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# Appl. Math. Mech. -Engl. Ed.

, 33(8), 991–1000 (2012)
DOI 10.1007/s10483-012-1600-6
c Shanghai University and Springer-Verlag
Berlin Heidelberg 2012
Applied Mathematics
and Mechanics
(English Edition)
Calculation of cell face velocity of non-staggered grid system

Wang LI ( )
1
, Bo YU ( )
1
, Xin-ran WANG ()
1
,
Shu-yu SUN ()
2
( 1. Beijing Key Laboratory of Urban Oil and Gas Distribution Technology,
China University of Petroleum, Beijing 102249, P. R. China;
2. Computational Transport Phenomena Laboratory, Division of Physical Science
and Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology,
Thuwal 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
Abstract In this paper, the cell face velocities in the discretization of the continu-
ity equation, the momentum equation, and the scalar equation of a non-staggered grid
system are calculated and discussed. Both the momentum interpolation and the linear
interpolation are adopted to evaluate the coeﬃcients in the discretized momentum and
scalar equations. Their performances are compared. When the linear interpolation is used
to calculate the coeﬃcients, the mass residual term in the coeﬃcients must be dropped
to maintain the accuracy and convergence rate of the solution.
Key words collocated grid, staggered grid, momentum interpolation
Chinese Library Classiﬁcation O302, O357.1
2010 Mathematics Subject Classiﬁcation 65M12, 76D05
1 Introduction
The momentum interpolation method and its various modiﬁed versions for non-staggered
grids are now being widely employed in the computational heat transfer
[1–10]
, for which the
unphysical checkerboard pressure can be prevented and the calculation coding can be made
more easily for a non-staggered grid than for a staggered grid, especially for an unstructured
grid. The usually momentum interpolation is used to calculate the cell face velocity at any
occasion. Date
[11–12]
stated that the problem of the checkerboard prediction of pressure could
be eliminated by interpolating the pressure-gradient in the nodal momentum equations while
the cell face velocity was still evaluated by linear interpolation. Wang et al.
[13]
and Nie et
al.
[14]
calculated the cell face velocity on a collocated grid system by utilizing the momentum
interpolation and the linear interpolation in the continuity equation and the momentum equa-
tion, respectively, and they obtained satisfactory results. The use of the linear interpolation in
the momentum equation and the scalar equation can simplify the coding. But the diﬀerence
between the linear interpolation and the momentum interpolation employed in these equations
has not been clariﬁed. In this study, we adopted both the momentum interpolation and the lin-
∗ Received Nov. 28, 2011 / Revised Mar. 31, 2012
Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51176204 and
51134006)
Corresponding author Bo YU, Professor, Ph. D., E-mail: yubobox@cup.edu.cn
992 Wang LI, Bo YU, Xin-ran WANG, and Shu-yu SUN
ear interpolation to evaluate the coeﬃcients in the discretized momentum and scalar equations,
and compare their performances on the numerical accuracy and convergence rate.
2 Discretization of governing equation
For simplicity, a two-dimensional general incompressible governing equation listed below is
considered to illustrate the numerical discretization of the transport equation,
∂(ρuϕ)
∂x
+
∂(ρvϕ)
∂y
=

∂x

Γ
∂ϕ
∂x

+

∂y

Γ
∂ϕ
∂y

+ S
ϕ
, (1)
where ϕ is any dependent variable, u and v are the velocity components in the x- and y-
directions, and ρ, Γ, and S represent the density, the diﬀusion coeﬃcient, and the source term,
respectively. A ﬁnite volume method is used to discretize the governing equation. Integrating
Eq. (1) over a control volume as shown in Fig. 1, we have

n
s

e
w
∂(ρuϕ)
∂x
dxdy +

e
w

n
s
∂(ρvϕ)
∂y
dydx
=

n
s

e
w

∂x

Γ
∂ϕ
∂x

dxdy +

e
w

n
s

∂y

Γ
∂ϕ
∂y

dydx +

n
s

e
w
S
ϕ
dxdy. (2)
Fig. 1 Non-staggered grid arrangement
The diﬀusion term is discretized by the central diﬀerence scheme, and the source term is
treated by linearization. The discretized equation can be obtained as follows:
((ρuϕ)
e
−(ρuϕ)
w
)∆y + ((ρvϕ)
n
−(ρvϕ)
s
)∆x
=

