Discretization of three-dimensional free surface flows and moving boundary problems via elliptic grid methods based on variational principles


D.Fraggedakis, J.Papaioannou, Y.Dimakopoulos, J.Tsamopoulos


A new boundary-fitted technique to describe free surface and moving boundary problems is presented. We have extended the 2D elliptic grid generator developed by Dimakopoulos and Tsamopoulos (2003) [19] and further advanced by Chatzidai et al. (2009) [18] to 3D geometries. The set of equations arises from the fulfillment of the variational principles established by Brackbill and Saltzman (1982) [21], and refined by Christodoulou and Scriven (1992) [22]. These account for both smoothness and orthogonality of the grid lines of tessellated physical domains. The elliptic-grid equations are accompanied by new boundary constraints and conditions which are based either on the equidistribution of the nodes on boundary surfaces or on the existing 2D quasi-elliptic grid methodologies. The capabilities of the proposed algorithm are first demonstrated in tests with analytically described complex surfaces. The sequence in which these tests are presented is chosen to help the reader build up experience on the best choice of the elliptic grid parameters. Subsequently, the mesh equations are coupled with the Navier–Stokes equations, in order to reveal the full potential of the proposed methodology in free surface flows. More specifically, the problem of gas assisted injection in ducts of circular and square cross-sections is examined, where the fluid domain experiences extreme deformations. Finally, the flow-mesh solver is used to calculate the equilibrium shapes of staticmenisci in capillary tubes.


Moving boundary problems, Mesh generation, Free-surface flows, Elliptic-grid generation, Moving contact line, Contact angle models