Newman, James C. III

Committee Member

Burg, Clarence O. E.

Committee Member

Sreenivas, Kidambi

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Within the design process, computational fluid dynamics is typically used to compute specific quantities that assess the performance of the apparatus under investigation. These quantities are usually integral output functions such as force and moment coefficients. However, to accurately model the configuration, the geometric features and the resulting physical phenomena must be adequately resolved. Due to limited computational resources a compromise must be made between the fidelity of the solution obtained and the available resources. This creates a degree of uncertainty about the error in the computed output functions. To this end, the current study attempts to address this problem for two-dimensional inviscid, incompressible flows on unstructured grids. The objective is to develop an error estimation and grid adaptive strategy for improving the accuracy of output functions from computational fluid dynamic codes. The present study employs a discrete adjoint formulation to arrive at the error estimates in which the global error in the output function is related to the local residual errors in the flow solution via adjoint variables as weighting functions. This procedure requires prolongation of the flow solution and adjoint solution from coarse to finer grids and, thus, different prolongation operators are studied to evaluate their influence on the accuracy of the error correction terms. Using this error correction procedure, two different adaptive strategies may be employed to enhance the accuracy of the chosen output to a prescribed tolerance. While both strategies strive to improve the accuracy of the computed output, the means by which the adaptation parameters are formed differ. The first strategy improves the computable error estimates by forming adaptation parameters based on the level of error in the computable error estimates. A grid adaptive scheme is then implemented that takes into account the error in both the primal and dual solutions. The second strategy uses the computable error estimates as indicators in an iterative grid adaptive scheme to generate grids that produce accurate estimates of the chosen output. Several test cases are provided to demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of the error correction procedure and the grid adaptive methods.