Award Date

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Darrell Pepper

Second Committee Member

Hui Zhao

Third Committee Member

William Culbreth

Fourth Committee Member

Laxmi Gewali

Number of Pages



In the present age, rapid development in computing technology and high speed supercomputers has made numerical analysis and computational simulation more practical than ever before for large and complex cases. Numerical simulations have also become an essential means for analyzing the engineering problems and the cases that experimental analysis is not practical. There are so many sophisticated and accurate numerical schemes, which do these simulations. The finite difference method (FDM) has been used to solve differential equation systems for decades. Additional numerical methods based on finite volume and finite element techniques are widely used in solving problems with complex geometry. All of these methods are mesh-based techniques. Mesh generation is an essential preprocessing part to discretize the computation domain for these conventional methods. However, when dealing with mesh-based complex geometries these conventional mesh-based techniques can become troublesome, difficult to implement, and prone to inaccuracies. In this study, a more robust, yet simple numerical approach is used to simulate problems in an easier manner for even complex problem.

The meshless, or meshfree, method is one such development that is becoming the focus of much research in the recent years. The biggest advantage of meshfree methods is to circumvent mesh generation. Many algorithms have now been developed to help make this method more popular and understandable for everyone. These algorithms have been employed over a wide range of problems in computational analysis with various levels of success. Since there is no connectivity between the nodes in this method, the challenge was considerable. The most fundamental issue is lack of conservation, which can be a source of unpredictable errors in the solution process. This problem is particularly evident in the presence of steep gradient regions and discontinuities, such as shocks that frequently occur in high speed compressible flow problems.

To solve this discontinuity problem, this research study deals with the implementation of a conservative meshless method and its applications in computational fluid dynamics (CFD). One of the most common types of collocating meshless method the RBF-DQ, is used to approximate the spatial derivatives. The issue with meshless methods when dealing with highly convective cases is that they cannot distinguish the influence of fluid flow from upstream or downstream and some methodology is needed to make the scheme stable. Therefore, an upwinding scheme similar to one used in the finite volume method is added to capture steep gradient or shocks. This scheme creates a flexible algorithm within which a wide range of numerical flux schemes, such as those commonly used in the finite volume method, can be employed. In addition, a blended RBF is used to decrease the dissipation ensuing from the use of a low shape parameter. All of these steps are formulated for the Euler equation and a series of test problems used to confirm convergence of the algorithm.

The present scheme was first employed on several incompressible benchmarks to validate the framework. The application of this algorithm is illustrated by solving a set of incompressible Navier-Stokes problems.

Results from the compressible problem are compared with the exact solution for the flow over a ramp and compared with solutions of finite volume discretization and the discontinuous Galerkin method, both requiring a mesh. The applicability of the algorithm and its robustness are shown to be applied to complex problems.


Compressible flow; Differential Quadrature; Meshless method; Radial Basis Functions; RBF-DQ; Shock wave


Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering