Description: Many problems of physical interest have solutions which are generally quite smooth in a large portion of the region of interest, but have local phenomena such as shocks, discontinuities or large gradients which require much more accurate approximations or finer grids for reasonable accuracy. Examples are atmospheric fronts, ocean currents, and geological discontinuities. In this thesis we develop and partially analyze an adaptive finite difference mesh refinement algorithm for the initial boundary value problem for hyperbolic systems in one space dimension. The method uses clusters of uniform grids which can ''move'' along with pulses or steep gradients appearing in the calculation, and which are superimposed over a uniform coarse grid. Such refinements are created, destroyed, merged, separated, recursively nested or moved based on estimates of the local truncation error. We use a four-way linked tree and sequentially allocated deques (double-ended queues) to perform these operations efficiently. The local truncation error in the interior of the region is estimated using a three-step Richardson extrapolation procedure, which can also be considered a deferred correction method. At the boundaries we employ differences to estimate the error. Our algorithm was implemented using a portable, extensible Fortran preprocessor, to which we added records and pointers. The method is applied to three model problems: the first order wave equation, the second order wave equation, and the inviscid Burgers equation. For the first two model problems our algorithm is shown to be three to five times more efficient (in computing time) than the use of a uniform coarse mesh, for the same accuracy. Furthermore, to our knowledge, our algorithm is the only one which adaptively treats time-dependent boundary conditions for hyperbolic systems.
Date: June 1, 1982
Creator: Bolstad, John H.