A library for wall-modelled large-eddy simulation based on OpenFOAM technology

T. Mukha, S. Rezaeiravesh, M. Liefvendahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work presents a feature-rich open-source library for wall-modelled large-eddy simulation (WMLES), which is a turbulence modelling approach that reduces the computational cost of standard (wall-resolved) LES by introducing special treatment of the inner region of turbulent boundary layers (TBLs). The library is based on OpenFOAM and enhances the general-purpose LES solvers provided by this software with state-of-the-art wall modelling capability. The included wall models belong to the class of wall-stress models that account for the under-resolved turbulent structures by predicting and enforcing the correct local value of the wall shear stress. A review of this approach is given, followed by a detailed description of the library, discussing its functionality and extensible design. The included wall-stress models are presented, based on both algebraic and ordinary differential equations. To demonstrate the capabilities of the library, it was used for WMLES of turbulent channel flow and the flow over a backward-facing step (BFS). For each flow, a systematic simulation campaign was performed, in order to find a combination of numerical schemes, grid resolution and wall model type that would yield a good predictive accuracy for both the mean velocity field in the outer layer of the TBLs and the mean wall shear stress. The best result, ≈ 1% error in the above quantities, was achieved for channel flow using a mildly dissipative second-order accurate scheme for the convective fluxes applied on an isotropic grid with cells per δ3-cube, where δ is the channel half-height. In the case of flow over a BFS, this combination led to the best agreement with experimental data. An algebraic model based on Spalding’s law of the wall was found to perform well for both flows. On the other hand, the tested more complicated models, which incorporate the pressure gradient in the wall shear stress prediction, led to less accurate results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-224
Number of pages21
JournalComputer Physics Communications
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Wall modeling
  • OpenFOAM
  • boundary layer turbulence
  • large-eddy simulation
  • computational methods in fluid dynamics


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