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Space–time residual distribution on moving meshes

Hubbard, M. E.; Ricchiuto, M.; S�rm�ny, D.

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Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics

M. Ricchiuto

D. S�rm�ny


This article investigates the potential for an r-adaptation algorithm to improve the efficiency of space–time residual distribution schemes in the approximation of time-dependent hyperbolic conservation laws, e.g. scalar advection, shallow water flows, on unstructured, triangular meshes. In this adaptive framework the connectivity of the mesh, and hence the number of degrees of freedom, remain fixed, but the mesh nodes are continually “relocated” as the flow evolves so that features of interest remain resolved as they move within the domain. Adaptive strategies of this type are well suited to the space–time residual distribution framework because, when the discrete representation is allowed to be discontinuous in time, these algorithms can be designed to be positive (and hence stable) for any choice of time-step, even on the distorted space–time prisms which arise from moving the nodes of an unstructured triangular mesh. Consequently, a local increase in mesh resolution does not impose a more restrictive stability constraint on the time-step, which can instead be chosen according to accuracy requirements. The order of accuracy of the fixed-mesh scheme is retained on the moving mesh in the majority of applications tested. Space–time schemes of this type are analogous to conservative ALE formulations and automatically satisfy a discrete geometric conservation law, so moving the mesh does not artificially change the flow volume for pure conservation laws. For shallow water flows over variable bed topography, the so-called C-property (retention of hydrostatic balance between flux and source terms, required to maintain the steady state of still, flat, water) can also be satisfied by considering the mass balance equation in terms of free surface level instead of water depth, even when the mesh is moved. The r-adaptation is applied within each time-step by interleaving the iterations of the nonlinear solver with updates to mesh node positions. The node movement is driven by a monitor function based on weighted approximations of the scaled gradient and Laplacian of the local solution and regularised by a smoothing iteration. Numerical results are shown in two dimensions for both scalar advection and for shallow water flow over a variable bed which show that, even for this simple implementation of the mesh movement, reductions in cpu times of up to 60% can be attained without increasing the error.


Hubbard, M. E., Ricchiuto, M., & Sármány, D. (2020). Space–time residual distribution on moving meshes. Computers and Mathematics with Applications, 79(5), 1561-1589.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 18, 2019
Online Publication Date Oct 9, 2019
Publication Date Mar 1, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 11, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 10, 2020
Journal Computers & Mathematics with Applications
Print ISSN 0898-1221
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 79
Issue 5
Pages 1561-1589
Keywords Moving meshes; Conservative ALE; Upwind residual distribution; Shallow water equations; Discontinuous space–time representation; Well-balanced schemes
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Nov 11, 2019


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