MEHDI KHALVATIt
EDS Nuclear, San Franscisco, California, U.S.A
SUMMARY
Several new finite elements are presented for the idealization of two and threedimensional coupled
fluidsolid systems subjected t o static and dynamic loading. T h e elements are based on a displacement
formulation in terms of the displacement degreesoffreedom at the nodes of the element. T h e formulation
includes the effects of compressible wave propagation and surface sloshing motion.
The use of reduced integration techniques and the introduction of rotational constraints in the
formulation of the element stiffness eliminates all unnecessary zeroenergy modes. A simple method is
given which allows the stability of a finite element mesh of fluid elements to be investigated prior to
analysis. Hence, the previously encountered problems of ‘element locking’ and ‘hour glass’ modes have
been eliminated and a condition of optimum constraint is obtained.
Numerical examples are presented which illustrate the accuracy of the element. It is shown that the
element behaves very well for nonrectangular geometry. The optimum constraint condition is clearly
illustrated by the static solution of a rigid block floating on a mesh of fluid elements.
INTRODUCTION
The dynamic behaviour of a fluidsolid system is a very important problem in both civil and
mechanical engineering. Damreservoir interaction during earthquakes and fluid storage
containers subjected to dynamic loads are examples of this class of problem. Applications
involving large displacement fluid flow will not be considered in the formulation presented in
this paper.
Finite elements have previously been developed for the numerical analysis of fluidsolid
systems. These methods can be categorized into the following three basic approaches: added
mass approximations, Eulerian formulation and Lagrangian formulation.
In the added mass approach some fraction of the fluid mass is added to the structural model
at the interface between the two materials.’ Normally the assumption used to evaluate the
added mass is based on a flexible structure and incompressible fluid. This approach neglects
the stiffness effects in the fluid and, in general, leads to conservative results. It is a simple
method which has been used to obtain practical engineering results for both two and
threedimensional structure^.^'^ Similar approximate methods have been used for the analysis
of tanks.4
In the Eulerian approach the behaviour of the fluid is formulated in terms of a pressure
. ~ behaviour of the fluid can be expressed in terms of analytic functions (for
p ~ t e n t i a l The
i Professor of Civil Engineering.
$ Senior Engineer.
certain geometries) or a mesh of finite elements with the pressure as the unknown nodal
variable. The solution of the coupled system can be accomplished by solving the two systems
separately with the interaction effects enforced by i t e r a t i ~ n . Both
~ ’ ~ systems can be coupled
and solved as one system; however, these lead to unsymmetrical equation^.^.^ This approach
generally requires a specialpurpose computer program. Also, the coupled equations at the
interface cause the finite element equations to have a large bandwidth. This method is currently
the most common and practical approach to many fluidsolid systems.
In the Lagrangian approach, the behaviour of the fluid is expressed in terms of the
displacements at the finite element node points. Hence, compatibility and equilibrium is
automatically satisfied at the nodes along the interfaces between the fluid and solid structure.
The major advantage of this approach is that the element can be readily incorporated into a
generalpurpose computer program for structural analysis, since special interface equations
are not required.
Many different Lagrangian fluid elements have been proposed.”.” Most of these elements
suffer from the existence of zeroenergy deformation modes. For many problems these modes
are not excited and practical engineering results have been obtained. However, the finer the
mesh the greater is the tendency for the zeroenergy ‘hour glass’ or ‘circulation’ modes to be
excited. These zeroenergy modes are generated due to zero shear modulus in combination
with the use of reduced integration method^.'^"^ The use of higher order integration tends
to increase the stiffness of the fluid elements and to eliminate modes which are necessary to
capture the low frequency sloshing behaviour. In Reference 14, global rotational constraints
are introduced in order to correct these spurious modes. However, this approach does not
use reduced integration to produce a single element stiffness matrix.
In this paper a new Lagrangian method is introduced which selectively eliminates the
zeroenergy modes and produces a fluid element with optimum behaviour. The method involves
the introduction of the ‘constraint’ of zero fluid rotation at the integration points. For a
ninenode Lagrangian fluid element with 2 x 2 integration, the addition of four rotational
constraints at the integration points produces one of the basic elements which is presented in
this paper.
The behaviour of the element is demonstrated by several twodimensional examples and
the results compared to other solutions or experiments. In addition, the appropriate integration
order and rotational constraints are given which can be used to construct a threedimensional
fluid element.
where the pressure p is equal to the magnitude of the mean stress. The constant CII is the
bulk modulus of the fluid. The volume change e can be expressed in terms of the displacements
by the following straindisplacement equation:
e = U,, x + U,, y + U,, z (2)
where u,,j is the partial derivative of the ith component of displacement with respect to the
j direction.
In order to enforce the rotational constraints the following rotations are defined:
ez = (Ux,Y  U,, x ) / 2
The forces and stiffnesses associated with these rotations are defined by
px = C22exr py = C33ey, and p z = C44ez (4)
where Ciiis a constraint parameter. The selection of Ciiwill be illustrated by an example.
The total strain energy of the fluid system is written as
n,=: I eTCedV
where eT= [ee,eyez]and the diagonal terms of the 4 x 4 C matrix are the previously defined
bulk modulus and constraint parameters. A selection of a large constraint parameter will cause
the rotation and the strain energy associated with the rotation to approach zero.
The average vertical displacement of the fluid column is UJ2; therefore, the increase in the
potential energy of the system is
n,=$ I U,w(D+U,)dA
or
n, = $ I I
UswUsd A +$ wDU, d A
The first integral will produce surface stiffness terms. The second integral represents the weight
(7)
of the fluid which is normally evaluated as an element volume integral rather than as a surface
in te gra].
