Nonlinear convergence in contact mechanics: Immersed boundary finite volume

Yashar Mehmani, Nicola Castelletto, Hamdi A. Tchelepi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We present an immersed boundary finite volume (IBM) method for simulating quasistatic contact mechanics of linearly elastic domains at small strains. In IBM, all external boundaries and internal contacts of an object are represented by embedded surfaces inside a Cartesian mesh, which need not conform to the grid lines. The contact constraints consist of the non-penetrability condition and Coulomb's friction law, which are discretized using special interpolation stencils and enforced via penalty parameters. The resulting nonlinear system depends on displacement unknowns only. To solve it, we use the Newton method but find that it diverges frequently. To understand the divergence pattern, we analyze a simplified 2-cell problem and show that the global convergence of Newton cannot be ensured for any choice of penalty parameters. We thus propose a modified Newton solver, which guarantees convergence for the 2-cell problem and is numerically verified to converge for all the challenging simulations considered herein. While both 1st- and 2nd-order variants of IBM, in displacement unknowns, are proposed, the modified Newton solver applies only to the 1st-order variant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113929
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications


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