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12.3.1 Overview

The Spalart-Allmaras model is a relatively simple one-equation model that solves a modeled transport equation for the kinematic eddy (turbulent) viscosity. This embodies a relatively new class of one-equation models in which it is not necessary to calculate a length scale related to the local shear layer thickness. The Spalart-Allmaras model was designed specifically for aerospace applications involving wall-bounded flows and has been shown to give good results for boundary layers subjected to adverse pressure gradients. It is also gaining popularity for turbomachinery applications.

In its original form, the Spalart-Allmaras model is effectively a low-Reynolds-number model, requiring the viscous-affected region of the boundary layer to be properly resolved. In FLUENT, however, the Spalart-Allmaras model has been implemented to use wall functions when the mesh resolution is not sufficiently fine. This might make it the best choice for relatively crude simulations on coarse meshes where accurate turbulent flow computations are not critical. Furthermore, the near-wall gradients of the transported variable in the model are much smaller than the gradients of the transported variables in the $k$- $\epsilon$ or $k$- $\omega$ models. This might make the model less sensitive to numerical error when non-layered meshes are used near walls. See Section  6.1.3 for further discussion of numerical error.

On a cautionary note, however, the Spalart-Allmaras model is still relatively new, and no claim is made regarding its suitability to all types of complex engineering flows. For instance, it cannot be relied on to predict the decay of homogeneous, isotropic turbulence. Furthermore, one-equation models are often criticized for their inability to rapidly accommodate changes in length scale, such as might be necessary when the flow changes abruptly from a wall-bounded to a free shear flow.

In turbulence models that employ the Boussinesq approach, the central issue is how the eddy viscosity is computed. The model proposed by Spalart and Allmaras [ 349] solves a transport equation for a quantity that is a modified form of the turbulent kinematic viscosity.


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