A vortex cell is a cylindrical aerodynamic cavity that traps separated vortices to prevent the formation of large-scale vortex shedding. Due to the presence of complex vortical structures, regions with varying turbulent intensities, and rotation-curvature effects on turbulent structure; the flow inside a vortex cell is a valuable test case for newly proposed turbulence models and numerical schemes. In the present study, numerical simulations were carried using a Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) turbulence model and two hybrid RANS/large-eddy-simulation (LES) models. The computational domain consists of a cylindrical cavity with an incoming transitional boundary layer and a Reynolds number of 9.4 × 104 based on the diameter of the cavity. Results indicate that the RANS model provides general information about the flow characteristics, while the hybrid RANS-LES models predict the flow characteristics with more accuracy but suffer inaccuracies due to the details of the RANS to LES transition. Most significantly, the dynamic hybrid RANS-LES (DHRL) model in combination with a low-dissipation numerical scheme overpredicts the turbulent mixing in the vortex cell and fails to provide an accurate representation of the physics of the trapped vortex. It is concluded that the hybrid RANS-LES models used in this study need further work to be able to fully and accurately predict the flow in a vortex cell.

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