Structure-Preserving Methods for the Navier-Stokes-Cahn-Hilliard System to Model Immiscible Fluids

  • Adel Sarmiento

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This work presents a novel method to model immiscible incompressible fluids in a stable manner. Here, the immiscible behavior of the flow is described by the incompressible Navier-Stokes-Cahn-Hilliard model, which is based on a diffuse interface method. We introduce buoyancy effects in the model through the Boussinesq approximation in a consistent manner. A structure-preserving discretization is used to guarantee the linear stability of the discrete problem and to satisfy the incompressibility of the discrete solution at every point in space by construction. For the solution of the model, we developed the Portable Extensible Toolkit for Isogeometric Analysis with Multi-Field discretizations (PetIGA-MF), a high-performance framework that supports structure-preserving spaces. PetIGA-MF is built on top of PetIGA and the Portable Extensible Toolkit for Scientific Computation (PETSc), sharing all their user-friendly, performance, and flexibility features. Herein, we describe the implementation of our model in PetIGA-MF and the details of the numerical solution. With several numerical tests, we verify the convergence, scalability, and validity of our approach. We use highly-resolved numerical simulations to analyze the merging and rising of droplets. From these simulations, we detailed the energy exchanges in the system to evaluate quantitatively the quality of our simulations. The good agreement of our results when compared against theoretical descriptions of the merging, and the small errors found in the energy analysis, allow us to validate our approach. Additionally, we present the development of an unconditionally energy-stable generalized-alpha method for the Swift-Hohenberg model that offers control over the numerical dissipation. A pattern formation example demonstrates the energy-stability and convergence of our method.
Date of AwardDec 3 2017
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorMatteo Parsani (Supervisor) & Victor Calo (Supervisor)


  • immiscible
  • incompressible
  • structure-preserving
  • divergence-conforming
  • Navier-Stokes-Cahn-Hilliard

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