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Coupled Fluid-Structural-Thermal Simulations of Industrial Problems;

Requirements, Approaches and Examples - Keynote Lecture

Ashok K. Singhal, Vijayan Parthasarathy, John M. Siegel, Jr. and Alton Reich*
CFD Research Corporation, Huntsville, AL, USA
( (256) 726-4800
*Proto-Power Corp, Groton, CT

ABSTRACT However, the above approach has also fragmented the design
The present paper describes some technical and business process. There has been evolution of "Specialist Groups"
considerations for the coupled (rather than sequential) specializing in individual disciplines e.g., CFD, CSD,
simulations of fluid flow, structural, and thermal phenomena Controls, etc. Such polarization tends to add considerable
in industrial equipment. A Modular (object-oriented) dependencies and delays in the design process. Thus the
approach of performing coupled simulations is described. designer has added a burden to guide and coordinate (and
The embodying software (MDICE: Multi-Disciplinary hence manage) such groups; or to simply keep doing things
Computing Environment) also allows the use of various the old fashioned way (i.e., use simple analysis and
(interchangeable) engineering analysis codes on a experiments). As a result, most organizations are making
hetroseneous distributed computer environment. This only a limited use of advanced simulation capabilities.
approach offers the highest levels of flexibility and
interoperability, and it has much greater potential than the In the broader context, there has been similar progress and
traditional approaches of developing monolithic codes or complexity in all aspects of business, e.g., Marketing, R&D,
developing common file formats for data exchange between Engineering, Manufacturing, Selling, and Servicing
CFD and CSD codes. industrial products. To rectify the situation, there have been
waves of new ideas and theories, e.g.: Concurrent
Several common examples of thermal stresses at pipe Engineering, Total Quality Management, and Integrated
junctions, and the transient loads near closing positions of Product Development Teams, etc. Most of the large
gate and butterfly valves are presented to illustrate the businesses have re-organized themselves to meet the
importance of coupled analyses. All simulations have been challenges of Rapid Product Development to complete in the
+ global market.
performed by using commercial software, viz: CFD-ACE ,
Disciplinary Computing Environment). In light of the above, it is very desirable that the Engineering
Analysis practices are also modified to encompass several
INTRODUCTION inter-related disciplines, and to contribute to rapid design
Why Coupled Simulations? and development goals.

