Fractional step artificial compressibility schemes for the unsteady incompressible Navier-Stokes equations

H. S. Tang, Fotis Sotiropoulos

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28 Scopus citations


We propose a novel, time-accurate approach for solving the unsteady, three-dimensional, incompressible Navier-Stokes equations on non-staggered grids. The approach modifies the standard, dual-time stepping artificial-compressibility (AC) iteration scheme by incorporating ideas from pressure-based, fractional-step (FS) formulations. The resulting hybrid fractional-step/artificial-compressibility (FSAC) method is second-order accurate and advances the Navier-Stokes equations in time via a two-step procedure. In the first step, which is identical to the convection-diffusion step in pressure-based FS methods, a preliminary velocity field is calculated, which is not divergence-free. In the second step, however, instead of deriving a pressure-Poisson equation as in FS methods, the projection of the velocity field into the solenoidal vector space is implemented using a dual-time stepping AC formulation. Unlike the standard dual-time stepping AC formulations, where the dual-time iterations are carried out with the entire non-linear system, in the FSAC scheme the convective and viscous terms are computed only once or twice per physical time step. Numerical experiments show that the proposed method provides second-order accurate solutions and requires considerably less CPU time than the widely used standard AC formulation. To demonstrate its ability to compute complicate problems, the method is also applied to a flow past cylinder with endplates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)974-986
Number of pages13
JournalComputers and Fluids
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions. Dr. S.C. Jones also provided help on this work. This paper is sponsored by NSF CAREER award 9875691.


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