Many systems from fluid dynamics and plasma physics possess a so-called metriplectic structure, that is the equations are comprised of a conservative, Hamiltonian part, and a dissipative, metric part. Consequences of this structure are conservation of important quantities, such as mass, momentum and energy, and compatibility with the laws of thermodynamics, e.g., monotonic dissipation of entropy and existence of a unique equilibrium state.
For simulations of such systems to deliver accurate and physically correct results, it is important to preserve these relations and conservation laws in the course of discretisation. This can be achieved most easily not by enforcing these properties directly, but by preserving the underlying abstract mathematical structure of the equations, namely their metriplectic structure. From that, the conservation of the aforementioned desirable properties follows automatically.
This paper describes a general and flexible framework for the construction of such metriplectic structure-preserving integrators, that facilitates the design of novel numerical methods for systems from fluid dynamics and plasma physics.