The relative performance of (i) a body-fitted unstructured grid Navier-Stokes solver [Moin and Apte, AIAA J. 2006], and (ii) a fictitious domain based finite-volume approach [Apte et al. JCP 2009] is examined for simulating flow through packed beds of spheres at moderate flow rates, 50 ≲ Re ≲ 1300. The latter employs non-body conforming Cartesian grids and enforces the no-slip conditions on the pore boundaries implicitly through a rigidity constraint force. At these flow rates, fluid inertia can result in complex steady and unsteady pore scale flow features that influence macro-scale properties. We examine the requirements on both methods to properly capture these features in both simple and complex arrangements of spheres. First, two prototypical test cases of flow through packed beds are studied thoroughly at a range of Reynolds numbers in the inertial flow regime. Next flow through a random packing of 51 spheres at Re = 1322 is simulated using both methods. The suitability of both approaches to the complex configurations observed in large randomly packed beds is discussed.

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