A weighted Shifted Boundary Method for free surface flow problems

Oriol Colomés, Alex Main, Léo Nouveau, Guglielmo Scovazzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The Shifted Boundary Method (SBM) belongs to the class of unfitted (or immersed, or embedded) finite element methods and was recently introduced for the Poisson, linear advection/diffusion, Stokes, Navier-Stokes, acoustics, and shallow-water equations. By reformulating the original boundary value problem over a surrogate (approximate) computational domain, the SBM avoids integration over cut cells and the associated problematic issues regarding numerical stability and matrix conditioning. Accuracy is maintained by modifying the original boundary conditions using Taylor expansions. Hence the name of the method, that shifts the location and values of the boundary conditions. In this article, we extend the SBM to the simulation of incompressible Navier-Stokes flows with moving free-surfaces, by appropriately weighting its variational form with the elemental volume fraction of active fluid. This approach prevents spurious pressure oscillations in time, which would otherwise be produced if the total active fluid volume were to change abruptly over a time step. In fact, the proposed weighted SBM method induces small mass (i.e., volume) conservation errors, which converge quadratically in the case of piecewise-linear finite element interpolations, as the grid is refined. We present an extensive set of two- and three-dimensional tests to demonstrate the robustness and accuracy of the method.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109837
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Approximate boundary
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Free-surface flows
  • Immersed boundary
  • Shifted Boundary Method
  • Unfitted finite element method


Dive into the research topics of 'A weighted Shifted Boundary Method for free surface flow problems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this