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Front tracking with moving-least-squares surfaces


The representation of interfaces by means of the algebraic moving-least-squares (AMLS) technique is addressed. This technique, in which the interface is represented by an unconnected set of points, is interesting for evolving fluid interfaces since there is no surface connectivity. The position of the surface points can thus be updated without concerns about the quality of any surface triangulation. We introduce a novel AMLS technique especially designed for evolving-interfaces applications that we denote RAMLS (for Robust AMLS). The main advantages with respect to previous AMLS techniques are: increased robustness, computational efficiency, and being free of user-tuned parameters. Further, we propose a new front-tracking method based on the Lagrangian advection of the unconnected point set that defines the RAMLS surface. We assume that a background Eulerian grid is defined with some grid spacing h. The advection of the point set makes the surface evolve in time. The point cloud can be regenerated at any time (in particular, we regenerate it each time step) by intersecting the gridlines with the evolved surface, which guarantees that the density of points on the surface is always well balanced. The intersection algorithm is essentially a ray-tracing algorithm, well-studied in computer graphics, in which a line (ray) is traced so as to detect all intersections with a surface. Also, the tracing of each gridline is independent and can thus be performed in parallel. Several tests are reported assessing first the accuracy of the proposed RAMLS technique, and then of the front-tracking method based on it. Comparison with previous Eulerian, Lagrangian and hybrid techniques encourage further development of the proposed method for fluid mechanics applications. 

João Paulo Gois
Anderson Nakano
Luis Gustavo Nonato
Gustavo C. Buscaglia
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