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International Journal of Impact Engineering 32 (2006) 16511677


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Modelling of impact forces and pressures in Lagrangian


bird strike analyses
A. Airoldi, B. Cacchione
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Aerospaziale, Politecnico di Milano, Via La Masa 34, Milano 20156, Italy
Received 7 August 2004; accepted 6 April 2005
Available online 13 June 2005

Abstract
The paper aims at evaluating and improving the accuracy of bird impact numerical analyses performed
with nite element explicit codes, focusing on the modelling of the spatial and temporal pressure
distributions exerted on the target by the impacting body. A Lagrangian approach is adopted, interfacing
the ESI/Pam-Crash solver code with an automatic trial-and-error procedure for the elimination of the
excessively distorted elements. The theoretical formulation relevant to the impact of a cylindrical soft body
against a rigid target is reviewed and this idealised case is adopted to validate the presented approach with
increasingly rened nite element schemes. A sensitivity study is then carried out, adopting differently
shaped bird models and varying the material hydrodynamic and deviatoric responses. A set of models is
selected comparing the results with the experimental average values and the scattering reported in literature
for the most signicant loading parameters in impacts on rigid targets. The model shape and the calibration
parameters of the bird material used in these models are subsequently adopted in the analyses of impacts on
a deformable polycarbonate plate. The numerical results obtained with increasingly rened bird models are
presented and discussed. A range of modelling parameters is nally suggested to perform reliable numerical
analyses on aircraft structures and a criterion is proposed to select the models for a reasonably conservative
approach to the design of a bird proof structure.
r 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Bird strike; Bird models; Lagrangian approach; Impact pressures

Corresponding author. Tel.: +39 02 2399 8363; fax: +39 02 2399 8334.

E-mail address: airoldi@aero.polimi.it (A. Airoldi).


0734-743X/$ - see front matter r 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijimpeng.2005.04.011

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Nomenclature
Ck

Coefcients of the polynomial interpolations of the bird material hydrodynamic


responses
Ratio of the plastic yield stress to p0
CY
D; D0 Diameter of a bird model and of an equivalent cylindrical body
Theoretical average force exerted by a bird impacting a rigid target
F0
H
1st parameter in the CowperSymonds law
Local element length in the nite element schemes
Lel
L; L0 Length of a bird model and of an equivalent cylindrical body
M
Bird mass
R; R0 Radius of a bird model and of an equivalent cylindrical body
pxn ; yn ; t Numerical map of the pressures at the target nodes
Stagnation point pressure of an incompressible uid having the same density of a bird
p0
Hugoniot pressure
pH
Steady ow theoretical pressure at the centre of the impact on a rigid target
ps
q
2nd parameter in the CowperSymonds law
Theoretical impact duration for a bird impacting a rigid target
T0
vi ; vH Bird material-specic volume at atmospheric pressure and in the shocked state
Bird impact velocity
Vi
Shock wave velocity in the bird material
Vs
a
Void volumetric fraction (porosity) attributed to the bird material
ri ; rH Bird material density at atmospheric pressure and in the shocked state
sY ; sY0 Plastic yield stress and reference plastic yield stress in quasi-static conditions
cT 0 x; y Spline interpolation of the numerical map of the pressures at the target nodes, timeaveraged in T0
cSTEADY x; y Spline interpolation of the numerical map of the pressures at the target nodes,
time-averaged considering the steady ow phase
cT 0 r; c1:2T 0 r Pressure radial proles, time-averaged in T0 and 1.2T0
cSTEADY r Pressure radial prole, time-averaged considering the steady ow phase

1. Introduction
The risk of structural and system failures, as well as of occupant injuries, due to bird strike
events is nowadays well recognised in aircraft design. Different structural parts of airplanes and
helicopters are currently designed to deect the impacting body trajectory and to partially absorb
its impact energy in order to protect the primary structures in the event of bird strike as in many
cases prescribed by regulations. In order to full these requirements, the bird impact response of
windshields, wing or tail empennage leading edges, as well as engine nacelles, are evaluated by
means of intensive experimental and numerical activities.
Particularly, numerical analyses have been increasingly adopted to analyse bird impacts at
locations and in conditions not considered in the experimental tests, as well as to evaluate the

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effectiveness of design modications to improve the structural response and even for simulations
on design hypotheses, before carrying out any preliminary test. The tendency towards lighter and
more efcient aircraft structures, often characterised by the use of composite materials, implies the
analysis of structural problems of increasing complexity which involve the development of large
plastic strains and damage, tearing or perforations of the structural barriers and even multiple
contact interactions between the impacting body and the aircraft parts.
In these analyses, the reliability of the numerical results critically depends on the accurate
modelling of the spatial and temporal distribution of the pressures exerted on the structure during
the impact. A method of accounting for the coupling between the loads exerted by the bird and
the structural deformation is thus required. Moreover, the bird material constitutive response has
to be properly modelled.
The Lagrangian approach is one of the methods which allows a fully coupled bird impact
analysis; this approach was assessed with the development of an ad hoc explicit nite element code
[1], after the importance of the non-linear coupling between the bird and the impacted target had
been pointed out [2]. This method can be implemented in commonly used commercial explicit
nite element codes and the interaction between the bird and the target can be effectively modelled
by means of contact penalty algorithms. Multiple contacts and complicated structural shapes,
potentially undergoing very large deformations and even tearing, can be considered. The major
drawback of this approach has always been the occurrence of large element distortions in the
model of the bird, eventually leading to numerical errors. In such cases, elimination of the highly
distorted elements beyond a given level of strain can be regarded as the simplest strategy to
complete the analysis [1]. More recently, alternative techniques, such the smooth particle
hydrodynamic method, have been applied to model bird strike events [3] in order to overcome
these difculties.
The characterisation of the material response of the impacting body is another major issue in
bird impact analyses and it is pursued considering that, at the typical velocities of bird strike
events, the body can be regarded as a jet of uid impinging on the structure. Based on the
consideration that the avian tissues are mostly composed of water, the bird material had been
characterised, in numerical analyses, with a water-like hydrodynamic response, or with an
incompressible rubber-like constitutive behaviour [1,4,5]. Other authors have adopted differently
calibrated hydrodynamic responses, assessed with numericalexperimental correlations [6,7].
Considering the peculiar features of bird anatomy, experimental and theoretical work has also
suggested that a homogenised bird material model having the response of Gelatine with a
moderate degree of porosity, between 10% and 15% [8,9] is appropriate. These material models
were adopted to analytically determine the pressures exerted on the target [8,9]; they were also
suggested to develop a substitute bird model for experimental activities [10]. More recently, the
effect of porosity has also been taken into account in the numerical analysis of bird strike [3].
According to some authors, moreover, the bird material has to be modelled considering the
presence of non-hydrodynamic stress components [1,4,6,11]. The work presented in the literature
points out that, superimposing a deviatoric material response to the hydrodynamic constitutive
law will yield different numerical results in terms of effects on the impacted structure, and will
sometimes improve the numericalexperimental correlation.
This paper investigates the performances of Lagrangian bird models, considering different bird
material characterisations and focusing on the numerical modelling of the pressure distributions

