Modern engines with increasing power densities have put additional demands on pistons to perform in incrementally challenging thermal environments. Piston cooling is therefore of paramount importance for engine component manufacturers. The objective of this computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study is to identify the effect of a given piston cooling nozzle (PCN) geometry on the cooling oil jet spreading phenomenon. The scope of this study is to develop a numerical setup using the open-source CFD toolkit OpenFoam® for measuring the magnitude of oil jet spreading and comparing it to experimental results. Large eddy simulation (LES) turbulence modeling is used to capture the flow physics that affects the inherently unsteady jet breakup phenomenon. The oil jet spreading width is the primary metric used for comparing the numerical and experimental results. The results of simulation are validated for the correct applicability of LES by evaluating the fraction of resolved turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) at various probe locations and also by performing turbulent kinetic energy spectral analysis. CFD results appear promising since they correspond to the experimental data within a tolerance (of ±10%) deemed satisfactory for the purpose of this study. Further generalization of the setup is underway toward developing a tool that predicts the aforementioned metric—thereby evaluating the effect of PCN geometry on oil jet spreading and hence on the oil catching efficiency (CE) of the piston cooling gallery. This tool would act as an intermediate step in boundary condition formulation for the simulation determining the filling ratio (FR) and subsequently the heat transfer coefficients (HTCs) in the piston cooling gallery.

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