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Numerical Heat Transfer, Part B:
Fundamentals: An International Journal
of Computation and Methodology
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On Derivation and Physical
Interpretation of Level Set Method–Based
Equations for TwoPhase Flow
Simulations
Vinesh H. Gada
a
& Atul Sharma
a
a
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of
Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India
Published online: 03 Nov 2009.
To cite this article: Vinesh H. Gada & Atul Sharma (2009): On Derivation and Physical Interpretation
of Level Set Method–Based Equations for TwoPhase Flow Simulations, Numerical Heat Transfer, Part B:
Fundamentals: An International Journal of Computation and Methodology, 56:4, 307322
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10407790903388258
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ON DERIVATION AND PHYSICAL INTERPRETATION
OF LEVEL SET METHOD–BASED EQUATIONS FOR
TWOPHASE FLOW SIMULATIONS
Vinesh H. Gada and Atul Sharma
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay,
Mumbai, India
The level set (LS) method is one of the most popular and recent methods for twophase ﬂow
simulation. However, its origin and governing equations rely heavily on mathematical
sources. The present work attempts mass and volume conservation lawbased derivation
of the LS advection equation and the continuity equation, respectively, for twophase ﬂow
with phase change. Physical interpretation of the Heaviside function and the Dirac delta
function, used in the LS method, is done here in a novel way and the resulting expressions
are used in the derivations. The diffused interface, used in the LS method, is shown to
introduce negligible error on a sufﬁciently ﬁne grid.
1. INTRODUCTION
Twophase ﬂows are widely studied because of their engineering relevance,
such as in mold design for casting in manufacturing, effective cooling in electronics,
various thermalhydraulic situations in nuclear industries, and as a means to trans
port large amounts of heat in the form of latent heat in powergeneration industries.
Researchers have obtained various correlations from experimental investigations,
which are, however, limited to certain operating conditions and geometry. An alter
native approach, namely, computational multiﬂuid dynamics (CMFD), has opened
up new ways of detailed investigation to study the interface transport mechanisms.
Some of the foremost interface tracking=capturing techniques to simulate separated
twophase ﬂow are those based on front tracking [1, 2], the volumeofﬂuid (VOF)
method, [3–5] and the level set (LS) [6–26] method.
In the LS and VOF methods, the region occupied by a particular ﬂuid is
followed with time rather than the exact interface, avoiding the logical statements
and other difﬁculties encountered with the movingmesh method and explicit inter
face tracking. Sussman et al. [6] proposed a level set method based on a single ﬁeld
formulation for simulation of incompressible air–water twophase ﬂow, wherein a
Received 17 July 2009; accepted 14 August 2009.
The present work is part of a research project funded by the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences
(India) under project no. 2007=36=14 ÀBRNS=718.
Address correspondence to Atul Sharma, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute
of Technology Bombay, Mumbai 400076, India. Email: atulsharma@iitb.ac.in
Numerical Heat Transfer, Part B, 56: 307–322, 2009
Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 10407790 print=15210626 online
DOI: 10.1080/10407790903388258
307
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LS function is used to represent the region occupied by different ﬂuids. For the
LS method, Chang et al. [7] derived the volumetric source term of the surface
tension force at the interface added to the momentum equation. Compared to
the VOF method, the strengths of the LS method are easier numerical
implementation and accurate calculation of interfacial information, i.e.,
location, normal, and curvature. The occurrence of mass error is its major
shortcoming, which has been reduced by certain improvements in the LS
method [8–14]. Son [15] presented an LSbased immersed boundary method
for solving complex domain problems using Cartesian grids. Son and Hur [16]
presented a contact angle modeling technique combined with an immersed
boundary–based LS formulation to simulate the motion of droplets over
inclined wall. Furthermore, Suh and Son [17] simulated a thermal inkjet pro
cess where three ﬂuid interaction was modeled using the LS method. Moreover,
the LS method was also used to solve problems involving phase change at
interfaces, such as solidiﬁcation [18–20] and boiling [21–24].
Thus, from the literature survey, it is found that the LS method is one of the
most popular recent (compared to the VOF method) methods for simulation of
twophase ﬂow in addition to various other applications in different ﬁelds of science
and engineering [25, 26]. However, conservation law–based derivation of the equa
tions, used in the LS method, is not found in the published literature, which is the
major objective of the present work. Furthermore, the objective is to give more
physical interpretation to the functions and the reinitialization equation used in
the LS method.
