

in Table 2. The proﬁles of mean velocity u(y) and k(y) in the approach ﬂow of the

channel given by experiment in Fig. 1.

The streamwise mean and ﬂuctuation velocities measurement at different spanwise

positions have been studied in the literature [13]. The in-coming fully developed

conditions with uðyÞ / y1=7 were veriﬁed by comparing mean velocity and Reynolds

stress distributions at various location from Figs. 2 to 4. Present results for u0 2 are

consistent with other reported observations.

Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135

Table 2

Comparison between U p ¼ U pmax ; U p ¼ 0and experiments

ARTICLE IN PRESS

Case I: using wall function at the sharp corner II: remedial work of using wall III: experimental results and the

function at the sharp corner to actual results

make U p ¼ 0

the sharp corner

p V pmin ; V B ¼ V Bmax p V pmax ; V B ¼ V Bmax V p 4U p

Direction of grid velocity at ~ a ¼ arc cosð0Þ ¼ 90 2D : a ¼ 85 ; U p 0:087V p

a ¼ arc cos U~j þpV~j

U

¼ arc cosð1Þ ¼ 0

the sharp corner j p pj

123

124

Table 2 (continued )

Characteristics of

streamlines [source of

results]

Position of Umax in a

ARTICLE IN PRESS

narrowed duct

Comments I: Incorrect calculation results due to II: Other situations are the III: The velocity vector and a in

the incorrect use of wall function because same as in Case I. The results the P-cell are similar to the

of the wrong position of staggered grids resembled the real situations more situation in Case II. 2D and 3D

at the sharp corner. after the remedial work of making experimental results can be

UpE0, but the degree of separation modeled by using U p ¼ 0:087V p

is slightly larger than in real and U p ¼ 0:26V p ; respectively,

situations. in CFD.

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Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135 125

If no information is available at all, the distributions for k and in inlet ﬂows can

be estimated from the turbulence intensity Ti and a characteristic length L by

k ¼ 32 ðuðyÞT i Þ2 ;

k3=2

¼ C 3=4

m ;

‘

‘ ¼ 0:07L:

Sensitivity analyses on grid systems were carried out to obtain converged results. It is

clear from Figs. 8 to 15 that different grid systems were assigned. The distribution of

k and velocity vectors with upstream ﬂow velocity proﬁle u ¼ y1=4 ﬂowing through

the rib under two-dimensional situations are shown in Figs. 8 and 9. The results

shown in Fig. 8 were computed using wall functions in the calculation of the

longitudinal velocity adjacent to the front edge, which resulted in overestimation of k

at the windward sharp corner, inaccurate velocity ﬁeld distribution, and no

separation and bubble. The results shown in Fig. 9 were computed with a zero

longitudinal velocity adjacent to the front edge. The results shown in Fig. 9 agree

well with the experimental results as shown in Fig. 2. For two-dimensional shapes,

there will usually be separation but no reattachment as in Figs. 2b and 9b. With the

same Re, kmax in Fig. 8a is 1.5 times that in Fig. 9a. For k-distribution as shown in

Fig. 9a, the predicted results agree well with experiments as in Fig. 2a.

0.05

0.06

0.08

0.12

0.2

35

0.

(a) (b)

Fig. 8. Results around the 2D rib using wall function with u ¼ y1=4 : (a) k proﬁle and (b) velocity vectors.

0.03

0.1

0.15

0.08 0.17

0.2 0.08

0.03

(a) (b)

Fig. 9. Results around the 2D rib using zero longitudinal velocity with u ¼ y1=4 : (a) k proﬁle and (b)

velocity vectors.

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126 Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135

0.03 0.05

0.1 0.08

0.13

0.08 0.05 0.

03

0.03

(a) (b)

(c)

0.02

0.1 0.04

0.13 0.06

0.07

0.0

0.0

6

4

0.07

0.13

(d) (e)

Fig. 10. Results around a cube with u ¼ y1=4 : (a) k proﬁle, (b) velocity vectors, (c) streamline, (d)

streamline at y ¼ 0:1H and (e) k proﬁle at y ¼ 0:1H:

0.02

0.11

0.11 0.08

6

0.0

0.05

0.02

(a) (b)

(c)

Fig. 11. Results around a cube with u ¼ y1=5 : (a) k proﬁle, (b) streamline and (c) velocity vector.

