Advanced Modelling of Fluid-Structure Interactions

Our computational studies are directed to have an impact with industry who are concerned with deleterious vibrations that can arise from flow-induced vibrations, such as those in heat exchangers and wind turbines. Some studies are focussed on the movement of particles near walls, which can strongly influence the fluid mixing and heat transfer in that region. We employ both commercial and in-house computer codes to predict the detailed fluid flows. To complement and validate the computational predictions, we have advanced laboratory facilities to provide validation for these studies, both in Australia and with our collaborators internationally, including a water channel with advanced laser imaging, air bearing system and strain gauges to measure the flow wakes, body vibrations and forces

Principal investigator

Kerry Hourigan
Magnifying glass

Area of science

Fluid Dynamics

Systems used


Applications used

OpenFoam, ANSYS CFX and ANSYS Mechanical, In-house Spectral Element Method
Partner Institution: Monash University| Project Code: n67

The Challenge

Two problems we aim to solve are:
1) What is the shape of two- and three-dimensional bodies that maximise the vibrations of bluff bodies?
2) Is surface roughness the key to solving the paradox of why bluff bodies can actually roll on smooth surfaces and which determines their terminal velocities?

The Solution

For Challenge 1), we will be aiming eventually to reshaping the bluff body
“real time” using Computational Fluid Dynamics, whereby the shape optimisation becomes a mean of controlling the body vibrations, either stimulating large vibrations for energy extraction or suppressing the vibrations to avoid structural damage and performance decrease.

For Challenge 2), The micron/sub-micron scale roughness that provides contact with the wall by the rolling bluff body will be modelled explicitly in the localised gap region using Computational Fluid Dynamics

The Outcome

The problems we are solving are generally three-dimensional and time-dependent, and since we are investigating the stability of both the flow and the embedded structures, highly accurate solutions are required. This requires the high-performance power and multiprocessor capability offered through the NCMAS – without this, we would not be competitive in our research.

The outcomes are:
1) Rapid testing of different body shapes can be undertaken to determine optimal flow-induced vibration response and high-lift wing design.
2) The detailed physics and mechanisms underlying the drag forces on bluff bodies, not possible through physical experiments, can be predicted and validated by physical experiments in our laboratory. This will inform whether the mechanism of surface roughness is sufficient to explain the paradox of why bluff bodies can roll and what determines their final speed.

List of Publications

1. Terrington, S.J., Hourigan, K., Thompson, M.C., The generation and diffusion of vorticity in three-dimensional flows: Lyman’s flux, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2021, 915, A106.
2. Thompson, M.C., Leweke, T. & Hourigan, K., Bluff bodies and wake-wall interactions, Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 53, 347-376, 2021.
3. Houdroge, F.Y., Leweke, T., Hourigan, K. & Thompson, M.C., Wake dynamics and flow-induced vibration of a freely rolling cylinder, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 903, A48, 2020.
4. Dehtyriov, D, Hourigan, K. & Thompson, M.C., Optimal growth of counter-rotating vortex pairs interacting with walls, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 884, A36, 2020.
5. Dehtyriov, D., Hourigan, K. & Thompson, M.C., Direct numerical simulation of a counter-rotating vortex pair interacting with a wall, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 884, A36, 2020.
6. Rajamuni, M., Thompson, M.C. & Hourigan, K., Efficient FSI solvers for multiple-degrees-of-freedom flow-induced vibration of a rigid body, Computers and Fluids, 196, 104340, 2020.
7. Rajamuni, M., Thompson, M.C. & Hourigan, K., Vortex dynamics and vibration modes of a tethered sphere, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 885, A10, 2020.
8. Bhat, S., Zhao, J., Sheridan, J., Hourigan, K. & Thompson, M.C., Effects of flapping motion profiles on insect-wing aerodynamics, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 884, A8, 2020