New Publication: A Head Loss Pressure Boundary Condition for Hydraulic Systems

Despite the increase in computational power of HPC clusters, it is in most cases not possible to include the entire hydraulic system when doing detailed numerical studies of the flow in one of the components in the system.

The numerical models are still most often constrained to a small part of the system and the boundary conditions may in many cases be difficult to specify. The headLossPressure boundary condition is developed in the present work for the OpenFOAM open-source CFD code to include the main effects caused by a large hydraulic system onto a component in the system. The main motivation is to provide a boundary condition for hydraulic systems where known properties are specified by the user and unknown properties are calculated. This paper is a guide to the developed headLossPressure boundary condition. It is based on the extended Bernoulli equation to calculate the kinematic pressure on the patch.

An arbitrary number of minor and friction losses are considered to describe the system in terms of head losses. The boundary condition also provides the opportunity to specify the head in relation to a reference elevation. System changes during operations are modelled through Function1 variables, which enables time-varying inputs. The developments are validated against experimental test data, where the varying head between two free surfaces and a valve closing and opening sequence are modelled with the boundary condition.

The main effects of the system are well captured by the head LossPressure boundary condition. It is thus a useful and trustworthy boundary condition for incompressible hydraulic system simulations.

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