NRL Computational Physics & Fluid Dynamics
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    Computational Physics & Fluid Dynamics




The Laboratories for Computational Physics & Fluid Dynamics (LCP&FD) develop, implement, and apply multidisciplinary computational physics capabilities to solve critical problems facing the Navy, Marine Corps, DoD, and other programs of national interest.  Application areas encompass compressible and incompressible fluid dynamics, reactive flows, fluid-structure interaction, atmospheric contaminant and infectious viral transport and the dynamics of turbulence. This research often leverages complementary subject-matter expertise from collaborators within NRL and throughout the broader research community.


Core Capabilities 

LCP&FD pursues basic and applied research to advance the state of the art in physics-based simulation on emerging and experimental high-performance computing platforms, and also maintains state-of-the-art computational capabilities that can readily be applied to engineering problems of interest in our areas of focus. Algorithmic approaches include continuum finite-element and finite-volume methods, atomistic approaches such as molecular dynamics and direct simulation Monte Carlo, reduced order-modeling, genetic algorithms and machine learning, and hybrid methods combining multiple approaches.  LCP&FD’s interrelated research efforts in algorithms, architectures, and applications have produced significant capabilities in a range of areas.

  • Atmospheric Contaminant Transport - An accurate, faster than real time capability to predict airborne Contaminant Transport in complex urban settings and rugged terrain has been field and is in use in several cities.  Named the Contaminant Transport Analyst, or CT-Analyst, it includes coupling to 24/7 wind services, health effects for specific toxic chemical agents, and the ability to backtrack sensor readings to localize covert sources.
  • Fuel-Cell Design - Simulations have enabled characterization of the flow and the heat transfer characteristics in the coolant flow field and verify the model’s usefulness as a predictive design tool.  The simulations can be used to analyze the flow field for increasing complexity of a fuel cell stack and heat exchanger.
  • High Performance Computing Platforms - We perform research into the application of experimental and emerging computing technologies to areas of interest within DON and the greater DOD community.
  • Hypersonics and Non-equilibrium Turbulence - LCP&FD performs fundamental and applied research related to hypersonic vehicle aerothermodynamics and air-breathing propulsion systems.  Our focus is on developing novel physical models and numerical algorithms that will enable numerical simulation to become a viable tool for vehicle-scale design and analysis. 
  • JENRE® Computational Physics Software - The JENRE® multi-physics framework is our flagship computational simulation capability, with applications that include jet noise, propulsion, hypersonic aerodynamics, and high explosive detonation modeling. It is a massively-parallel, performance-portable, high-order finite element framework, with support for compressible and incompressible flow, detailed chemical kinetics, multi-material flow, material strength, reactive flow, and discrete-continuum coupling.
  • Jet Engine Noise Prediction and Reduction - Simulation capabilities are not only being used to simulate configurations of practical Naval relevance but also used to explain observations in field testing that differ from laboratory-scale studies.
  • MDG-ICE - We are developing the Moving Discontinuous Galerkin Finite Element Method with Interface Condition Enforcement (MDG-ICE), the first general-purpose method to preserve design-order accuracy in the presence of shocks and other discontinuous interfaces, while achieving drastically improved accuracy in the presence of boundary layers and other sharp yet smooth flow features.  We are applying this method to overcome limitations of traditional shock capturing methods in order to solve challenging problems in high explosive detonation modeling and hypersonic aerodynamics.
  • Physics Informed Machine Learning - We are developing machine learning techniques that encode physics-based laws and constraints that can accurately and efficiently solve intractable computational fluid dynamics problems using only a fraction of the training data and computational time that traditional physics models and machine learning solutions require.
  • Reacting Flow, Detonation Physics, and Propulsion - LCP&FD has participated in a broad range of programs exploring the basic science of deflagration to detonation transition and detonation propagation, as well as more applied topics such as rotating detonation combustors for propulsion and safety and mitigation of detonations in mine environments. These programs involve collaborations with a wide range of universities and national laboratories to help improve detonation safety as well as realize the potential of detonations for propulsion. New capabilities have expanded our expertise in reacting flow fields into mild combustion, ramjet, and scramjet propulsion.
  • Unmanned & Autonomous Vehicles - Experiments and computational simulations have enabled characterization of the thrust generation mechanisms in flapping foil propulsion and the interactions of the flow between these propulsors for use unmanned underwater vehicles.  This will provide the next steps towards development of a comprehensive analytical tool for bio-inspired fin and vehicle design.