Implementation of Menter's Transition Model on an Isolated Natural Laminar Flow Nacelle

Yujing Lin, Theresa Robinson, Juliana Early, David Riordan, James Tweedie, Liam Magee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This study evaluates the implementation of Menter's gamma-Re-theta Transition Model within the CFX12 solver for turbulent transition prediction on a natural laminar flow nacelle. Some challenges associated with this type of modeling have been identified. The computational fluid dynamics transitional flow simulation results are presented for a series of cruise cases with freestream Mach numbers ranging from 0.8 to 0.88, angles of attack from 2 to 0 degrees, and mass flow ratios from 0.60 to 0.75. These were validated with a series of wind-tunnel tests on the nacelle by comparing the predicted and experimental surface pressure distributions and transition locations. A selection of the validation cases are presented in this paper. In all cases, computational fluid dynamics simulations agreed reasonably well with the experiments. The results indicate that Menter's gamma-Re-theta Transition Model is capable of predicting laminar boundary-layer transition to turbulence on a nacelle. Nonetheless, some limitations exist in both the Menter's gamma-Re-theta Transition Model and in the implementation of the computational fluid dynamics model. The implementation of a more comprehensive experimental correlation in Menter's gamma-Re-theta Transition Model, preferably the ones from nacelle experiments, including the effects of compressibility and streamline curvature, is necessary for an accurate transitional flow simulation on a nacelle. In addition, improvements to the computational fluid dynamics model are also suggested, including the consideration of varying distributed surface roughness and an appropriate empirical correction derived from nacelle experimental transition location data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)824-835
Number of pages12
JournalAIAA Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • transition modelling
  • nacelle
  • menter
  • laminar flow
  • roughness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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