Aditya_Ghodgaonkar_MSME_Thesis.pdf (8.07 MB)

Numerical Methods for Studying Self-similar Propagation of Viscous Gravity Currents

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posted on 14.05.2019 by Aditya Avinash Ghodgaonkar
A strongly implicit, nonlinear Crank-Nicolson-based finite-difference scheme was constructed for the numerical study of the self-similar behavior of viscous gravity currents. Viscous gravity currents are low Reynolds number flow phenomena in which a dense, viscous fluid displaces a lighter (usually immiscible) fluid. Under the lubrication approximation, the mathematical description of the spreading of these fluids is reduced to solving a nonlinear parabolic partial differential equation for the shape of the fluid interface. This thesis focuses on the finite-speed propagation of a power-law non-Newtonian current in a variable width channel-like geometry (a "Hele-Shaw cell'') subject to a given mass conservation/balance constraint. The proposed numerical scheme was implemented on a uniform but staggered grid. It is shown to be strongly stable, while possessing formal truncation error that is of second-order in space and it time. The accuracy of the scheme was verified by benchmarking it against established analytical solutions, which were obtained via a first-kind self-similarity transformation. A series of numerical simulations confirmed that the proposed scheme accurately respects the mass conservation/balance constraint. Next, the numerical scheme was used to study the second-kind self-similar behaviour of Newtonian viscous gravity currents flowing towards the end of a converging channel. Second-kind self-similar transformations are not fully specified without further information from simulation or experiment. Thus, using the proposed numerical scheme, the self-similar spreading and leveling leveling of the current was definitively addressed. The numerical results showed favorable comparison with experimental data.


Degree Type

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Ivan C. Christov

Additional Committee Member 2

Arezoo Ardekani

Additional Committee Member 3

Osman Basaran



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