NOMENCLATURE
C
p
speciﬁc heat
E error
~
FF
ST
surface tension force vector
~
GG body force vector
h
12
latent heat
H(/) Heaviside function
_ mm; ~ mm mass ﬂux and mass ﬂux vector
across interface
~nn; ^nn normal vector and unit normal
vector of interface
p pressure
~qq heat ﬂux vector
R radius of circular interface
S(/) sign function
t time
~uu velocity vector
a thermal diffusivity (¼k=qC
p
)
d(/) Dirac delta function
DS, DV surface area and volume
Dx, Dy size of representative cell in the
horizontal and vertical directions
e interface halfthickness
j interface curvature
m dynamic viscosity
q density
r coefﬁcient of surface tension
n speciﬁc volume
/ level set function
r gradient operator
Subscripts
A area
c center
f cell face center
i interface
m mean=volume averaged
o irregular
p phase (liquid or vapor)
PC phase change
s pseudo
t total
V volume
x,y horizontal and vertical directions
e smoothened
1,2 liquid (ﬂuid 1), vapor (ﬂuid 2)
308 V. H. GADA AND A. SHARMA
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2. FUNCTIONS USED IN THE LEVEL SET METHOD
The level set method is a Eulerian computational technique for capturing
moving boundaries or interfaces. In this method, there are three functions: A level
set function to deﬁne the interface, a Heaviside function to calculate ﬂuid properties,
and a Dirac delta function to model the effect of twophase ﬂow as interfacial mass
transfer in the continuity and surface tension in the momentum equations.
2.1. Level Set Function
The level set interface representation is based on the concept of implicit
surfaces, wherein a level set function (/) is deﬁned in a domain having a ﬁxed value
at the interface. The LS function is deﬁned as a signed normal distance function mea
sured from the interface and is equal to zero at the interface. For a circular interface of
radius 5 units, Figure 1a shows the level set function /¼0 at the interface with nega
tive values in ﬂuid 2 and positive values in ﬂuid 1. Figure 1b shows the level set
contours for the circular interface as concentric circles with increasing absolute
values away from the interface. The LS ﬁeld is smooth and the exact instantaneous
interface position can be captured by locating the zero level set, thus avoiding logical
difﬁculties encountered during interface reconstruction.
2.2. Heaviside Function
In the present work, a single ﬁeld formulation [1, 21] is used, where the
NavierStokes equations consider individual material properties in different ﬂuids
and mean properties at the interface. Fluid density and viscosity in the domain
are thus calculated as
q
m
¼ q
1
Hð/Þ þq
2
½1 ÀHð/Þ
m
m
¼ m
1
Hð/Þ þm
2
½1 ÀHð/Þ
ð1Þ
Figure 1. Level set method; (a) interface representation; (b) level set contours for a circular interface of
radius 5 units.
DERIVATION AND PHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF LS EQUATIONS 309
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where the subscripts m, 1, and 2 represent the mean, ﬂuid 1, and ﬂuid 2, respectively.
H(/) is a unit step function or Heaviside function, deﬁned [6, 27] as
Hð/Þ ¼
1 if / > 0
0:5 if / ¼ 0
0 if / < 0
_
_
_
ð2Þ
Using the above deﬁnition of the Heaviside function, the volume occupied by
ﬂuid 1 in a representative control volume (CV) P of volume DV
P
is determined [5]
as DV
1
¼
_
DV
P
Hð/ÞdV. Using the secondorder approximation, the volume
averaged value of H(/) is approximated by its value at the centroid of the CV,
i.e., H(/
P
), as DV
1
¼ Hð/ÞDV
P
% Hð/
P
ÞDV
P
. Thus, the Heaviside function at the
centroid of a CV is expressed as
H
P
¼ Hð/
P
Þ %
DV
1
DV
P
¼
volume of fluid 1 in a CV
volume of CV
ð3Þ
and is physically interpreted as volumefraction=VOF function used in the VOF
method. In the VOF method, the VOF function is initialized geometrically using
Eq. (3), and special treatment [3–5] is required while evolving the VOF ﬁeld to
preserve its step discontinuity with time.
Furthermore, using the deﬁnition of the Heaviside function [Eq. (2)], the
expression to calculate the surface area occupied by ﬂuid 1 on a face f (east=west=
north=south face in a Cartesian CV) of a representative CV is proposed here
as DS
1;f
¼
_
DS
f
Hð/ÞdS. Using the secondorder approximation, the surface
averaged value of H(/) at the CV face is approximated by the face center value,
i.e., H(/
f
), as DS
1;f
¼ Hð/ÞDS
f
% Hð/
f
ÞDS
f
. Thus, the Heaviside function at a face
center f of a CV is expressed as
H
f
¼ Hð/
f
Þ %
DS
1;f
DS
f
¼
surface area occupied by fluid 1 on a face
surface area of face
ð4Þ
and is physically interpreted as area fraction. For example, in a CV shown later, in
Figure 3a, H
e
¼0, H
w
¼1, H
n
>0.5, and H
s
<0.5. The above equation requires H
f
to be calculated geometrically. However, in the LS method, the Heaviside function
is deﬁned at the cell center and its value at a face center H
f
is interpolated from
neighboring cell center values.
In summary, the Heaviside function is dimensionless, and its value at the
centroid of a CV is physically interpreted as fraction of the volume occupied by the
ﬂuid 1 in a CV [Eq. (3)]. Furthermore, its value at a face center of a CV is interpreted
as fraction of the face area occupied by the ﬂuid 1 [Eq. (4)]. These expressions will be
used for the derivation of the equations in the level set method. Note that
the secondorder approximation for volume and surface averaging used above in
the physical interpretation of H at cell and face centers, respectively, is commonly
used in the ﬁnitevolume method.