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on the impacted targets. The rst objective has thus been to develop an approach not requiring the
calibration of any strain limit in order to eliminate the excessively distorted elements and capable
of modelling the spatial and temporal distributions of the pressure exerted on a target with
adequate accuracy.
The validation of the approach in idealised conditions is reported, comparing the theoretical
formulations and the numerical results referred to the impact on a rigid target of a cylindrical jet
of material having a water-like hydrodynamic response calibrated with different degrees of
porosity. A second set of impact analyses on a rigid target is presented, investigating the inuence
of the porosity, of the non-hydrodynamic material characterisation and of the bird model shape.
The numericalexperimental correlation of the results is carried out, considering the average
values as well as the scattering of the experimental data reported in literature. Some analyses of
bird impact on a polycarbonate plate are nally described in order to correlate the plastic strain
developed in the plate with the impact loading parameters obtained by different bird models in the
impact analyses on the rigid target.

2. Validation of the numerical approach in idealised conditions


2.1. Normal impact of a cylindrical body on a rigid target
The simplest idealisation of a bird impacting a rigid target consists of a cylindrical projectile of
homogenous material, with initial velocity V i and density ri at atmospheric pressure. A length to
diameter ratio of 2.0 can be considered to dene the geometry of the cylinder. The shear strength
of the material is assumed negligible, with respect to the pressures developed during the impact,
and the material is thus considered an in viscid compressible uid.
As the projectile contacts the rigid plane, the material particles at the impacting end are
immediately brought to rest and a shock wave, travelling at velocity V s through the body, is
generated. Neglecting the atmospheric pressure, and dening the pressure and the density of the
material behind the shock wave as pH and rH , the mass and the momentum conservation
equations across the discontinuity can be written in a reference frame moving with the shock
wave, as in Eqs. (1) and (2) [8,12]. A constitutive equation representing the material behaviour is
given in Eq. (3) to complete the set of equations describing the phenomenon [12].
ri V s rH V s  V i ,

(1)

pH ri V s V i ,

(2)

V s V s V i .

(3)

The peak of pressure developed in the initial instants of the impact turns out to be expressed as
in Eq. (4).
pH ri V s V i V i .

(4)

The given set of equations allows, moreover, to evaluate the Hugoniot curve, representing the
locus of the shocked states of the material in the pH  V H =V i plane, where vH 1=rH and
vi 1=ri .

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After the initial phase of the impact, as the material is not radially conned, the shock wave
emerging at the lateral free surfaces of the body is followed by a set of release waves. Thereafter, a
substantial stationary ow condition is obtained, and the jet ows on the at rigid target with a
distribution of pressure characterised by a maximum pressure ps , at the centre of the impact.
The last phase of the impact is characterised by the decay of the impact forces and pressures
exerted on the target. Given the cylinder length, L0 , both the total impact duration, T 0 , and the
average force exerted on the target by the impacting body, F 0 , can be easily evaluated by applying
Eqs. (5) and (6) [8].
T0

L0
,
Vi

(5)

F0

MV i MV 2i

.
T0
L0

(6)

2.2. Homogenised bird material models and theoretical local pressure levels
The initial peak pressure, pH , given in Eq. (4), and the pressure distribution during the ow on
the target depend on the constitutive response of the impacting body. As avian tissues are mostly
composed of water, a water-like hydrodynamic response can be considered as a valid
approximation for a constitutive model to be adopted in bird strike analyses. The material
model proposed in [1], with a hydrodynamic response comparable to that of water, was assessed
in some numerical Lagrangian nite element analyses and gave good numericalexperimental
correlations [1,4].
The anatomic structure of birds includes several internal cavities, such as pneumatic bones,
lungs and peculiar air sacs that contribute to reduce the bird average density that can be estimated
between 900 and 950 kgm3 after the elimination of the feathers [8,9]. In order to model the effects
of these cavities in the response of a homogenised bird material two constitutive behaviours, both
representing a porous gelatine, were proposed in the literature [8,9], each adopting two different
void volumetric fractions, a 0:10 and 0:15, respectively.
Generally, the bird material hydrodynamic response can be characterised by a polynomial
interpolation of the curve relating the pressure to the density ratio r=ri , given in Eq. (7) [1,3,4,6,7].

k
3
X
r
p
Ck
1 .
(7)
ri
k0
The coefcients of the polynomial interpolation are available for the non-porous model,
described in [1], and have been evaluated for the two porous models, presented in [8,9]. Fig. 1
presents the p vs. v=vi plots derived from the interpolations of the three bird material models
reported in literature [1,8,9], in the following referred to as bird materials with a 0:00, 0:10 and
0:15. The comparison with the Hugoniot curves of water, calculated considering a degree of
porosity according to the methods described in [12], indicates that the three interpolations can
approximately represent the shocked states of water-like materials with the corresponding degree
of porosity (Fig. 1). Fig. 2 reproduces the theoretical Hugoniot pressure vs. the impact velocity

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Fig. 1. Hugoniot and compressive curves of water-like materials and homogenised bird materials.

