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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Second-Order accurate volume-of-fluid algorithms for Tracking Material Interfaces


We introduce two new volume-of-fluid interface reconstruction algorithms and compare the accuracy of these algorithms to four other widely used volume-of-fluid interface reconstruction algorithms. We find that when the interface is smooth (e.g., continuous with two continuous derivatives) the new methods are second-order accurate and the other algorithms are first-order accurate. We propose a design criteria for a volume-of-fluid interface reconstruction algorithm to be second-order accurate. Namely, that it reproduce lines in two space dimensions or planes in three space dimensions exactly. We also introduce a second-order, unsplit, volume-of-fluid advection algorithm that is based on a second-order, finite difference method for scalar conservation laws due to Bell, Dawson and Shubin. We test this advection algorithm by modeling several different interface shapes propagating in two simple incompressible flows and compare the results with the standard second-order, operator-split advection algorithm. Although both methods are second-order accurate when the interface is smooth, we find that the unsplit algorithm exhibits noticeably better resolution in regions where the interface has discontinuous derivatives, such as at corners.

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