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Procedia Engineering 91 (2014) 334 339

XXIII R-S-P seminar, Theoretical Foundation of Civil Engineering (23RSP) (TFoCE 2014)

Numerical Simulation of the Couette Flow Using Meshless


Weak-strong Method
Juraj Muka*
a

Department of geotechnics, Facultyof Civil Engineering, University of ilina, ilina 01026, Slovak Republic

Abstract
The paper deals with use of the meshless method for incompressible fluid flow analysis. There are many formulations of the
meshless methods. In the present article, the meshless weak-strong method (MWS) local formulation of the Navier-Stokes
equations is presented. The crucial part of the meshless numerical analysis in the construction of shape functions. The article
shows the radial point interpolation method (RPIM) for the shape functions construction, which is able to reproduce the 2nd order
derivatives with reasonable accuracy. At the end the results of the Couette flow numerical solution using MWS method are
presented.
2014
2014The
TheAuthors.
Authors.
Published
by Elsevier
Ltd. is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

Published
by Elsevier
Ltd. This
Peer-review under responsibility of organizing committee of the XXIII R-S-P seminar, Theoretical Foundation of Civil
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).
Engineeringunder
(23RSP).
Peer-review
responsibility of organizing committee of the XXIII R-S-P seminar, Theoretical Foundation of Civil Engineering (23RSP)
Keywords:meshless analysis;meshless Petrov-Galerkin method; Navier-Stokes equation;

1. Introduction
Incompressible Navier-Stokes flow in two dimensions is one of the several major problems in fluid mechanics
that have been extensively studied both theoretically and numerically. In general, the formulation of incompressible
Navier-Stokes equations using primitive variables is often used, but it has limitation in approximating the velocity
and pressure. The meshless weak-strong method (MWS) is truly meshless method, which requires no elements or
global background mesh, for either interpolation or integration purposes. The first article applying MWS method to
compute convection-diffusion and incompressible flow was published by Lin[1]. In his work, he used the MWS
with the vorticity-stream function form of the N-S equations. The most attractive aspect of MWS is the lack of
integration for the model nodes, because the strong form of governing equation is expressed in sense of shape
functions and their direct derivatives. The present paper focuses on the MWS primitive variable method using
fractional step method to achieve velocity-pressure decoupling to solve incompressible viscous flow [2].

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +421 41 5135762.


E-mail address:juraj.muzik@fstav.uniza.sk

1877-7058 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).
Peer-review under responsibility of organizing committee of the XXIII R-S-P seminar, Theoretical Foundation of Civil Engineering (23RSP)
doi:10.1016/j.proeng.2014.12.070

335

Juraj Muk / Procedia Engineering 91 (2014) 334 339

2. Meshless Shape Function Formulation - Radial Point Interpolation method


Using radial basis functions (RBF) is one of the best solutions to construct the meshless shape function. Multiquadratic RBF function is one of the most popular radial function [3] and is defined as
R i X

H2

(1)

where ri is the distance between the desired point (X) and the field node i (Xi) defined simply as 2D Euclidean
distance. Constants and q in the Eq.1 are constants that depend on the type of problem. The RPIM interpolation
augmented with polynomials can be written as
u X

R ( X)a  p
i

i 1

( X )b j

R T (X)a  p T (X)b

(2)

j 1

where Ri(X) is the radial basis function (RBF), n is the number of RBFs, pj(X) is polynomial basis function, m is
number of polynomial basis function, ai and bj are interpolation coefficients. In order to determine ai and bj a support
domain is formed for the point of interest at X, and n field nodes are included in the support domain. Interpolation
coefficients can be determined by enforcing the Eq.2 to be satisfied at these n nodes surrounding the point of interest
X. This leads to n linear equations, one for each node. The equation system in matrix form can be expressed as

US

(3)

Ra  Pm b

where US is the vector of nodal function values, the RBF moment matrix is and the Pm is polynomial moment
matrix. Eq.3 can be subsequently rewritten as

>R

u X R T (X)a  p T (X)b

a
p T X
b

(4)

and following set of equations is used to obtain unknown vectors of parameters a, b


~
US

U S
0

R
P T
m

Pm a
0 b

a
G
b

(5)

Using Eq.5 we can obtain


u X

>R

~
(X) p T (X) G 1US

~
~
T (X)US

(6)

and finally the RPIM shape functions corresponding to the nodal vector (X) are obtained as