Fig. 2. Theoretical peak pressures vs. impact velocities curves for homogenised bird materials.

curves, obtained applying Eq. (4) to the three bird material models, considering an identical initial
density, ri 930 kgm3 . It can be observed that, according to the degree of porosity attributed to
the bird material, signicant differences are to be expected in the initial peaks of pressure exerted
on the target.
The degree of porosity affects, moreover, the steady ow pressure at the stagnation point, ps .
According to [8,13], in fact, the pressure at the centre of a bird impact can be evaluated as the
stagnation point pressure of an incompressible uid, by replacing the initial bird density, ri , with
the density of the material obtained after eliminating the porosity, thus leading to Eq. (8).


1
1
1
ri V 2i
p.
(8)
ps
2 1a
1a 0

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Porosity is thus expected to increase the stagnation point pressure with respect to the pressure
obtained with a non-porous and incompressible material of identical density, indicated as p0 in
Eq. (8).
2.3. Modelling techniques and numerical strategies
The impact of a 0.6 kg bird, with ri 930 kgm3 , has been modelled and solved with the ESI/
Pam-Crash explicit nite element code, in order to compare the results with the theoretical
formulations. A cylindrical shape, having a length to diameter ratio, L0 =D0 , of 2.0 has been
considered. Constitutive responses, corresponding to the bird materials with a 0:00, 0:10 and
0:15, have been introduced calibrating a hydrodynamic material model, available in the solver
code (material type 7, [14]).
In order to study the mesh sensitivity of the results, three nite element models of the cylinder
have been developed using 8-nodes underintegrated solid elements. The rst two represent a
uniformly meshed cylinder (Figs. 3(a and b)) with an average ratio of cylinder radius to element
length, R0 =Lel , of 6.6 and 8.9, respectively, while the third mesh is characterised by a progressive
renement towards the impacting end having a R0 =Lel ratio of 24.8 (Fig. 3(c)).
The target model has been realised with a 10 mm equispaced grid of nodes, connected by rigid
elements. In order to obtain an adequate modelling of the contact pressures, the interaction
between the impinging body and the rigid plane has been introduced by means of a surface-tosurface contact penalty algorithm [14]. Moreover, to avoid interpenetrations, consequent to the
distortion of the Lagrangian elements during the analysis, the contact between the impacting body

Fig. 3. Finite element models for the analyses of a cylindrical body impacting on a rigid target.

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and the target involves all the faces of the solid elements of the cylinder model, including the
internal ones.
A numerical strategy, assessed in a previous work [4], has been adopted to prosecute the
analyses in case of severe distortions of the Lagrangian elements, consisting in a trial-and-error
scheme that removes the hydrodynamic material response only in the zones where numerical
errors occur, leaving the corresponding mass lumped at free nodes. To implement this procedure,
the nite element models of the impacting body have been divided into one hundred regions and
the solver code has been programmed to write, at a given frequency during the simulation, a restart le. If the calculation is interrupted because of a numerical error, an external script
automatically detects the region where numerical problems are originated, eliminates the
hydrodynamic material in this zone and re-starts the analysis from the last available re-start le.
In the prosecution of the simulation, the mass corresponding to the eliminated volume portion is
lumped at free nodes, still interacting with the impacting surface via a node-to-surface contact
algorithm. Fig. 4 shows the ow chart of the procedure and presents the material regions for the
model in Fig. 3(b). A re-start le writing frequency of 1/(0.012T0) has been adopted in all the
presented analyses.
In order to evaluate the pressure distribution on the target, pressure maps and pressure radial
proles have been calculated averaging, in the time domain, the map of the nodal pressures
exerted on the surface expressed in a reference system having the spatial origin at the centre of the
impact and the time origin at the beginning of the impact event, pxn ; yn ; t. Considering a given
time interval, DT, the time-averaged pressure at each node has been evaluated. A bi-dimensional
spline interpolation has been applied to the time-averaged pressure values, thus leading to a
pressure map, cDT x; y. A pressure radial prole, averaged in the considered DT, has been nally
determined by means of Eq. (9).
Z 2p
1
cDT r cos W; r sin W dW.
(9)
cDT r
2pr 0

Fig. 4. Flow chart of the trial-and-error procedure for the automatic elimination of the regions with distorted
Lagrangian elements and example of a cylindrical body model divided into regions.

