Using a spectral/hp element method for high-order implicit-LES of bluff automotive geometries

The combination of High-order methods and Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) is an ongoing research focus in turbulence due to the attractive dissipation characteristics of high-order methods. Whilst numerically speaking these methodologies are advantageous, their application is inhibited on industrial cases due to the inherent geometric complexities of such problems. Spectral/hp Element (SEM) solvers such as Nektar++, have potential to be bridge the gap between high-order methods and industrial geometric complexity. This study focuses on the intersection of the application of the SEM solver Nektar++ to an automotive geometry as well as the presentation of high-order mean flow characteristics for the SAE Notchback body. Using a 5th order polynomial expansion at ReL = 2.3 × 106 on a curvilinear grid, results are compared with those empirically achieved in other works. Implicit Sub-Grid scale modelling along with a novel Spectral-Vanishing Viscosity (SVV) approach is employed acting as an artificial diffusion operator preventing high-frequency instabilities and spurious oscillations. Suitable qualitative agreement between PIV and CFD methods is obtained, and quantitative agreement is demonstrated on CD with 9% difference. More extensive backlight separation and subsequent bootlid impingement is observed in CFD than presented in the literature. This might be caused due to differing inflow characteristics, resulting in CM and CL variance to experimental values. Along with the mean flow field characteristics, the methodology and the pipeline used to achieve such results and agreement is presented. The use of a wall-conforming unstructured curvilinear grid allows for significantly greater geometric flexibility whilst retaining the advantages of the high-order polynomial expansion.