Turbulence modeling remains an active CFD development front for turbomachinery as well as for general industrial applications. While DNS and even LES still seem out of reach within the typical industrial design cycle due to their high computational cost, RANS-based models remain the workhorse of CFD. Currently, the most widely used models are Linear Eddy-Viscosity Models (LEVM), despite their known limitations for certain flow complexities. Therefore, extending the reliability of eddy-viscosity models to more complex flows without significantly increasing the computational cost can immediately contribute to more reliable CFD results for wider range of applications. This, in turn, can further reduce the need for costly tests and consequently can reduce the product development cost.
A promising approach to achieve this goal is using Explicit Algebraic Reynolds Stress Models (EARSM), obtained through a simplification of the full Differential Reynolds Stress Models (DRSM), and can be perceived as an extension of LEVMs by including the non-linear relation between the turbulence stress tensor, the mean-flow gradient and the turbulence scales. These models are thus less demanding than DRSM, yet capable of capturing more complex turbulence features, compared to LEVM, such as anisotropy in the normal stresses. This may be particularly important in corner flows, for instance, in the hub-blade regions or in diffusers.
This work explores the application of EARSM models to a double diffuser and a high-performance centrifugal compressor stage (HPCC). The results are compared to available experimental data [1,2] showing the importance of including the anisotropy of turbulence in the model, particularly in presence of turbulent corner flows in a diffuser. Furthermore, the EARSM results are also compared to results from the commonly used SST turbulence model. The CFD comparison includes details of the flow structure in the diffuser, where the most noticeable impact from the use of EARSM turbulence models is expected.