Efficient simulation of turbulent diffusion flames in OpenFOAM using adaptive mesh refinement

Abstract

We address the challenge of resolving wide spatial scale ranges in fire simulations through the development of a new OpenFOAM-based adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) computational capability for large eddy simulations of turbulent diffusion flames. The AMR approach provides increased resolution in localized regions based on userdefined criteria, resulting in a simulation that dynamically tracks fire spread and reduces computational cost compared to uniform and static mesh approaches. The new AMR-enabled solver, called diffusionFireFoam, is an extension of the fireFoam solver and incorporates dynamic meshing capabilities already available in OpenFOAM. We outline details of the new solver and demonstrate its basic functionality, accuracy, and computational effi­ ciency for a small-scale methane pool fire verification case. We show that both first- and second-order statistics from the AMR simulation are in good agreement with results from a statically refined simulation that has the same fine-scale resolution, but a larger overall mesh. We then show for a larger-scale methane pool fire that an AMR simulation in diffusionFireFoam agrees with results from static mesh simulations, experiments, and prior computational studies. Once again, substantial computational savings are achieved, with roughly 5 times fewer grid cells in the AMR simulations than in prior static mesh simulations.

Publication
Fire Safety Journal
Caelan Lapointe
Caelan Lapointe
PhD student

Caelan’s research is motivated by complex fire phenomena with a focus on industrial and environmental applications.

Nicholas Wimer
Nicholas Wimer
Postdoctoral Researcher
Jeff Glusman
Jeff Glusman
PhD student

Jeff works on the modeling of pyrolysis and reduced chemical kinetics being integrated into the OpenFOAM framework.

Peter Hamlington
Peter Hamlington
Associate Professor

Peter is an associate professor in the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder and the principal investigator of the Turbulence and Energy Systems Laboratory.