A Business Reason A Technical Reason

In the last few decades, there has been significant progress in Engineering equipment is subjected to and responds to
the disciplines of Computational Structural Dynamics (CSD) various flow, heat transfer, and structural loads
and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Several simultaneously (rather than sequentially). Under transient
commercial codes have evolved and facilitated the use of conditions, such simultaneity is even more dominant. In
simulations in a variety of industries. Various organizations many cases, the assumptions of "Quasi Steady State" are
have created analysis departments for CSD, CFD and other simply well intended compromises under the constraints of
disciplines. Advanced simulations of fairly realistic available software. In several applications, e.g., Tail
isolated (simplified of one-discipline) problems has little given thermal and/or mechanical loads, will generate a
value in the practical sense. The phenomena of Thermal deformation field. The global framework, if designed
Cycling, etc. are equally likely to be as sensitive to the need properly, will contain the necessary 'glue' to combine these
for coupled analysis. Likewise, for the designs with active- two modules into a coupled simulation. Typical
controls, the need for coupled analysis is growing very requirements for the framework include temporal
rapidly. synchronization of modules (e.g. slaving each modules to a
given 'global' time) interpolation of mechanical stresses
HOW TO PERFORM COUPLED SIMULATIONS? from the flow solver to the structural solver, and
interpolation of structural deformations from the structural
Traditional approaches solver to the flow solver.
There are three traditional approaches used to account for the
effects of fluid flow and structural/thermal deformation upon Over the past several years, CFDRC has developed a Multi-
engineering designs. The first approach is a CFD-centric Disciplinary Computing Environment (MDICE) which
view of the problem. This viewpoint holds that CFD is the satisfies the requirements of this global framework to enable
most complex aspect of the coupled problem (due to coupled simulations using a modular approach. In addition
nonlinear phenomena), and therefore (simplified) structural to the basic framework requirements cited above, MDICE
interaction capabilities should be integrated into the CFD operates in a heterogeneous distributed computing
code to account for the effect of structural deformation. The environment, so that each module can exist upon different
combination of fluids and structures within this CFD-centric computers (or clusters of computers), thus allowing
code can either be tightly or loosely coupled, from a physics maximum efficiency and flexibility in the execution of a
point of view (e.g. aspects of the structural deformation can given simulation set.
be actually integrated into the equations of fluid flow to
generate a tightly coupled capability). The primary advantage of the modular approach is the ability
to select the appropriate 'global simulation framework' for a
A second approach to the coupled problem is a structural given problem. For example, a particular aspect of an
mechanics-centered view. As with the CFD-centric engineering design might involve complex fluid flow with a
approach, the structural simulation is taken as the primary rather simplified structures, a second aspect of this same
driving force for the problem and a simplified model of the design may require simplified fluid flow and complex
fluid flow is typically added to the 'full function' structural structures, while a third aspect of the design may be complex
analysis code. Again, the combined solver can be either in both disciplines.
tightly or loosely coupled, from a physics perspective.
Perhaps the design engineer would like to approach the
A third traditional approach is to couple two 'full function' problem with a single CFD code and different structural
simulation codes using a file-based approach. This approach analysis codes, depending upon the complexity of the
is usually initiated with a fluid flow solution, which is structures. This is supported by the modular approach.
written to a certain file format. Next, a file converter Perhaps the design engineer has determined that the problem
program is written to read the fluid flow field and extract needs to be tightly coupled from a physics point of view, and
forces into a file suitable for input into the chosen structural therefore the 'global simulation' would consist of a tightly
solver. Finally, the structural solver is executed using the coupled code, whenever possible.
given input file. If a coupled simulation is desired, an
additional file converter is written to extract the structural Again, this approach is supported. The bottom line is that
deflections into a format suitable for deforming the fluids a modular software approach provides maximum
mesh and then the process is repeated (due to the large flexibility within the global simulation framework so that
overhead associated with this process, this last step is rarely the design engineer, rather than the software engineer,
performed). In this approach, simulations are always loosely can make the most appropriate selection of tools for a
coupled, from a physics perspective. given design problem.

Modern Modular Software Approach The current paper presents several examples of coupled
1. Thermal Pipe Penetration
A coupled CFD/stress analysis of thermal pipe penetration
will be performed using CFD-ACE and FEMSTRESS. The
flow configuration comprises a large bore, heavy walled, hot
process pipe which has an operating fluid temperature of
about 500 F and average fluid velocity of about 10 ft./s. The Normal Position of Butterfly Valve
penetration is designed as a forged boss on the large bore
process pipe. The charging water penetrates the process
flow at temperatures less than 100 F and flow rates of about
30 gpm. The penetration also has a thermal sleeve, which is
welded to the boss, and it extends slightly into the main flow
stream. A sketch of the flow configuration is shown. The
computational analysis will study the thermal stresses on the ThrottledPositionofButterflyValve
large bore pipe, boss and the sleeve caused due to the mixing
of cooler fluid from the penetration into the main flow Figure 2. A CFD / Stress analysis of a butterfly valve closure process.
The analysis will involve simulation of flow around moving bodies using
stream. Chimera grids.
Water @ ~30 gpm, 70F