Three-dimensional calculation results for upstream ﬂow proﬁle u ¼ y1=4 are shown

in Fig. 10. The geometry and ﬂow environment are the same as the experimental

results given by Murakami as shown in Fig. 3. The calculated results agree well with

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Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135 127

0.01

0.03

0.05

0.1

0.13 0.08

3

0.06

0.0

(a) (b)

(c)

Fig. 12. Results around a cube with u ¼ y1=6 : (a) k proﬁle, (b) streamline and (c) velocity vector.

0.03

0.05

0.02 0.07

0.09

0.12

0.0 0.03

2

(a) (b)

Fig. 13. Results around a cube with u ¼ y1=7 : (a) k proﬁle and (b) streamline.

0.02

0.04

0.06

0.08

0.1

0.12

0.0

4

(a) (b)

Fig. 14. Results around a cube with u ¼ y1=10 : (a) k proﬁle and (b) streamline.

ARTICLE IN PRESS

128 Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135

0.02

0.05

0.07

0.1

0.13

0.21

0.2

7

(a) (b)

(c)

Fig. 15. Results by wall function with u ¼ y1=4 : (a) k proﬁle, (b) velocity vectors and (c) streamline.

the experimental results. At the sharp corner, the velocity near the wall is treated in

the same way as in Fig. 9. The distribution of k is shown in Fig. 10a. The position of

kmax is at 0.09H above the cube, 0.26H from the front edge of the cube; whereas the

position of kmax in Fig. 3a is at 0.5H from the edge of the cube. The velocity vectors

and streamlines at the upper middle of the cube are shown in Figs. 10b and c,

respectively. Weak bubbles are observed, XR is about 0.7. The streamlines and

distribution of k at horizontal plane y ¼ 0:1H are shown in Figs. 10d and e,

respectively. There is separation but no reattachment on the two sides of the cube.

kmax is about 0.13 at the two sides of the cube, the same as the value above the

cube.

The results for ﬂow proﬁle u ¼ y1=5 are shown in Fig. 11. From Fig. 11a, it can be

seen that on the top of the cube, kmax occurred at about 0.2H above the cube and

0.45H from the front edge of the cube. Fig. 11b shows that separate ﬂows above the

cube might not be reattached within the width H. The recirculation bubble only

occupies part of the regions above the cube. There will be reattachment for all

separate ﬂows with incident proﬁle of u ¼ y1=4 ; usually with separate ﬂows and a

bubble size of about 0.7H. Velocity vector distribution is shown in Figs. 3b and 10b.

The results for u ¼ y1=6 are shown in Fig. 12. kmax is at about 0.4H above the cube

and 0.3H from the front edge of the cube. XR is close to 1.0. Finer grids are used to

illustrate the backﬂow above the cube. It can be seen that more separation is

observed in Fig. 12 than in Fig. 11.

The streamline and k distributions for ﬂow proﬁle u ¼ y1=7 are shown in Fig. 13.

There are larger eddies, but no reattachment, XR is larger than 1.0. The results for

1

u ¼ y1=10 with Dy ¼ 50 H grids are shown in Fig. 14. There is no backﬂow, but

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Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135 129

stronger separation capability. As seen from Figs. 13a and 14a, despite stronger

separation, there is very little variation of kmax, and that only occurs towards the

centre of the cube.

Under the same inlet condition as for Figs. 8–10, the results predicted are not

borne out using a logarithmic wall function under three-dimensional conditions, as

shown in Fig. 15. It is observed from Fig. 15a that kmax is twice the value in Fig. 10a,

i.e. 0.27, and it occurs at the frontal sharp corner. However, no separation is

observed as shown in the vectors diagram in Fig. 15b and streamline diagram

in Fig. 15c.

When u is given by y1=m with m lying from 3 to 4, experimental results indicate that

the upstream stagnation pressure P01 is between 0.6 and 0.75H. When the average

velocity u is near to Case A, or is in a fully developed situation, say with an m of

about 10, P02 is at the height of 0.3H.

