Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Yves Dubief


After nearly 50 years of development, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has become an indispensable component of research, forecasting, design, prototyping and testing for a very broad spectrum of fields including geophysics, and most engineering fields (mechanical, aerospace, biomedical, chemical and civil engineering). The fastest and most affordable CFD approach, called Reynolds-Average-Navier-Stokes (RANS) can predict the drag around a car in just a few minutes of simulation. This feat is possible thanks to simplifying assumptions, semi-empirical models and empirical models that render the flow governing equations solvable at low computational costs. The fidelity of RANS model is good to excellent for the prediction of flow rate in pipes or ducts, drag, and lift of solid objects in Newtonian flows (e.g. air, water). RANS solutions for the prediction of scalar (e.g. temperature, pollutants, combustable chemical species) transport do not generally achieve the same level of fidelity. The main culprit is an assumption, called Reynolds analogy, which assumes analogy between the transport of momentum and scalar. This assumption is found to be somewhat valid in simple flows but fails for flows in complex geometries and/or in complex fluids.

This research explores optimization methods to improve upon existing RANS models for scalar transport. Using high fidelity direct numerical simulations (numerical solutions in time and space of the exact transport equations), the most common RANS model is a-priori tested and investigated for the transport of temperature (as a passive scalar) in a turbulent channel flow. This one constant model is then modified to improve the prediction of the temperature distribution profile and the wall heat flux. The resulting modifications provide insights in the model’s missing physics and opens new areas of investigation for the improvement of the modeling of turbulent scalar transport.



Number of Pages

73 p.