A Sharp-Interface Active Penalty Method for the Incompressible Navier–Stokes Equations

D. Shirokoff, J. C. Nave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The volume penalty method provides a simple, efficient approach for solving the incompressible Navier–Stokes equations in domains with boundaries or in the presence of moving objects. Despite the simplicity, the method is typically limited to first order spatial accuracy. We demonstrate that one may achieve high order accuracy by introducing an active penalty term. One key difference from other works is that we use a sharp, unregularized mask function. We discuss how to construct the active penalty term, and provide numerical examples, in dimensions one and two. We demonstrate second and third order convergence for the heat equation, and second order convergence for the Navier–Stokes equations. In addition, we show that modifying the penalty term does not significantly alter the time step restriction from that of the conventional penalty method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-77
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Scientific Computing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Numerical Analysis
  • General Engineering
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Active penalty method
  • Heat equation
  • Immersed boundary
  • Incompressible flow
  • Navier–Stokes
  • Sharp mask function


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