Γ
e
(δx)
e

E
−ϕ
P
) −
Γ
w
(δx)
w

P
−ϕ
W
)

∆y +

Γ
n
(δy)
n

N
−ϕ
P
)

Γ
s
(δy)
s

P
−ϕ
S
)

∆x + (S
C
+ S
P
ϕ
P
)∆x∆y. (3)
Calculation of cell face velocity of non-staggered grid system 993
By rearranging the above equation, we obtain the following discretized algebraic equation:
A
P
ϕ
P
= A
E
ϕ
E
+ A
W
ϕ
W
+ A
N
ϕ
N
+ A
S
ϕ
S
+ b
P
, (4)
where

A
E
=
Γ
e
∆y
(δx)
e
+ max(−(ρu)
e
∆y, 0),
A
W
=
Γ
w
∆y
(δx)
w
+ max((ρu)
w
∆y, 0),
A
N
=
Γ
n
∆x
(δy)
n
+ max(−(ρv)
n
∆x, 0),
A
S
=
Γ
s
∆x
(δy)
s
+ max((ρv)
s
∆x, 0),
A
P
= A
E
+ A
W
+ A
N
+ A
S
+ A
b
−S
P
∆x∆y,
A
b
= (ρu)
e
∆y −(ρu)
w
∆y + (ρv)
n
∆x −(ρv)
s
∆x,
b
P
= S
C
∆x∆y + b
1
,
b
1
= −max((ρu)
e
∆y, 0)(ϕ
e
−ϕ
P
) + max(−(ρu)
e
∆y, 0)(ϕ
e
−ϕ
E
)
−max(−(ρu)
w
∆y, 0)(ϕ
w
−ϕ
P
) + max((ρu)
w
∆y, 0)(ϕ
w
−ϕ
W
)
−max((ρv)
n
∆x, 0)(ϕ
n
−ϕ
P
) + max(−(ρv)
n
∆x, 0)(ϕ
n
−ϕ
N
)
−max(−(ρv)
s
∆x, 0)(ϕ
s
−ϕ
P
) + max((ρv)
s
∆x, 0)(ϕ
s
−ϕ
S
).
Here, u
e
, u
w
, v
n
, and v
s
are the interface values which can be evaluated by the diﬀerence
schemes, e.g., the central diﬀerence scheme and the QUICK scheme
[15]
. b
1
results from the
[16]
. For the momentum equation, the pressure
gradient term is included in S
C
.
The continuity equation can be discretized as follows:
(ρu)
e
∆y −(ρu)
w
∆y + (ρv)
n
∆x −(ρv)
s
∆x = 0. (5)
From Eqs. (4) and (5), we can clearly see that the cell face velocities (u
e
, u
w
, v
n
, and v
s
)
are used in the continuity equation, in the cell face ﬂow rate computation for the determination
of the coeﬃcients in the discretization equation, and in the calculation for the mass residual
A
b
in the coeﬃcient A
P
. We can use both linear interpolation and momentum interpolation to
calculate the cell face velocity. The expressions of u
e
are
u
e
= f
+
e
u
E
+ (1 −f
+
e
)u
P
. (6)
The momentum interpolation is
[1]
u
e
=
α
u

i
A
i
u
i
+ b
P

e
(A
P
)
e

α
u
∆y(p
E
−p
P
)
(A
P
)
e
, (7)
where

f
+
e
=
∆x
2(δx)
e
,
1
(A
P
)
e
= f
+
e
1
(A
P
)
E
+ (1 −f
+
e
)
1
(A
P
)
P
,

i
A
i
u
i
+ b
P
A
P

e
= f
+
e

i
A
i
u
i
+ b
P
A
P

E
+ (1 −f
+
e
)

