For computational fluid dynamics, the governing equations are solved on a discretized domain of nodes, faces, and cells. The quality of the grid or mesh can be a driving source for error in the results. While refinement studies can help guide the creation of a mesh, grid quality is largely determined by user expertise and understanding of the flow physics. Adaptive mesh refinement is a technique for enriching the mesh during a simulation based on metrics for error, impact on important parameters, or location of important flow features. This can offload from the user some of the difficult and ambiguous decisions necessary when discretizing the domain. This work explores the implementation of adaptive mesh refinement in an implicit, unstructured, finite-volume solver. Consideration is made for applying modern computational techniques in the presence of hanging nodes and refined cells. The approach is developed to be independent of the flow solver in order to provide a path for augmenting existing codes. It is designed to be applicable for unsteady simulations and refinement and coarsening of the grid does not impact the conservatism of the underlying numerics. The effect on high-order numerical fluxes of fourth- and sixth-order are explored. Provided the criteria for refinement is appropriately selected, solutions obtained using adapted meshes have no additional error when compared to results obtained on traditional, unadapted meshes. In order to leverage large-scale computational resources common today, the methods are parallelized using MPI. Parallel performance is considered for several test problems in order to assess scalability of both adapted and unadapted grids. Dynamic repartitioning of the mesh during refinement is crucial for load balancing an evolving grid. Development of the methods outlined here depend on a dual-memory approach that is described in detail. Validation of the solver developed here against a number of motivating problems shows favorable comparisons across a range of regimes. Unsteady and steady applications are considered in both subsonic and supersonic flows. Inviscid and viscous simulations achieve similar results at a much reduced cost when employing dynamic mesh adaptation. Several techniques for guiding adaptation are compared. Detailed analysis of statistics from the instrumented solver enable understanding of the costs associated with adaptation. Adaptive mesh refinement shows promise for the test cases presented here. It can be considerably faster than using conventional grids and provides accurate results. The procedures for adapting the grid are light-weight enough to not require significant computational time and yield significant reductions in grid size.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics. Advisor: Graham Candler. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 191 pages.
Parallel Adaptive Mesh Refinement for High-Order Finite-Volume Schemes in Computational Fluid Dynamics.
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