Abstract

Most numerical engineering simulation is performed on pristine, as-designed representations of the components and systems in question. Although the rate of through-life performance degradation is hugely important when considering the total cost/benefit of a system, engineers have had profound difficulties in modelling the physical changes that components undergo in service due to the quasi-random and organic nature of the mechanisms such as wear, corrosion, icing and fouling. Typically, the creation of ‘worn’ models is based on a posteriori inspection or scanning of a failing or failed component.

This paper presents a novel method for modifying geometry in response to scalar field variables directly accessed from the embedded physical models within physics-based simulation. It uses a distance field, managed as a Level-set, to drive time-dependent changes to the geometry surface, borrowing heavily from technology which has seen widespread use in the computer graphics industry to create and modify items in a natural organic way. A computational mesh can then be constructed around and within the modified geometry so that the simulation can be performed on the now ‘in-service’ version of the components. This greatly improves the predictive power of such simulations and provide a priori predictions of component performance in response to, for example, corrosive environments.

The method is robust, can manage and create meshes for arbitrarily complex geometry, is insensitive to large scale topology changes such as hole blockage or passage burn-through, is highly suitable for automated simulation workflows and can represent both additive (fouling, icing) and reductive (erosion, corrosion, burn though) shape change.

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