## An assessment of semi-discrete central schemes for hyperbolic conservation laws

High-resolution finite volume methods for solving systems of conservation laws have been widely embraced in research areas ranging from astrophysics to geophysics and aero-thermodynamics. These methods are typically at least second-order accurate in space and time, deliver non-oscillatory solutions in the presence of near discontinuities, e.g., shocks, and introduce minimal dispersive and diffusive effects. High-resolution methods promise to provide greatly enhanced solution methods for Sandia's mainstream shock hydrodynamics and compressible flow applications, and they admit the possibility of a generalized framework for treating multi-physics problems such as the coupled hydrodynamics, electro-magnetics and radiative transport found in Z pinch physics. In this work, we describe initial efforts to develop a generalized 'black-box' conservation law framework based on modern high-resolution methods and implemented in an object-oriented software framework. The framework is based on the solution of systems of general non-linear hyperbolic conservation laws using Godunov-type central schemes. In our initial efforts, we have focused on central or central-upwind schemes that can be implemented with only a knowledge of the physical flux function and the minimal/maximal eigenvalues of the Jacobian of the flux functions, i.e., they do not rely on extensive Riemann decompositions. Initial experimentation with high-resolution central schemes suggests that contact discontinuities with the concomitant linearly degenerate eigenvalues of the flux Jacobian do not pose algorithmic difficulties. However, central schemes can produce significant smearing of contact discontinuities and excessive dissipation for rotational flows. Comparisons between 'black-box' central schemes and the piecewise parabolic method (PPM), which relies heavily on a Riemann decomposition, shows that roughly equivalent accuracy can be achieved for the same computational cost with both methods. However, PPM clearly outperforms the central schemes in terms of accuracy at a given grid resolution and the cost of additional complexity in the numerical flux functions. Overall we have observed that the finite volume schemes, implemented within a well-designed framework, are extremely efficient with (potentially) very low memory storage. Finally, we have found by computational experiment that second and third-order strong-stability preserving (SSP) time integration methods with the number of stages greater than the order provide a useful enhanced stability region. However, we observe that non-SSP and non-optimal SSP schemes with SSP factors less than one can still be very useful if used with time-steps below the standard CFL limit. The 'well-designed' integration schemes that we have examined appear to perform well in all instances where the time step is maintained below the standard physical CFL limit.