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Workshop 3

2-way FSI for a Hyperelastic Flap

Including Dynamic Remeshing
14. 0 Release

Solving FSI Applications Using ANSYS

Mechanical and ANSYS Fluent
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May 21, 2012

Release 14.0

Introduction
Workshop Description:
This example considers the large deformation of a hyperelastic flap as a result of
the hydrodynamic forces from a surrounding fluid flow. The flow is transient,
and the coupling involves 2-way FSI between Fluent and Mechanical.

Learning Aims:
This workshop shows how to prepare a 2-way coupled Systems-Coupling
solution in workbench. This includes:
Setup of the Transient Structural case for the hyperelastic material.
Setup of the Fluent dynamic-mesh case, including smoothing and re-meshing
Setup and solution of the coupled flow case

Learning Objectives:
To understand all the key steps necessary for solving a full 2-way FSI simulation
within Workbench that results in a large deformation which requires dynamic remeshing.

May 21, 2012

Release 14.0

Simulation to be performed
The fluid region is a channel 0.15 m high and 0.25 m long. Air enters at the left hand
side at 20 m/s. This causes the flap, made of a hyperelastic rubber, to deform.
The simulation is run over 75 time steps. The solution is full 2-way FSI:
ANSYS Fluent transfers the pressure force on the flap to ANSYS Mechanical
ANSYS Mechanical computes the deformation, and transmits this to Fluent
Fluent modifies the mesh (using smoothing and re-meshing) to resolve the
motion
Note that system coupling must be a 3D analysis. In this case we will generate a
mesh just 1 element/cell thick. The Fluent cells will be triangular prisms, but we can
re-mesh these by using the 2.5D remeshing scheme.
Start, time =0

End, time = 0.0075s

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Starting Workbench
The geometry and mesh have already been created (both fluid and solid regions).
1.

Start ANSYS Workbench (R14.0) and select File > Restore Archive:
a) Select Hyperelastic_Flap.wbpz
b) You will be asked for a Save As file name. Enter Hyperelastic_Flap.wbpj and
save to your working directory (save to a local hard disk, not a USB memory
stick)
Parameters were used during the initial geometry creation (for controlling the top
curve on the flap). This workshop will not be modifying these parameters, though
you may wish to try this yourself later.

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1.

On the Workbench page, double-click on the Fluent Setup cell (B4)

a) Keep default settings (3D, single precision, serial), click OK

2.

In Fluent perform a mesh check (see image) and verify there are no warnings

3.

4.

Under Models, select Viscous and Edit. Select:

a) k-epsilon (2-eqn)
b) Realizable model
c) Enhanced Wall Treatment
d) Click OK

5.

Under Materials, observe air is already

available by default

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1.

2.

Observe that the following boundaries have

defaulted to the correct type:
a) Type symmetry for symmetry_1, symmetry_2
b) Type wall for bottom_wall, top_wall,
wall_cfd_coupled

3.

Click on inlet (type = velocity inlet) and select Edit

a) Set Velocity Magnitude to 20 m/s, Turbulence
Specification Method to Intensity and
Hydraulic Diameter with 10% Turbulent
Intensity and 0.2m Hydraulic Diameter.
b) Click OK

4.

Click on outlet (type = pressure-outlet) and select

Edit
a) Set Gauge Pressure to 0 Pa.
b) Set the same turbulence specification the inlet
then click OK

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1.

Select Dynamic Mesh in the model tree

a) Enable Dynamic Mesh
b) Enable Smoothing and Remeshing
c) Select Settings

2.

On the Smoothing tab, set the Method to Diffusion

a) Set the Diffusion Function to boundary-distance
b) Set Diffusion Parameter to 1

3.

Diffusion smoothing works by diffusing the displacements

at moving boundaries into the domain. The boundarydistance function results in a high diffusivity near
boundaries (so the mesh near a boundary moves like a
rigid body) and a low diffusivity away from boundaries
(so the mesh in the middle of a domain tends to deform
to absorb the boundary motion.

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4.

2.5D method

5.

Click on Mesh Scale Info and observe the

current maximum and minimum cell sizes

6.

Enter values between these limits, so:

a) Minimum Length Scale: 0.003 m
b) Maximum Length Scale: 0.005 m
c) Maximum Face Skewness: 0.7
d) Size Remesh Interval: 1

7.