i
A
i
u
i
+ b
P
A
P

P
.
994 Wang LI, Bo YU, Xin-ran WANG, and Shu-yu SUN
It should be emphasized that if momentum interpolation is used in the continuity equation
while linear interpolation is used to determine the coeﬃcients of the discretization equation,
due to the inconsistence, A
b
is not zero.
All cell face velocities of the control volumes are often calculated by the momentum interpo-
lation method when the pressure-velocity coupling computation is conducted under collocated
grids
[1–10]
. Recently, Wang et al.
[13]
and Nie et al.
[14]
used linear interpolation to determine the
coeﬃcients in the discretization equation. Apparently, the utilization of linear interpolation can
simplify coding. However, the eﬀects of this treatment on the accuracy and convergence rate
have not been illustrated in these papers. To clarify the eﬀects, both momentum interpolation
and linear interpolation are utilized to evaluate the coeﬃcients in the discretized momentum
and scalar equations, and their performances are compared. For the comprehensive compar-
ison, we design ﬁve practices named A, B, C, D, and E as shown in Table 1. In the design
of practices, A
b
is treated in two manners, i.e., remain and dropped. From Table 1, it is seen
that in all the practices, momentum interpolation is used in the continuity equation to prevent
the unphysical pressure ﬁeld, while either momentum interpolation or linear interpolation is
employed for the momentum equation or the scalar equation. Apparently, the mass residual
term (A
b
) has great eﬀects on the solution, especially for the computation with coarse meshes.
Table 1 Interface velocity interpolation method and disposal of A
b
Practice Continuity equation Momentum equation Scalar/energy equation A
b
A MI MI MI Remain
B MI MI LI Dropped
C MI LI LI Dropped
D MI MI LI Remain
E MI LI LI Remain
*MI represents momentum interpolation; LI represents linear interpolation
3 Results and discussion
We compare the performances of ﬁve practices (A, B, C, D, and E) in two computational
examples. The ﬁrst example is a lid-driven cavity ﬂow
[17]
, which is shown in Fig. 2. The walls
are held at a constant scalar Φ = 100 and the dimensionless diﬀusion coeﬃcient is set as 1/Re
where the Reynolds number Re is deﬁned by Re = ρU
lid
L/µ. The other example is a mixed
convection example, whose schematic diagram is shown in Fig. 3. The side length of the cavity
is L = 1.0 m, while the left and right temperatures are 1

