Journal of Scientific Computing

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 78–117 | Cite as

A Stable Parametric Finite Element Discretization of Two-Phase Navier–Stokes Flow

  • John W. Barrett
  • Harald Garcke
  • Robert Nürnberg


We present a parametric finite element approximation of two-phase flow. This free boundary problem is given by the Navier–Stokes equations in the two phases, which are coupled via jump conditions across the interface. Using a novel variational formulation for the interface evolution gives rise to a natural discretization of the mean curvature of the interface. The parametric finite element approximation of the evolving interface is then coupled to a standard finite element approximation of the two-phase Navier–Stokes equations in the bulk. Here enriching the pressure approximation space with the help of an XFEM function ensures good volume conservation properties for the two phase regions. In addition, the mesh quality of the parametric approximation of the interface in general does not deteriorate over time, and an equidistribution property can be shown for a semidiscrete continuous-in-time variant of our scheme in two space dimensions. Moreover, our finite element approximation can be shown to be unconditionally stable. We demonstrate the applicability of our method with some numerical results in two and three space dimensions.


Finite elements XFEM Two-phase flow Navier–Stokes  Free boundary problem Surface tension Interface tracking 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Barrett
    • 1
  • Harald Garcke
    • 2
  • Robert Nürnberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsImperial College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Fakultät für MathematikUniversität RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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