Simulation of a highly elastic structure interacting with a two-phase flow

E. Svenning, A. Mark and F. Edelvik, Journal of Mathematics in Industry, June 3, 2014, 4:7.


Purpose: The aim of this paper is to present and validate a modeling framework that can be used for simulation of industrial applications involving fluid structure interaction with large deformations.

Background: Fluid structure interaction phenomena involving elastic structures frequently occur in industrial applications such as rubber bushings filled with oil, the filling of liquid in a paperboard package or a fiber suspension flowing through a paper machine. Simulations of such phenomena are challenging due to the strong coupling between the fluid and the elastic structure. In the literature, this coupling is often achieved with an arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian framework or with smooth particle hydrodynamics methods. In the present work, an immersed boundary method is used to couple a finite volume based Navier-Stokes solver with a finite element based structural mechanics solver for large deformations.

Results: The benchmark of an elastic rubber beam in a rolling tank partially filled with oil is simulated. The simulations are compared to experimental data as well as numerical simulations published in the literature. 2D simulations performed in the present work agree well with previously published data. Our 3D simulations capture effects neglected in the 2D case, showing excellent agreement with previously published experiments.

Conclusions: The good agreement with experimental data shows that the developed framework is suitable for simulation of industrial applications involving fluid structure interaction. If the structure is made of a highly elastic material, e.g. rubber, the simulation framework must be able to handle the large deformations that may occur. Immersed boundary methods are well suited for such applications, since they can efficiently handle moving objects without the need of a body-fitted mesh. Combining them with a structural mechanics solver for large deformations allows complex fluid structure interaction problems to be studied.

Keywords: fluid structure interaction; immersed boundary methods; sloshing tank; FSI benchmark


This work was supported in part by the Sustainable Production Initiative and the Production Area of Advance at Chalmers. The support is gratefully acknowledged.

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Svenning, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre
  • A. Mark, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre
  • F. Edelvik, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre

Photo credits: Nic McPhee