On the use of spires for generating inflow conditions with energetic coherent structures in large eddy simulation

Daniel Foti, Xiaolei Yang, Filippo Campagnolo, David Maniaci, Fotis Sotiropoulos

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11 Scopus citations


While it has long been a practice to place spires near the inlet of a wind tunnel to quickly develop a turbulent boundary layer with similarities to an atmospheric boundary layer, this has not been the case for creating turbulent boundary layer inflow in large eddy simulations (LESs) of turbulent flows. We carry out LES with the curvilinear immersed boundary method to simulate the flow in a wind tunnel with a series of spires in order to investigate the feasibility of numerically developing inflow conditions from a precursory spire LES and assessing the similarities of the turbulence statistics to those of an atmospheric boundary layer. The simulated mean velocity field demonstrates that a turbulent boundary layer with height equal to the spire height develops very quickly, within five spire heights downstream. The major attribute of using spires for precursory simulations is the spatially evolving coherent structures that form downstream of the spires offering a range of length scales at both the vertical and streamwise directions allowing multiple turbulent inflow conditions to be extracted from a single simulation. While the distribution of length scales far from the spires resembles an atmospheric boundary layer, some turbulence statistics have some significant differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-633
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Turbulence
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by U.S. Department of Energy Wind Power Office [grant number DE-AC04-94AL85000], [grant number DE-EE0002980], [grant number DE-EE0005482].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Inlet spires
  • immersed boundary method
  • large eddy simulations
  • wind tunnel


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