A collocated method for the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations inspired by the Box scheme

R. Ranjan, C. Pantano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a new finite-difference numerical method to solve the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations using a collocated discretization in space on a logically Cartesian grid. The method shares some common aspects with, and it was inspired by, the Box scheme. It uses centered second-order-accurate finite-difference approximations for the spatial derivatives combined with semi-implicit time integration. The proposed method is constructed to ensure discrete conservation of mass and momentum by discretizing the primitive velocity-pressure form of the equations. The continuity equation is enforced exactly (to machine accuracy) at the collocated locations, whereas the momentum equations are evaluated in a staggered manner. This formulation preempts the appearance of spurious pressure modes in the embedded elliptic problem associated with the pressure. The method shows uniform order of accuracy, both in space and time, for velocity and pressure. In addition, the skew-symmetric form of the non-linear advection term of the Navier-Stokes equations improves discrete conservation of kinetic energy in the inviscid limit, to within the order of the truncation error of the time integrator. The method has been formulated to accommodate different types of boundary conditions; fully periodic, periodic channel, inflow-outflow and lid-driven cavity; always ensuring global mass conservation. A novel aspect of this finite-difference formulation is the derivation of the discretization near boundaries using the weak form of the equations, as in the finite element method. The method of manufactured solutions is utilized to perform accuracy analysis and verification of the solver. To assess the applicability of the new method presented in this paper, four realistic flow problems have been simulated and results are compared with those in the literature. These cases include a lid-driven cavity, backward-facing step, Kovasznay flow, and fully developed turbulent channel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-382
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Box scheme
  • Centered finite differences
  • Discrete mass conservation
  • Incompressible flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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