Fluid-structure interaction modeling of ringsail parachutes with disreefing and modified geometric porosity

Kenji Takizawa, Matthew Fritze, Darren Montes, Timothy Spielman, Tayfun E. Tezduyar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Fluid-structure interaction (FSI) modeling of parachutes poses a number of computational challenges. These include the lightness of the parachute canopy compared to the air masses involved in the parachute dynamics, in the case of ringsail parachutes the geometric porosity created by the construction of the canopy from "rings" and "sails" with hundreds of "ring gaps" and "sail slits," in the case of parachute clusters the contact between the parachutes, and "disreefing" from one stage to another when the parachute is used in multiple stages. The Team for Advanced Flow Simulation and Modeling (Ta*AFSM) has been successfully addressing these computational challenges with the Stabilized Space-Time FSI (SSTFSI) technique, which was developed and improved over the years by the Ta*AFSM and serves as the core numerical technology, and a number of special techniques developed in conjunction with the SSTFSI technique. The quasi-direct and direct coupling techniques developed by the Ta*AFSM, which are applicable to cases with nonmatching fluid and structure meshes at the interface, yield more robust algorithms for FSI computations where the structure is light. The special technique used in dealing with the geometric complexities of the rings and sails is the homogenized modeling of geometric porosity (HMGP), which was developed and improved in recent years by the Ta*AFSM. The surface-edge-node contact tracking (SENCT) technique was introduced by the Ta*AFSM as a contact algorithm where the objective is to prevent the structural surfaces from coming closer than a minimum distance in an FSI computation. The recently-introduced conservative version of the SENCT technique is more robust and is now an essential technology in the parachute cluster computations carried out by the Ta*AFSM. As an additional computational challenge, the parachute canopy might, by design, have some of its panels and sails removed. In FSI computation of parachutes with such "modified geometric porosity," the flow through the "windows" created by the removal of the panels and the wider gaps created by the removal of the sails cannot be accurately modeled with the HMGP and needs to be actually resolved during the FSI computation. In this paper we focus on parachute disreefing, including the disreefing of parachute clusters, and parachutes with modified geometric porosity, including the reefed stages of such parachutes. We describe the additional special techniques we have developed to address the challenges involved and report FSI computations for parachutes and parachute clusters with disreefing and modified geometric porosity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-854
Number of pages20
JournalComputational Mechanics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Contact
  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Parachute clusters
  • Parachute disreefing
  • Parachutes
  • Ringsail parachutes
  • Space-time techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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