Impact of anisotropic mesh adaptation on the aerothermodynamics of atmospheric reentry

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The presence of complex geometries and/or multiple bodies during atmospheric reentry may lead to complex and directional flow features, such as shock waves and shear layers, that need to be correctly predicted to ensure accurate calculation of the aerothermal loads during reentry. Central in ensuring reliable numerical prediction of loads is the adoption of meshes that ensure grid independence and minimize the misalignment between the directional flow features and the grid cell interfaces, a situation that is known to give rise to nonphysical behaviors and spurious oscillations. The use of anisotropic unstructured grid adaptation is here presented as a means to ensure appropriate grid resolution and alignment with directional flow features for cases where the use of structured grids is not always possible or practical. Results highlight the effectiveness and reliability of anisotropic mesh adaptation in successfully predicting the location of shock discontinuities as well as surface aerothermodynamic quantities, while providing results comparable with established approaches relying on structured meshes. Results are presented for single- and multiple-body cases through comparison with experimental data and reference numerical solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3973-3989
Number of pages17
JournalAIAA Journal
Issue number7
Early online date4 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • atmospheric reentry
  • SU2-NEMO
  • anisotropic mesh
  • astronautic simulations


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