A fast algorithm for simulating vesicle flows in three dimensions

Shravan K. Veerapaneni, Abtin Rahimian, George Biros, Denis Zorin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vesicles are locally-inextensible fluid membranes that can sustain bending. In this paper, we extend the study of Veerapaneni et al. [S.K. Veerapaneni, D. Gueyffier, G. Biros, D. Zorin, A numerical method for simulating the dynamics of 3D axisymmetric vesicles suspended in viscous flows, Journal of Computational Physics 228 (19) (2009) 7233-7249] to general non-axisymmetric vesicle flows in three dimensions.Although the main components of the algorithm are similar in spirit to the axisymmetric case (spectral approximation in space, semi-implicit time-stepping scheme), important new elements need to be introduced for a full 3D method. In particular, spatial quantities are discretized using spherical harmonics, and quadrature rules for singular surface integrals need to be adapted to this case; an algorithm for surface reparameterization is needed to ensure stability of the time-stepping scheme, and spectral filtering is introduced to maintain reasonable accuracy while minimizing computational costs. To characterize the stability of the scheme and to construct preconditioners for the iterative linear system solvers used in the semi-implicit time-stepping scheme, we perform a spectral analysis of the evolution operator on the unit sphere.By introducing these algorithmic components, we obtain a time-stepping scheme that circumvents the stability constraint on the time-step and achieves spectral accuracy in space. We present results to analyze the cost and convergence rates of the overall scheme. To illustrate the applicability of the new method, we consider a few vesicle-flow interaction problems: a single vesicle in relaxation, sedimentation, shear flows, and many-vesicle flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5610-5634
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jun 20 2011


  • Boundary integral methods
  • Fast algorithms
  • High-order methods
  • Vesicle simulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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