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2.4. Numerical results and comparison with the theoretical formulations


Numerical simulations of the normal impacts on a rigid target of the previously described
cylindrical body have been performed at different velocities. Impacts at 100, 200 and 300 ms1
have been analysed adopting the increasingly rened models shown in Fig. 3, and the three bird
materials with a 0:00, 0:10 and 0:15, thus leading to a total number of 27 analyses.
The typical phases of the impact analysis are shown in Figs. 5 and 6, for a simulation with
a 0:10, R0 =Lel 8:9, V i 200 ms1 , while Fig. 7 reports the pressure time histories at the
centre of the impact, at the same impact velocity and mesh renement level, obtained with
different degrees of porosity.
The development of the shock wave is evidenced in Fig. 5(a). The release waves, emerging from
the free lateral edges, and a weakened pressure wave, travelling across the body, are visible in
Figs. 5(b) and (c), respectively. The owing of the modelled cylindrical jet is presented in Fig. 5(c)
as well as in Fig. 6, showing the numerical contact interface between the body and the target. The

Fig. 5. Pressure contours, in different impact phases, of a cylindrical body model with R0 =Lel 8:9, having a 0:10 at
V i 200 ms1 .

Fig. 6. Contact interface between a cylindrical body model and the target model.

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Fig. 7. Numerical pressure time histories at the centre of the impact, ltered at 50 kHz, considering cylindrical body
models with R0 =Lel 8:9, at V i 200 ms1 .

Fig. 8. Numerical impulse time histories for the analyses with cylindrical body models having R0 =Lel 24:8, at
100 ms1 (white symbols), 200 ms1 (grey symbols) and 300 ms1 (black symbols).

curves reported in Fig. 7 show that, after an initial peak of pressure, a phase of substantially
steady ow, with pressure levels comparable to p0 , is developed.
As far as the overall impact parameters are concerned, Fig. 8 reports the impulses obtained
integrating the contact force on the target from the beginning of the impact in all the analyses
performed with the most rened model. At time T 0 all the impulses are between 91% and 93% of
the initial momentum. After T 0 ; the overall contact forces decay in all the analyses, as indicated
by the impulse curves. The inuence of porosity is absolutely negligible and the impulses are
always lower than the initial momentum, thus indicating that the material of the soft body,
globally, ows without rebounding on the target. Fig. 9 refers to the analyses performed with

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Fig. 9. Numerical impulses evaluated at T 0 (large symbols) and 1.2T0 (small symbols) for the analyses of the impact of
a cylindrical body model at V i 200 ms1 .

Fig. 10. Time-averaged pressure distributions in T0 of cylindrical body models with R0 =Lel 24:8, having a 0:00 (a),
a 0:10 (b) and a 0:15 (c), at V i 200 ms1 .

different cylindrical models at V i 200 ms1 ; it presents the numerical values of the impulses at
T 0 and 1.2T0 and shows that the mesh sensitivity is also negligible. The theoretical predictions
given in Eqs. (5) and (6) are hence substantially conrmed.
Fig. 10 presents the spline interpolations of the pressure distributions averaged in the 0  T 0
time interval, cT 0 x; y, and it is referred to the analyses performed with different degrees of
porosity, at V i 200 ms1 , adopting meshes with R0 =Lel 24:8. The pressure radial proles,
shown in Fig. 11, have been obtained considering the same analyses, but applying Eq. (9) to a
pressure map, cSTEADY x; y, time-averaged in the interval 1=3T 0  2=3T 0 , chosen as
representative of the steady ow phase. As predicted by Eq. (8) the porosity degree inuences
the stagnation point pressure in the steady phase, but Fig. 11 shows that the pressure proles are
also dependent on the mesh renement.

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Fig. 11. Pressure radial proles during the owing phase of cylindrical body models having a 0:00 (a), a 0:10 (b)
and a 0:15 (c), at V i 200 ms1 .

Fig. 12. Theoretical-numerical correlation of the steady ow pressures considering cylindrical body models with
R0 =Lel 24:8.

The reason for this mesh sensitivity can be explained as follows. During the owing phase the
elements at the impacting end are progressively stretched, as shown in Fig. 6, so that a poorly
rened model of the contact interface is obtained, unless the initial local element length at the
impacting end is very small. The results of the models having R0 =Lel 8:9 and R0 =Lel 24:8 are
similar and indicate that the solutions obtained with the highest mesh renement levels are
numerically reliable.
The proles presented in Fig. 11 show that the pressure at the centre of the impact rises as the
porosity increases, as predicted by Eq. (8). This trend is conrmed, in Fig. 12, by the values of the
pressure maps at the centre of the impact,cSTEADY 0; 0, averaged in the 1=3T 0  2=3T 0 time
interval and referred to the analyses of the impact at different velocities. Numerical results
compared with theoretical pressures in Fig. 12 indicate, however, that even the most rened
models tend to underestimate the values given by Eq. (8), with an average discrepancy of 8.9%.
To explain this discrepancy, which is more considerable at low impact velocities and for the

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Fig. 13. Theoreticalnumerical correlation of the initial peaks of pressure considering cylindrical body models with
R0 =Lel 24:8.

Fig. 14. Initial peaks of pressures at the centre of the impact at V i 200 ms1 of cylindrical body models having
a 0:00 (a), a 0:10 (b) and a 0:15 (c), obtained ltering the numerical curves with different cut-off frequencies of
50 kHz (small symbols), 100 kHz (medium symbols) and 150 kHz (large symbols).

non-porous material, the velocity of the nodes at the onset of the steady ow phase has been
analysed. It has been observed that in the initial phases of the impact, a weakened pressure wave
had propagated through the body and had modied the velocity of the nodes, particularly in the
inner portion of the cylinder, thus giving reason for stagnation pressures lower than the
theoretical levels.
An acceptable correlation with the theory has been, nally, obtained for the initial peak of
pressure on the rigid target, presented in Fig. 13 and compared to the theoretical curves derived
applying Eq. (4) to the three considered material models. The numerical results, reported in
Fig. 13, are referred to the most rened models and have been obtained ltering at 50 kHz the
numerical pressure time histories at the centre of the impact. As shown in Fig. 14 for the analyses
of impacts at V i 200 ms1 , the numerical peak of pressure is dependent on the cut-off frequency

