Section: Application Domains

Coastal and civil engineering

Our objective is to bridge the gap between the development of high order adaptive methods, which has mainly been performed in the industrial context and environmental applications, with particular attention to coastal and hydraulic engineering. We want to provide tools for adaptive non-linear modelling at large and intermediate scales (near shore, estuarine and river hydrodynamics). We will develop multi-scale adaptive models for free surface hydrodynamics. Beside the models and codes themselves, based on the most advanced numerics we will develop during this project, we want to provide sufficient know how to control, adapt and optimize these tools.

We will focus our effort in the understanding of the interactions between asymptotic approximations and numerical approximations. This is extremely important in at least two aspects. The first is the capability of a numerical model to handle highly dispersive wave propagation. This is usually done by high accuracy asymptotic PDE expansions. Here we plan to make heavily use of our results concerning the relations between vertical asymptotic expansions and standard finite element approximations. In particular, we will invest some effort in the development of xy+z adaptive finite element approximations of the incompressible Euler equations. Local p-adaptation of the vertical approximation may provide a “variable depth” approximation exploiting numerics instead of analytical asymptotics to control the physical behaviour of the model.

Another important aspect which is not understood well enough at the moment is the role of dissipation in wave breaking regions. There are several examples of breaking closure, going from algebraic and PDE-based eddy viscosity methods [86], [110], [102], [71], to hybrid methods coupling dispersive PDEs with hyperbolic ones, and trying to mimic wave breaking with travelling bores [114], [115], [113], [84], [77]. In both cases, numerical dissipation plays an important role and the activation or not of the breaking closure, as the quantitative contribution of numerical dissipation to the flow has not been properly investigated. These elements must be clarified to allow full control of adaptive techniques for the models used in this type of applications.

Another point we want to clarify is how to optimize the discretization of asymptotic PDE models. In particular, when adding mesh size(s) and time step, we are in presence of at least 3 (or even more) small parameters. The relations between physical ones have been more or less investigates, as have been the ones between purely numerical ones. We plan to study the impact of numerics on asymptotic PDE modelling by reverting the usual process and studying asymptotic limits of finite element discretizations of the Euler equations. Preliminary results show that this does allow to provide some understanding of this interaction and to possibly propose considerably improved numerical methods [52].