Analytic Solution to the Piecewise Linear Interface Construction Problem and its Application in Curvature Calculation for Volume-of-Fluid Simulation Codes

by   Moritz Lehmann, et al.

The plane-cube intersection problem has been around in literature since 1984 and iterative solutions to it have been used as part of piecewise linear interface construction (PLIC) in computational fluid dynamics simulation codes ever since. In many cases, PLIC is the bottleneck of these simulations regarding compute time, so a faster, analytic solution to the plane-cube intersection would greatly reduce compute time for such simulations. We derive an analytic solution for all intersection cases and compare it to the one previous solution from Scardovelli and Zaleski (Ruben Scardovelli and Stephane Zaleski. "Analytical relations connecting linear interfaces and volume fractions in rectangular grids". In: Journal of Computational Physics 164.1 (2000), pp. 228-237.), which we further improve to include edge cases and micro-optimize to reduce arithmetic operations and branching. We then extend our comparison regarding compute time and accuracy to include two different iterative solutions as well. We find that the best choice depends on the employed hardware platform: on the CPU, Newton-Raphson is fastest with vectorization while analytic solutions perform better without. The reason for this is that vectorization instruction sets do not include trigonometric functions as used in the analytic solutions. On the GPU, the fastest method is our optimized version of the analytic SZ solution. We finally provide details on one of the applications of PLIC: curvature calculation for the Volume-of-Fluid model used for free surface fluid simulations in combination with the lattice Boltzmann method.


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