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Physics-informed machine learning approach for reconstructing Reynolds stress modeling discrepancies

Updated: Nov 10, 2018

J.-X. Wang, J.-L. Wu, H. Xiao

Physical Review Fluids 2 (3), 034603

Turbulence modeling is a critical component in numerical simulations of industrial flows based on Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations.

However, after decades of efforts in the turbulence modeling community, universally applicable RANS models with predictive capabilities are still lacking.

Large discrepancies in the RANS-modeled Reynolds stresses are the main source that limits the predictive accuracy of RANS models. Identifying these discrepancies is of significance to possibly improve the RANS modeling.

In this work, we propose a data-driven, physics-informed machine learning approach for reconstructing discrepancies in RANS modeled Reynolds stresses.

The discrepancies are formulated as functions of the mean flow features. By using a modern machine learning technique based on random forests, the discrepancy functions are trained by existing direct numerical simulation (DNS) databases and then used to predict Reynolds stress discrepancies in different flows where data are not available. The proposed method is evaluated by two classes of flows: (1) fully developed turbulent flows in a square duct at various Reynolds numbers and (2) flows with massive separations. In separated flows, two training flow scenarios of increasing difficulties are considered: (1) the flow in the same periodic hills geometry yet at a lower Reynolds number and (2) the flow in a different hill geometry with a similar recirculation zone. Excellent predictive performances were observed in both scenarios, demonstrating the merits of the proposed method.

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