Simulation Example: An Airfoil in Different Flow Regimes


An aircraft moves at different speeds during different stages of a flight. Based on the magnitude of the Mach number, the flow around the wings will fall into one of the four flow regimes. These regimes are incompressible, compressible subsonic, transonic and supersonic. For instance, the cruise speed of large commercial jet airliners lies in the transonic regime.


So far, there were only two supersonic airliners that operated commercially. One was the Concorde and the other was the Tupolev Tu-144. In this simulation example, we will investigate the features and characteristics of a flow over a NACA 0012 2D airfoil as it moves through different flow regimes as the Mach number varies from 0.6 to 1.2.



From this example, you will find out how to simulate a compressible flow using Fluent. Also, you will learn the characteristics of the subsonic and supersonic flows in which there are different types of shock waves.


Download the Mesh file needed for setting up the simulation and the associated Case & Data files here. Follow the instructions below to set up this simulation in Ansys Fluent starting with the Mesh file. In case you face any issues setting up or running the simulation, refer to the corresponding initial and final Case and Data files.

Alternate video link.

Results and Discussion

Let's take a look at the results from this simulation and understand how the flow regime changes as the airfoil moves at different Mach numbers.