The buoyancy-affected flow in rotating disc cavities, such as occurs in compressor disc stacks, is known to be complex and difficult to predict. In the present work large eddy simulation (LES) and unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) solutions are compared with other workers’ measurements from an engine representative test rig. The Smagorinsky-Lilly model was employed in the LES simulations, and the RNG k-ε turbulence model was used in the RANS modelling. Three test cases were investigated in a range of Grashof number Gr = 1.87 to 7.41×108 and buoyancy number Bo = 1.65 to 11.5. Consistent with experimental observation, strong unsteadiness was clearly observed in the results of both models, however the LES results exhibited a finer flow structure than the RANS solution. The LES model also achieved significantly better agreement with velocity and heat transfer measurements than the RANS model. Also, temperature contours obtained from the LES results have a finer structure than the tangential velocity contours. Based on the results obtained in this work, further application of LES to flows of industrial complexity is recommended.

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