In the LS method, the sharp Heaviside function calculated from Eq. (2) results
in numerical instability [6, 7], and geometric calculation of the volume of ﬂuid 1 in a
310 V. H. GADA AND A. SHARMA
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CV [Eq. (3)] needs to be avoided. Thus, a smoothed Heaviside function [6, 7] result
ing in continuous variation of the Heaviside function across the interface is used,
deﬁned as
H
e
ð/Þ ¼
0; if / < Àe
/þe
2e
þ
1
2p
sinð
p/
e
Þ if j/j e
1; if / > e
_
_
_
ð5Þ
The above equation implies that the interface is diffused, having a ﬁnite thickness
(2e) across which the ﬂuid properties are smoothed. Note that the interface thickness
is deﬁned normal to the interface (/¼0) within Àe /e, where e is taken as a
factor of grid spacing. Generally [6–21], the diffused interface thickness is taken as
2e ¼3Dx, with an argument that the interface thickness will be negligible on a fairly
ﬁne grid. /¼0 is the physically relevant interface, and it is interesting to note that the
level set function inside the diffused interface, used to smooth the ﬂuid property
[Eq. (1)], is numerically relevant. Thus, the level set function value outside the
diffused interface does not play any role in the numerical model.
For a circular interface of radius 5 units, Figure 2a shows a diffused interface
of thickness 0.8 unit. Equation (5) for the Heaviside function inside the interface
thickness consists of two terms: ﬁrst, linear varying from 0 to 1; and second, sinus
oidal. Their variation inside the thickness of interface is shown in Figure 2b. It is seen
that the linear (I) term has a sharp change in slope at the ends of the interface
thickness, and the addition of the sinusoidal (II) term to the linear term smoothes
the continuous variation of H
e
across the diffused interface. It can also be seen that
the value of the Heaviside function at the interface (/¼0) is 0.5, indicating that the
ﬂuid property at the interface is the arithmetic mean of the properties of the two
ﬂuids. Furthermore, the integral of H
e
(the area under the smooth variation curve
in Figure 2b) within the diffused interface is 0.5, which is the same value of H as
at the interface if a sharp Heaviside function [Eq. (2)] is considered. With grid reﬁne
ment, the smoothed Heaviside function, calculated numerically using Eq. (5),
approaches the results of the sharp Heaviside function, calculated geometrically
using Eq. (3), as shown by a numerical test in the Appendix.
2.3. Dirac Delta Function
The Dirac delta function is used to model the interfacial terms as volumetric
source terms [6, 7]. For a level set function ﬁeld, the Dirac delta function from the
Heaviside function H(/) is deﬁned [27] as
dð/Þ
dHð/Þ
d/
ð6Þ
Accurate calculation of the interface area (DS
i
) in terms of the Heaviside func
tion will be done for the physical interpretation of the Dirac delta function. Consider
an elemental interface in an inﬁnitesimal CV as shown in Figure 3. The magnitude of
surface area DS
i
in a CV can be expressed as DS
i
¼ DS
x
^
ii þDS
y
^
jj
_ _
Á ^nnð/Þ, where
DS
x
¼ ðHDyÞ
xþDx
ÀðHDyÞ
x
and DS
y
¼ ðHDxÞ
yþDy
ÀðHDxÞ
y
are the components
DERIVATION AND PHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF LS EQUATIONS 311
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Figure 3. Control volume with elemental interface shown in terms of components of interface area vector in
the x and y directions. The values of the Heaviside function at the face centers of the CVs are also shown.
Figure 2. Smoothing in the level set method: (a) diffused interface representation; (b) smoothed Heaviside
function; (c) smoothed Dirac delta function.
312 V. H. GADA AND A. SHARMA
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of the interface area vector in the x and y directions, respectively, calculated using
the Heaviside function at the face center of the CV [Eq. (4)]. Furthermore, ^nnð/Þ is
the unit vector normal to the interface. Substituting the expressions for DS
x
and
DS
y
in the expression for DS
i
, dividing both sides by the cell volume
ðDV ¼ DxDyÞ, and taking limits for Dx; Dy ! 0, we ﬁnally obtain the ratio of the
surface area of the interface and the volume of the cell as
DS
i
DV
¼ rH Á ^nnð/Þ ¼
qH
q/
dð/Þ ð7Þ
where rH Á ^nnð/Þ ¼ ðqH=q/Þr/ Á ^nn ¼ qH=q/, with the unit normal vector
^nn ¼ r/= r/ j j and jr/j ¼1 as the LS function is a normal distance function. Thus,
the Dirac delta function has a unit of m
À1
and physically represents the ratio of the
interface area inside the CV and the volume of the CV. The Dirac delta function is
nonzero only at the interface, i.e., /¼0. However, in the LS method, the smoothed
Dirac delta function is calculated from Eqs. (5) and (6) as
d
e
ð/Þ ¼
dHð/Þ
d/
¼
1
2e
þ
1
2e
cos
p/
e
_ _
if j/j < e
0 otherwise
_
ð8Þ
The smoothed Dirac delta function decreases symmetrically about /¼0 across
the interface thickness as shown in Figure 2c. Furthermore, the integral of d
e
(the
area under the curve in Figure 2c) within the diffused interface is 1. With grid reﬁne
ment, the smoothed Dirac delta function, calculated numerically using Eq. (8),
approaches the results of the sharp Dirac delta function, calculated geometrically
using Eq. (7), as shown by a numerical test in the Appendix.