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Fig. 15. Numerical time histories of the contact forces, ltered at 50 kHz, and monitoring of the percentage of mass
retaining the hydrodynamic behaviour adopting cylindrical body models having different porosity levels and
R0 =Lel 24:8.

of the digital lter adopted, but with the most rened mesh the results obtained ltering at 50, 100
and 150 kHz are substantially identical.
Globally, a good correlation has been found between the analyses performed with the
implemented Lagrangian approach and the theoretical formulations for a bird impact in idealised
conditions, assuming a rigid target, a perfectly cylindrical shape and a pure hydrodynamic
response. The results of the mesh sensitivity study indicate that relatively coarse models can give
good results in terms of overall impact-loading parameters. However, the same results suggest
that an adequate mesh renement, particularly at the impacting end of the model is required in
order to obtain reliable evaluations of the pressure distribution.
As far as the distortion of the elements is concerned, Fig. 15 reports the normalised forces and
the percentage of mass retaining the hydrodynamic behaviour in the analyses of the impacts at
200 ms1 performed using the most rened cylindrical models, having R0 =Lel 24:8. Although all
the analyses have been performed using the script implementing the trial-and-error procedure,
only the models having R0 =Lel 24:8 required the elimination of the hydrodynamic behaviour in
some regions. As shown in Fig. 15 a maximum of 5% of the bird model initial volume was
substituted with lumped masses, in the 0  T 0 time interval. A maximum substitution of 10% of
the initial volume occurred, in just one case, considering a simulation time of 1.2T0.

3. Analyses of bird impact on a rigid target


3.1. Sensitivity to the model shape and to the non-hydrodynamic material response
A rst comparison of the numerical results obtained by the idealised bird models with the
experimental data referred to bird impact on rigid targets [8,10] indicates that the pressure time
histories at the centre of the impact can be considered in good qualitative agreement. On the

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contrary, the forces exerted by real birds do not absolutely exhibit the high initial peaks presented
in Fig. 15. A different shape of the impacting body and the shear strength of the material have
been introduced in the numerical model to better approximate the characteristics of real birds.
As far as the shape is concerned, cylindrical bodies with hemispherical caps and length to
diameter ratios of 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 have been chosen to realise more realistic bird shapes than the
idealised cylinder and will be referred to as bird models. In order to improve the accuracy of the
numerical pressure distributions, the nite element schemes of these models have been rened
towards the impacting end, up to a R0 =Lel ratio of 24.8, where R0 is the radius of an equivalent
cylindrical body having L0 =D0 2:0 and the same mass of the bird model.
The effects of a deviatoric response, superimposed to the hydrodynamic behaviour, have also
been investigated. Elasticplastic, as well as elasticbrittle deviatoric responses, were considered
by different authors in literature [1,4,6,11] with a wide range of ultimate deviatoric stress
attributed to the material. In this work, a sensitivity study has been performed adopting an elasticperfectly plastic deviatoric response. The elastic limit has been set to a deviatoric strain of 0.01
and the corresponding yield stress, sY , has been normalised with respect to the stagnation point
pressure of an incompressible uid with density of 930 kgm3, thus dening the coefcient
C Y sY =p0 .
In order to evaluate the inuence of the model shape and of the material deviatoric response,
the numerical analyses of impacts at V i 200 ms1 , with a bird mass of 0.6 kg, have been
performed. A full evaluation matrix has been considered, combining materials with deviatoric
responses characterised by C Y 0:00, 0:10 and 0:20, the hydrodynamic behaviour of bird
materials with a 0:00, 0:10 and 0:15 and bird model shapes having length to diameter ratios of
1.6, 1.8 and 2.0.
Globally, 27 bird strike analyses have been performed. The hereby presented results are
normalised with respect to the theoretical impact loading parameters that are referred to an
equivalent cylindrical body, having the same mass of the bird model and L0 =D0 2:0. All over, a
cut-off frequency of 50 kHz has been adopted to lter the numerical curves of pressure and force.
On the basis of the results shown in Fig. 14, this frequency has been considered adequate to obtain
reliable numerical evaluations of the impact loading parameters at the adopted mesh renement
level.
The impact phases shown in Fig. 16 and the pressure time histories reported in Fig. 17, refer to
bird models without a deviatoric response, having L=D 2:0 and different porosity values. The
comparison with the contours and the pressure curves referred to cylinders reported in Figs. 57
shows that the shapes having a curved impacting end obtains initial peaks of pressure lower than
those obtained with the cylindrical models. Moreover, high-pressure levels are developed only in a
limited contact region. As a consequence, as shown in Fig. 18, the overall contact forces of the
bird models do not exhibit high initial spikes in correspondence of the initial pressure peaks as in
the case of the cylindrical impacting body and are characterised by a trapezoidal shape.
The inuence of the deviatoric response can be appreciated in Fig. 19 that reports the sensitivity
of the numerical impulses evaluated at T0 for all the bird models considered in the evaluation
matrix. The impulse tends to increase with C Y thus indicating that the deviatoric response
opposes the bird model ow and increases the tendency of the body to rebound on the rigid target.
The average pressure distributions in T 0 present more considerable variations than those
regarding the overall impulses in the same time interval. Fig. 20 shows that the numerical value of

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Fig. 16. Phases of the impact analysis on a rigid target and internal pressure contours considering a bird model with
L=D 1:8, having a 0:10 and C Y 0:00.

