Physical consistency of subgrid-scale models for large-eddy simulation of incompressible turbulent flows

Silvis, M. H., Remmerswaal, R. A., Verstappen, R.

Physics of Fluids 29, 015105 (2017). DOI: 10.1063/1.4974093.

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We study the construction of subgrid-scale models for large-eddy simulation of incompressible turbulent flows. In particular, we aim to consolidate a systematic approach of constructing subgrid-scale models, based on the idea that it is desirable that subgrid-scale models are consistent with the mathematical and physical properties of the Navier–Stokes equations and the turbulent stresses. To that end, we first discuss in detail the symmetries of the Navier–Stokes equations, and the near-wall scaling behavior, realizability and dissipation properties of the turbulent stresses. We furthermore summarize the requirements that subgrid-scale models have to satisfy in order to preserve these important mathematical and physical properties. In this fashion, a framework of model constraints arises that we apply to analyze the behavior of a number of existing subgrid-scale models that are based on the local velocity gradient. We show that these subgrid-scale models do not satisfy all the desired properties, after which we explain that this is partly due to incompatibilities between model constraints and limitations of velocity-gradient-based subgrid-scale models. However, we also reason that the current framework shows that there is room for improvement in the properties and, hence, the behavior of existing subgrid-scale models. We furthermore show how compatible model constraints can be combined to construct new subgrid-scale models that have desirable properties built into them. We provide a few examples of such new models, of which a new model of eddy viscosity type, that is based on the vortex stretching magnitude, is successfully tested in large-eddy simulations of decaying homogeneous isotropic turbulence and turbulent plane-channel flow.