A Front-Tracking Method for the Computations of Multiphase Flow

G. Tryggvason*, B. Bunner, A. Esmaeeli, D. Juric, N. Al-Rawahi, W. Tauber, J. Han, S. Nas, Y. J. Jan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1779 Citations (Scopus)


Direct numerical simulations of multiphase flows, using a front-tracking method, are presented. The method is based on writing one set of governing equations for the whole computational domain and treating the different phases as one fluid with variable material properties. Interfacial terms are accounted for by adding the appropriate sources as δ functions at the boundary separating the phases. The unsteady Navier-Stokes equations are solved by a conventional finite volume method on a fixed, structured grid and the interface, or front, is tracked explicitly by connected marker points. Interfacial source terms such as surface tension are computed on the front and transferred to the fixed grid. Advection of fluid properties such as density is done by following the motion of the front. The method has been implemented for fully three-dimensional flows, as well as for two-dimensional and axisymmetric ones. First, the method is described for the flow of two or more isothermal phases. The representation of the moving interface and its dynamic restructuring, as well as the transfer of information between the moving front and the fixed grid, are discussed. Applications and extensions of the method to homogeneous bubbly flows, atomization, flows with variable surface tension, solidification, and boiling are then presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708-759
Number of pages52
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 20 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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