Predictive Turbulence Modeling with Bayesian Inference and Physics-Informed Machine Learning

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Virginia Tech

Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulations are widely used for engineering design and analysis involving turbulent flows. In RANS simulations, the Reynolds stress needs closure models and the existing models have large model-form uncertainties. Therefore, the RANS simulations are known to be unreliable in many flows of engineering relevance, including flows with three-dimensional structures, swirl, pressure gradients, or curvature. This lack of accuracy in complex flows has diminished the utility of RANS simulations as a predictive tool for engineering design, analysis, optimization, and reliability assessments. Recently, data-driven methods have emerged as a promising alternative to develop the model of Reynolds stress for RANS simulations. In this dissertation I explore two physics-informed, data-driven frameworks to improve RANS modeled Reynolds stresses. First, a Bayesian inference framework is proposed to quantify and reduce the model-form uncertainty of RANS modeled Reynolds stress by leveraging online sparse measurement data with empirical prior knowledge. Second, a machine-learning-assisted framework is proposed to utilize offline high-fidelity simulation databases. Numerical results show that the data-driven RANS models have better prediction of Reynolds stress and other quantities of interest for several canonical flows. Two metrics are also presented for an a priori assessment of the prediction confidence for the machine-learning-assisted RANS model. The proposed data-driven methods are also applicable to the computational study of other physical systems whose governing equations have some unresolved physics to be modeled.

Turbulence modeling, RANS, Model-form uncertainty, Data-driven, Uncertainty quantification, Bayesian Inference, Machine learning