An Adaptive Mesh Algorithm for Evolving Surfaces: Simulations of Drop Breakup and Coalescence

Vittorio Cristini, Jerzy Blawzdziewicz, Michael Loewenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations


An algorithm is presented for the adaptive restructuring of meshes on evolving surfaces. The resolution of the relevant local length scale is maintained everywhere with prescribed accuracy through the minimization of an appropriate mesh energy function by a sequence of local restructuring operations. The resulting discretization depends on the instantaneous configuration of the surface but is insensitive to the deformation history. Application of the adaptive discretization algorithm is illustrated with three-dimensional boundary-integral simulations of deformable drops in Stokes flow. The results show that the algorithm can accurately resolve detailed features of deformed fluid interfaces, including slender filaments associated with drop breakup and dimpled regions associated with drop coalescence. Our algorithm should be useful in a variety of fields, including computational fluid dynamics, image processing, geographical information systems, and biomedical engineering problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-463
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 10 2001


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