T X

>I1 X

I 2 X  I n X @

(7)

Then the unknown function approximation can be written using the RPIM shape functions and nodal displacements
u X T ( X ) U S

I u
i

i 1

and the I-th derivatives of unknown function u(X) are easily obtained as

(8)

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Juraj Muk / Procedia Engineering 91 (2014) 334 339

w I R T ( X)
I X
I
wX

w I p T ( X ) 1
G
wX I

(9)

Note that G-1 usually exists for arbitrarily scattered nodes. Therefore, there is no singularity problem in the RPIM as
a small number of nodes are used in the local support domain [4].
3. Governing Equations and Fractional-Step Algorithm
The governing equations for unsteady incompressible viscous fluid flow are Navier-Stokes equations with the
continuity equation in the convection term [2,5, 6]. This equation can be written as
wu
wt

wu
wu wp
1 w 2u w 2u
u
v 
 fx

wx
wy wx
Re wx 2 wy 2

(10)

wv
wt

wv
wv wp
1 w 2 v w 2 v
u v 
 fy

wx
wy wy
Re wx 2 wy 2

(11)

wu wv

wx wy

(12)

where u and v are the velocities in x and y direction respectively, p is the pressure, fx and fy are the body forces, Re
is Reynolds number. Eq. 10 and Eq. 11 are the momentum equations and Eq.12 is the continuity equation. A
fractional-step algorithm is used to solve this problem (see [2,3]). The time derivative of the velocity vector in a
momentum Eq. 10 and Eq. 11 can be replaced with a difference approximation and following relation is obtained
u n 1  u n
't

u n 1

1 w 2u n w 2u n


Re wx 2
wy 2

n wu n
wu n wp n
 u
 f xn

 vn
wx
wy
wx

1 w 2u n w 2u n
u n  't 2 
wy 2
Re wx

wu n
wu n
wp n
 u n
 vn
 f xn  't
wx
wy
wx

(13)

(14)

and
v n 1  v n
't

v n 1

1 w 2v n w 2v n


Re wx 2
wy 2

wv n w p n
wv n
 u n
 f yn

 vn
wy
wy
wx

1 w 2v n w 2v n
v n  't 2 
wy 2
Re wx

wp n
wv n
wv n
 u n
 vn
 f yn  't
wy
wx
wy

(15)

(16)

where upper indexes n and n+1 indicate the time step. Eq.14 and Eq.16 are explicit formula for convection and
viscous terms and the implicit one for a pressure term. To simplify Eq.14 and Eq.16 we used the fractional step
approximation (see e.g. [2]). According this approximation the intermediate velocities n and n are computed using
simplified momentum equation
u~ n

1 w 2u n w 2u n
u n  't 2 
wy 2
Re wx

n wu n
wu n
 u
 vn
 f xn
x
y
w
w

(17)

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Juraj Muk / Procedia Engineering 91 (2014) 334 339

v~ n

1 w 2v n w 2v n
v n  't 2 
wy 2
Re wx

(18)

n wv n
wv n
 u
 vn
 f yn
wx
wy

When we compare Eq.14, 16 and Eq.17, 18 we get


n

u n 1

wp
u~ n  't
wx

v n 1

wp
v~ n  't
wy

(19)

(20)

The intermediate velocities n and n does not satisfy the continuity equation(Eq. 12). The velocities un+1 and vn+1
must satisfy the continuity equation which implies
w2 pn w2 pn

wx 2
wy 2

1 wu~ n wv~ n


wy
't wx

(21)

Eq.21 is the Poissons equation with non-zero source term [2]. The Eq.19 and Eq.20 are solved explicitly by
updating nodal values for velocities. The pressure Eq.21 is solved using MWS over problem domain with boundary
conditions pn|u = p n and pn/n = q n.
4. The MWS method formulation
The meshless weak-strong form method (MWS) is truly meshless method which requires no elements or global
background mesh, for either interpolation or integration purposes. In MWS the problem domain is represented by a
set of arbitrarily distributed nodes. There is possibility to use two different sets of nodes, one set for interpolation of
the primary function and second as collocation points at which the governing equation should be satisfied. In MWS
method implementation the same nodes are used as interpolation and collocation nodes. The unknown function
defined in terms of nodal values using the RBF shape functions have the form of Eq.8 and its derivatives in form of
Eq.9. These terms used directly in strong form of the Poisson equation (Eq.21) so for each node the corresponding
equation is formulated without any integration. The local weak form of Eq.21 is used only for points within global
boundary where natural boundary condition is defined. This hybrid formulation makes the imposition of the natural
boundary condition very easy. The equation for collocatable points can be written as:
w 2 T ( x, y ) w 2 T ( x, y ) n


p
wx 2
wy 2

1 w T ( x, y ) ~ n w T ( x, y ) ~ n

u 
v
't
wx
wy

(22)