Close the mesh-scale popup window, and click OK on the

Mesh Method Settings window

Fluent will normally only remesh either (in 2D) triangular

cells, or (in 3D) tetrahedral cells. However in cases with a
swept mesh like this, we can apply 2.5D remeshing so that
re-meshing is applied to the tri-prism grid cells

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8.

Under Dynamic Mesh Zones select Create/Edit

9.

Select symmetry 1 from the Zone Names dropdown menu and set the Type to Deforming
a)
b)
c)
d)

On the Geometry Definition tab, set the

Definition to plane
Set Point on Plane to [0, 0, 0.005]
Set Plane Normal to [0, 0, 1]
On the Meshing Options tab disable the
Smoothing and Remeshing toggles

10. Press Create

(Geometry Definition): Remember that Fluent does not have the underlying geometry for the
model, it just sees the starting mesh. If we are to slide / move grid cells on this symmetry
plane then Fluent needs to understand the geometric shape it is working with, in this case a
plane. The symmetry plane mesh can now move, but it is constrained to the defined plane.
(Meshing Options): For 2.5D re-meshing, one face will lead (in this case symmetry_2) and will
have smoothing and re-meshing active. This face, symmetry_1 replicates the mesh of the lead
face, and therefore we do not want smoothing and re-meshing active here.
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8.

Select symmetry 2 from the Zone Names

drop-down menu and set the Type to
Deforming

13. For Geometry Definition, select plane

a) Set Point on Plane to [0, 0, 0]
(different than before)
b) Set Plane Normal to [0, 0, 1]
14. Go to the Meshing Options tab and select:
a) Smoothing: On
b) Remeshing: On
c) Minimum Length Scale: 0.003
d) Maximum Length Scale: 0.005
e) Maximum Skewness 0.7
15. Press Create

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Fluent Setup Dynamic Mesh [5]

17. Select wall_cfd_coupled from the Zone Names menu and set the Type to System
Coupling
18. Under Meshing Options, set the Cell Height to 0.003 m
19. Press Create
20. Close the Dynamic Mesh Zones panel
This is the key setting in Fluent to allow 2-way FSI
This boundary comprises the 3 surfaces (2 sides and top) of the flexible flap.
The deformed shape of this part is being computed by the finite-element code ANSYS
Mechanical, and being transferred to Fluent. The deformation vector is defined for
each individual node that makes up the coupled surface.

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Fluent Setup General Solver Settings

1.

Back on the main Fluent model setup tree under Solution Methods set the
Pressure-Velocity Coupling Scheme to Coupled

2.

Under Solution Initialization select Hybrid Initialization then Initialize

3.

Under Run Calculation enter 1 for the number of Time Steps (dont press
Calculate)
This value is not used, but must be greater than zero. We do not need to set the
Time Step Size, this will be controlled externally from the System Coupling process.

4.

Leave the number of iterations per time step set to 20

For System Coupling cases this is actually the number of Fluent iterations per
Coupling Iteration

5.

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1.

Back on the Workbench project page, double-click on

the Model cell, C4
This will launch ANSYS Mechanical

2.

In the model tree, expand Geometry and select the

body named fea:
Note the assignment of hyperelastic material to the
FEA body (see lower details window). This material
was created in the Engineering Data Cell (C2) in the
Project Schematic.
Next we need to apply the symmetry condition to the
front and back (high and low z faces).

3.

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Right-click on Model (C4) at the top of the

Outline tree and select Insert > Symmetry

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4.

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In the new Symmetry object (below Coordinate

Systems) right-click and select Insert > Symmetry
Region
a) Set Scoping Method to Named Selection then
from the drop-down list select symmetry_a
b) Set Symmetry Normal to Z Axis
c) Right click on this Symmetry Region in the model
tree and select Duplicate
d) Set the Named Selection to symmetry_b for the
Symmetry Region 2

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1.

Right-click on Transient (C5) in the model tree and

select Insert > Fixed Support
a) Set Scoping Method to Named Selection
b) Select clamped as the Named Selection
This is the small square face at the bottom of the flap
that is rigidly fastened to the bottom of the channel

2.

Right-click on Transient (C5) in the model tree and

select Insert > Fluid Solid Interface
a) Set Scoping Method to Named Selection
b) Select wall_fea_coupled as the Named Selection
This is the key step for the Mechanical model in order
to perform a 2-way FSI simulation. This surface is the
wetted outer surface in contact with the fluid. System
Coupling will map the forces from the CFD
computation on to this surface, and transfer back the
resulting deformation to Fluent.

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1.

