A Higher Order Accurate Finite Element Method for Viscous Compressible Flows


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Virginia Tech


The Streamline Upwind/Petrov-Galerkin (SU/PG) method is applied to higher-order finite-element discretizations of the Euler equations in one dimension and the Navier-Stokes equations in two dimensions. The unknown flow quantities are discretized on meshes of triangular elements using triangular Bezier patches. The nonlinear residual equations are solved using an approximate Newton method with a pseudotime term. The resulting linear system is solved using the Generalized Minimum Residual algorithm with block diagonal preconditioning.

The exact solutions of Ringleb flow and Couette flow are used to quantitatively establish the spatial convergence rate of each discretization. Examples of inviscid flows including subsonic flow past a parabolic bump on a wall and subsonic and transonic flows past a NACA 0012 airfoil and laminar flows including flow past a a flat plate and flow past a NACA 0012 airfoil are included to qualitatively evaluate the accuracy of the discretizations. The scheme achieves higher order accuracy without modification. Based on the test cases presented, significant improvement of the solution can be expected using the higher-order schemes with little or no increase in computational requirements. The nonlinear system also converges at a higher rate as the order of accuracy is increased for the same number of degrees of freedom; however, the linear system becomes more difficult to solve. Several avenues of future research based on the results of the study are identified, including improvement of the SU/PG formulation, development of more general grid generation strategies for higher order elements, the addition of a turbulence model to extend the method to high Reynolds number flows, and extension of the method to three-dimensional flows. An appendix is included in which the method is applied to inviscid flows in three dimensions. The three-dimensional results are preliminary but consistent with the findings based on the two-dimensional scheme.