Multi-phase Modelling of Violent Hydrodynamics Using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) on Graphics Processing Units (GPUs)

  • Athanasios Mokos

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis investigates violent air-water flows in two and three dimensions using a smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) model accelerated using the parallel architecture of graphics processing units (GPUs). SPH is a meshless Lagrangian technique for CFD simulations, whose major advantage for multi-phase flows is that the highly nonlinear behaviour of the motion of the interface can be implicitly captured with a sharp interface. However, prior to this thesis performing multi-phase simulations of large scale air-water flows has been prohibitive due to the inherent high computational cost.The open source code DualSPHysics, a hybrid central processing unit (CPU) and GPU code, is heavily modified in order to be able to handle flows with multiple fluids by implementing a weakly compressible multi-phase model that is simple to implement on GPUs. The computational runtime shows a clear improvement over a conventional serial code for both two- and three dimensional cases enabling simulations with millions of particles. An investigation into different GPU algorithms focuses on optimising the multi-phase SPH implementation for the first time, leading to speedups of up to two orders of magnitude compared to a CPU-only simulation. Detailed comparison of different GPU algorithms reveals a further 12% improvement on the computational runtime.Enabling the modelling of cases with millions of fluid particles demonstrates some previously unreported problems regarding the simulation of the air phase. A new particle shifting algorithm has been proposed for multi-phase flows enabling the air, initially simulated as a highly compressible liquid, to expand rapidly as a gas and prevent the formation of unphysical voids. The new shifting algorithm is validated using dam break flows over a dry bed where good agreement is obtained with experimental data and reference solutions published in the literature. An improvement over a corresponding single-phase SPH simulation is also shown.Results for dam break flows over a wet bed are shown for different resolutions performing simulations that were unfeasible prior to the GPU multi-phase SPH code. Good agreement with the experimental results and a clear improvement over the single-phase model are obtained with the higher resolution showing closer agreement with the experimental results. Sloshing inside a rolling tank was also examined and was found to be heavily dependent on the viscosity model and the speed of sound of the phases. A sensitivity analysis was performed for a range of different values comparing the results to experimental data with the emphasis on the pressure impact on the wall. Finally, a 3-D gravity-driven flow where water is impacting an obstacle was studied comparing results with published experimental data. The height of the water at different points in the domain and the pressure on the side of the obstacle are compared to a state-of-the-art single-phase GPU SPH simulation. The results obtained were generally in good agreement with the experiment with closer results obtained for higher resolutions and showing an improvement on the single-phase model.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorBenedict D. Rogers (Supervisor)


  • Numerical Methods
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Optimisation
  • CUDA
  • SPH
  • Multi-phase Flow
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • GPU

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