A Moving Embedded Boundary Approach for the Compressible Navier-Stokes Equations in a Block-Structured Adaptive Refinement Framework

Mahesh Natarajan, Ray Grout, Weiqun Zhang, Marc Day

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6 Scopus Citations


A computational technique has been developed to perform compressible flow simulations involving moving boundaries using an embedded boundary approach within the block-structured adaptive mesh refinement (SAMR) framework of AMReX [1,91,92]. We leverage the SAMR capability to obtain quantitatively accurate results whilst using robust, second-order finite volume schemes. A conservative, unsplit, cut-cell approach is utilized and a ghost-cell approach is developed for computing the flux on the moving, embedded boundary faces. A third-order least-squares formulation has been developed to compute the wall velocity gradients, and was found to significantly improve the performance of the solver in terms of the quantitative comparison of surface quantities such as the skin friction coefficient. Various test cases are performed to validate the method, and compared with analytical, experimental, and other numerical results in literature. Inviscid and viscous test cases are performed that span a wide regime of flow speeds – acoustic (harmonically pulsating sphere), smooth flows (expansion fan created by a receding piston) and flows with shocks (shock-cylinder interaction, shock-wedge interaction, pitching NACA 0012 airfoil and shock-cone interaction). A closed system with moving boundaries – an oscillating piston in a cylinder, showed that the percentage error in mass within the system decreases with refinement, demonstrating that the numerical scheme is conservative with grid refinement, but is not discretely conservative. Viscous test cases involve that of a horizontally moving cylinder at Re=40, an inline oscillating cylinder at Re=100, and a transversely oscillating cylinder at Re=185. The judicious use of adaptive mesh refinement with appropriate refinement criteria to capture the regions of interest leads to well-resolved flow features, and good quantitative comparison is observed with the results available in literature.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 111315
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2C00-83587


  • Adaptive refinement
  • AMReX
  • Compressible flow
  • Cut-cell
  • Embedded boundary
  • Moving bodies


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