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Stellenbosch University (2013)

CFD investigation of the atmospheric boundary layer under different thermal stability conditions

Pieterse, Jacobus Erasmus

Titre : CFD investigation of the atmospheric boundary layer under different thermal stability conditions

Auteur : Pieterse, Jacobus Erasmus

Université de soutenance  : Stellenbosch University

Grade : Thesis (MScEng) 2013.

Résumé
An accurate description of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) is a prerequisite for computational fluid dynamic (CFD) wind studies. This includes taking into account the thermal stability of the atmosphere, which can be stable, neutral or unstable, depending on the nature of the surface fluxes of momentum and heat. The diurnal variation between stable and unstable conditions in the Namib Desert interdune was measured and quantified using the wind velocity and temperature profiles that describe the thermally stratified atmosphere, as derived by Monin- Obukhov similarity theory. The implementation of this thermally stratified atmosphere into CFD has been examined in this study by using Reynoldsaveraged Navier-Stokes (RANS) turbulence models. The maintenance of the temperature, velocity and turbulence profiles along an extensive computational domain length was required, while simultaneously allowing for full variation in pressure and density through the ideal gas law. This included the implementation of zero heat transfer from the surface, through the boundary layer, under neutral conditions so that the adiabatic lapse rate could be sustained. Buoyancy effects were included by adding weight to the fluid, leading to the emergence of the hydrostatic pressure field and the resultant density changes expected in the real atmosphere. The CFD model was validated against measured data, from literature, for the flow over a cosine hill in a wind tunnel. The standard k-ε and SST k-ω turbulence models, modified for gravity effects, represented the data most accurately. The flow over an idealised transverse dune immersed in the thermally stratified ABL was also investigated. It was found that the flow recovery was enhanced and re-attachment occurred earlier in unstable conditions, while flow recovery and re-attachment took longer in stable conditions. It was also found that flow acceleration over the crest of the dune was greater under unstable conditions. The effect of the dune on the flow higher up in the atmosphere was also felt at much higher distances for unstable conditions, through enhanced vertical velocities. Under stable conditions, vertical velocities were reduced, and the influence on the flow higher up in the atmosphere was much less than for unstable or neutral conditions. This showed that the assumption of neutral conditions could lead to an incomplete picture of the flow conditions that influence any particular case of interest.

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Page publiée le 17 novembre 2013, mise à jour le 1er avril 2020