Numerical simulation of the planar extrudate swell of pseudoplastic and viscoelastic fluids with the streamfunction and the VOF methods

Raphaël Comminal*, Francisco Pimenta, Jesper H. Hattel, Manuel A. Alves, Jon Spangenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

531 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract We present an Eulerian free-surface flow solver for incompressible pseudoplastic and viscoelastic non-Newtonian fluids. The free-surface flow solver is based on the streamfunction flow formulation and the volume-of-fluid method. The streamfunction solver computes the vector potential of a solenoidal velocity field, which ensures by construction the mass conservation of the solution, and removes the pressure unknown. Pseudoplastic liquids are modelled with a Carreau model. The viscoelastic fluids are governed by differential constitutive models reformulated with the log-conformation approach, in order to preserve the positive-definiteness of the conformation tensor, and to circumvent the high Weissenberg number problem. The volume fraction of the fluid is advected with a geometric conservative unsplit scheme that preserves a sharp interface representation. For the sake of comparison, we also implemented an algebraic advection scheme for the liquid volume fraction. The proposed numerical method is tested by simulating the planar extrudate swell with the Carreau, Oldroyd-B and Giesekus constitutive models. The swell ratio of the extrudates are compared with the data available in the literature, as well as with numerical simulations performed with the open-source rheoTool toolbox in OpenFOAM®. While the simulations of the generalized Newtonian fluids achieved mesh independence for all the methods tested, the flow simulations of the viscoelastic fluids are more sensitive to mesh refinement and the choice of numerical scheme. Moreover, the simulations of Oldroyd-B fluid flows above a critical Weissenberg number are prone to artificial surface instabilities. These numerical artifacts are due to discretization errors within the Eulerian surface-capturing method. However, the numerical issues arise from the stress singularity at the die exit corner, and the unphysical predictions of the Oldroyd-B model in the skin layer of the extrudate after the die exit, where large extensional deformations occur.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics
Pages (from-to)1–18
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Open Access funded by European Research Council. Under a creative commons license.


  • Extrudate swell
  • Carreau fluid
  • Oldroyd-B model
  • Giesekus model
  • Streamfunction formulation
  • Volume-of-fluid method

Cite this