Semi-implicit 3D SPH on GPU for lava flows

Vito Zago*, Giuseppe Bilotta, Alexis Hérault, Robert Anthony Dalrymple, Luigi Fortuna, Annalisa Cappello, Gaetana Ganci, Ciro Del Negro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


GPUSPH is an implementation of Weakly-Compressible Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics with an explicit predictor–corrector integration scheme, that takes advantage of the parallel nature of the method to run on Graphic Processing Units (GPUs). Despite the massive speed-up granted by the use of GPUs, the application of GPUSPH to the simulation of highly viscous fluids is still problematic, due to the severe time-stepping restrictions imposed by the explicit integration scheme when the viscous term becomes dominant. This is an issue in the simulation of lava flows, where the thermal-dependent rheology can lead to kinematic viscosities in the order of 104 m2s−1 or more at low temperatures. To overcome this limitation, we introduce a semi-implicit integration scheme, where only the viscous part of the momentum equation is solved implicitly. Here we show the significant advantages of our approach in terms of simulation run times as well as better quality of the results over the fully explicit scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)854-870
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - Dec 15 2018


  • GPU
  • Implicit integration
  • Lava flows
  • Low Reynolds number
  • SPH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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