Sequential local mesh refinement solver with separate temporal and spatial adaptivity for non-linear two-phase flow problems

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number109074
Journal / PublicationJournal of Computational Physics
Online published31 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


Convergence failure and slow convergence rates are among the biggest challenges with solving the system of non-linear equations numerically. Although mitigated, such issues still linger when using strictly small time steps and unconditionally stable fully implicit schemes. The price that comes with restricting time steps to small scales is the enormous computational load, especially in large-scale models. To address this problem, we introduce a sequential local mesh refinement framework of temporal and spatial adaptivity to optimize convergence rate and prevent convergence failure, while not restricting the whole system to small time steps, thus improving computational efficiency. Two types of error estimators are introduced to estimate the spatial discretization error, the temporal discretization error separately. These estimators provide a global upper bounds on the dual norm of the residual and the non-conformity of the numerical solution for non-linear two phase flow models. The mesh refinement algorithm starts from solving the problem on the coarsest space-time mesh, then the mesh is refined sequentially based on the spatial error estimator and the temporal error estimator. After each refinement, the solution from the previous mesh is used to estimate the initial guess of unknowns on the current mesh for faster convergence. Numerical results are presented to confirm accuracy of our algorithm as compared to the uniformly fine time step and fine spatial discretization solution. We observe around 25 times speedup in the solution time by using our algorithm.

Research Area(s)

  • Iterative solver, Mixed finite element method, Non-linear system, Sequential local mesh refinement, Space-time domain decomposition