Phase-field-based lattice Boltzmann finite difference model for simulating thermocapillary flows

Liu, Haihu and Valocchi, Albert J. and Zhang, Yonghao and Kang, Q.J. (2013) Phase-field-based lattice Boltzmann finite difference model for simulating thermocapillary flows. Physical Review E, 87 (1). 013010. ISSN 2470-0053 (

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A phase-field-based hybrid model that combines the lattice Boltzmann method with the finite difference method is proposed for simulating immiscible thermocapillary flows with variable fluid-property ratios. Using a phase field methodology, an interfacial force formula is analytically derived to model the interfacial tension force and the Marangoni stress. We present an improved lattice Boltzmann equation (LBE) method to capture the interface between different phases and solve the pressure and velocity fields, which can recover the correct Cahn-Hilliard equation (CHE) and Navier-Stokes equations. The LBE method allows not only use of variable mobility in the CHE, but also simulation of multiphase flows with high density ratio because a stable discretization scheme is used for calculating the derivative terms in forcing terms. An additional convection-diffusion equation is solved by the finite difference method for spatial discretization and the Runge-Kutta method for time marching to obtain the temperature field, which is coupled to the interfacial tension through an equation of state. The model is first validated against analytical solutions for the thermocapillary driven convection in two superimposed fluids at negligibly small Reynolds and Marangoni numbers. It is then used to simulate thermocapillary migration of a three-dimensional deformable droplet and bubble at various Marangoni numbers and density ratios, and satisfactory agreement is obtained between numerical results and theoretical predictions.