386705 The Log-Conformation Reformulation (LCR) for Viscoelastic Flow Simulations in Openfoam®

Tuesday, November 18, 2014: 10:45 AM
M304 (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
Florian Habla, Ming Wei Tan, Johannes Hasslberger and Olaf Hinrichsen, Catalysis Research Center and Chemistry Department, Technische Universität München, München, Germany

The log-conformation reformulation (lcr) for viscoelastic flow simulations in OpenFOAM®

Florian Habla1, Tan Ming Wei1, Johannes Hasslberger1, and Olaf Hinrichsen1

1Catalysis Research Center and Chemistry Department, Lichtenbergstraße 4, D-85748 Garching b. München, Germany


Simulation of complex viscoelastic flows at high Weissenberg numbers is an outstanding challenge. Fortunately, the last years provided significant progress in developing stable and accurate numerical algorithms. Fattal and Kupferman1,2 proposed the so-called log-conformation reformulation (LCR), in which a logarithmized evolution equation for the conformation tensor is solved instead of solving the constitutive equation itself. This removes the exponential variation of the stress (and also the conformation tensor) at stagnation points. The new variable (the logarithm of the conformation tensor) can better be approximated by polynomial-based interpolation schemes than the exponentially behaving conformation tensor (or stress) itself and thereby help to extenuate the High Weissenberg Number Problem (HWNP). We implemented the log-conformation reformulation in the collocated finite-volume based open-source software OpenFOAM®.

Numerical method

The implementation is done such as to be most flexible in terms of meshing in order to allow for tetrahedral and polyhedral cell types. It is also very efficient by including a computationally inexpensive eigenvalue and eigenvector routine, which is necessary to compute the logarithm of the conformation tensor.  

Our solver is first validated with the analytical solution for a startup Poiseuille flow of a viscoelastic fluid. The result for an elasticity number of E = 10 is shown in Fig. 1. The perfect agreement with the analytical solution proves the correct implementation.

Fig. 1: Centerline velocity U0 as a function of time T during the start-up of a Poiseuille flow of an Oldroyd-B fluid at a retardation ratio of β = 0.01.

The algorithm finally is second-order accurate both in time and space as proved by Fig. 2.


(a)                                                                               (b)

Fig. 2: Error of the calculated flow rate Qnum as a function of the time-step size Δt (a) and the cell size Δy (b) for the start-up of a Poiseuille flow problem.

Simulation of cavity flows

We applied the solver to the three-dimensional and transient simulation of a lid-driven cavity flow (cf. Fig. 3a), in which the viscoelastic fluid is modeled by the Oldroyd-B constitutive equation. The simulations were performed on various hexahedral meshes of different size (cf. Fig. 3b) in order to check for mesh convergence of the results and a tetrahedral mesh (cf. Fig. 3c) to show the applicability of our numerical algorithm to unstructured meshes.

(a)                                                            (b)                                                        (c)        


Fig. 3: Domain of the three-dimensional cavity (a), a typical hexahedral (b) and the tetrahedral (c) mesh we used in our study.

Results are obtained for various values of the Weissenberg number and presented and discussed with respect to the location of the primary vortex center, streamline patterns and velocity and stress profiles besides others. A distinct effect of viscoelasticity is prevailing, see Figs. 4a and 4b, which show the difference of the primary vortex pattern between an inelastic fluid and a viscoelastic fluid at We = 2. We are able to obtain sufficiently mesh converged results for Weissenberg numbers, which would have been impossible to obtain without use of the log-conformation reformulation. Moreover, no upper limit in the Weissenberg number could be found in terms of stability and we present results for a Weissenberg numbers of We = 160, see Fig. 4c. However, questions of accuracy at such large Weissenberg numbers remain and generally finer meshes and time-steps would be necessary, which, however, is out of question due to the overhead in computation time.


(a)                                                            (b)                                                        (c)        


Fig. 4: Primary vortex for an inelastic fluid (a), a viscoelastic fluid at We = 2 (b) and a chaotic pattern at We = 160 (c).


[1]       Fattal, R., Kupferman, R.: Constitutive laws for the matrix-logarithm of the conformation tensor. J. Non-Newton. Fluid Mech. 123 (2004) 281-285.

[2]       Fattal, R., Kupferman, R.: Time-dependent simulation of viscoelastic flows at high Weissenberg number using the log-conformation representation, J. Non-Newton. Fluid Mech. 126 (2005) 23-27.

Extended Abstract: File Not Uploaded
See more of this Session: Complex Fluids I: Polymers and Macromolecules
See more of this Group/Topical: Engineering Sciences and Fundamentals