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Automatic Mesh Motion for the Unstructured Finite Volume Method

Automatic Mesh Motion for the Unstructured Finite Volume Method

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Published by: Aghajani on Mar 24, 2010
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Automatic Mesh Motion for the UnstructuredFinite Volume Method
Hrvoje Jasak
ˇZeljko Tukovi´c
Nabla Ltd. The Mews, Picketts Lodge, Picketts Lane, Salfords, Surrey, RH1 5RG England 
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb,Ivana Luˇci´ca 5, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia 
Moving-mesh unstructured Finite Volume Method (FVM) is a good candidate fortackling flow simulations where the shape of the domain changes during the simu-lation or represents a part of the solution. For efficient and user-friendly approachto the problem, it is necessary to automatically determine the point positions inthe mesh, based on the prescribed boundary motion. In this paper, we present avertex-based unstructured mesh motion solver designed to work with the moving-mesh FVM. Motion is determined by solving the Laplace equation with variablediffusion on mesh points, using a tetrahedral decomposition of polyhedral cells.Cell decomposition and discretisation guarantees that an initially valid mesh re-mains geometrically valid for arbitrary boundary motion. Efficiency of the methodis preserved by careful discretisation and the choice of iterative solvers, allowingthe motion solver to efficiently couple with the FVM flow solver. This combinationis tested on two free surface tracking flow simulations, including the simulation of free-rising air bubbles in water.
Key words:
Moving mesh, vertex motion, motion solver, unstructured, finitevolume, free surface
: 74S10, 65M99, 76T10, 74S05
Corresponding author
Email address:
( Hrvoje Jasak ).
( Hrvoje Jasak ).
Preprint submitted to Elsevier Science 20 February 2004
1 Introduction
There exists a number of physical phenomena in which the continuum solutioncouples with additional equations which influence the shape of the domain orthe position of an internal interface. Examples of such cases include prescribedboundary motion simulations in pumps and internal combustion engines, freesurface flows, where the interface between the phases is captured by the mesh,solidification and solid-fluid interaction, where the deposition or deformationof a solid changes the shape of the fluid domain
Two most popular ap-proaches are based on tracking the front of interest, either by marker particlesor an indicator variable (
[1–3]), or by deforming the computational meshto accommodate the interface motion.In the
deforming mesh 
method, the computational mesh is adjusted to theshape of the boundary which is updated in every step of the transient sim-ulation. Motion of all points internal to the mesh is based on the prescribedboundary motion. The main difficulty in tackling cases with variable geometryis maintaining the mesh quality.Several deforming mesh algorithms have been presented in the past, withvarious approaches to defining mesh motion. Behr and Tezduyar [4,5] useexplicit algebraic expressions in the horizontal and vertical direction with aFinite Element (FE) Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) solver to simulatefree-surface flows with mesh deformation. The most popular method to date isthe
spring analogy 
[6,7]. Here, all point-to-point connections within the meshare replaced by linear springs and point motion is obtained as a response tothe boundary loading. Several Finite Volume (FV) variants exist,
[6,8,9],covering mostly unstructured triangular meshes in 2- and 3-D. However, thisapproach proved to lack robustness, particularly for arbitrarily unstructuredmeshes common in FV simulations. A review of merits and limitations of spring analogy and its variants is given by Blom [7]. In an effort to improvethe robustness of the method, Farhat et al. [10,11] propose the addition of torsional springs to control all mechanisms of invalidating a tetrahedral cell.Numerous other approaches to creating a robust mesh motion solver includethe use of Laplacian smoothing [12–15] with constant and variable diffusivityand the pseudo-solid approach [16–22] in the ALE FEM codes. Notably, in aneffort to simultaneously control the position of the free boundary and meshspacing next to it, Helenbrook [23] proposes the use of a biharmonic equationto govern mesh motion.From the FV viewpoint, research into dynamic mesh deformation seems to belimited to various forms of spring analogy and sometimes limited to triangu-lar/tetrahedral cells. In order to remedy the lack of robustness, spring analogy2
is sometimes used in conjunction with re-meshing techniques, providing a res-cue path when the motion algorithm fails.In this paper we will present a general-purpose moving mesh algorithm devel-oped to simulate deforming mesh cases compatible with arbitrarily unstruc-tured FV solvers. A new second-order polyhedral “motion element” consistentwith the FV mesh handling has been developed and used with a vertex-basedsolution method. A crucial part of the algorithm is that its efficiency matchesthe segregated FV flow solvers, both is terms of storage and CPU time re-quirements.The deforming mesh solver will be validated in isolation and as a part of a FVfree surface flow solver based on the surface tracking approach. Robustnessand efficiency of the motion solver will be examined on several 2- and 3-Dtest cases. The objective of the study is to assemble a FV surface trackingsolver capable of performing Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) of rising gasbubbles in liquids. For this purpose, the two solvers will be closely integrated,with particular attention to their joint efficiency and data sharing. Here, theflow equations are solved using a standard FVM approach and the motion of the free surface is obtained as a part of the solution.The rest of this paper will be organised as follows. In Section 2 the FV methodfor arbitrary moving volumes will be summarised. We will present the require-ments on the automatic mesh motion system and review the deficiencies of past efforts in this direction in Section 3. A notable part of this effort is a re-view of mesh handling in an unstructured FVM code, together with the typicalerrors in the mesh structure (both topological and geometrical). Section 4 laysthe foundation for a novel automatic mesh motion method, starting from therequirements on a robust motion system, choice of motion equation, solu-tion variable, appropriate polyhedral cell decomposition and control of meshquality through variable diffusion in the motion equation. A crucial part of de-velopment is the support for motion of arbitrary polyhedra. The new methodis tested on two sample problems in Section 5. The paper is completed withtwo examples of free surface flows, including a simulation of a free-rising airbubble in water in 2- and 3-D and a closed with a short summary.
2 Finite Volume Method on Moving Meshes
A “static mesh” FVM is based on the integral form of the governing (conserva-tion) equation over a Control Volume (CV) fixed in space. More generally, theintegral form of the conservation equation for a tensorial property
definedper unit mass in an arbitrary moving volume
bounded by a closed surface3

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