Adaptive Nonlinear Structures for Flow Regulation

2017 Project of the Year: SIMULIA Winner, Gaetano Arena

‘Project of the Year’ is an annual contest held by Dassault Systèmes where students from around the world are invited to submit projects created with Dassault Systèmes products and software.  Winners are chosen by votes from Facebook users and an overall winner is chosen by a jury at Dassault Systèmes headquarters.

SIMULIA Academia Programs Specialist, Ann Wodziak, conducted the first interview below with the SIMULIA winner for this year (2017), Gaetano Arena. Gaetano used Abaqus for his project, “Adaptive Nonlinear Structures for Flow Regulation.”


Why did you chose this topic for your project? 

The topic was chosen as part of my PhD project in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol. I work on the design of nonlinear structures for fluid flow regulation. For this project, structural instabilities (buckling and post-buckling) are exploited in order to design an adaptive air inlet.

Figure 1 Snap-through curves for a bistable (above) and monostable (below) structure.

Describe how you executed the simulations.

I used parametric study on buckling and post-buckling behavior of a 2d beam. Static general and Riks (essential for the study of nonlinear behaviors) procedures were chosen.

For the Fluid-Structure interaction the Coupled Eulerian-Lagrangian (CEL) method was chosen. Compared to the Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) approach, CEL allows extreme deformations in both the fluid and structural domains.

Experimental validation was carried out by manufacturing a composite inlet and testing it in the Wind Tunnel Facility at the University of Bristol.

What were some key technical challenges you encountered?

The main challenge was the CEL. By default, in this method, the fluid domain reflects pressure waves that strongly affect the final results. This problem was solved by assigning a predefined velocity of the air at each node of the Eulerian fluid domain, rather than applying an inlet velocity to a surface of the domain. In addition, CEL uses the so called Volume Of Fluid (VOF) method for the Fluid-Structure interaction tracking. This method requires a very fine mesh.

What were the advantages of using simulation in your project?  

Abaqus is an amazing tool when the study of nonlinear structural behavior is required. This allowed me to have a complete and trustworthy understanding of the buckling and post-buckling response of 2D and 3D structures when subjected to a wide range of loads and displacements.

Experimental validation in the Wind Tunnel also confirmed the validity of the CEL method. This will be useful for future investigation when FSI study is required.

Why did you choose Abaqus?

Because of the procedures available to study nonlinear behaviors.

Has learning simulation skills provided you with an advantage in your career?

Learning simulation helps to improve your theoretical background and problem solving skills.

Is there anything else we should know about this project?

This work was supported by the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through grants number EP/M013170/1 and EP/M507994/1.


To read the full submission of Gaetano’s project, click here.  

Ann Wodziak

Ann is a SIMULIA Academic Program Specialist in the Academic Sales group.

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