Martinuzzi [13], and Martinuzzi and Havel [14] are shown in Figs. 2a, b, 3a and 5.

The measured distribution patterns of k adjacent to the rib and cube appear to be

reasonable. From the two-dimensional pattern in Fig. 2a, kmax is found in the middle

part of the rib top. Separation and backﬂow are shown above the rib as in Fig. 2b.

But for three-dimensional cases, the ﬂow separation bubble above the cube is small

and the backﬂows are not so drastic that air can ﬂow through the sides. The height of

wind tunnel as used for the results in Fig. 3b is about 5.2H. In the experiment on

wind tunnels with height 2H as in Fig. 5a, there are slight separate ﬂows, compared

with Fig. 3b. The incident ﬂow proﬁles are u ¼ y1=4 and u ¼ y1=7 ; respectively, for the

two cases as shown in Table 1.

Attempts have been made to obtain better agreement with experiments by

correcting the standard k2 turbulence model, see, e.g., [7,10,11,15]. Their numerical

results are compared. Since air must ﬂow above the rib in two-dimensional cases,

there would be sharp changes for the ﬂow in front of the rib. Results of these two-

dimensional studies are easier to compare.

kmax and XR should be related as kmax is found above the cube and rib. This is

another demonstration of separate ﬂow.

The results predicted by the standard k2 model are shown in Fig. 2c. kmax was

found at the sharp edge, not above the rib in the middle part as in Fig. 2. The results

of the modiﬁed LK model are shown in Fig. 2d and those of the modiﬁed MMK

model in Fig. 2e. These models gave better results but still deviated from the

experiments as in Fig. 2a. For example, the values of k at the sharp edge are still

over-predicted.

In this study, kmax was found above the cube as in Figs. 2b and 3b, indicating that

there is no recirculation bubble above the rib and the cube. Only in the experiments

shown in Figs. 2a, 3a and 5 are the positions of kmax found above the cube. Rib and

cube bubbles appear in these cases.

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130 Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135

In this study, with suitable treatment of the boundary condition of the sharp edge,

separate ﬂow and recirculation size can be predicted by a standard k2 model. The

results predicted by the modiﬁed LK and MMK models as shown in Figs. 2d and e

would not be the same as the results of the experiments. Note that the predicted k

values at the shape edge are too big, and appear to have the same values as k above

the rib. That means the recirculation bubble is not as strong as in Fig. 2b, or there

may even be no recirculation. Therefore, modifying the turbulence model might not

be a good choice. In this paper, even a standard k2 model can predict results (as in

Fig. 9) which agree well with the experiments (as in Fig. 2).

For three-dimensional cases, predicted air ﬂows around the cube are similar to

those found in the experiments. k-values measured by Murakami et al. [7,10,11] are

shown in Fig. 3a. kmax was found in the middle on the cube. The velocity

distributions are shown in Fig. 3b [10]. The separation for Fig. 3b is smaller than that

measured by Martinuzzi in Fig. 5a.

The results predicted by Murakami et al. [7,10,11] with standard k2 model for

three-dimensional simulation are shown in Fig. 3c. kmax was found at the upwind

sharp edge, which is different from the experiments. Efforts were made to modify

standard k2 models. Recently, Kimura and Hosoda [15] have been working

on similar studies. Figs. 4a and b are the same as Fig. 3a in giving predictions

which do not agree well with experiments. Modiﬁed standard k2 models such

as the KH model agreed well with the values of k distributions as measured

by Hussein and Martinuzzi [13] in Fig. 5b. Both experimental and predicted

results on distributions of k around the cube place kmax in the middle of the top of

the cube.

In using the standard k2 model with proper boundary conditions near the sharp

edge, the predicted results agree with the experiment. Incident ﬂow proﬁle of u ¼

y1=m gives kmax at the top of the cube and the positions of kmax are correlated with

recirculation. This is clear from Figs. 9 to 14, which show the predicted results by

standard k2 model with different ﬂow proﬁles.

Turning to a more detailed discussion of the standard k2 model to study separate

ﬂow and reattachment—oscillating vortices are found behind the cube. Computing

XF with transient and unstable properties matched better with the physics underlying

the LES model. XF was predicted to be 1.696 by Rodi et al. [12], reviewing relevant

works. For a wind tunnel height of 2H, the experimental XF value was 1.612.