3. GOVERNING EQUATIONS IN THE LEVEL SET METHOD
In computational multiﬂuid dynamics, the governing equations are the
NavierStokes equations for the temporal evolution of velocity, pressure, and
temperature; and the level set equations for the temporal evolution of the interface.
Thus, there are four variables, i.e., velocity, pressure, temperature, and level set
function, and three conservation laws; for mass, momentum, and energy. Hence,
one more conservation law, i.e., of volume, is used by invoking the assumption that
both phases are incompressible and their properties are constant with time.
3.1. Volume/Mass Conservation Equation
For a partially ﬁlled control volume, i.e., containing the incompressible ﬂuids=
phases, the volume of each phase may change but the total volume of both phases in
the CV is constant (equal to the volume of the CV) with time. In contrast, the total
mass of the ﬂuids in a CV does not remain constant with time as the interface pos
ition in the CV is changed. Thus, the unsteady term is needed (not needed) to model
the mass (volume) conservation in the twophase ﬂow.
DERIVATION AND PHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF LS EQUATIONS 313
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3.1.1. Volume conservation (continuity) equation. As mentioned earlier,
the incompressible condition of both phases is used to derive the continuity equa
tion. A twodimensional Cartesian control volume of width Dx and Dy, shown in
Figure 4a, is chosen to translate the conservationofvolume statement into
mathematical equations. The ﬁgure shows that the CV is partially ﬁlled by the
two ﬂuids, with DS
i
as the total surface area of the interface. The phase change
considered here is between the heavier ﬂuid 1 (which may be water) and the lighter
ﬂuid 2 (which may be vapor). Mass ﬂux due to phase change, _ mm, occurs across the
interface and is calculated using the Stefan condition [2, 5, 18–24]:
_ mm ¼ ~ mmÁ ^nnð/Þ ¼ À
~qq
1
À~qq
2
h
12
Á ^nnð/Þ ð9Þ
Figure 4. A representative control volume(DxDy), where both ﬂuids are ﬂowing through all the faces for
(a) the volume conservation equation and (b) the mass conservation equation. The heat=mass transfer and
surface tension force at the interface are also shown.
314 V. H. GADA AND A. SHARMA
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where ^nnð/Þ is the unit normal vector of the interface pointing into ﬂuid 1, h
12
is the
latent heat of phase change, and ~qq
1
and ~qq
2
are the interfacial conduction heat ﬂux in
ﬂuid 1 and ﬂuid 2, respectively, shown in Figure 4a. Note that the ﬁgure shows that
the direction of interfacial mass transfer is opposite to the direction of the heat
transfer and _ mm is positive when the phase change is from ﬂuid 1 to ﬂuid 2.
For the representative control volume shown in Figure 4a, the conservationof
volume statement is written as
Rate of
increase of volume
_ _
¼
Rate of
volume in
_ _
À
Rate of
volume out
_ _
þ
Rate of
volume generation
_ _
ð10Þ
A single velocity ﬁeld is deﬁned for both ﬂuids under the assumption of the single ﬁeld
formulation, where u and v are the components of the bulk velocity in the x and y direc
tions, respectively. Figure 4a shows a CVwhere both ﬂuids ﬂowacross and the interface
passes through all the faces of the CV. CVs with an interface crossing two of the faces,
shown in Figure 3, are more common due to the very small size of the CVin the numeri
cal model. However, the CV shown in Figure 4 is more generic and is used here in the
derivation. The surface area occupied by each ﬂuid on all the faces of CV is calculated
using Eq. (4). Thus, the total volume ﬂowrate of a ﬂuid on a partially ﬁlled face of a CV
is represented by the product of the normal velocity and surface area, shown in
Figure 4a. For example, the rates of volume of ﬂuid 1 and ﬂuid 2 entering the left face
(x) of the CV are u
x
H
x
Dy and u
x
(1 ÀH
x
)Dy, respectively. Similar expressions for other
faces of the CV are shown in the ﬁgure. The volumes of ﬂuid 1 and ﬂuid 2 within the
CV are expressed by using Eq. (3) as H
P
DxDy and (1 ÀH
P
)DxDy, respectively. The
volume of ﬂuid 1 and ﬂuid 2 generated is À _ mmDS
i
=q
1
and _ mmDS
i
=q
2
, respectively, shown
in Figure 4a. The volume balance then becomes
qðH
P
DxDyÞ
qt
þ
qðð1ÀH
P
ÞDxDyÞ
qt
¼
Dy½ðuHÞ
x
ÀðuHÞ
xþDx
þDyf½uð1 ÀHÞ
x
À½uð1 ÀHÞ
xþDx
g
þDx½ðvHÞ
y
ÀðvHÞ
yþDy
þDxf½vð1 ÀHÞ
y
À½vð1 ÀHÞ
yþDy
g
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
þ _ mmDS
i
1
q
2
À
1
q
1
_ _
The left hand side (LHS) of above equation becomes zero. By dividing the
entire equation by DV¼DxDy and taking limits for Dx; Dy ! 0, and then using
the deﬁnitions of the partial derivatives, we ﬁnally get
rÁ ~uu ¼
1
q
2
À
1
q
1
_ _
_ mm
DS
i
DV
¼
1
q
2
À
1
q
1
_ _
~ mmÁ rH ¼
1
q
2
À
1
q
1
_ _
_ mmdð/Þ ð11Þ
where the expression for DS
i
=DV is substituted from Eq. (7) and ~ mm ¼ _ mm^nn is the
phasechange mass ﬂux vector normal to the interface. The right hand side (RHS)
of the above equation is a source term which accounts for the volume expansion=
contraction during phase change due to the difference in density of the two phases.
