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Simulating Free Surface Flows using SPH

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This work was pursued to develop and demonstrate in-house capabilities in simulating free surface flows using the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics method (SPH). Free surface flow is important for engineers who deal with sloshing inside containers, waves hitting ships or structures, breaking of dam wall, etc. SPH solves fluid flows by modeling the fluid as discrete particles. It does not require a mesh, and hence does not suffer from the typical limitations of mesh based methods. The current work was of interest to our customers in civil infrastructure and construction industry, who needed tools for estimating maximum water level in river or canal when it is being released from reservoir or dam.

A flexible and extendible framework for SPH was developed. The framework is also parallelized to run on clusters and incorporates load balancing techniques for good particle distribution. Basic incompressible flow using a weakly compressible method has been implemented. The framework is made extendible so that modules like surface tension, heat transfer, multi-phase etc can be easily incorporated.

Illustration
2-D Dambreak problem simulation on 4 processors. Particles are colored according to the processor they are assigned to. Load balancing is clearly seen as the simulation proceeds.

The free surface SPH code was validated against the standard 2-D dam break case. This case consists of a 2-D column of water constrained from one side, is allowed to flow. The same code was used to predict the 3D case of dam break too where a 3D cube-shaped column of water is allowed to flow.

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