Comparison of structured- and unstructured-grid, compressible and incompressible methods using the vortex pairing problem

Panagiotis Tsoutsanis, Ioannis Kokkinakis, László Könözsy, Dimitris Drikakis, Robin J.R. Williams, David L. Youngs

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71 Citations (Scopus)
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The accuracy, robustness, dissipation characteristics and efficiency of several structured and unstructured grid methods are investigated with reference to the low Mach double vortex pairing flow problem. The aim of the study is to shed light into the numerical advantages and disadvantages of different numerical discretizations, principally designed for shock-capturing, in low Mach vortical flows. The methods include structured and unstructured finite volume and Lagrange-Remap methods, with accuracy ranging from 2nd to 9th-order, with and without applying low-Mach corrections. Comparison of the schemes is presented for the vortex evolution, momentum thickness, as well as for their numerical dissipation versus the viscous and total dissipation. The study shows that the momentum thickness and large scale features of a basic vortical structure are well resolved even at the lowest grid resolution of 32×32 provided that the numerical schemes are of a high-order of accuracy or the numerical framework is sufficiently non-dissipative. The implementation of the finite volume methods in unstructured triangular meshes provides the best results even without low Mach number corrections provided that a higher-order advective discretization for the advective fluxes is employed. The compressible Lagrange-Remap framework is computationally the fastest one, although the numerical error for the momentum thickness does not reduce as fast as for other numerical schemes and computational frameworks, e.g., when higher-order schemes are utilized. It is also shown that the low-Mach number correction has a lesser effect on the results as the order of the spatial accuracy increases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-231
Number of pages25
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
Early online date6 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2015


  • high resolution
  • high order
  • low mach
  • vortex


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