This is the conservationofvolume equation for a general case of twophase ﬂow
with phase change and is referred as the continuity equation.
DERIVATION AND PHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF LS EQUATIONS 315
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3.1.2. Mass conservation (level set advection) equation. For the
representative control volume shown in Figure 4b, the mass balance over the CV
is written as
Rate of
increase of mass
_ _
¼
Rate of
mass in
_ _
À
Rate of
mass out
_ _
ð12Þ
Figure 4b shows the mass ﬂow rate of both the ﬂuids on the faces of the CV,
represented by the product of the ﬂuid density, normal velocity, and surface area,
where the surface area occupied by each ﬂuid is calculated using Eq. (4). The ﬁgure
also shows that the mass of ﬂuid 1 and ﬂuid 2 generated is À _ mmDS
i
and _ mmDS
i
, respect
ively, i.e., net mass generation is zero. The mass balance then becomes
qðq
1
HDxDyÞ
qt
þ
qðq
2
ð1ÀHÞDxDyÞ
qt
¼
Dy½ðq
1
uHÞ
x
Àðq
1
uHÞ
xþDx
þDyf½q
2
uð1 ÀHÞ
x
À½q
2
uð1 ÀHÞ
xþDx
g
þDx½ðq
1
vHÞ
y
Àðq
1
vHÞ
yþDy
þDxf½q
2
vð1 ÀHÞ
y
À½q
2
vð1 ÀHÞ
yþDy
g
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
By dividing the entire equation by DV¼DxDy and taking limits for
Dx; Dy ! 0, and then using the deﬁnitions of the partial derivatives, we ﬁnally get
ðq
1
Àq
2
Þ
qH
qt
þ~uu Á rH
_ _
þq
m
rÁ ~uu ¼ 0
where the mean ﬂuid density q
m
¼q
1
H þq
2
(1 ÀH) [Eq. (1)]. Substituting rÁ ~uu from
Eq. (11) into the above equation and dividing this equation by (q
1
Àq
2
) and
substituting q
m
from Eq. (1), we ﬁnally get the governing equation of the Heaviside
function as an advection equation:
qH
qt
þ~uu
t
Á rH ¼ 0 ð13Þ
where the total advecting velocity ~uu
t
¼~uu þ~uu
PC
is the sum of the bulk=background
velocity and the velocity due to phase change, ~uu
PC
¼ 0:5ð1=q
1
þ1=q
2
Þ~ mm. Note that
the interfacial mass ﬂux ~ mm 6¼ 0 only at the interface, i.e., at /¼0, where H¼0.5
[Eq. (2)]. Substituting qH¼d(/)q/ from Eq. (6) in the above equation, the governing
equation for the level set function is obtained as an advection equation:
q/
qt
þ~uu
t
Á r/ ¼ 0 ð14Þ
3.2. Momentum Equation
In this section, the level setbased derivation of the surface tension force in
the momentum equation is done. If the tangential variation of the surface tension
316 V. H. GADA AND A. SHARMA
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coefﬁcient is negligible, the effect of surface tension is to balance the jump of
the normal stress along the interface and drive the interface toward a minimum sur
face area conﬁguration corresponding to a minimal energy state. The interface
boundary condition is given [22, 28] as p
1
Àp
2
þrj ¼ ½m
1
ðr~uu þr~uu
T
Þ Àm
2
ðr~uuþ
r~uu
T
Þ Á ^nn, where p
1
and p
2
are pressure at the interface on the ﬂuid 1 and ﬂuid 2
side, respectively, r is the coefﬁcient of surface tension, and j is the interface
curvature.
