Discontinuous finite volume element discretization for coupled flow-transport problems arising in models of sedimentation

Raimund Bürger, Sarvesh Kumar, Ricardo Ruiz-Baier

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26 Citations (Scopus)


The sedimentation-consolidation and flow processes of a mixture of small particles dispersed in a viscous fluid at low Reynolds numbers can be described by a nonlinear transport equation for the solids concentration coupled with the Stokes problem written in terms of the mixture flow velocity and the pressure field. Here both the viscosity and the forcing term depend on the local solids concentration. A semi-discrete discontinuous finite volume element (DFVE) scheme is proposed for this model. The numerical method is constructed on a baseline finite element family of linear discontinuous elements for the approximation of velocity components and concentration field, whereas the pressure is approximated by piecewise constant elements. The unique solvability of both the nonlinear continuous problem and the semi-discrete DFVE scheme is discussed, and optimal convergence estimates in several spatial norms are derived. Properties of the model and the predicted space accuracy of the proposed formulation are illustrated by detailed numerical examples, including flows under gravity with changing direction, a secondary settling tank in an axisymmetric setting, and batch sedimentation in a tilted cylindrical vessel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-471
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Convergence to the weak solution
  • Discontinuous finite volume element methods
  • Error estimates
  • Gravity flows
  • Nonlinear coupled flow and transport
  • Sedimentation-consolidation processes
  • Semi-discrete scheme

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