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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
adoption of the deferred-correction procedure
[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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