Stable explicit schemes for simulation of nonlinear moisture transfer in porous materials

Suelen Gasparin, Julien Berger, Denys Dutykh, Nathan Mendes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Implicit schemes have been extensively used in building physics to compute the solution of moisture diffusion problems in porous materials for improving stability conditions. Nevertheless, these schemes require important sub-iterations when treating nonlinear problems. To overcome this disadvantage, this paper explores the use of improved explicit schemes, such as Dufort–Frankel, Crank–Nicolson and hyperbolization approaches. A first case study has been considered with the hypothesis of linear transfer. The Dufort–Frankel, Crank–Nicolson and hyperbolization schemes were compared to the classical Euler explicit scheme and to a reference solution. Results have shown that the hyperbolization scheme has a stability condition higher than the standard Courant–Friedrichs–Lewy condition. The error of this schemes depends on the parameter τ representing the hyperbolicity magnitude added into the equation. The Dufort–Frankel scheme has the advantages of being unconditionally stable and is preferable for nonlinear transfer, which is the three others cases studies. Results have shown the error is proportional to O(Δt). A modified Crank–Nicolson scheme has been also studied in order to avoid sub-iterations to treat the nonlinearities at each time step. The main advantages of the Dufort–Frankel scheme are (i) to be twice faster than the Crank–Nicolson approach; (ii) to compute explicitly the solution at each time step; (iii) to be unconditionally stable and (iv) easier to parallelize on high-performance computer systems. Although the approach is unconditionally stable, the choice of the time discretization Δt remains an important issue to accurately represent the physical phenomena.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)129-144
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Building Performance Simulation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2018


  • CFL condition
  • Dufort–Frankel scheme
  • explicit schemes
  • finite differences
  • moisture diffusion
  • numerical methods


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