Ram-air parachute structural and fluid mechanics computations with the Space–Time Isogeometric Analysis (ST-IGA)

Kenji Takizawa, Tayfun E. Tezduyar, Takuya Terahara*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


We present a method for structural and fluid mechanics computations of ram-air parachutes. A ram-air parachute is a parafoil inflated by the airflow through the inlets at the leading edge. It has better control and gliding capability than round parachutes. Reliable analysis of ram-air parachutes requires accurate representation of the parafoil geometry, fabric porosity and the complex, multiscale flow behavior involved in this class of problems. The key components of the method are (i) the Space–Time Variational Multiscale (ST-VMS) method, (ii) the version of the ST Slip Interface (ST-SI) method where the SI is between a thin porous structure and the fluid on its two sides, (iii) the ST Isogeometric Analysis (ST-IGA), and (iv) special-purpose NURBS mesh generation techniques for the parachute structure and the flow field inside and outside the parafoil. The ST-VMS method is a stabilized formulation that also serves as a turbulence model and can deal effectively with the complex, multiscale flow behavior. With the ST-SI version for porosity modeling, we deal with the fabric porosity in a fashion consistent with how we deal with the standard SIs and how we enforce the Dirichlet boundary conditions weakly. The ST-IGA, with NURBS basis functions in space, gives us, with relatively few number of unknowns, accurate representation of the parafoil geometry and increased accuracy in the flow solution. The special-purpose mesh generation techniques enable NURBS representation of the structure and fluid domains with significant geometric complexity. The test computations we present are for building a starting parachute shape and a starting flow field associated with that parachute shape, which are the first two key steps in fluid–structure interaction analysis. The computations demonstrate the effectiveness of the method in this class of problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-200
Number of pages10
JournalComputers and Fluids
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 15


  • NURBS meshes
  • Parafoil
  • Porosity
  • Ram-air parachute
  • ST Isogeometric Analysis
  • ST Slip Interface method
  • ST-IGA
  • ST-SI
  • ST-VMS
  • Space–Time Variational Multiscale method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Engineering


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