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Numerical simulation of two-dimensional Kelvin-Helmholtz instability using weakly compressible smoothed particle hydrodynamics

Yue, Thomas; Pearce, Frazer; Kruisbrink, Arno; Morvan, Herve


Thomas Yue

Arno Kruisbrink

Herve Morvan


The growth of the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability generated at the interface between two ideal gases is studied by means of a Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) scheme suitable for multi-fluids. The SPH scheme is based on the continuity equation approach where the densities of SPH particles are evolved during the simulation, in combination with a momentum equation previously proposed in the literature. A series of simulations were carried out to investigate the influence of viscosity, smoothing, the thickness of density and velocity transition layers. It was found that the effective viscosity of the presented results are strongly dependent on the artificial viscosity parameter αAV, with a linear dependence of 0.15. The utilisation of a viscosity switch is found to significantly reduce the spurious viscosity dependence to 1.68 × 10−4 and generated qualitatively improved behaviour for inviscid fluids. The linear growth rate in the numerical solutions is found to be in satisfactory agreement with analytical expectations, with an average relative error 〈ηsmooth〉=13%. In addition, the role played by velocity and density transition layers is also in general agreement with the analytical theory, except for the sharp-velocity, finite-density gradient cases where the larger growth rate than the classical growth rate is expected. We argue the inherited smoothing properties of the velocity field during the simulations are responsible for causing this discrepancy. Finally, the SPH results are in good agreement for finite velocity and density gradient scenarios, where an average relative error of 〈ηsmooth〉=11.5% is found in our work.


Yue, T., Pearce, F., Kruisbrink, A., & Morvan, H. (2015). Numerical simulation of two-dimensional Kelvin-Helmholtz instability using weakly compressible smoothed particle hydrodynamics. International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids, 78(5), doi:10.1002/fld.4017

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 24, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 20, 2015
Publication Date Jun 25, 2015
Deposit Date Aug 7, 2017
Journal International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids
Print ISSN 0271-2091
Electronic ISSN 1097-0363
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 78
Issue 5
Keywords smoothed particle hydrodynamics; mesh-free method; hydrodynamic instabilities
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