Specialists in Linear Flow Analysis

Ph.D. Thesis

Title: Numerical Simulation of Diaphragm Rupture
Author: Paul John Petrie-Repar
Supervisor: Dr. Peter Jacobs
Institution: Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Queensland, Australia
Date accepted: 27 November 1998

Thesis Abstract

The results from computer simulations of the gas-dynamic processes that occur during and after the rupture of diaphragms within shock tubes and expansion tubes are presented. A two-dimensional and axisymmetric finite-volume code that solves the unsteady Euler equations for inviscid compressible flow, was used to perform the simulations. The flow domains were represented as unstructured meshes of triangular cells and solution-adaptive remeshing was used to focus computational effort in regions where the flow-field gradients were high.

The ability of the code to produce accurate solutions to the Euler equations was verified by examining the following test cases: supersonic vortex flow between two arcs, an ideal shock tube, and supersonic flow over a cone. The ideal shock tube problem was studied in detail, in particular the shock speed. The computed shock speeds was accurate when the initial pressure ratio was low. When the initial pressure ratio was high the flow was difficult to resolve because of the large density ratio at the contact surface where significant numerical diffusion occurred. However, solution-adaptive remeshing was used to control the error and reasonable estimates for the shock speed were obtained.

The code was used to perform multi-dimensional simulations of the gradual opening of a primary diaphragm within a shock tube. The development of the flow, in particular the contact surface was examined and found to be strongly dependent on the initial pressure ratio across the diaphragm.

For high initial pressure ratios across the diaphragm, previous experiments have shown that the measured shock speed can exceed the shock speed predicted by one-dimensional models. The shock speeds computed via the present multi-dimensional simulation were higher than those estimated by previous one-dimensional models and were closer to the experimental measurements. This indicates that multi-dimensional flow effects were partly responsible for the relatively high shock speeds measured in the experiments.

The code also has the ability to simulate two-dimensional fluid-structure interactions. To achieve this the Euler equations are solved for a general moving frame of reference. Mesh management during a simulation is important. This includes the ability to automatically generated a new mesh when the current mesh becomes distorted (due to the motion of the structures) and the transfer of the solution from the old mesh to the new.

The shock induced rupture of thin diaphragms was examined. Previous one dimensional models are flawed because they do not simultaneously consider the diaphragm mass and allow the upstream gas to penetrate the diaphragm mass. Two multi-dimensional models which allow the upstream gas to penetrate are described. The first model assumes the diaphragm vaporises immediately after the arrival of the incident shock. The second model assumes the diaphragm shatters into a number of pieces which can be treated as rigid bodies. The results from both models are compared with experimental data.