Adaptive unstructured mesh modelling of multiphase flows

Zhihua Xie (Corresponding Author), Dimitrios Pavlidis, James R. Percival, Jefferson L.M.A. Gomes, Omar Matar, Christopher C. Pain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Multiphase flows are often found in industrial and practical engineering applications, including bubbles, droplets, liquid film and waves. An adaptive unstructured mesh modelling framework is employed here to study interfacial flow problems, which can modify and adapt anisotropic unstructured meshes to better represent the underlying physics of multiphase problems and reduce computational effort without sacrificing accuracy. The numerical framework consists of a mixed control volume and finite element formulation, a ‘volume of fluid’-type method for the interface capturing based on a compressive control volume advection method and second-order finite element methods. The framework also features a force-balanced algorithm for the surface tension implementation, minimising the spurious velocities often found in such flows. Numerical examples of the Rayleigh–Taylor instability and a rising bubble are presented to show the ability of this adaptive unstructured mesh modelling framework to capture complex interface geometries and also to increase the efficiency in multiphase flow simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-110
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Multiphase Flow
Issue numberSuppl.
Early online date15 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank the EPSRC MEMPHIS multiphase Programme Grant (No. EP/K003976/1), the EPSRC Computational Modelling for Advanced Nuclear Power Plants Project and the EU FP7 Projects THINS and GoFastR for helping to fund this work.


  • anisotropic mesh adaptivity
  • interface-capturing
  • Rayleigh-Taylor instability
  • rising bubble
  • surface tension
  • two-phase flows


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