Free boundaries in shallow-water equations demarcate the time-dependent water line between ‘‘flooded’’ and ‘‘dry’’ regions. We present a novel numerical algorithm to treat flooding and drying in a formally second-order explicit space discontinuous Galerkin finite-element discretization of the one-dimensional or symmetric shallow-water equations. The algorithm uses fixed Eulerian flooded elements and a mixed Eulerian–Lagrangian element at each free boundary. When the time step is suitably restricted, we show that the mean water depth is positive. This time-step restriction is based on an analysis of the discretized continuity equation while using the HLLC flux. The algorithm and its implementation are tested in comparison with a large and relevant suite of known exact solutions. The essence of the flooding and drying algorithm pivots around the analysis of a continuity equation with a fluid velocity and a pseudodensity (in the shallow water case the depth). It therefore also applies, for example, to space discontinuous Galerkin finite-element discretizations of the compressible Euler equations in which vacuum regions emerge, in analogy of the above dry regions. We believe that the approach presented can be extended to finite-volume discretizations with similar mean level and slope reconstruction.
- Shallow-water equations - flooding and drying - free-boundary dynamics - discontinuous Galerkin finite-element method - positivity of mean water depth