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9.7 Inviscid Flows

Inviscid flow analyses neglect the effect of viscosity on the flow and are appropriate for high-Reynolds-number applications where inertial forces tend to dominate viscous forces. One example for which an inviscid flow calculation is appropriate is an aerodynamic analysis of some high-speed projectile. In a case like this, the pressure forces on the body will dominate the viscous forces. Hence, an inviscid analysis will give you a quick estimate of the primary forces acting on the body. After the body shape has been modified to maximize the lift forces and minimize the drag forces, you can perform a viscous analysis to include the effects of the fluid viscosity and turbulent viscosity on the lift and drag forces.

Another area where inviscid flow analyses are routinely used is to provide a good initial solution for problems involving complicated flow physics and/or complicated flow geometry. In a case like this, the viscous forces are important, but in the early stages of the calculation the viscous terms in the momentum equations will be ignored. Once the calculation has been started and the residuals are decreasing, you can turn on the viscous terms (by enabling laminar or turbulent flow) and continue the solution to convergence. For some very complicated flows, this is the only way to get the calculation started.

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