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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R008035/1
Title: UNSflow: A low-order, open-source solver for problems that involve unsteady and nonlinear fluid dynamics
Principal Investigator: Ramesh, Dr K
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Engineering
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 August 2018 Ends: 30 November 2019 Value (£): 100,770
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Aerodynamics Fluid Dynamics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
02 Aug 2017 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 2 August 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project aims to derive and develop new theoretical and low-cost numerical methods for analysing general unsteady aerofoil and wing flows that may exhibit nonlinearities such as flow separation and vortex shedding. The solvers implemented through these methods will be made available (open-source) to the public, academia and industry through the UNSflow project.

Unsteady fluid dynamics is ubiquitous in modern aerospace research problems such as aerodynamic optimisation of wind-energy harvesting devices, design of flapping wing fliers, use of flapping foils for propulsion/high-lift, and design of aircraft with flexible wings (such as HALE - High-Altitude Long Endurance, or futuristic aircraft with large aspect ratios). Reducing emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases, which is the prime motivation behind many of these problems, can only be accomplished by a mix of renewable strategies and incremental improvements. The flow physics in these problems exhibits significant nonlinearities arising from flow separation and vortex shedding which cannot be adequately represented by closed-form theoretical formulations. Though computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and experimental methods have contributed much to the understanding of unsteady flow features, they are unsuitable for use in preliminary design and optimisation because of time and cost considerations. This project aims to develop low-cost, physics-based models for unsteady aerodynamics based on the discrete-vortex method, which will enable fast simulations of medium-fidelity, and provide a simple framework for parametric studies, design optimisation, real-time simulation and interdisciplinary studies (by coupling with other solvers).

UNSflow intends to be a new class of low-cost solvers that sacrifice an acceptable level of accuracy in fluid simulations for a tremendous speedup in simulation time, while being fully physics-based and retaining the fundamental flow quantities. The guiding philosophy in development of the solver is to retain only the physics which are significant in the flow regimes of specific applications. They are hence not an alternative to high-fidelity CFD and experiments, which will still be needed in the final phases of industrial production, but for fewer ideas/concepts. In effect, this will lead to reduced time and cost in the design cycle, and perhaps even a better solution in the long run, because more exploration of the design space will be possible. This research also intends to support the activities of teachers, students and hobbyists who may not have access to CFD software and computing resources. Potential applications for this class of users include design of ornithopters, quadcopters, and home-made wind-energy harvesting devices.

The research to be carried out in this project is fundamental in nature and underpins several applied problems. It is intended to derive new theoretical and numerical tools to study general unsteady flows with intermittent separation and reattachment. It will assist the principal investigator's research group in its research on applied problems such as aerodynamic optimisation, dynamic stall alleviation, flapping-wing design and wind-energy harvesting. The research will also be useful to other research groups working on unsteady flows (for both fundamental and applied research), as a preliminary design/analysis tool for various applications, and student projects.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk