Computational Eulerian hydrodynamics and Galilean invariance

Authors

  • Brant E. Robertson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 933 East 56th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
    2. Enrico Fermi Institute, 5640 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
      Spitzer and Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) Fellow. Present Address: Astronomy Department, California Institute of Technology, MC 249-17, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA. E-mail: brant@astro.caltech.edu
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Andrey V. Kravtsov,

    1. Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 933 East 56th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
    2. Enrico Fermi Institute, 5640 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Nickolay Y. Gnedin,

    1. Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 933 East 56th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
    2. Particle Astrophysics Center, Fermilab, Batavia, IL 60510, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tom Abel,

    1. Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Douglas H. Rudd

    1. School of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Spitzer and Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) Fellow.

Present Address: Astronomy Department, California Institute of Technology, MC 249-17, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.

E-mail: brant@astro.caltech.edu

ABSTRACT

Eulerian hydrodynamical simulations are a powerful and popular tool for modelling fluids in astrophysical systems. In this work, we critically examine recent claims that these methods violate Galilean invariance of the Euler equations. We demonstrate that Eulerian hydrodynamics methods do converge to a Galilean-invariant solution, provided a well-defined convergent solution exists. Specifically, we show that numerical diffusion, resulting from diffusion-like terms in the discretized hydrodynamical equations solved by Eulerian methods, accounts for the effects previously identified as evidence for the Galilean non-invariance of these methods. These velocity-dependent diffusive terms lead to different results for different bulk velocities when the spatial resolution of the simulation is kept fixed, but their effect becomes negligible as the resolution of the simulation is increased to obtain a converged solution. In particular, we find that Kelvin–Helmholtz instabilities develop properly in realistic Eulerian calculations regardless of the bulk velocity provided the problem is simulated with sufficient resolution (a factor of 2–4 increase compared to the case without bulk flows for realistic velocities). Our results reiterate that high-resolution Eulerian methods can perform well and obtain a convergent solution, even in the presence of highly supersonic bulk flows.

Ancillary