Unstructured Nodal Discontinuous Galerkin Method for Convection-Diffusion Equations Applied to Neutral Fluids and Plasmas


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Virginia Tech


In recent years, the discontinuous Galerkin (DG) method has been successfully applied to solving hyperbolic conservation laws. Due to its compactness, high order accuracy, and versatility, the DG method has been extensively applied to convection-diffusion problems. In this dissertation, a numerical package, texttt{PHORCE}, is introduced to solve a number of convection-diffusion problems in neutral fluids and plasmas. Unstructured grids are used in order to randomize grid errors, which is especially important for complex geometries. texttt{PHORCE} is written in texttt{C++} and fully parallelized using the texttt{MPI} library. Memory optimization has been considered in this work to achieve improved efficiency. DG algorithms for hyperbolic terms are well studied. However, an accurate and efficient diffusion solver still constitutes ongoing research, especially for a nodal representation of the discontinuous Galerkin (NDG) method. An affine reconstructed discontinuous Galerkin (aRDG) algorithm is developed in this work to solve the diffusive operator using an unstructured NDG method. Unlike other reconstructed/recovery algorithms, all computations can be performed on a reference domain, which promotes efficiency in computation and storage. In addition, to the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first practical guideline that has been proposed for applying the reconstruction algorithm on a nodal discontinuous Galerkin method. TVB type and WENO type limiters are also studied to deal with numerical oscillations in regions with strong physical gradients in state variables. A high-order positivity-preserving limiter is also extended in this work to prevent negative densities and pressure. A new interface tracking method, mass of fluid (MOF), along with its bound limiter has been proposed in this work to compute the mass fractions of different fluids over time. Hydrodynamic models, such as Euler and Navier-Stokes equations, and plasma models, such as ideal-magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and two-fluid plasma equations, are studied and benchmarked with various applications using this DG framework. Numerical computations of Rayleigh-Taylor instability growth with experimentally relevant parameters are performed using hydrodynamic and MHD models on planar and radially converging domains. Discussions of the suppression mechanisms of Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities due to magnetic fields, viscosity, resistivity, and thermal conductivity are also included.

This work was partially supported by the US Department of Energy under grant number DE-SC0016515.

The author acknowledges Advanced Research Computing at Virginia Tech for providing computational resources and technical support that have contributed to the results reported within this work. URL: http://www.arc.vt.edu



Nodal Discontinuous Galerkin, Magnetohydrodynamics, Two-Fluid Plasma Model, Plasma Instabilities, Convection-Diffusion, Reconstruction, Mass of Fluid