However, the XF predicted by the standard k2 model was 2.182. Using the same

model as shown in Figs. 10 and 11, XF lies between 2.2 and 2.3. For a wind tunnel of

height YB of 5.2H, XF was measured by Murakami [11] at 1.4, and XR at 0.7. The XF

predicted by LES was 1.2.

The uniform grids as in Fig. 16 are backward staggered for the Up-cell. At the wall,

Uw-cell is at a distance of Dx=2 and VB-cell is Dy=2 from the scale node P. The

near-wall values of the parallel velocity component, the turbulent kinetic energy k,

ARTICLE IN PRESS

Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135 131

T UT

VW VE

n

UW P UP E UE EE

W V(I-1,j) b V(I,j)

w E

b

E

VB Φ(I-1,J) U(i,J) Φ(I,J)

B EB

UB

VBB

BB

(a) B (b) B

P UP E

P

u Pb b

∆y/2

b

VB vBb

B ∆x/2

(c) (d)

Fig. 16. Computational cells around the sharp corner: (a) staggered grid arrangement, (b) the intersection

of a cell wall, (c) VB-cell and (d) Up-cell.

and its dissipation rate are determined from the standard log-law wall function by

Launder and Spalding (1974).

For the wall bE0 ,

1

uþ ¼ lnðEyþ Þ;

k

vþ ¼ 0: ð2Þ

For the wall bB0 ;

1

vþ ¼ lnðExþ Þ;

k

uþ ¼ 0: ð3Þ

The P-cell, U-cell and V-cell adjacent to the sharp edge are shown in Figs. 16a, c and

d. This might explain why the predicted Up ampliﬁed at the sharp edge.

For the uniform grids as shown in Fig. 16b–d, Dx ¼ Dy; the upper wall is bE 0 ; and

the left wall is bB0 : The values of the transport property are fðI; JÞ and fðI þ 1; JÞ;

ARTICLE IN PRESS

132 Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135

etc. For the volume U(i,J), the upper wall is extended to W, and for the volume

V(I, j), the left wall is extend to n. It can be seen that for the staggered grids using the

wall function at the upper wall, U(i, J) would move Dx=2 to the left; for the left wall

V(I, j) would move Dy=2 upwards. These ﬁgures should be handled carefully to avoid

getting incorrect results at the windward sharp corner.

For the Up-cell as shown in Fig. 16d, only half of the cell face would be in contact

with the wall. When applying the wall function to fðI; JÞ; bE 0 would move Dx=2 to

the left relative to the U-cell and become WbE 0 : The convective ﬂuxes rvBb

ðDx=2ÞDz (for two-dimensional conditions, Dz ¼ 1) can be neglected across the half-

face. If the grids are not right-angled coordinates, or are not at a uniform distance, it

will be difﬁcult to evaluate the effective area for calculating the ﬂux.

For the Up-cell, since rvBb Dx=2 is not considered at the near-wall wb and vþ ¼ 0;

and Vp is approximated as V pmin ; Up has reached its maximum value U pmax : Errors

could result from neglecting the inﬂow of rvBb Dx=2; taking it as the wall in the Up-

cell. If vBb is very small, the effect would not be signiﬁcant. At near-wall, vBb and VB

are often very close to their maximum value in all ﬂow ﬁelds, with very signiﬁcant

effects.

When there is no heat source in the ﬂow ﬁeld and enthalpy is unchanged,

neglecting compressibility would not have a signiﬁcant effect. Bernoulli’s equation

can be applied to the streamlines along the frontal corner for the stagnation pressure

P0, and static pressures PP and PB,

rp r

Pp þ ðV 2p þ U 2p Þ ¼ PB þ B ðV 2B þ U 2B Þ ¼ P0 ¼ constant: (4)

2 2

From the above equation, it can be seen that when P0 is constant, Vp would be V pmin

when Up is U pmax : Numerical calculations indicate that when the scale of the Up-cell

1

Dx ¼ Dy420 H; U pmax almost reaches the largest Umax value of the whole ﬂow ﬁeld.

