The harmonic balance method implemented within STAR-CCM+ is a mixed frequency/time domain computational fluid dynamic technique, which enables the efficient calculation of time-periodic flows. The unsteady solution is stored at a small number of fixed time levels over one temporal period of the unsteady flow in a single blade passage in each blade row; thus the solution is periodic by construction. The individual time levels are coupled to one another through a spectral operator representing the time derivative term in the Navier-Stokes equation, and at the boundaries of the computational domain through the application of periodic and nonreflecting boundary conditions. The blade rows are connected to one another via a small number of fluid dynamic spinning modes characterized by nodal diameter and frequency. This periodic solution is driven to the correct solution using conventional (steady) CFD acceleration techniques, and thus is computationally efficient. Upon convergence, the time level solutions are Fourier transformed to obtain spatially varying Fourier coefficients of the flow variables. We find that a small number of time levels (or, equivalently, Fourier coefficients) are adequate to model even strongly nonlinear flows. Consequently, the method provides an unsteady solution at a computational cost significantly lower than traditional unsteady time marching methods.
The implementation of this nonlinear harmonic balance method within STAR-CCM+ allows for the simulation of multiple blade rows. This capability is demonstrated and validated using a 1.5 stage cold flow axial turbine developed by the University of Aachen. Results produced using the harmonic balance method are compared to conventional time domain simulations using STAR-CCM+, and are also compared to published experimental data. It is shown that the harmonic balance method is able to accurately model the unsteady flow structures at a computational cost significantly lower than unsteady time domain simulation.Copyright © 2012 by ASME