An evaluation of the bounce-back boundary condition for lattice Boltzmann simulations

Martha A. Gallivan, David R. Noble, John G. Georgiadis, Richard O. Buckius

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The bounce-back boundary condition for lattice Boltzmann simulations is evaluated for flow about an infinite periodic array of cylinders. The solution is compared with results from a more accurate boundary condition formulation for the lattice Boltemann method and with finite difference solutions. The bounce-back boundary condition is used to simulate boundaries of cylinders with both circular and octagonal cross-sections. The convergences of the velocity and total drag associated with this method are slightly sublinear with grid spacing. Error is also a function of relaxation time, increasing exponentially for large relaxation times. However, the accuracy does not exhibit a trend with Reynolds number between 0·1 and 100. The square lattice Boltzmann grid conforms to the octagonal cylinder but only approximates the circular cylinder, and the resulting error associated with the octagonal cylinder is half the error of the circular cylinder. The bounce-back boundary condition is shown to yield accurate lattice Boltzmann simulations with reduced computational requirements for computational grids of 170 × 170 or finer, a relaxation time less than 1·5 and any Reynolds number from 0·1 to 100. For this range of parameters the root mean square error in velocity and the relative error in drag coefficient are less than 1 per cent for the octagonal cylinder and 2 per cent for the circular cylinder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-263
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 15 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Accuracy
  • Bounce-back
  • Boundary conditions
  • Lattice Boltzmann

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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