In the single ﬁeld formulation, the above interface boundary condition is
satisﬁed implicitly by solving the NavierStokes equations in the complete domain
using volumeaveraged properties. Thus, the surface tension force is incorporated
into the momentum equation as a source term using the continuum surface force
(CSF) model of Brackbill et al. [28]. The surface tension force vector for a control
volume shown in Figure 4b is expressed as
~
FF
ST
¼ rj^nnDS
i
. Substituting the interfa
cial area in this equation in terms of the Dirac delta function [Eq. (7)], the surface
tension force per unit volume is obtained as
~
FF
ST
=DV ¼ rj^nndð/Þ. This incorporated
as a source (volumetric body force) term in the momentum equation for the single
ﬁeld formulation as
q q
m
~uu ð Þ
qt
þrÁ q
m
~uu~uu ð Þ ¼ Àrp þrÁ m
m
r~uu þ r~uu ð Þ
T
_ _ _ _
þrj^nndð/Þ þ
~
GG ð15Þ
where
~
GG is the body force vector, such as gravitational force, per unit volume.
3.3. Energy Equation
In this section, two different types of energy equation used in the simulation
of ﬁlm boiling are presented, and the one which is more commonly used in the LS
method is discussed in detail. In a twophase ﬂow situation, in addition to
advection and diffusion of energy, some energy is released=absorbed at the inter
face due to phase change in the form of latent heat. Although there are
many processes occurring at the interface during phase change, for the sake of
simplicity, the effect of radiation, viscous dissipation, and energy contribution
due to interface stretching is neglected by many researchers [1, 2, 5, 18–23].
Furthermore, they have taken the interface maintained at saturation temperature
corresponding to system pressure, hence no jump in temperature of vapor and
liquid at the interface is assumed.
The heat transfer in phasechange problems can be modeled by using the single
ﬁeld or the sharp interface formulation. In the single ﬁeld formulation proposed by
Juric and Tryggvason [1], the latent heat transfer at the interface is modeled as a
source term in the energy equation. In the sharp interface model [22, 23], the energy
equations for individual ﬂuids are solved using the properties of the respective ﬂuid
and the interface is treated as a boundary on which temperature is ﬁxed. In LSbased
methods, the sharp interface method is commonly used because the interface infor
mation is readily available and only a Dirichlet boundary condition for temperature
needs to be implemented (as opposed to a nonDirichlet boundary in the case of the
momentum equation). Furthermore, the interfacial mass ﬂux is determined using the
Stefan condition [Eq. (9)]. For the sharp interface LS method–based simulation of
DERIVATION AND PHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF LS EQUATIONS 317
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twophase ﬂow [22, 23], the energy equation is given as
qT
qt
þrÁ ~uuT ð Þ ¼ a
p
r
2
T ð16Þ
where the subscript p ¼1 if />0, p ¼2 if /<0, and T¼T
SAT
if /¼0.
3.4. Reinitialization Equation
In this section, the physical interpretation of the reinitialization equation is
done. The level set ﬁeld obtained after solving the advection equation [Eq. (14)],
in general, will not remain a normal distance function ﬁeld, as shown in Figure 5a.
For accurate calculation of the Heaviside function [Eq. (5)] and the Dirac delta
function [Eq. (8)], it is necessary to maintain a constant width of the diffused inter
face along the interface (Figure 5b) at all times. This is ensured by reinitializing the
advected level set function ﬁeld to a signed normal distance function ﬁeld without
altering the location of the interface obtained after the advection step (/¼0 remains
unchanged in Figures 5a and 5b). In level set methods for twophase ﬂows,
a PDEbased reinitialization procedure [6–22] is generally used, wherein an irregular
level set function (/
o
) is reinitialized to a signed normal distance function by
obtaining the steadystate solution of the following equation:
q/
qt
s
þS
e
/
o
ð Þ r/ j j À1 ð Þ ¼ 0 ð17Þ
where t
s
is pseudotime and S
e
/
o
ð Þ ¼ /
o
=
ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
/
2
o
þe
2
_
is the smoothed sign function
[6]. The steadystate solution of Eq. (17) ensures that j r/j ¼1, i.e., the LS
Figure 5. Diffused interface (a) after advection and (b) after reinitialization.
318 V. H. GADA AND A. SHARMA
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function is set as the normal distance function. For easy implementation, Eq. (17)
is written as
q/
qt
s
þS
e
/
o
ð Þ^nn Á r/ ¼ S
e
/
o
ð Þ
where j r/jj r/j ¼r/Á r/ and the unit normal vector ^nn ¼ r/= r/ j j. The above
equation is a hyperbolic equation with characteristics=advecting velocity as S
e
/
o
ð Þ^nn.
It is seen that at the interface, the advecting velocity is zero [because S
e
(/
o
) ¼0]
and away from the interface it is normal to the interface, pointing away from
the interface into both phases (because of the sign function). Such an advecting
velocity ﬁeld carries the interface information from the interface into both ﬂuids
in the normal direction. This PDEbased reinitialization technique has the advan
tage that it does not require an exact interface position to recover the normal
distance function.
