A solution strategy to include the opening of the opercular slits in moving-mesh CFD models of suction feeding
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Integrative and comparative biology. - Oxford
, p. 62-73
University of Antwerp
The gill cover of fish and pre-metamorphic salamanders has a key role in suction feeding by acting as a one-way valve. It initially closes and avoids an inflow of water through the gill slits, after which it opens to allow outflow of the water that was sucked through the mouth into the expanded buccopharyngeal cavity. However, due to the inability of analytical models (relying on the continuity principle) to calculate the flow of fluid through a cavity with two openings and that was changing in shape and size, stringent boundary conditions had to be used in previously developed mathematical models after the moment of the valves opening. By solving additionally for the conservation of momentum, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has the capacity to dynamically simulate these flows, but this technique also faces complications in modeling a transition from closed to open valves. Here, I present a relatively simple solution strategy to incorporate the opening of the valves, exemplified in an axisymmetrical model of a suction-feeding sunfish in ANSYS Fluent software. By controlling viscosity of a separately defined fluid entity in the region of the opercular cavity, early inflow can be blocked (high viscosity assigned) and later outflow can be allowed (changing viscosity to that of water). Finally, by analyzing the CFD solution obtained for the sunfish model, a few new insights into the biomechanics of suction feeding are gained.