Select Analysis Settings in the model tree

a) Set Auto Time Stepping to Off
b) Set Define by to Substeps
c) Enter Number Of Substeps as 1
A single substep is always recommended when
using Mechanical with System Coupling

2.

The Mechanical setup is now complete. Select File

> Save Project, then close the Mechanical editor
We do not need to set output controls here (these
will be set in System Coupling later)
We do not need to set solution result quantities
(stress / displacement) here, since the whole
coupled model will be post-processed in CFD-Post

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System Coupling Setup [1]

1.

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On the Workbench Project Page drag a System Coupling (Component System) onto
the Project Schematic
a) Draw a connector from the Fluent Setup cell (B4) to the System Coupling Setup
cell (D2)
b) Draw a connector from the Transient Structural Setup cell (C5) to the System
Coupling Setup cell (D2)
c) Note the Fluent Setup cell (B4) requests an update. Right-click and Update
d) Note the Structural Setup cell (C5) requests an update. Right-click and Update

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2.

Double-click on the System Coupling Setup cell D2,

and Yes to the pop-up window

3.

In the Outline for System Coupling (if not visible,

on the top menu bar check Tools > Outline) select
Analysis Settings:
a) Set End Time to 0.0075 (value is in seconds)
b) Set Step Size to 5e-05 (value is in seconds)

4.

Under Participants > Fluid Flow (FLUENT) >

Regions, highlight wall_cfd_coupled. Under
Participants > Transient Structural > Regions,
HOLD DOWN CTRL KEY and also highlight Fluid
Solid Interface

5.

Right-click and select Create Data Transfer to

define a data transfer between these two regions

7.

Under Execution Control, select Intermediate

Results File Output
a)

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8.

Save the project

When setting the time step size, the value (5e-05) will be given to both CFD and FEA codes (which
is why we did not need to set this value in Fluent or Mechanical). We have kept the default
Maximum Iteration of 5 in System Coupling. This is the maximum number of iterations System
Coupling will perform between the participant solvers per time step. Hence within a given time
step, we could find that:

Fluent performs up to 20 flow iterations

Fluent passes the loads to Mechanical to compute the displacement
Mechanical performs iterations to converge its solution
Mechanical passes the new position back to Fluent

This whole process could then be repeated up to 5 times for each time step (in other words
potentially 100 Fluent iterations per time step if convergence is poor).
Two new Data Transfer objects have been added to the Model Tree. Data Transfer takes the force
computed on Fluent (boundary wall_cfd_coupled) and transmits that to Transient Structural
(boundary type Fluid Solid Interface). Data Transfer 2 takes the displacement from Transient
Structural (boundary type Fluid Solid Interface) and transmits that to Fluent (boundary
wall_cfd_coupled).
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System Coupling Running the Simulation

1.

Before solving, make sure that View > Files is disabled in Workbench
The solution creates many results/backup files. Workbench is slow to display all
these files after the solution. Ensuring the Files View is off allows you to quickly

2.

Select each object under Solution

Information to view the output
transcript from the System
Coupling, Fluent and Mechanical
Just before the main computation
starts, it is important to check the
Mapping Summary in the System
Coupling output and see that
100% of the nodes have been
paired up
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System Coupling Reviewing

2.

Look at the System Coupling log file (click under Solution Information in the
Outline):
a)

3.

Review the output. Note that typically the coupling system typically reaches
convergence within 3 Coupling Iterations (so a maximum of 5 Coupling
Iterations was appropriate)

Look at the Fluid Flow (FLUENT) log file:

a)

See how in most cases convergence was reached on a given time step within
less than the 20 iteration maximum, so this setting was appropriate

Note that if the Fluent UI remains open then the Fluent solution transcript will only
appear in Fluent and not in System Coupling. Keeping Fluent open can be useful,
for example to track monitor plots.
4.

Look at the Transient Structural log file:

a) See how in most cases force and displacement convergence was achieved
after 2 or 3 Equilibrium Iterations, which is good
As a guide, this will take about 15 mins to solve. You may want to stop the
simulation early if short of time and carry on to post-processing.

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1.

2.

3.

On the Project Schematic create a connection from the Transient Structural

Solution cell (C6) to the Fluent Results cell (B6)
Note that the 2 blocks may swap over (so Fluent becomes column C)

4.

Double-click on the Fluent Results cell (C6) to launch CFD-Post

CFD-Post is able to read in the results data from both solvers to allow postprocessing of both CFD and FEA data simultaneously

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