Branch Pipe 3. Closing Gate Valve

A coupled fluid-structural analysis will be performed to
analyze the flow past a closing gate valve. The stresses and
Heavy Wall Run Pipe deflections in a gate valve while it is closing against the fluid
flow will be analyzed. The working fluid could be water or
steam. This problem is of great relevance to the issue of
thermal binding experienced by some gate valves used in the
Thermal Sleeve
Water @ 12 Ft/s, 500F nuclear industry. Some valves that are designed with tight
clearances close due to thermal growth experienced at
normal operating temperatures. The resulting interference
causes excessive valve wear when the valves close. A clear
understanding of elastic and thermal deformations of the
Figure 1. Thermal stresses in the pipe section, penetration and thermal
sleeve as a result of injecting water into steam. valve will help in improving the design process of such
valves. The Chimera grid approach proposed above will
2. Closing Ball or Butterfly Valve again be employed for this simulation. In the closing
A coupled fluid-structure analysis of butterfly valve closure position, there is a small gap separating the pipe wall and the
process is performed for structural analysis. During the valve. This configuration would usually entail remeshing all
valve closure, the flow passage in the pipe is partially the grid lines through this small gap, thus causing very high
blocked and there are forces on the valve which are of grid skewness. The Chimera approach circumvents these
potential importance to the valve design. Despite the fact problems by using independent grids around the valve and in
that the butterfly valve is not designed for it, it is also used the pipe.
sometimes to throttle. This analysis could also be used to
generate the K-factor for the valve. The simulations will be
performed using overset grid (Chimera) methodology. The
chimera methodology enables more effective simulation of
moving problems, especially for cases in which there are
large scale movements of the bodies, which commonly used
grid deformation techniques are incapable of handling. The
pipe and the valve will be modeled using separate meshes Pressure Controlled Gate Valve
overset on top of each other. In the coupled flow-structure
analysis of butterfly valve, the use of Chimera meshes
allows the valve to encounter its full range of motion, by Inflow
All problems are simulated by using commercial software.
+ Siegel, J.M., Jr., Parthasarathy, Vijayan, Kingsley, G.M.,
The selected CFD code is CFD-ACE , and the structural
codes are CFD-FEMSTRESS and MSC/NASTRAN. CFD- Dionne, P.J., Harrand, V.J. (CFD Research Corp.), and
ACE is designed to accept and interchange data from Luker, J.J., Sept. 1998 (Wright-Patterson AF) “Application
various other disciplines, e.g., CSD, Plasma, of a Multi-Disciplinary Computing Environment (MDICE)
Electromagnetism, Electrokinetics, Controls, etc. CFD- for Loosely Coupled Fluid-Structural Analysis", Paper #
FEMSTRESS can be used with CFD-ACE directly, as well AIAA 98-4865, 7th AIAA/USAF/NASA/ISSMO
as via MDICE (Multi-disciplinary computing Environment) Symposium of MDO.
software. CFD-ACE and MSC/NASTRAN are also used
via MDICE. Sheta, E.F., Siegel, J.M., Jr., Golos, F.N., Harrand, V.J.,
June 22-25, 1999, “Twin-Tail Buffet Simulation Using a
In the future, where desired, other codes, e.g., ANSYS or Multi-Multi-Disciplinary Computing Environment
Abaqeus can be used instead of FEMSTRESS or (MDICE)" CEAS/AIAA/ICASE/NASA Langley, Int'l
Forum on Aeroelasticity and Structural Dynamics,
Williamsburg, VA,
Full details of simulations and associated findings will Krishnan, A., Yang, H., Bayyuk, S., Mazumder, S.,
be presented in the the full paper, at the time of PVP Lowry, S., Przekwas, A., and Nguyen, L., "Time-
Conference on August 2-5, 1999. Accurate, 3-D Computation of Wiresweep During
Plastic Encapsulation of Electronic Components, with
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Non-Newtonian Viscosity and Curing Chemistry, Paper
The authors would like to thank the Conference Organizers, #ASME, PVP-Vol. 377-1, pp. 175-185, San Diego, CA,
Dr. Vladimir Kudriavtsev and Mr. Robert Sammataro, for July 1998
their suggestions and Ms. Mary Cummins for the preparation
of this typescript.