A spectral element formulation of the immersed boundary method for Newtonian fluids

C.F. Rowlatt, T.N. Phillips

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A spectral element formulation of the immersed boundary method (IBM) is presented. The spectral element formulation (SE-IBM) is a generalisation of the finite element immersed boundary method (FE-IBM) based on high-order approximations of the fluid variables. Several schemes for tracking the movement of the immersed boundary are considered and a semi-implicit Euler scheme is shown to offer advantages in terms of accuracy and efficiency. High-order spectral element approximations provide improved area conservation properties of the IBM due to the incompressibility constraint being more accurately satisfied. Superior orders of convergence are obtained for SE-IBM compared with FE-IBM in both L2 and H1 norms. The area conservation and convergence properties of the scheme are demonstrated on a series of benchmark problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-57
Number of pages29
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • immersed boundary method
  • spectral element
  • fluid–structure interaction
  • Newtonian

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