A spectrally accurate method for overlapping grid solution of incompressible Navier-Stokes equations

Brandon E. Merrill, Yulia Peet, Paul F. Fischer, James W. Lottes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


An overlapping mesh methodology that is spectrally accurate in space and up to third-order accurate in time is developed for solution of unsteady incompressible flow equations in three-dimensional domains. The ability to decompose a global domain into separate, but overlapping, subdomains eases mesh generation procedures and increases flexibility of modeling flows with complex geometries. The methodology employs implicit spectral element discretization of equations in each subdomain and explicit treatment of subdomain interfaces with spectrally-accurate spatial interpolation and high-order accurate temporal extrapolation, and requires few, if any, iterations, yet maintains the global accuracy and stability of the underlying flow solver. The overlapping mesh methodology is thoroughly validated using two-dimensional and three-dimensional benchmark problems in laminar and turbulent flows. The spatial and temporal convergence is documented and is in agreement with the nominal order of accuracy of the solver. The influence of long integration times, as well as inflow-outflow global boundary conditions on the performance of the overlapping grid solver is assessed. In a turbulent benchmark of fully-developed turbulent pipe flow, the turbulent statistics with the overlapping grids is validated against published available experimental and other computation data. Scaling tests are presented that show near linear strong scaling, even for moderately large processor counts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-93
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - Feb 15 2016


  • Navier-Stokes equations
  • Overlapping grid methods
  • Spectral accuracy
  • Spectral element method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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