Moving particles through a finite element mesh
Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
We present a new numerical technique for modeling the flow around multiple objects moving in a fluid. The method tracks the dynamic interaction between each particle and the fluid. The movements of the fluid and the object are directly coupled. A background mesh is designed to fit the geometry of the overall domain. The mesh is designed independently of the presence of the particles except in terms of how fine it must be to track particles of a given size. Each particle is represented by a
... tric figure that describes its boundary. This figure overlies the mesh. Nodes are added to the mesh where the particle boundaries intersect the background mesh, increasing the number of nodes contained in each element whose boundary is intersected. These additional nodes are then used to describe and track the particle in the numerical scheme. Appropriate element shape functions are defined to approximate the solution on the elements with extra nodes. The particles are moved through the mesh by moving only the overlying nodes defining the particles. The regular finite element grid remains unchanged. In this method, the mesh does not distort as the particles move. Instead, only the placement of particledefining nodes changes as the particles move. Element shape functions are updated as the nodes move through the elements. This method is especially suited for models of moderate numbers of moderate-size particles, where the details of the fluid-particle coupling are important. Both the complications of creating finite element meshes around appreciable numbers of particles, and extensive remeshing upon movement of the particles are simplified in this method.