A multilevel adaptive projection method for unsteady incompressible flow

Louis H. Howell

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Livermore, CA 94550


There are two main requirements for practical simulation of unsteady flow at high Reynolds number: The algorithm must accurately propagate discontinuous flow fields without excessive artificial viscosity, and it must have some adaptive capability to concentrate computational effort where it is most needed. We satisfy the first of these requirements with a second-order Godunov method similar to those used for high-speed flows with shocks, and the second with a grid-based refinement scheme which avoids some of the drawbacks associated with unstructured meshes.

These two features of our algorithm place certain constraints on the projection method used to enforce incompressibility. Velocities are cell-based, leading to a Laplacian stencil for the projection which decouples adjacent grid points. We discuss features of the multigrid and multilevel iteration schemes required for solution of the resulting decoupled problem. Variable-density flows require use of a modified projection operator - we have found a multigrid method for this modified projection that successfully handles density jumps of thousands to one. Numerical results are shown for the 2D adaptive and 3D variable-density algorithms.