A New Numerical Method for Fluid-Structure Interaction with Large Deformations

Grants and Contracts Details


The objective of the proposed research is to enhance NASA's simulation capabilities for fluid-structure interaction problems involving large structural deformations. This research is important to various NASA relevant applications, such as Mars' entry parachute, flutter, and fuel tank sloshing simulations. Simulating flows involving moving and deforming boundaries on body-fitted meshes requires a procedure to deform the mesh and a method to project the solution onto the new mesh at each update. For simulating fluid-structure interaction problems involving large deformations the body-fitted mesh approach has severe shortcomings, such as dealing with topology changes, the computational cost of re-generating the computational mesh, and conservative projection of the solution. For this reason, in this research project the coupling of a higher-order immersed boundary method with a geometrically non-linear finite element solver is proposed. The immersed boundary method provides a convenient way of including the body motion and deformations by using a stationary non-deforming Cartesian grid. One of the key advantages of immersed boundary methods is that the volume mesh generation process can be fully automated. Furthermore, this approach can handle large deformations of the geometry in a straightforward fashion. Nevertheless, in this research there are some inherent numerical challenges that need to be addressed: (1) identify an efficient coupling strategy between the fluid and structural solvers for large deformations, (2) improve structural finite element solver capabilities to account for geometric nonlinearities, and (3) improve conservation properties of immersed boundary method for moving boundary problems with large deformations. All proposed methods are developed and tested inside an in-house CFD framework developed at the University of Kentucky. The newly developed methods will be implemented in different modules in such a way that they can be easily utilized within the Launch Ascent and Vehicle Aerodynamics framework developed by our collaborators at NASA Ames Research Center.
Effective start/end date6/1/178/31/18


  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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