Thus, using wall function for staggered grids when the effect of rupb Dy=2 is not

included, the value of Up would be ampliﬁed to U pmax ; approaching the largest value

of Umax in all ﬂow ﬁelds.

Similarly, for the VB-cell as shown in Fig. 16c, the wall function extends upwards

from bB0 to become nbB0 , neglecting the effect of outﬂow of mass rvpb Dx=2 on VB-

cell. The inﬂow velocity on the surface B on the left-hand side of the wall at near the

VB-cell would increase continuously until ﬂowing out on the surface P. This is not

because the inﬂow velocity on the surface B rupb has already reduced when ﬂowing

out on the surface P. For the VB-cell, VB has reached V Bmax ; and UB is approximated

as zero.

On the other hand, why Up was ampliﬁed with south extended wall can be

explained. The discretised u-momentum equation for the velocity U(i, J+1) at

location (i, J+1) shown as in Fig. 16 is given by (replacing i, J+1 with p):

X

ap U p ¼ ai U i þ ðPP PE ÞDy þ bp ; (5)

bp is the momentum source term and is P neglected here. The E, W, N and S

neighbours are involved in the summation ai U i ; and the values of coefﬁcients ai

may be calculated with any of the different methods suitable for convection

ARTICLE IN PRESS

Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135 133

diffusion problems.

P

ai U i þ ðPP PE ÞDy ðPP PE ÞDy

Up ¼ P ¼ Ū E;W ;N;S þ PE;W ;N;S : (6)

ai i ai

If the south area of the volume Up is wall, aS ¼ 0:

ðPP PE ÞDy

U pwall ¼ Ū E;W ;N þ PE;W ;N : (7)

i ai

Near the south wall, U S oŪ; so Ū E;W ;N 4Ū E;W ;N;S ; giving U pwall 4U p :

When U S 0; U pwall U p reaches maximum value, and U pwall ¼ U pmax ; V pwall is

reduced to V pmax :

by V pmin or zero. In the VB-cell, V B ¼ V Bmax ; UB is also approximated as U Bmin or

zero. From this, there would be ﬂuid ﬂow at the left-hand side of the sharp corner at

a velocity of V Bmax : It then moves to the right at a velocity of U pmax after turning for

901. The streamlines are shown as in Case I in Table 2.

For the whole ﬂow ﬁeld, the velocity and momentum at the top of the sharp corner

have become U pmax after turning for 901 from V Bmax upwards. The change rate is the

largest at the sharp corner. Therefore, kmax also appears there as shown in Figs. 8a

and 15a.

Assuming U p 0; then V p ¼ V pmax V B : That means there would be backﬂow at

the top of the rib and cube. Since there would be ﬂow velocity in the opposite

direction near the center of the backﬂow, kmax is found at the top of the rib and cube

due to the largest variation in velocity there. This method has been widely used in the

literature [1–4]. The results shown in Figs. 9a and 10a–14a are also obtained by using

this method. Normal conditions are listed as Case II in Table 2.

In real situations in the P-cell, the vector should be U~p þ V~p : The angle between it

~

and U p is:

U

~p

a ¼ arc cos ; (8)

U~p þ V ~p

U~p þ V~p and a determine together whether there will be backﬂow, the degree of

separation and the bubble length XR, as listed in Case III in Table 2. When ao45 ;

there is no separation. When 45 oao70 ; there is only a little separation. When

a470 ; there is more separation.

The above indicates that the wall function at the sharp corner should be assigned

carefully when using staggered grids. This is very important at the windward sharp

corner, and in the ﬁrst neighboring grid P at the solid sharp corners with strong

intersections of ru and rv:

ARTICLE IN PRESS

134 Y. Gao, W.K. Chow / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 93 (2005) 115–135

Recent studies on the value of k surrounding the windward sharp corner and the

separated backﬂow are useful for assessing the calculation results. This is very

obvious when determining kmax. The position of kmax can be used as an important

reference for validating the calculation results.

For Case III as listed in Table 2, it can be seen that under two-dimensional

conditions, U p 0:087V p : Under three-dimensional conditions, U p 0:26V p : The

velocity vectors and the distribution of kmax are closer to the situation of Case II

where Up is approximated as zero. Under two-dimensional conditions, approximat-

ing Up as zero basically agrees with the practical situations. Three-dimensional

simulations would be very close to the real situations.

