A novel coupled level set and volume of fluid method for sharp interface capturing on 3D tetrahedral grids

Xin Lv*, Qingping Zou, Yong Zhao, Dominic E. Reeve

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


We present a new three-dimensional hybrid level set (LS) and volume of fluid (VOF) method for free surface flow simulations on tetrahedral 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 second-order characteristic based finite volume method. The volume fraction advection is performed using a bounded compressive normalized variable diagram (NVD) based scheme. The interface is reconstructed based on both the level set and the volume fraction information. The novelty of the method lies in that we use an analytic method for finding the intercepts on tetrahedral grids, which makes interface reconstruction efficient and conserves volume of fluid exactly. Furthermore, the advection of volume fraction makes use of the NVD concept and switches between different high resolution differencing schemes to yield a bounded scalar field, and to preserve both smoothness and sharp definition of the interface. The method is coupled to a well validated finite volume based Navier-Stokes incompressible flow solver. The code validation shows that our method can be employed to resolve complex interface changes efficiently and accurately. In addition, the centroid and intercept data available as a by-product of the proposed interface reconstruction scheme can be used directly in near-interface sub-grid models in large eddy simulation. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2573-2604
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


  • Finite volume method
  • Free surface
  • Level set
  • Tetrahedral grid
  • VOF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications


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