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Towards Adaptive Simulations of Turbulent Wings at High Reynolds Numbers


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Adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) in the highorder spectral-element method code Nek5000 is demonstrated and validated with well-resolved largeeddy simulations (LES) of the flow past a wing profile. In the present work, the flow around a NACA 4412 profile at a chord-based Reynolds number Rec = 200; 000 is studied at two different angles of attack: 5 and 11 degrees. The mesh is evolved from a very coarse initial mesh by means of volume-weighted spectral error indicators, until a sufficient level of resolution is achieved at the boundary and wake regions. The non-conformal implementation of AMR allows the use of a large domain avoiding the need of a precursor RANS simulation to obtain the boundary conditions (BCs). This eliminates the effect of the steady Dirichlet BCs on the flow, which becomes a relevant source of error at higher angles of attack (specially near the trailing edge and wake regions). Furthermore, over-refinement in the far field and the associated high-aspect ratio elements are avoided, meaning less pressure-iterations of the solver and a reduced number of elements, which leads to a considerable computational cost reduction. Mean flow statistics are validated using experimental data obtained for the same profile in the Minimum Turbulence Level (MTL) wind tunnel at KTH, as well as with a previous DNS simulation, showing excellent agreement. This work constitutes an important step in the direction of studying stronger pressure gradients and higher Reynolds complex flows with the high fidelity that high-order simulations allow to achieve. Eventually, this database can be used for the development and improvement of turbulence models, in particular wall models.