Computational Fluid Dynamics of Wind and Water Waves for Environmental and Energy Applications


Computational Fluid Dynamics of Wind and Water Waves for Environmental and Energy Applications

These researchers use MSI computing resources to perform high-resolution simulations of wind and water wave flows using high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics. Water waves, wind, and their interactions are important to many applications, including atmosphere-ocean CO2 exchange in the study of global climate change, offshore wind energy and wave energy, and the trajectory and fate of pollutants at water surface.  Recently, the group has also received funding to study oil spills at sea and in the Great Lakes.

This research uses novel simulation methods developed in the group. Their in-house simulation codes include a high-order spectral method for waves and large-eddy simulation of wind turbulence on wave surface-fitted grid. The simulations resolve wave phases, a feature fundamentally distinct from and has a clear advantage over traditional approaches that are spectral and wave-phase-averaged, in which the wave phase information is lost. Because the flow physics are resolved in a more direct way and with much more details than in previous methods, this study will have a better chance to succeed.

The researchers perform simulations of the wind and wave fields, which involve massively parallel computing and datasets with unprecedented volumes and details. They will address the multi-scale wind and wave fluid dynamics through computations of ocean wave field at relatively large scales (100 km domain size, 5 m resolution for waves) and wind field at relatively small scales (2 km domain size, 2 m resolution for turbulence eddies). The big data from the simulations will establish a physical basis for the mechanistic study of the complex dynamic system of the ocean waves and wind.

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