and 0

, respectively. Both the bottom
Fig. 2 Lid-driven cavity ﬂow Fig. 3 Schematic diagram of mixed convection
Calculation of cell face velocity of non-staggered grid system 995
and the top walls are thernmally insulated. The non-slip boundary condition is employed for all
the walls. The lid velocity is 1.0 m/s. The Reynolds number Re, the Prandtl number Pr, and
the Grashof number Gr are set as 10
3
, 0.71, and 10
6
, respectively. The semi-implicit method
for pressure-linked equations (SIMPLE) is used to couple the velocity and pressure, and the
QUICK scheme is employed for the convective term in those computational examples.
In the ﬁrst example, the calculations are carried out for Re = 100 and Re = 1 000, and two
sets of uniform grids, i.e., 13 × 13 and 41 × 41, are employed. Apparently, for the lid-driven
cavity ﬂow with the uniform scalar boundary condition, it is expected that the uniform scalar
ﬁeld Φ should be 100 by solving the scalar equation. Uniform ﬁelds can be obtained by practices
A, B, and C. Therefore, it is not necessary to show their scalar contours. Figures 4–7 show the
scalar contours of practices D and E. It can be clearly seen that unphysical non-uniform ﬁelds
are predicted by the two practices, and both the Reynolds number and the grid size have an
important eﬀect on the scalar ﬁeld. For the grid of 13×13, the scalar ﬁeld is further non-uniform
with larger Reynolds numbers and wider scalar distribution in a wider range. When the mesh is
denser, the scalar ﬁeld becomes much uniform, but it still greatly deviates the real ﬁeld. These
unphysical predictions are due to the non-zero mass residual term A
b
. For practices A, B, and
C, A
b
is always equal to zero, either automatically for practice A or compulsively for practices
B and C. Therefore, reasonable results are obtained by the three practices.
Fig. 4 Contours of Φ for practice D with Re = 100
Fig. 5 Contours of Φ for practice D with Re = 1 000
996 Wang LI, Bo YU, Xin-ran WANG, and Shu-yu SUN
Fig. 6 Contours of Φ for practice E with Re = 100
Fig. 7 Contours of Φ for practice E with Re = 1 000
Moreover, Figs. 8 and 9 show the scalar proﬁles along the vertical centerline of the square
cavity. For diﬀerent Reynolds numbers and diﬀerent grid numbers, the scalar values for practices
A, B, and C are all exactly 100, but the scalar values for practices D and E have large oscillations.
The oscillation produced by practice E is more serious because the mass residual term in this
case is not equal to zero in the discrtized coeﬃcients for both the momentum equation and the
scalar equation.
The convergence process of the continuity equation, the U momentum equation, the V
momentum equation, and the scalar equation are shown in Figs. 10–13, in which R
m
, R
U
, R
V
,
and R
Φ
present the residuals of the continuity equation, the U momentum equation, the V
momentum equation, and the scalar equation, respectively. As it can be seen, the convergence
rates of practices A, B, and C are almost the same and are much faster than those of practices
D and E, especially for larger Reynolds numbers. This indicates that A
b
aﬀects not only the
solution but also its convergence rate. When A
b
= 0, either automatically or compulsively, the
convergence rate is similar regardless of the interpolation used in the momentum and scalar
equations.
In the second example, four sets of uniform grids, i.e., 12×12, 22 ×22, 42 ×42, and 62×62,
Calculation of cell face velocity of non-staggered grid system 997
are employed for the calculation. When we calculate the example by using the 12 × 12 mesh,
practices A, B, and C are convergent with the relaxation factor of 0.5, practice D is convergent
when the relaxation factor is below 0.1, while practice E is divergent in any relaxation factor.
Fig. 8 Φ proﬁles along vertical cavity centerline for diﬀerent practices with grid of 13 ×13
Fig. 9 Φ proﬁles along vertical cavity centerline for diﬀerent practices with grid of 41 ×41
Fig. 10 Convergence curves of continuity equation for diﬀerent practices with grid of 13 ×13
998 Wang LI, Bo YU, Xin-ran WANG, and Shu-yu SUN
Fig. 11 Convergence curves of U momentum equation for diﬀerent practices with grid of 13 ×13
Fig. 12 Convergence curves of V momentum equation for diﬀerent practices with grid of 13 ×13
Fig. 13 Convergence curves of scalar equation for diﬀerent practices with grid of 13 ×13
When we calculate the example by using the grids of 22×22, 42×42, and 62×62, practices A,
B, C, D, and E are all convergent with the relaxation factor of 0.5. Figure 14 shows the Nusselt
number on the left wall of practices A, B, C, D, and E, from which it can be observed that
the Nusselt number is reasonable for practices A, B, and C while is unreasonable for practices
D and E. The only diﬀerence between practices D, E and practices B, C is that A
b
does not
compulsively set to be zero. Therefore, the unreasonable solution must be caused by A
b
.
Calculation of cell face velocity of non-staggered grid system 999
Fig. 14 Distribution of Nusselt number on left wall
4 Conclusions
In the discretization of governing equations, the calculation of the cell face velocity is often
encountered. In this paper, its treatment in various situations is discussed on a collocated
grid system. It is found that momentum interpolation should be always used to calculate the
cell face velocity in the discretized continuity equation to prevent the checkerboard pressure
ﬁeld, while both momentum interpolation and linear interpolation can be used in the other
discretization equations. When linear interpolation is utilized to obtain the cell face velocity,
employed to calculate the coeﬃcients of other equations, mass conservation cannot be satisﬁed
which results in an additional mass residual term in the coeﬃcients. Due to the eﬀect of the
mass residual term, the convergence rate decreases and the solutions accuracy deteriorates. If
the mass residual term in the coeﬃcients is enforced to be zero, both the convergence rate and
the solution accuracy are the same as those obtained by the use of momentum interpolation.
In a word, on a collocated grid system, linear interpolation can be used to calculate the cell
face velocity in the momentum equation and other scalar equations on the condition that the
mass residual term is forced to be zero. This treatment simpliﬁes coding, and maintains the
solution accuracy and convergence rate.
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