An adaptive coupled level-set/volume-of-fluid interface capturing method for unstructured triangular grids

Xiaofeng Yang, Ashley J. James, John Lowengrub, Xiaoming Zheng, Vittorio Cristini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


We present an adaptive coupled level-set/volume-of-fluid (ACLSVOF) method for interfacial flow simulations on unstructured triangular grids. At each time step, we evolve both the level set function and the volume fraction. The level set function is evolved by solving the level set advection equation using a discontinuous Galerkin finite element method. The volume fraction advection is performed using a Lagrangian-Eulerian method. The interface is reconstructed based on both the level set and the volume fraction information. In particular, the interface normal vector is calculated from the level set function while the line constant is determined by enforcing mass conservation based on the volume fraction. Different from previous works, we have developed an analytic method for finding the line constant on triangular grids, which makes interface reconstruction efficient and conserves volume of fluid exactly. The level set function is finally reinitialized to the signed distance to the reconstructed interface. Since the level set function is continuous, the normal vector calculation is easy and accurate compared to a classic volume-of-fluid method, while tracking the volume fraction is essential for enforcing mass conservation. The method is also coupled to a finite element based Stokes flow solver. The code validation shows that our method is second order and mass is conserved very accurately. In addition, owing to the adaptive grid algorithm we can resolve complex interface changes and interfaces of high curvature efficiently and accurately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-394
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 20 2006


  • Interface
  • Level set
  • Unstructured grid
  • VOF


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