For points within the global boundary with natural boundary condition, the weighted residual method is used to
create the discrete equation by integrating the governing equation over local quadrature domain. The quadrature
domain can be arbitrary in theory, but very simple regularly shaped domain, such as rectangles for 2D problems are
often used for ease of implementation [6]. A generalized local weak form of the pressure Poisson Eq. 21 defined
over local sub-domain s can be written as
w T ( x , y ) ww w T ( x , y ) ww

w T ( x , y )
d: 

wd* p n

wx
wx
wy
wy
wn
: s

*su

q wd* 

*sq

1
T ( x, y )u~ n n1 w  T ( x, y )~v n n2 w d*  '1t T ( x, y )u~ n wwwx  T ( x, y )~v n wwwy d:
't w: s

:s

where is the vector trial function values, w is the second order spline test function (For details see [1]).

(23)

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Juraj Muk / Procedia Engineering 91 (2014) 334 339

The fractional step algorithm can be summarized as follows


x Start with initial velocity and pressure field
x Compute intermediate velocity field using Eq.17 and Eq.18 for each node
x Solve the Poisson equation (Eq.21) using MWS to obtain the pressure
x Update velocities using Eq.19 and Eq.20
5. Numerical Example
In this section the MWS solution of Navier-Stokes equations developed in the previous sections is validated by
solving the Couette flow example as a benchmark problem of fluid flow simulation [7, 9]. The problem domain (see
Fig.1) is formed by regular nodal model with 41x81 nodes and nodal spacing of ns = 0.025.

Fig. 1. Network and boundary conditions for Couette flow.

The plain Couette flow is defined as viscous flow between two parallel plates with zero external pressure
gradient. The bottom plate is stationary and the upper plate is moving with constant velocity and the distance
between plates h = 1 (see Fig.1). The exact solution of the unsteady Couette flow is often reported as
u y, t

y

S
k 1

 1 k sin kSy e k S tQ

(24)

2 2

where is the kinematic viscosity of fluid [8]. Rectangular computational domain (see Fig. 1) has been used to solve
Couette flow. Because the laminar Couette flow is valid only for very low Reynolds number, our computations
have been carried out with Re = 1. The time step has been constant t = 0.0001 [3].
Horizontal velocity distribution at various time intervals has been compared with the corresponding exact solution
according Eq.24 and presented in Fig. 2. The results for time t = 0.01[s] and t = 0.1[s] shows that the solution using
MWS moves slightly away from the exact solution with errors according to L2 norm err|t=0.01 = 4.789x10-1 and
err|t=0.1 = 3.745x10-1. Table 1 lists errors for all five time intervals.
Table 1. L2 errors of Couette flow.
Time interval
t = 0.001

t = 0.01

t = 0.05

t = 0.1

t = 1.0

2.897 x 10-2

4.789 x 10-1

7.567 x 10-2

3.745 x 10-1

7.134 x 10-4

Juraj Muk / Procedia Engineering 91 (2014) 334 339

339

The differential nature of the MWS method is responsible for the slight inaccuracy because differentiation is
roughening operator unlike the integration. Methods based on strong formulation are unstable and needs some sort
of tuning (support domain size, MQ function shape parameters, nodal distribution) which is mainly valid for specific
type of problem or geometry.

Fig. 2. Comparison of results for Couette flow.

6. Conclusions
In this article, a numerical algorithm using the meshless weak-strong (MWS) method for the incompressible
Navier-Stokes equations is demonstrated. To deal with convection term, the fractional step method was adopted and
the set of recurrent equations was derived for time stepping procedure. The ability of the MWS code to solve fluid
dynamics problems was presented by solving Couette flow problem with reasonable accuracy when compared to
exact solution.
Acknowledgements
This contribution is the result of the project supported by Scientific Grant Agency of Slovak Republic (VEGA) No.
1-0789-12.
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