Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Numerical simulations of nonlinear axisymmetric flows with a free surface

Douglas G.  Dommermuth a1 and Dick K. P.  Yue a1
a1 Department of Ocean Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Article author query
dommermuth dg   [Google Scholar] 
yue dk   [Google Scholar] 


A numerical method is developed for nonlinear three-dimensional but axisymmetric free-surface problems using a mixed Eulerian-Lagrangian scheme under the assumption of potential flow. Taking advantage of axisymmetry, Rankine ring sources are used in a Green's theorem boundary-integral formulation to solve the field equation; and the free surface is then updated in time following Lagrangian points. A special treatment of the free surface and body intersection points is generalized to this case which avoids the difficulties associated with the singularity there. To allow for long-time simulations, the nonlinear computational domain is matched to a transient linear wavefield outside. When the matching boundary is placed at a suitable distance (depending on wave amplitude), numerical simulations can, in principle, be continued indefinitely in time. Based on a simple stability argument, a regriding algorithm similar to that of Fink & Soh (1974) for vortex sheets is generalized to free-surface flows, which removes the instabilities experienced by earlier investigators and eliminates the need for artificial smoothing. The resulting scheme is very robust and stable.

For illustration, three computational examples are presented: (i) the growth and collapse of a vapour cavity near the free surface; (ii) the heaving of a floating vertical cylinder starting from rest; and (iii) the heaving of an inverted vertical cone. For the cavity problem, there is excellent agreement with available experiments. For the wave-body interaction calculations, we are able to obtain and analyse steady-state (limit-cycle) results for the force and flow field in the vicinity of the body.

(Published Online April 21 2006)
(Received June 25 1986)