4. CONCLUSION
The LS method is one of the most common and recent methods for simulation
of twophase ﬂow. The functions used in the LS method have been interpreted
physically: the level set function as a normal distance function, the Heaviside func
tion as the volume fraction or surfacearea fraction occupied by ﬂuid 1, and the
Dirac delta function as the ratio of the interface area in a CV to the volume of
the CV. Furthermore, the expressions corresponding to these interpretations have
been used for conservation lawbased derivations of the equations used in the LS
method for simulation of twophase ﬂow with phase change. The continuity equa
tion was derived from volume conservation, and the level set advection equation
was derived from mass conservation laws. The term for the heat=mass transfer
(due to phase change) and surface tension force (in the momentum equation) at
the interface was also derived. The energy equation for the LS methodbased simula
tion of ﬁlm boiling was discussed, and ﬁnally, the physical interpretation and work
ing of the reinitialization equation was presented. From a numerical test, it has been
shown that the error incurred upon smoothing the Heaviside and Dirac delta func
tion is negligible on a sufﬁciently ﬁne grid. The interpretation of the Heaviside and
Dirac delta function and conservation law–based derivations done here is not found
in the published literature.
REFERENCES
1. D. Juric and G. Tryggvason, Computations of Boiling Flows, Int. J. Multiphase Flow,
vol. 24, pp. 387–410, 1998.
2. A. Esmaeeli and G. Tryggvason, Computations of Film Boiling. Part I: Numerical
Method, Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, vol. 47, pp. 5451–5461, 2004.
3. C. W. Hirt and B. D. Nichols, Volume of Fluid (VOF) Method for the Dynamics of Free
Boundaries, J. Comput. Phys., vol. 39, pp. 201–225, 1981.
4. W. J. Rider and D. B. Kothe, Reconstructing Volume Tracking, J. Comput. Phys.,
vol. 141, pp. 112–152, 1998.
DERIVATION AND PHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF LS EQUATIONS 319
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5. S. W. J. Welch and J. Wilson, A Volume of Fluid Based Method for Fluid Flows with
Phase Change, J. Comput. Phys., vol. 160, pp. 662–682, 2000.
6. M. Sussman, P. Smereka, and S. Osher, A Level Set Approach for Computing Solutions
to Incompressible TwoPhase Flow, J. Comput. Phys., vol. 114, pp. 146–159, 1994.
7. Y. C. Chang, T. Y. Hou, B. Merriman, and S. Osher, A Level Set Formulation of Eulerian
Interface Capturing Methods for Incompressible Fluid Flows, J. Comput. Phys., vol. 124,
449–464, 1996.
8. M. Sussman and E. Fatemi, An Efﬁcient Interface Preserving Level Set Redistancing
Algorithm and Its Application to Interfacial Incompressible Flow, SIAM J. Sci. Comput.,
vol. 20, pp. 1165–1191, 2000.
9. D. Peng, B. Merriman, S. Osher, H. K. Zhao, and M. Kang, A PDEBased Fast Local
Level Set Method, J. Comput. Phys., vol. 155, pp. 410–438, 1999.
10. G. Son and N. Hur, A Coupled Level Set and VolumeofFluid Method for the
BouyancyDriven Motion of Fluid Particles, Numer. Heat Transfer B, vol. 42, pp. 523–
542, 2002.
11. G. Son, Efﬁcient Implementation of A Coupled Level Set and VolumeofFluid Method
for ThreeDimensional Incompressible TwoPhase Flows, Numer. Heat Transfer B, vol.
43, pp. 549–565, 2003.
12. M. J. Ni, S. Komori, and N. B. Morley, Direct Simulation of Falling Droplet in a Closed
Channel, Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, vol. 49, pp. 366–376, 2006.
13. Y. F. Yap, J. C. Chai, K. C. Toh, and T. N. Wong, Modeling the Flows of Two Immis
cible Fluids in a ThreeDimensional Square Channel Using the LevelSet Method, Numer.
Heat Transfer B, vol. 49, pp. 893–904, 2006.
14. Y. F. Yap, J. C. Chai, T. N. Wong, K. C. Toh, and H. Y. Zhang, A Global
Mass Correction Scheme for the LevelSet Method, Numer. Heat Transfer B, vol. 50,
pp. 455–472, 2006.
15. G. Son, A Level Set Method for Incompressible TwoFluid Flows with Immersed Solid
Boundaries, Numer. Heat Transfer B, vol. 47, pp. 473–489, 2005.
16. G. Son and N. Hur, A Level Set Formulation for Incompressible TwoPhase Flows on
Nonorthogonal Grids, Numer. Heat Transfer B, vol. 48, pp. 303–316, 2005.
17. Y. Suh and G. Son, A LevelSet Method for Simulation of a Thermal Inkjet Process,
Numer. Heat Transfer B, vol. 54, pp. 138–156, 2008.
18. S. Chen, B. Merriman, S. Osher, and P. Smereka, A Simple Level Set Method for Solving
Stefan Problems, J. Comput. Phys., vol. 135, pp. 8–29, 1997.
19. H. Zhang, L. L. Zheng, V. Prasad, and T. Y. Hou, A Curvilinear Level Set Formulation
for Highly Deformable Free Surface Problems with Application to Solidiﬁcation, Numer.
Heat Transfer B, vol. 34, pp. 1–30, 1998.
