Adjoint-based control of three dimensional Stokes droplets

Alexandru Fikl, Daniel J. Bodony

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We develop a continuous adjoint formulation and implementation for controlling the deformation of clean, neutrally buoyant droplets in Stokes flow through farfield velocity boundary conditions. The focus is on dynamics where surface tension plays an important role through the Young-Laplace law. To perform the optimization, we require access to first-order gradient information, which we obtain from the linearized sensitivity equations and their corresponding adjoint by applying shape calculus to the space-time tube formed by the interface evolution. We show that the adjoint evolution equation can be efficiently expressed through a scalar adjoint transverse field. The optimal control problem is discretized by high-order boundary integral methods using Quadrature by Expansion coupled with a spherical harmonic representation of the droplet surface geometry. We show the accuracy and stability of the scheme on several tracking-type control problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112532
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Droplets
  • Optimal control
  • Shape optimization
  • Stokes 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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