A computer program solves the differential equations of three-dimensional (3D) thermal convection of an incompressible fluid by use of a parallel-processing, finite volume numerical scheme. The equations of conservation of momentum, and energy are integrated over macroscopic control volumes on a normal, staggered grid. Upwind interpolation functions are used to prevent spurious numerical oscillations at high Rayleigh numbers. The resulting discretized equations, including a pressure equation that demands most of the computation time, are solved by a parallel-processing, multigrid method. The multigrid aspect of the method involves the use of a hierarchy of grids of different mesh sizes to obtain a solution on the finest grid. It has been proven, both theoretically and practically, that the multigrid aspect affords rapid convergence on a solution. The program could be used, for example, to predict oceanic convection currents. The effectiveness of the program has been demonstrated by applying it to test cases on several parallel-computing systems.

This program was written by Ping Wang of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.nasatech.com/tsp  under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Don Hart of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393-3425. Refer to NPO-21147.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Software for Parallel Computation of 3D Thermal Convection

(reference NPO-21147) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the December, 2001 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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