Fig. 17. Numerical pressure time histories at the centre of the impact, ltered at 50 kHz, considering bird models with
L=D 2:0, having C Y 0:00.

the pressure at the centre of the impact averaged in T 0 , cT 0 0; 0, signicantly increases with a and
C Y . cT 0 0; 0 rises from a value of about 1.1p0 for non-porous models without deviatoric response
up to over 1.5p0 for the porous models with deviatoric response.
3.2. Comparison with the experimental data
The impact loading parameters obtained in the bird strike numerical analyses included in the
sensitivity study are hereby compared with the average values and the standard deviations of the
experimental results referred to normal impacts of birds on rigid targets and presented in [8,15].
In the considered experiments, the impulses and the peaks of force were measured from
shooting 15 birds with masses of 0.06 and 0.6 kg on the end faces of aluminium Hopkinson bars.

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Fig. 18. Numerical overall contact forces, ltered at 50 kHz, considering a cylindrical body model and bird models with
different L=D ratios having a 0:10.

Fig. 19. Numerical sensitivity to C Y of the impulse at T 0 for bird models.

Forces had been measured converting the data obtained by strain transducers mounted on the
bars. Two different bars had been used depending on the mass of the impacting body and in both
cases the radii of the impacted end turns out to be about 2.0R0. Accordingly, the numerical
impulses on a reduced circular area of radius 2.0R0 have been evaluated in order to carry out a
more rigorous numericalexperimental correlation. Such values have been derived from the
pressure radial proles averaged in 1.2T0, c1:2T 0 r. The correlation shown in Fig. 21 indicates that
all the models included in the evaluation matrix have obtained acceptable results.
As far as force time history is concerned, the numerical trapezoidal overall force proles
exemplied in Fig. 18 are in good qualitative agreement with the experimental force time histories

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Fig. 20. Numerical sensitivity to C Y of the pressure at the centre of the impact, averaged in T 0 , for bird models.

Fig. 21. Numerical sensitivity to C Y of the impulse, evaluated at 1.2T0 on a reduced impact area, to C Y for bird models
and comparison with experimental data.

reported in [8,15] and are characterised by a peak of force that diminishes as the length to
diameter ratio rises. The numerical peaks of force obtained in all the analyses are reported and
compared with the experimental results in Fig. 22 conrming a clear dependency on the model
shape. These results suggest that the experimental force time histories could be considerably
inuenced by the irregular and non-symmetric shapes of the real birds. However, the
numericalexperimental correlation points out that only the models with L=D 1:6 have
reached peaks of force within the experimental range and, in some cases, close to the average
experimental value, while the other models have obtained lower maximum force levels.

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Fig. 22. Numerical sensitivity to L=D of the peak of force for bird models and comparison with experimental data.

Fig. 23. Numerical sensitivity to a of the peak of pressure at the centre of the impact for bird models and comparison
with experimental data.

Considering the pressure distributions, the numerical results can be compared with the
experimental data reported in [8,15] derived from bird shots on a pressure plate apparatus,
featured with pressure transducers having a pass band of 100 kHz.
The experimental initial peaks of pressure, reported in [8,15] for 20 bird shots with masses
between 0.06 and 4.0 kg at different velocities, have been normalised with respect to the theoretical
Hugoniot pressures referred to a material with a 0:10, evaluated at each impact velocity
according to the curve presented in Fig. 2. Fig. 23 compares these experimental results with the
numerical initial peaks of pressure at the centre of the target evaluated from the time history
curves ltered at 50 kHz. It can be observed that only the porosity signicantly inuences the
numerical peak of pressure. Although the models with a 0:10 show the best correlation with the

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Fig. 24. Numerical sensitivity to C Y of the pressures at the centre of the impact, time-averaged in the 1=3T 0  2=3T 0
interval, for bird models having a 0:00 (a), a 0:10 (b) and a 0:15 (c) and comparison with the experimental steady
ow pressures.

average experimental value, all the results are within the range of the experimental data,
characterised by a large scattering.
The experimental steady ow pressures at the centre of the impact have been reported in [8,15]
for more than 30 shots with birds having masses between 0.06 and 4 kg. They are compared in Fig.
24 with the corresponding numerical pressures obtained considering pressure maps averaged in
the 1=3T 0  2=3T 0 time interval. All the modelling parameters, a, C Y and L=D, inuence the
numerical distribution of the pressure; it can also be observed that the models without porosity
and deviatoric response are the closest to the experimental average values. As the porosity, the
yield stress attributed to the deviatoric response or the impacting end curvature are increased, the
numerical value tends to overestimate the experimental results.
Globally, the numericalexperimental correlation shows that the bird models having L=D 1:6
are the only ones obtaining numerical peaks of force close to the average experimental value and
they do not tend to excessively overestimate the pressure at the centre of the impact in the owing
phase. All the previous considerations thus indicate that this shape, among the considered ones,
represents the best choice to allow for the bird shape irregularities and the impacting surface
curvature. The numerical impulses reported in Fig. 19 show that adopting a L=D ratio of 1.6 the
average forces are only a few percent higher than those obtained with shapes having L=D 2:0
which are most commonly adopted in bird strike nite element analyses, all the other modelling
parameters being equal.
Focusing on the models having L=D 1:6, three models have obtained overall impact loading
parameters as well as local pressure values close to the experimental results. The rst two are nonporous bird models, with a 0:00, having C Y 0:00 and 0:10, respectively. They are
characterised by the best correlation with the experimental average values in terms of peaks of
force (7.2% and 5.2%, respectively) and of steady ow pressures (3.5% and +11.8%,
respectively). A third model, having a 0:10 and C Y 0:00, also shows an acceptable
numericalexperimental correlation. In fact, it has obtained an initial peak of pressure that is
substantially identical to the experimental average level though the steady ow pressure and the
peak of force are not as close to the experimental averages (+16.8% and 14.1%, respectively).

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Fig. 25. Pressure radial proles, time-averaged in T 0 , for bird models having a 0:0020:10, C Y 0:0020:10 and
L=D 1:6.

