A two-phase adaptive finite element method for solid-fluid coupling in complex geometries

Xavier Garcia, Dimitrios Pavlidis (Corresponding Author), Gerard J Gorman, Jefferson L M A Gomes, Matthew D Piggott, Elsa Aristodemou, Julian Mindel, John-Paul Latham, Christopher C Pain, Helen ApSimon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we present a method to solve the Navier–Stokes equations in complex geometries, such as porous sands, using a finite-element solver but without the complexity of meshing the porous space. The method is based on treating the solid boundaries as a second fluid and solving a set of equations similar to those used for multi-fluid flow. When combined with anisotropic mesh adaptivity, it is possible to resolve complex geometries starting with an arbitrary coarse mesh. The approach is validated by comparing simulation results with available data in three test cases. In the first we simulate the flow past a cylinder. The second test case compares the pressure drop in flow through random packs of spheres with the Ergun equation. In the last case simulation results are compared with experimental data on the flow past a simplified vehicle model (Ahmed body) at high Reynolds number using large-eddy simulation (LES). Results are in good agreement with all three reference models. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-96
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jan 2010
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2011


  • two-fluid approach
  • anisotropic mesh adaptivity
  • Ergun equation
  • flow past a cylinder
  • flow past sphere packs
  • flow past the Ahmed body


Dive into the research topics of 'A two-phase adaptive finite element method for solid-fluid coupling in complex geometries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this