Development of a CFD-Compatible Transition Model Based on Linear Stability Theory

Open Access
Coder, James George
Graduate Program:
Aerospace Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
May 28, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Mark David Maughmer, Dissertation Advisor
  • Mark David Maughmer, Committee Chair
  • Sven Schmitz, Committee Member
  • Philip John Morris, Committee Member
  • Kenneth Steven Brentner, Committee Member
  • Jonathan S Pitt, Committee Member
  • Aerodynamics
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • CFD
  • transition
  • turbulence
A new laminar-turbulent transition model for low-turbulence external aerodynamic applications is presented that incorporates linear stability theory in a manner compatible with modern computational fluid dynamics solvers. The model uses a new transport equation that describes the growth of the maximum Tollmien-Schlichting instability amplitude in the presence of a boundary layer. To avoid the need for integration paths and non-local operations, a locally defined non-dimensional pressure-gradient parameter is used that serves as an estimator of the integral boundary-layer properties. The model has been implemented into the OVERFLOW 2.2f solver and interacts with the Spalart-Allmaras and Menter SST eddy-viscosity turbulence models. Comparisons of predictions using the new transition model with high-quality wind-tunnel measurements of airfoil section characteristics validate the predictive qualities of the model. Predictions for three-dimensional aircraft and wing geometries show the correct qualitative behavior even though limited experimental data are available. These cases also demonstrate that the model is well-behaved about general aeronautical configurations. These cases confirm that the new transition model is an improvement over the current state of the art in computational fluid dynamics transition modeling by providing more accurate solutions at approximately half the added computational expense.