It is worth noting that all the numerical results of these three models are appreciably within the
ranges identied by the standard deviation of the experimental data, though they are
characterised by different pressure distributions, as it is indicated in Fig. 25 by the radial proles
evaluated applying Eq. (9) to the cT 0 x; y maps.

4. Analyses of bird impact on a deformable target


4.1. Objectives and description of the performed analyses
The value of the average pressure at the centre of the impact evaluated considering the total
theoretical impact duration, cT 0 0; 0, can be regarded as particularly representative of the
pressure distribution exerted on the rigid target. In fact, this parameter is evaluated considering
both the initial and the steady ow phases of the impact. Fig. 20 indicates that cT 0 0; 0 rises with
C Y , with the porosity and, in most cases, with the sharpness of the bird model. Assuming that
numerical pressure distributions are adequately modelled, cT 0 0; 0 gives an indication on the
average load exerted by the bird and on the tendency to concentrate the load at the centre of the
impact. Accordingly, the load condition experienced by a deformable structure in a nite element
analysis of bird impact should be more severe the higher is the cT 0 0; 0 value that the adopted
bird model obtains in an impact analysis on a rigid target.
This statement has been veried analysing the normal impact of a bird on a deformable target
considering the three models having L=D 1:6. These models have been selected on the basis of
the numericalexperimental correlation and have obtained cT 0 0; 0 values between 1.089p0 and
1.227p0 in the impact on the rigid target (Figs. 20 and 25). A fourth model, having L=D 1:6,
a 0:15 and C Y 0:20, has further been considered. The numerical impact loading parameters
obtained by this model on a rigid target is within the range of the experimental data as indicated

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in Figs. 2124. On the other hand, the average pressure during the steady ow phase is at the
upper boundary of the experimental results and the overall impulse is higher than those of the
previously selected models. The cT 0 0; 0 obtained by this model is 1.396p0.
The analyses on the deformable target have been performed using the ESI/Pam-Crash solver
code modelling a circular polycarbonate plate having a radius of 500 mm ( 13:5R0 ). Shell
elements having a typical length of 10 mm in the impact zone have been used. The thickness of the
modelled plate has been set to 7.0 mm. An elasticplastic material model (type 103, [14]) has been
chosen and calibrated to approximate the typical response of polycarbonate [16]. A CowperSymonds law (Eq. (10)) has also been included to model the strain rate sensitivity of the yield
stress. The yield stress in quasi-static conditions, sY0 , has been set to 33.75 MPa, the elastic
modulus to 2.25 GPa and the CowperSymonds law parameters, H and q, to 2250 s1 and 5,
respectively.


_ 1=q
.
(10)
sY sY0 1
H
As the numerical pressure distributions have been found to depend on the mesh renement, four
differently rened meshes of a bird model with L=D 1:6 has been used. The local R0 =Lel ratios
at the impacting end of the models vary from 4.2 to 24.8.
4.2. Results
Globally, 16 analyses with V i 200 ms1 and a bird mass of 0.6 kg have been performed
considering the four previously presented bird models and the four differently rened nite
element schemes.
Fig. 26(a) presents two of the meshes adopted while Fig. 26(b and c) exemplify the phases of the
impact and the contours of the membrane plastic strain on the target, respectively. In all the
analyses the overall contact forces show a maximum at approximately 1.0T0. At the same time the
membrane plastic strain at the centre of the impact reaches a plateau level as shown in Fig. 27.
Fig. 27 also presents the deection at the centre of the plate.
All the analyses have been performed activating the trial-and-error procedure to prosecute the
simulations in case of excessively distorted elements. Only the analyses performed with the most
rened bird models having R0 =Lel 24:8 required the elimination of the hydrodynamic behaviour
in some regions. Fig. 28 reports the time histories of the contact forces obtained in these analyses
and the percentage of mass retaining the hydrodynamic behaviour. It can be observed that the
computations prosecuted without any elimination up to 1.0T0. Thereafter, the elimination of the
hydrodynamic behaviour in a small portion of the impacting mass (maximum 13%) allowed to
prosecute the analyses up to the complete decay of the contact forces.
Fig. 29 summarises the results of the analyses and reports the maximum forces (Fig. 29(a)) and
the maximum membrane plastic strains on the plate (Fig. 29(b)) considering different mesh
renements. The results obtained by each bird model are plotted vs. the normalised average
pressure, cT 0 0; 0=p0 , evaluated at the centre of the impact on a rigid target adopting the same
bird model. Fig 29(a) shows that the maximum contact forces differ by a maximum of 10% and
do not regularly vary with cT 0 0; 0.

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Fig. 26. Bird models for the analyses of impacts on a deformable target (a), phases of the impact analysis (b) and
numerical membrane plastic strain on the target (c) referred to an analysis adopting a bird model with R0 =Lel 24:8,
having a 0:00, C Y 0:00 and L=D 1:6.

Fig. 27. Numerical time histories of the plate deection and of the plastic strain at the centre of the impact on a
deformable target for a set of selected bird models, with R0 =Lel 24:8.

The variations of the plastic strain are much more considerable and maximum differences of
about 30% are reported in Fig. 29(b) among the three models selected on the basis of the
numericalexperimental correlation. When the fourth model having the highest cT 0 0; 0 is
considered, differences of 55% are obtained. Fig. 29(b) also shows that the maximum plastic strain

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Fig. 28. Numerical time histories of the contact forces and monitoring of the percentage of mass retaining the
hydrodynamic behaviour in the impact analyses on a deformable target performed with bird models having
R0 =Lel 24:8.