KINETIC ENERGY
The kinetic energy of the fluid system is given by
T=$
I m(u;+u:+vf)dV
where m is the mass density of the fluid and u1 is the ith component of the velocity field.
Equation (8) can be written in the following matrix form:
where
I
T = $ mvTvdV (9)
vT = [ u x v y u z ]
The surface potential energy, equation (7), is expressed in terms of the vertical node displace
ments at the surface as
n, = ;UTsu, (13)
and the kinetic energy, equation (9), can be written in the form
T = 'ZV MV
where U and V are vectors of nodal displacements and velocities. The symmetric matrices K,
S and M are defined in Table I.
The direct application of Lagrange's equation yields the following set of equations:
Ma+ KU + SU, = R
or
Ma+ K*U = R
where R is a vector of timedependent nodal forces.
A summary of all equations required to completely describe the static of dynamic behaviour
of liquid systems idealized as a finite element system is given in Table I. The major advantage
M a ( t ) + K u ( t ) + S u , ( t=) R ( t )
where u ( t )= vector of node point displacements
u , ( t )=vector of vertical displacements at surface nodes
a(t) = vector of node point accelerations
R ( t )=vector of node point loads (gravity, wind or floating objects)
S =symmetric matrix of surface potential terms which is defined by
S = 1 S, in which S, = w
I hTh, dA,
M
K = 1 K, in which K, =
= symmetric
I BTC,B, dV,
M = 1 M , in which M , = rn
J HTH, d V ,
of this displacementbased formulation is that it is compatible with the direct stiffness formula
tion used for the analysis of solids. Therefore, liquidsolid systems can be modelled with the
same type of elements.
NUMERICAL INTEGRATION
The equations given in Table I represent a correct formulation for the small displacement
dynamic behaviour of a compressible, irrotational fluid with surface sloshing. As the finite
element mesh is refined and as the rotational stiffness is increased the solution will approach
an exact solution of the fluid mechanics problem. If the integrals are evaluated exactly, the
finite element solution represents a lower bound solution; therefore, the finite element
displacements (and frequencies) will be lower than the exact solution. Because of the slow
rate of convergence this approach has not been found to be practical.
The technique of reduced integration can be used to reduce the stiffness of finite element
systems. However, care must be taken not to introduce zeroenergy modes. For onepoint
integration the fourelement fluid model shown in Figure 2 has five zeroenergy modes if
surface sloshing and the rotational constraints are eliminated. The addition of onepoint
integration on the rotational constraint terms eliminates four zeroenergy modes and the
addition of surface potential terms will convert the last zeroenergy mode to a low frequency
sloshing mode. Therefore, the system is stable and zeroenergy modes d o not exist.
For each integration point one nonzero frequency is produced due to the compressibility
of the fluid. Also, one high frequency is produced for each rotation constraint at each integration
point. Therefore, the remaining possible frequencies will be zero or associated with surface
sloshing modes.
@ @
3) 0 C
C
@ @
*
P n
DYNAMIC ANALYSIS OF FLUIDSOLID SYSTEMS 1663
For exampre, consider a threedimensional tank idealized by eight 8node elements. The
3 x 3 x 3 mesh has 27 nodes or 81 displacements. The four sides and the bottom will introduce
45 (5 x 9) boundary restraints. The 8 integration points will produce 8 compressive modes
and 24 (3 x 8) high frequency rotational modes. Therefore, four low frequency sloshing modes
will exist, or
4 sloshing modes
8 compressive modes
24 rotational constraints
45 boundary conditions

81 nodal displacements
It is clear that this simple approach allows the stability of two and threedimensional fluid
meshes to be established prior t o analysis.
NUMERICAL EXAMPLES
The theory presented in this paper was tested using the twodimensional ninenode element.
T3e major advantages of the ninenode element over the fournode plane element are:
1. Improved accuracy with very little increase in numerical effort.
2. Compatibility with the 9 and 27node solid elements which can be used to model bending
in plates, beams and shells.
The examples in this section are intended to illustrate the basic behaviour and accuracy of
this element when subjected to static or dynamic loading.
it as a material property. It then would be possible for the user to systematically increase its
value until rotation and ‘hour glass’ modes are eliminated.
+ Rotational frequencies.
Bulk modulus CI1= 300,000 psi; density p = 0.000093552 slugs/in3.
 k 4
200"
.I[
W
8 0
2
0
Y
2
First sloshing frequency
4
NUMBER
6
OF
8
ELEMENTS
I
10
I
12

( c ) Error in Frequencies Versus Number o f Elements
shown in Figure 5 . Also shown is the fundamental sloshing mode shape and a comparison of
the finite element solution with the closed form solution given in Reference 14. The error of
approximately 1 per cent is excellent, considering the very coarse mesh used.
and two independent vertical displacements. A static analysis of the fluid due to the weight
of the block indicates that the total volume of the fluid is not changed, as shown in Figure
6(b); or, the decrease in potential energy of the block is equal to the increase of the surface
potential energy of the fluid.
The stiffness and mass of block is then added to the surface nodes and a frequency analysis
performed. The fundamental mode of the fluidblock system is shown in Figure 6(c). This
class of problems has not previously been solved by finite element techniques.
CONCLUSIONS
Existing computer programs for the finite element analysis of solids can be easily modified
for the analysis of both fluids and solids. The integration formula must be replaced with the
appropriate reduced integration equations; and, the shear modulus equations are replaced
with the rotational constraint parameter and the straindisplacement equations for rotation
must be introduced. The surface potential terms can be modelled by the addition of vertical
stiffness terms at the surface nodes.
The fluid elements presented in this paper are based on a pure displacement formulation.
The previously encountered problems with stability have been eliminated by the introduction
of rotational constraints. With this element it now appears to be possible to solve many new
fluidsolid interaction problems which were not previously possible to solve in the time domain.
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