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NGCM-0059: Massively parallel adaptive lattice Boltzmann simulation for wind turbine applications

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Deiterding
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

This project is concerned with the development of modern parallel adaptive lattice Boltzmann methods and their application for simulating the turbulent flow fields created by full-scale wind turbines and related open rotor laboratory experiments. An understanding of the large-scale wake structures generated by operating horizontal axis wind turbines is vital for optimizing wind farm layouts. However, the flow over turbine blades is generally not Reynolds number independent in the velocity ranges of interest for wind turbines, which makes it difficult to draw reliable conclusions from small-scale model experiments.

Numerical simulation of full-scale turbines is a promising avenue, but the difficulties in solving the incompressible or weakly-compressible Navier-Stokes equations on moving three-dimensional meshes are enormous. As an alternative to conventional CFD solvers for this problem class, a novel parallel and dynamically adaptive lattice Boltzmann method for large eddy simulation of turbulent weakly compressible flows with embedded moving structures is currently under development based on the AMROC framework. Using a Smagorinsky-type large eddy turbulence model, our present implementation is already able to predict dynamic loads on a full-scale wind turbine rotor including rotor-tower interaction phenomena within a few percent of manufacturer’s specification, while downstream wake structures are exceptionally well preserved

The advertised position will concentrate on improving the parallel performance of the software and simulating well-documented laboratory experiments for related turbomachinery with high accuracy thereby providing unambiguous method validation. At present, our C++ adaptive mesh refinement system uses a rigorous domain decomposition strategy for dynamic load balancing, and some generalization of this methodology and the hierarchical mesh data structures will be required. An extension of the algorithms to hybrid MPI-OpenMP, possibly MPI-OpenACC, communication is planned to allow scaling to several thousand cores. The improved performance will be demonstrated with massively parallel high-resolution simulations of the turbulent wake structures generated by the 4.5m diameter rotor used in the Mexnext experimental campaigns. These laboratory experiments achieve tip speed ratios like full-scale wind turbines and are extensively documented making them an ideal choice for demonstrating the capabilities of the new LBM simulation tool.

This project is suitable for a student with Aerospace, Mechanical or Computational Engineering degree with demonstrated skills in computer programming (essential). Substantial knowledge of fluid dynamics and engineering mathematics from undergraduate coursework is expected. Familiarity with the lattice Boltzmann method as well as extensive parallel programming experience are not necessary but will be provided as part of the first-year curriculum. Good communication skills are indispensable as you will become part of a team working with the same code base applying modern software development principles. Large-scale computations will be carried out on the Iridis compute cluster of the University of Southampton and national supercomputing facilities.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr. Ralf Deiterding, Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Research Group, Email: [email protected], Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 3384.

This project is run through participation in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Computational Modelling ( For details of our 4 Year PhD programme, please see

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