Lagrangian vs. Eulerian: An analysis of two solution methods for free-surface flows and fluid solid interaction problems


As a step towards addressing a scarcity of references on this topic, we compared the Eulerian and Lagrangian Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) approaches for the solution of free-surface and Fluid–Solid Interaction (FSI) problems. The Eulerian approach uses the Finite Element Method (FEM) to spatially discretize the Navier–Stokes equations. The free surface is handled via the volume-of-fluid (VOF) and the level-set (LS) equations; an Immersed Boundary Method (IBM) in conjunction with the Nitsche’s technique were applied to resolve the fluid–solid coupling. For the Lagrangian approach, the smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) method is the meshless discretization technique of choice; no additional equations are needed to handle free-surface or FSI coupling. We compared the two approaches for a flow around cylinder. The dam break test was used to gauge the performance for free-surface flows. Lastly, the two approaches were compared on two FSI problems—one with a floating rigid body dropped into the fluid and one with an elastic gate interacting with the flow. We conclude with a discussion of the robustness, ease of model setup, and versatility of the two approaches. The Eulerian and Lagrangian solvers used in this study are open-source and available in the public domain.


Milad Rakhsha, Christopher E. Kees, Dan Negrut

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