Setup
We solve a partitioned heat equation. For information on the nonpartitioned case, please refer to [1, p.37ff]. In this tutorial the computational domain is partitioned and coupled via preCICE. The coupling roughly follows the approach described in [2].
Case setup from [3]. D
denotes the Dirichlet participant and N
denotes the Neumann participant.
The heat equation is solved on a rectangular domain Omega = [0,2] x [0,1]
with given Dirichlet boundary conditions. We split the domain at x_c = 1
using a straight vertical line, the coupling interface. The left part of the domain will be referred to as the Dirichlet partition and the right part as the Neumann partition. To couple the two participants we use DirichletNeumann coupling. Here, the Dirichlet participant receives Dirichlet boundary conditions (Temperature
) at the coupling interface and solves the heat equation using these boundary conditions on the left part of the domain. Then the Dirichlet participant computes the resulting heat flux (Flux
) from the solution and sends it to the Neumann participant. The Neumann participant uses the flux as a Neumann boundary condition to solve the heat equation on the right part of the domain. We then extract the temperature from the solution and send it back to the Dirichlet participant. This establishes the coupling between the two participants.
This simple case allows us to compare the solution for the partitioned case to a known analytical solution (method of manufactures solutions, see [1, p.37ff]). For more usage examples and details, please refer to [3, sect. 4.1].
Configuration
preCICE configuration (image generated using the preciceconfigvisualizer):
Available solvers and dependencies
You can either couple a solver with itself or different solvers with each other. In any case you will need to have preCICE and the python bindings installed on your system.

FEniCS. Install FEniCS and the FEniCSadapter. The code is largely based on this fenicstutorial from [1].

Nutils. Install Nutils.

OpenFOAM. This case uses the custom heatTransfer solver (find it in
solveropenfoam
and build withwmake
). Read more details in the OpenFOAM adapter.
Running the simulation
You can find the corresponding run.sh
script for running the case in the folders corresponding to the participant you want to use:
cd dirichletfenics
./run.sh
and
cd neumannfenics
./run.sh
The FEniCSbased version of the tutorial offers higherorder time stepping with implicit Runge Kutta schemes (Neumann and Dirichlet participant, see [4]) by running
cd neumannfenics
./run.sh irk
or Spectral Deferred Corrections (SDC, only Dirichlet participant, see [5]) via
cd dirichletfenics
./run.sh sdc
If you want to use Nutils or OpenFOAM, use cd dirichlet/neumannnutils
, respectively cd dirichlet/neumannopenfoam
, instead of cd dirichlet/neumannfenics
. The FEniCS case also supports parallel runs. Here, you cannot use the run.sh
script, but must simply execute
mpirun n <N_PROC> heat.py d
Note on the combination of Nutils & FEniCS
You can mix the Nutils and FEniCS solver, if you like. Note that the error for a pure FEniCS simulation is lower than for a mixed one. We did not yet study the origin of this error, but assume that this is due to the fact that Nutils uses Gauss points as coupling mesh and therefore entails extrapolation in the data mapping at the top and bottom corners.
Visualization
Output is written into the folders fenics/out
and nutils
.
For FEniCS you can visualize the content with paraview by opening the *.pvd
files. The files Dirichlet.pvd
and Neumann.pvd
correspond to the numerical solution of the Dirichlet, respectively Neumann, problem, while the files with the prefix ref
correspond to the analytical reference solution, the files with error
show the error and the files with ranks
the ranks of the solvers (if executed in parallel).
For Nutils, please use the files Dirichlet*.vtk
or Neumann*.vtk
. Please note that these files contain the temperature as well as the reference solution.
Visualization in paraview for x_c = 1.5
.
References
[1] Hans Petter Langtangen and Anders Logg. “Solving PDEs in MinutesThe FEniCS Tutorial Volume I.” (2016). pdf
[2] Azahar Monge and Philipp Birken. “Convergence Analysis of the DirichletNeumann Iteration for Finite Element Discretizations.” (2016). Proceedings in Applied Mathematics and Mechanics. doi
[3] Benjamin Rüth, Benjamin Uekermann, Miriam Mehl, Philipp Birken, Azahar Monge, and Hans Joachim Bungartz. “QuasiNewton waveform iteration for partitioned surfacecoupled multiphysics applications.” (2020). International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering. doi
[4] Niklas Vinnitchenko. “Evaluation of HigherOrder Coupling Schemes with FEniCSpreCICE.” (2024). Bachelor’s thesis at Technical University of Munich. pdf
[5] Tobias Eppacher. “ParallelinTime Integration with preCICE” (2024). Bachlor’s thesis at Technical University of Munich. pdf