Multifidelity validation of digital surrogates using variable-density turbulent mixing models

Benjamin Musci, Britton Olson, Samuel Petter, Gokul Pathikonda, Devesh Ranjan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, ensembles of experimental data are presented and utilized to compare and validate two models used in the simulation of variable-density (Atwood = 0.22), compressible turbulent mixing. Though models of this kind (Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes and large-eddy simulations) have been validated extensively with more canonical flows in previous studies, the present approach offers novelty in the complexity of the geometry, the ensemble-based validation, and the uniformity of the computational framework on which the models are tested. Moreover, all experimental and computational tasks were completed by the authors which has led to a tightly coupled experimental configuration with its "digital twin."The experimental divergent-shock-tube facility and its data acquisition methods are described and replicated in simulation space. A 2D Euler model which neglects the turbulent mixing at the interface is optimized to experimental data using a Gaussian process. This model then serves as the basis for both the 2D RANS and 3D LES studies that make comparisons to the mixing-layer data from the experiment. A relatively simple RANS model is shown to produce good agreement with experimental data only at late flow development times. The LES ensembles generally show good agreement with experimental data but display sensitivity to the characterization of initial conditions. Resolution-dependent behavior is also observed for certain higher-order statistics of interest. Overall, the LES model successfully captures the effects of divergent geometry, compressibility, and combined nonlinear instabilities inherent to the problem. The successful prediction of mixing width and its growth rate highlight the existence of three distinct regimes in the development of the instability, each with similarities to previously studied instabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014501
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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