**Purpose**
The purpose of this paper is to apply the variational multi-scale framework to the finite element approximation of the compressible Navier-Stokes equations written in conservation form. Even though this formulation is relatively well known, some particular features that have been applied with great success in other flow problems are incorporated.

**Design/methodology/approach**
The orthogonal subgrid scales, the non-linear tracking of these subscales, and their time evolution are applied. Moreover, a systematic way to design the matrix of algorithmic parameters from the perspective of a Fourier analysis is given, and the adjoint of the non-linear operator including the volumetric part of the convective term is defined. Because the subgrid stabilization method works in the streamline direction, an anisotropic shock capturing method that keeps the diffusion unaltered in the direction of the streamlines, but modifies the crosswind diffusion is implemented. The artificial shock capturing diffusivity is calculated by using the orthogonal projection onto the finite element space of the gradient of the solution, instead of the common residual definition. Temporal derivatives are integrated in an explicit fashion.

**Findings**
Subsonic and supersonic numerical experiments show that including the orthogonal, dynamic, and the non-linear subscales improve the accuracy of the compressible formulation. The non-linearity introduced by the anisotropic shock capturing method has less effect in the convergence behavior to the steady state.

**Originality/value**
A complete investigation of the stabilized formulation of the compressible problem is addressed.

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Published on 10/09/19

DOI: 10.1108/HFF-11-2015-0483

Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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