20. L. L. Zheng and H. Zhang, An Adaptive Level Set Method for MovingBoundary
Problems: Application to Droplet Spreading and Solidiﬁcation, Numer. Heat Transfer
B, vol. 37, pp. 437–454, 2000.
21. G. Son and V. K. Dhir, Numerical Simulation of Film Boiling near Critical Pressures with
a Level Set Method, J. Heat Transfer, vol. 120, pp. 183–192, 1998.
22. G. Son and V. K. Dhir, A Level Set Method for Analysis of Film Boiling on an Immersed
Solid Surface, Numer. Heat Transfer B, vol. 52, pp. 153–177, 2007.
23. F. Gibou, L. Chen, D. Nguyen, and S. Banerjee, A Level Set Based Sharp Interface
Method for the Multiphase Incompressible NavierStokes Equations with Phase Change,
J. Comput. Phys., vol. 222, pp. 536–555, 2007.
24. J. Wu, V. K. Dhir, and J. Qian, Numerical Simulation of Subcoalled Nucleate Boiling by
Coupling LevelSet Method with MovingMesh Method, Numer. Heat Transfer B, vol. 51,
pp. 535–563, 2007.
320 V. H. GADA AND A. SHARMA
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25. J. A. Sethian, Level Set Methods and Fast Marching Methods, 2nd ed., Cambridge
University Press, New York, 1999.
26. S. Osher and R. Fedkiw, Level Set Methods and Dynamic Implicit Surfaces,
SpringerVerlag, New York, 2003.
27. R. N. Bracewell, The Fourier Transform and Its Applications, 3d ed., pp. 61–77,
McGrawHill, Boston, 2000.
28. J. U. Brackbill, D. B. Kothe, and C. Zemach, A Continuum Method for Modelling
Surface Tension, J. Comput. Phys., vol. 100, pp. 335–354, 1992.
APPENDIX: NUMERICAL TEST
Here, a 2D test problem is solved to ﬁnd the error incurred by smoothing the
Heaviside and Dirac delta functions. The test problem considered is a circular inter
face of radius R¼0.1 located centrally at ðx
c
; y
c
Þ ¼ ð0:5; 0:5Þ in a square computa
tional domain of unit dimension. The circular region is ﬁlled with ﬂuid 1 and the
rest of the domain is ﬁlled with ﬂuid 2. The test is performed on grid resolution of
N
2
with number of control volumes N¼16, 32, 64, 128, and 256.
The true values of the Heaviside and Dirac delta functions are calculated by a
geometric procedure, wherein for each CV in the domain, the volume (area in 2D)
occupied by ﬂuid 1 is calculated geometrically and the cell center volume fraction=
Heaviside function, H
i, j
, is determined using Eq. (3). Furthermore, the cell center
Dirac delta function is obtained from Eq. (7), where the surface area (curve length
in 2D) of the interface DS
i, j
is calculated geometrically in all the partially ﬁlled CVs.
For the calculation of the smoothed functions, the exact level set ﬁeld
is obtained at the centroid of all the CVs in the domain as /
i; j
¼ RÀ
ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
ðx
i;j
Àx
c
Þ
2
þðy
i;j
Ày
c
Þ
2
_
. These values are used to calculate smoothed Heaviside
function H
e,i, j
[(Eq. 5)] and the smoothed delta function d
e,i, j
[(Eq. 8)], where the
commonly used [6–21] value of 2e ¼3Dx is taken for the width of the diffused
interface.
Two comparisons are made to evaluate the effect of using the smoothed
functions. First, a grid pointbypoint comparison of the true=sharp and smoothened
functions is evaluated by the normalized L
2
error expressed as
E
L
2
¼
ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
i;j
H
i;j
ÀH
e;i;j
¸
¸
¸
¸
_ _
2
_
ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
i;j
H
2
i;j
_ E
L
2
¼
ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
i;j
DS
i;j
Àd
e;i;j
DV
¸
¸
¸
¸
_ _
2
_
ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ
i;j
DS
2
i;j
_
Second, a global measure of error in the calculation of the total volume and surface
area of the interface in the domain is made, using the smoothed functions H
e
instead
of H
P
in Eq. (3) and d
e
instead of d in Eq. (7), respectively. The global error is
expressed as
E
V
¼
pR
2
À
i;j
H
e;i;j
DV
i;j
pR
2
E
A
¼
2pR À
i;j
d
ei;j
DV
i;j
2pR
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Table 1 shows that the both the errors for both the functions are reduced
substantially with grid reﬁnement, and they are reduced to less than 5% on the ﬁnest
grid size.
Table 1. Variation of error due to smoothening of Heaviside and Dirac delta functions with grid
reﬁnement
Percentage error due to
Number of grid points
Smoothed Heaviside function (%) Smoothed Dirac delta function (%)
N
2
E
L2
E
V
E
L2
E
A
16
2
35.21 10.24 11.14 0.53
32
2
17.64 2.80 8.91 0.11
64
2
8.83 0.71 6.84 0.16
128
2
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322 V. H. GADA AND A. SHARMA
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