The integration of two stand-alone codes to simulate fluid-structure interaction in breakwaters
Grobler, Jan Hendrik
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Harbours play a vital role in the economies of most countries since a significant amount of international trade is conducted through them. Ships rely on harbours for the safe loading and unloading of cargo and the harbour infrastructure relies on breakwaters for protection. As a result, the design and analysis of breakwaters receives keen interest from the engineering community. Coastal engineers need an easy-to-use tool that can model the way in which waves interact with large numbers of interlocking armour units. Although the study of fluid–structure interaction generates a lot of research activity, none of the reviewed literature describes a suitable method of analysis. The goal of the research was to develop a simulation algorithm that meets all the criteria by allowing CFD software and physics middleware to work in unison. The proposed simulation algorithm used Linux “shell scripts” to coordinate the actions of commercial CFD software (Star-CCM+) and freely available physics middleware (PhysX). The CFD software modelled the two-phase fluid and provided force and moment data to the physics middleware so that the movement of the armour units could be determined. The simulation algorithm was verified numerically and experimentally. The numerical verification exercise was of limited value due to unresolved issues with the CFD software chosen for the analysis, but it was shown that PhysX responds appropriately given the correct force data as input. Experiments were conducted in a hydraulics laboratory to study the interaction of a solitary wave and cubes stacked on a platform. Fiducial markers were used to track the movement of the cubes. The phenomenon of interest was the transfer of momentum from the wave to the rigid bodies, and the results confirmed that the effect was captured adequately. The study concludes with suggestions for further study.
- Engineering