Mechanical Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this study is to determine if unsteady formulations of RANS turbulence models lead to an improved description of incompressible turbulent flows. Wind tunnel experiments for a smooth circular cylinder at very high Reynolds numbers with an incompressible fluid are expensive. The use of Computational Fluid Dynamics, to predict flow around and behind a smooth circular cylinder, is growing in the scientific community and provides an alternative to traditional wind tunnel experiments. One method for predicting flow characteristics is the open-source toolbox OpenFOAM. OpenFOAM is a robust code used for accurately capturing and predicting incompressible turbulent flow with separation. In this study OpenFOAM is used to implement standardized turbulence models and predict the complex flow physics associated with a smooth circular cylinder. The complex flow physics is predicted with steady and unsteady formulations of the Wilcox 2006 k-\u03c9 turbulence model and Menters 1993 SST turbulence model. A grid convergence study is done to determine the effect that mesh refinement has on simulation results. Results obtained are in agreement with experimental data and with simulations conducted by other research groups.'


Computational Fluid Dynamics, OpenFOAM, Cylinder, URANS

Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Poroseva, Svetlana

Second Committee Member

Truman, Randall

Third Committee Member

Vorobieff, Peter


The material is in part based upon work supported by NASA under award NNX12AJ61A and by the Junior Faculty UNM-LANL Collaborative Research Grant. A part of the simulations were conducted using the high-performance facilities of the UNM Center for Advanced Research Computing.

Document Type