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PaCER Seminar: Computational Fluid Dynamics

15 June 2021
10:00am - 11:00am

Ten research projects were successfully granted access to the first Pawsey Centre for Extreme-scale Readiness (PaCER) program, establishing Australia’s research platform for extreme-scale computing.  

Pawsey is hosting a series of seminars throughout June showcasing the first cohort of PaCER researchers’ projects. The second event of the series is focusing on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and features Prof Richard Sandberg and Evatt Hawkes, from the University of Melbourne and  University of New South Wales, respectively and Dr Christopher Leonardi from the University of Queensland. 

The focus of the PaCER program is on both extreme scale research (algorithms design, code optimisation, application and workflow readiness) and using the computational infrastructure to facilitate research for producing world-class scientific outcomes. 

The program is a partnership for collaboration between researchers and Pawsey Supercomputing Centre supercomputing specialists using the latest infrastructure provided by Setonix. 

Join us on Tuesdays of June to find out what their projects are about and the impact that could potentially have in the different research fields in Australia and around the world. 

Register to join the online seminar here.

Fluid dynamics simulation with PaCER logo overlayed

About the projects

  • GT-to-X-Gas Turbine simulations towards Exascale (GTx) 
  • Towards exascale simulations for efficient, low-emissions gas turbines 
  • Richard Sandberg – University Melbourne and Evatt Hawkes – University of New South Wales

Collaborators: The University of Melbourne/ University of New South Wales / General Electric (GE)

ARC Future Fellows, Prof Richard Sandberg and Prof Evatt Hawkes are joining efforts to work ‘Towards exascale simulations for efficient, low-emission gas turbines’. Their project aims to develop the next generation of highly efficient gas turbines, and gas turbines capable of burning renewable hydrogen fuel, a detailed understanding of flow and combustion physics and accurate and reliable predictive tools are required. 
Focusing on i) upscale our in-house codes for Pawsey’s next-generation of supercomputers and beyond and ii) demonstrate the combination of these capabilities in unprecedented high-fidelity simulations of several main components of gas turbines at engine-relevant conditions, UNSW and University of Melbourne researchers are teaming up with the major gas-turbine manufacturer GE to enable the development of systems with improved fuel economy, lower emissions, and capabilities to burn renewable hydrogen.
The produced data will shed light on important phenomena and will be used to improve predictive tools used in industry. 

  • MaPMoPS 
  • Massively Parallel Models of Particle Suspensions 
  • Christopher Leonardi – University of Queensland 

Dr Christopher Leonardi’s PaCER project will develop computational models of complex particle suspensions at previously intractable scales for the investigation of novel reservoir stimulation techniques. This work will rearchitect the team’s open-source computational fluid dynamics code, TCLB, so that it can best leverage the next-generation supercomputer systems. 
It is currently difficult or impossible to observe the impact of these approaches, positive or negative, in experimental investigations.  High-fidelity computations at physically meaningful length scales, such as those proposed in this project, represent a paradigm shift in the way that subsurface operations are designed and tested, and have the potential to significantly improve the management of subsurface resources. 

The outcomes of this project align with the Australian Government’s vision for a “gas-fired recovery” from the COVID-19 recession. The development of sophisticated predictive models for technical subsurface challenges, championed by reports from the Chief Scientist and Engineer of NSW, the US Department of Energy, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others.

About the presenters

Prof Richard Sandberg is Chair of Computational Mechanics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Melbourne. His main interest is in high-fidelity simulation of turbulent flows and the associated noise generation in order to gain physical understanding of flow and noise mechanisms. He also uses the data to help assess and improve low-order models that can be employed in an industrial context, in particular by pursuing novel machine-learning approaches.

He received his PhD in 2004 in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Arizona and prior to joining the University of Melbourne, he was a Professor of Fluid Dynamics and Aeroacoustics in the Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics research group at the University of Southampton and headed the UK Turbulence Consortium (www.turbulence.ac.uk), coordinating the work packages for compressible flows and flow visualisations and databases. He was awarded a veski innovation fellowship in July 2015 entitled: “Impacting Industry by enabling a step-change in simulation fidelity for flow and noise problems” and has been granted an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship for 2020-2023.

Prof Evatt Hawkes is a Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney (UNSW). His group applies high fidelity computational fluid dynamics models to turbulent, reacting flows that underpin the performance of combustion and solar energy systems. His work at the nexus of big data and engineering applications is usually carried out with the aid of largescale supercomputing resources with a view to making fundamental and practical advances in problems of industrial relevance in transportation, power generation, and other energy systems.

Prior to joining UNSW in 2007, Evatt graduated from the University of Cambridge with a PhD in 2001 and subsequently worked as a post-doc at the Combustion Research Facility of Sandia National Laboratories. He serves as Associate Editor of Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, as Advisory Editor of Flow, Turbulence and Combustion, and regularly serves as co-chair for the Turbulent Flames colloquium at the International Symposia on Combustion. Hawkes’ contributions and leadership in turbulent combustion modelling have been recognised most notably by the award of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship in 2011, and in 2018 by his election as one of the inaugural class of Fellows of the Combustion Institute.


Dr Christopher Leonardi is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering at the University of Queensland and an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellow (Mid-Career). Christopher holds a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering with Class Honours from James Cook University, a PhD in Civil and Computational Engineering from Swansea University, UK, and a Research Affiliate appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.

Leonardi’s research is currently targeted at the development of large-scale numerical models which can be used to provide insight into the complex characteristics of fluid-solid interaction in oil and gas reservoirs. Much of this work is undertaken in close collaboration with industry via the UQ Centre for Natural Gas. Particular fields of expertise include the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) for fluid flows, the discrete element method (DEM) for discontinuous systems, and the finite element method (FEM) for solid mechanics problems.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Christopher has over five years of consulting experience, applying both computational and analytical techniques to solve problems in the mining and mechanical engineering disciplines. In that time he applied innovative FEM-DEM technology to industry problems in the areas of bulk materials handling, geomechanics, and structural mechanics.

Register to join the online seminar here.