Accurate gradient approximation for complex interface problems in 3D by an improved coupling interface method

Yu Chen Shu, I. Liang Chern, Chien C. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Most elliptic interface solvers become complicated for complex interface problems at those "exceptional points" where there are not enough neighboring interior points for high order interpolation. Such complication increases especially in three dimensions. Usually, the solvers are thus reduced to low order accuracy. In this paper, we classify these exceptional points and propose two recipes to maintain order of accuracy there, aiming at improving the previous coupling interface method [26]. Yet the idea is also applicable to other interface solvers. The main idea is to have at least first order approximations for second order derivatives at those exceptional points. Recipe 1 is to use the finite difference approximation for the second order derivatives at a nearby interior grid point, whenever this is possible. Recipe 2 is to flip domain signatures and introduce a ghost state so that a second-order method can be applied. This ghost state is a smooth extension of the solution at the exceptional point from the other side of the interface. The original state is recovered by a post-processing using nearby states and jump conditions. The choice of recipes is determined by a classification scheme of the exceptional points. The method renders the solution and its gradient uniformly second-order accurate in the entire computed domain. Numerical examples are provided to illustrate the second order accuracy of the presently proposed method in approximating the gradients of the original states for some complex interfaces which we had tested previous in two and three dimensions, and a real molecule (1D63) which is double-helix shape and composed of hundreds of atoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-661
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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