4.10 Mixed inlet-outlet condition
The inlet-outlet boundary condition is the most basic example of the mixed ﬁxed value/gradient type, described in Sec. 4.9 . The condition sets the reference gradient and uses a speciﬁed reference value . The value fraction is then set to
The ﬁgure shows the solution of Eq. (2.65 ), converged over time with and unity Prandtl number , see Sec. 2.21 . The ﬁxed condition is applied at the inlet and a zero gradient condition at the walls.
At the free boundary, the inlet-outlet condition enables to be speciﬁed where inﬂow occurs. The inlet value in the example is set to ; the image shows mixing of ﬂuids at diﬀerent temperatures, from the inlet and entrained at the free boundary.
Numerical beneﬁt of inlet-outlet
Boundaries may be described “inlet” and “outlet” based on the expectation of the ﬂow direction during a simulation. But the ﬂow direction may not always happen as expected.
In the case of an outlet, for example, inﬂow might occur during a simulation. For example, at the start of a simulation, the initial conditions may induce inﬂow before the internal ﬂow is established. Localised inﬂow can also occur when rotating ﬂow structures pass through an outlet boundary, e.g. when a bluﬀ body sheds vortices, as shown below.
Where inﬂow occurs, the inlet-outlet condition can switch to the ﬁxed value type to ensure stability, as discussed in Sec. 4.5 . The inlet-outlet condition is therefore commonly applied to scalar ﬁelds (except ), at a boundary which is notionally an outlet, to avoid numerical instability associated with unexpected inﬂow.