Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Dr. Georgios Matheou, Dr. Alexei Poludnenko, Dr. Marina Astitha

Field of Study

Mechanical Engineering


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


In large-eddy simulations (LES) a computational-domain translation velocity can be used to improve performance by allowing longer time-step intervals. The continuous equations are Galilean invariant, however, standard finite-difference-based discretizations are not discretely invariant with the error being proportional to the product of the local translation velocity and the truncation error. Even though such numerical errors are expected to be small, it is shown that in LES of buoyant convection the turbulent large-scale flow organization can modulate and amplify the error. Galilean invariance of global flow statistics is observed in well-resolved direct numerical simulations (DNS). In LES of single-phase convection under an inversion, flow statistics are nearly Galilean invariant and do not depend on the order of accuracy of the finite difference approximation. In contrast, in LES of cloudy convection, flow statistics show strong dependence on the frame of reference and the order of approximation. The error with respect to the frame of reference becomes negligible as the order of accuracy is increased from second to sixth in the present LES. Schemes with low resolving power can produce large dispersion errors in the surface-fixed frame that can be amplified by large-scale flow anisotropies, such as strong updrafts rising in a non-turbulent free troposphere in cumulus-cloud layers. Interestingly, in the present large-eddy simulations, a second-order discretization in the proper Galilean frame can yield comparable accuracy as a high-order scheme in the surface-fixed frame.

Major Advisor

Dr. Georgios Matheou