Fig. 29. Numerical peaks of force (a) and maximum values of the membrane plastic strain (b) in the impact analyses on
a deformable target for a set of selected bird models, with different mesh renements.

on the deformable plate turns out to be a monotonic function of cT 0 0; 0. As far as the mesh
sensitivity is concerned, the membrane plastic strain is minimum for the most rened meshes,
while the less rened models obtain strains up to 18% higher. However, the mesh renement does
not inuence the monotonic increment of the membrane plastic strain with cT 0 0; 0.
4.3. Discussion of the results obtained considering rigid and deformable targets
According to the presented results, different local strain levels have been achieved adopting bird
models that have obtained overall impact loading parameters and local pressures close to the
experimental average values in an impact analysis on a rigid target. This consideration suggests

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that bird impact analyses on structures could be performed with different bird models in order to
account for possible variations of the impacting body characteristics and for the uncertainties
relevant to the experimental measures. The three models previously selected on the basis of the
numericalexperimental correlation identify a shape and ranges of a and C Y that can be proposed
for numerical analyses performed adopting the presented approach. The limitation regarding the
ultimate deviatoric stress has been actually veried for an impact velocity of 200 ms1. However,
on the basis of the performed numerical investigation, it can be reasonably supposed that the ow
of the impacting body will be excessively hindered if the deviatoric yield stress exceeds 0.1 times
the stagnation pressure of an incompressible uid having the same density of the bird. As a
consequence, the pressure at the centre of the impact will turn out to be overestimated with respect
to the experimental data, also at different velocities.
The results, moreover, conrm that the severity of the load conditions applied to the considered
deformable target can be correlated to the impact loading parameters obtained by a bird model in
the impact analysis on a rigid target. Indeed, the severity of the load conditions applied to the
deformable target does not appear correlated to the peaks of force exerted by the bird models as it
is shown by the results of the model with cT 0 0; 0 1:396p0 . In fact, this model presents the lowest
peaks of force on the rigid as well as on the deformable target but has obtained the highest plastic
strain among the considered bird models. On the other hand, the pressure parameter denoted as
cT 0 0; 0 has been found to represent a signicant index of the severity of the load conditions that
each bird model can apply in the impact analysis on a deformable target. Accordingly, the models
presenting time-averaged pressures in an impact analysis on a rigid target at the upper boundary of
the experimental data could represent suitable candidates to perform reasonably conservative
numerical analyses for the development of an efcient bird proof structure.

5. Conclusions
The numerical performances of bird models with different material characterisations and
shapes have been evaluated with a Lagrangian approach. The ESI/Pam-Crash code has been
interfaced with an external script implementing a trial-and-error element elimination procedure
and a surface-to-surface contact algorithm has been adopted between the nite elements schemes
of the impacting body and the target.
The approach has been applied to analyse bird impacts in idealised conditions considering the
normal impact on a rigid target of perfectly cylindrical bodies with pure hydrodynamic responses
corresponding to water-like materials having different degrees of porosity. The numerical
simulations have properly modelled the development of the shock wave in the initial instants of
the impact and the subsequent ow of the bird material. A good correlation with the theoretical
formulations regarding all the most signicant global and local impact loading parameters has
been obtained at different impact velocities. As far as the distribution of the pressures exerted on
the target is concerned, reliable and convergent solutions and local values in good agreement with
the theoretical formulations have been obtained increasing the mesh renement, particularly at
the impacting end of the body. The developed procedure to eliminate the hydrodynamic
behaviour in the excessively distorted elements allowed to prosecute these analyses up to the
complete decay of the impact forces without calibrating any strain limit for the elimination of the

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elements and with negligible inuences on the accuracy of the results. The approach has been thus
found suitable to perform a large number of analyses focusing on the impact loading parameters
obtained by bird models of different shapes and adopting different material characterisations. As
conrmed by the presented results, the Lagrangian analyses of bird impacts on the considered at
targets could be prosecuted requiring the elimination of the hydrodynamic behaviour only in
limited portions of the impacting body.
Accordingly, a sensitivity study has been rst performed adopting the validated approach
varying the model shape, the degree of porosity and the plastic ow stress attributed to the
deviatoric response superimposed to the hydrodynamic behaviour. The comparison with the
average values and the standard deviations of the experimental data reported in literature allowed
to identify a set of bird models obtaining impulses, peaks of force, peaks of pressure and steady
ow pressures close to the experimental average values and clearly within the range identied by
the experimental data. These models are characterised by a length to diameter ratio of 1.6, a
water-like hydrodynamic response calibrated considering porosity between 0% and 10%, and an
elastic-perfectly-plastic deviatoric response with a yield stress lower than 0.1 times the stagnation
pressure of an incompressible uid having the same density of the bird material.
The numerical performances of these selected models have been evaluated in a virtual
experiment relevant to the impact on a deformable polycarbonate plate and not completely
negligible differences have been obtained considering the plastic strain levels in the target. These
results indicate that the reliability of bird impact numerical analyses on a structure could be
improved performing different analyses and varying the modelling parameters within the ranges
identied in the numericalexperimental correlation. Moreover, a correlation has been found
between the time-averaged pressure at the centre of the impact obtained by a bird model on a rigid
target, considering the total impact duration and the plastic strain induced by the same bird model
on the polycarbonate plate. This result suggests to select bird models obtaining pressures at the
centre of the impact on a rigid target at the upper boundary of the experimental data in order to
perform reasonably conservative bird impact analyses.
Further numerical and experimental activities may investigate the application of the developed
numerical approach in more complex impact conditions and the overall validity of the identied
range of modelling parameters, also adopting different numerical approaches, and may assess the
proposed criterion to select reasonably conservative bird models for the development of bird
proof structures.
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thanks Prof. Vittorio Giavotto for the support given to this work.

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