Dynamic Mesh Simulations in OpenFOAM: A Hybrid Eulerian–Lagrangian Approach

R. Pasolari*, Carlos Ferreira, A.H. van Zuijlen, C.F. Baptista

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The past few decades have witnessed a growing popularity in Eulerian–Lagrangian solvers due to their significant potential for simulating aerodynamic flows, particularly in cases involving strong body–vortex interactions. In this hybrid approach, the two component solvers are mutually coupled in a two-way fashion. Initially, the Lagrangian solver can supply boundary conditions to the Eulerian solver, while the Eulerian solver functions as a corrector for the Lagrangian solution in regions where the latter cannot achieve high accuracy. To utilize such tools effectively, it is vital for them to be capable of handling dynamic mesh movements. This study builds upon the previous research conducted by our team and extends the capabilities of the hybrid solver to handle dynamic meshes. While OpenFOAM, the Eulerian component of this hybrid code, incorporates built-in dynamic mesh properties, certain modifications are necessary to ensure its compatibility with the Lagrangian solver. More specifically, the evolution algorithm of the pimpleFOAM solver needs to be divided into two discrete steps: first, updating the mesh, and later, evolving the solution. This division enables a proper coupling between pimpleFOAM and the Lagrangian solver as an intermediate step. Therefore, the primary objective of this specific paper is to adapt the OpenFOAM solver to meet the demands of the hybrid solver and subsequently validate that the hybrid solver can effectively address dynamic mesh challenges using this approach. This approach introduces a pioneering method for conducting dynamic mesh simulations within the OpenFOAM framework, showcasing its potential for broader applications. To validate the approach, various test cases involving dynamic mesh movements are employed. Specifically, all these cases employ the Lamb–Oseen diffusing vortex, but each case incorporates different types of mesh movements, including translational, rotational, oscillational, and combinations thereof. The results from these cases demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed OpenFOAM algorithm, with the maximum relative errors —when compared to the analytical solution across all presented cases—capped at (Formula presented.) for the worst-case scenario. This affirms the algorithm’s capability to successfully handle dynamic mesh simulations with the proposed solver.

Original languageEnglish
Article number51
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • OpenFOAM
  • dynamicmeshes
  • hybrid Eulerian–Lagrangian solvers
  • vortex particle methods


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