The setup of inlet conditions for a large eddy simulation (LES) is a complex and important problem. Normally, there are two methods to generate the inlet conditions for LES, i.e., synthesized turbulence methods and precursor simulation methods. This study presents a new method for determining inlet boundary conditions of LES using particle image velocimetry (PIV). LES shows sensitivity to inlet boundary conditions in the developing region, and this effect can even extend into the fully developed region of the flow. Two kinds of boundary conditions generated from PIV data, i.e., steady spatial distributed inlet (SSDI) and unsteady spatial distributed inlet (USDI), are studied. PIV provides valuable field measurement, but special care is needed to estimate turbulent kinetic energy and turbulent dissipation rate for SSDI. Correlation coefficients are used to analyze the autocorrelation of the PIV data. Different boundary conditions have different influences on LES, and their advantages and disadvantages for turbulence prediction and static pressure prediction are discussed in the paper. Two kinds of LES with different subgrid turbulence models are evaluated: namely dynamic Smagorinsky–Lilly model (Lilly model) and wall modeled large eddy simulation (WMLES model). The performances of these models for flow prediction in a square duct are presented. Furthermore, the LES results are compared with PIV measurement results and Reynolds-stress model (RSM) results at a downstream location for validation.

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