6. Conclusion

The standard k2 turbulence model can predict well the separate and

reattachment ﬂow on the top surface of the cube and rib if the wall boundary is

treated properly. Assigning correct values of Up in front of the cube and rib edge is

the key point in obtaining numerical results that agree better with the experiments.

Both experiments and measurements indicate that the prediction of the

recirculation bubble is related to whether kmax is at the upper cube. If kmax is

found at the sharp edge, there will be no recirculation.

Locations of kmax are affected by the incident ﬂow proﬁle ðu ¼ y1=m Þ and Re:

When and are increased slightly, the location of kmax will move upward and

backward.

Air speed at the sharp edge is determined by interaction of ru and rv: In the

absence of more accurate information about the values of the velocity U ~p þ V~p

and a; an alternative that appears to work well is to set to zero. Reasonable

explanations for this have been presented in this paper.

Acknowledgement

This project was supported by the funding generated by the WKC at the Research

Centre for Fire Engineering of the Department of Building Services Engineering,

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

References

[1] F. Baetke, H. Werner, H. Wengle, Numerical simulation of turbulent ﬂow over surface-mounted

obstacles with sharp edges and corners, J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodynamics 35 (1990) 129–147.

[2] I. Castro, A. Robins, The ﬂow around a surface-mounted cube in uniform and turbulent streams,

J. Fluid Mech. 79 (1977) 307–335.

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[3] D. Paterson, C. Apelt, Simulation of ﬂow past a cube in a turbulent boundary layer, J. Wind Eng.

Ind. Aerodynamics 35 (1990) 149–176.

[4] D. Paterson, C. Apelt, Computation of wind ﬂows over three-dimensional buildings, J. Wind Eng.

Ind. Aerodynamics 24 (1986) 193–213.

[5] S. Murakami, A. Mochida, 3-D Numerical simulation of airﬂow around a cube model by means of

the k2 model, J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodynamics 31 (1988) 283–303.

[6] S. Murakami, A. Mochida, Y. Hayashi, Examining the k2 model by means of a wind tunnel test and

large eddy simulation of the turbulence structure around a cube, J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodynamics 35

(1990) 87–100.

[7] S. Murakami, Comparison of various turbulence models applied to bluff body, J. Wind Eng. Ind.

Aerodynamics 46 & 47 (1993) 21–36.

[8] S. Murakami, A. Mochida, Y. Hayashi, S. Sakamoto, Numerical study on velocity–pressure ﬁeld and

wind force for bluff bodies by k2; ASM and LES, J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodynamics 41–44 (1992)

2841–2852.

[9] S. Murakami, A. Mochida, K. Hibi, Three-dimensional numerical simulation of air ﬂow around a

cubic model by means of large eddy simulation, J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodynamics 25 (1987) 291–305.

[10] M. Tsuchiya, S. Murakami, A. Mochida, K. Kondo, Y. Ishida, Development of a new k2 model for

ﬂow and pressure ﬁelds around bluff body, J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodynamics 67 & 68 (1997) 169–182.

[11] S. Murakami, Overview of turbulence models applied in CWE—1997, J. Wind Eng. Ind.

Aerodynamics 74–76 (1998) 1–24.

[12] W. Rodi, J. Ferziger, M. Breuer, M. Pourquié, Status of large eddy simulation: results of a workshop,

J. Fluids Eng. 119 (1997) 119–249.

[13] H. Hussein, R. Martinuzzi, Energy balance for turbulent ﬂow around a surface mounted cube placed

in a channel, Phys. Fluids 8 (3) (1996) 764–780.

[14] R. Martinuzzi, B. Havel, Turbulent ﬂow around two interfering surface-mounted cubic obstacles in

tandem arrangement, J. Fluids Eng. 122 (2000) 24–31.

[15] I. Kimura, T. Hosoda, Numerical simulation of ﬂows around a surface-mounted cube by means of a

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[16] A. Larousse, R. Martinuzzi, C. Tropea, Flow around surface-mounted three-dimensional obstacles,

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