Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics in Structural Mechanics Engineer on 3DEXPERIENCE

   By Suman Sudhakaren on August 28, 2023

Structural Mechanics Engineer on 3DEXPERIENCE platform offers a comprehensive structural analysis solution for mechanical and design engineers to perform virtual testing with greater confidence.

Powered by market leader Abaqus FEA technology, not only does it solve complex and highly nonlinear dynamic problems but also provides a collaborative environment for multiple stakeholders to make real time data-based design decisions faster than ever before.

Of the many robust capabilities it offers for complex material modeling and simulation of complex contact nonlinearities, smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) technique is a unique one. It offers a versatile ‘mesh-free’ Lagrangian computational method suited for simulations involving extreme deformation that could lead to model separation.

SPH is a continuum modeling method like Finite element method, however, it doesn’t require the particles to remain attached as in finite element method. The conversion of finite elements to smoothed particles in SPH modeling provides a more accurate solution in cases where the model being analyzed loses mass or separates during the simulation. Some of the examples where this feature can be used include fluid sloshing problems, bird strikes, paint spraying ballistic impacts etc. This serves as a quick alternative to the time-consuming two-way fluid structure interaction method.

Smooth particle dynamics (SPH)

Finite Element Mesh and SPH particle distribution

The process of enabling this feature in structural model creation app on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is like defining the solid section properties. Once the section property, material and mesh are defined for the component of interest, the mesh is converted to particles as per the user defined settings in the SPH particle feature. It retains the properties of the original solid. The element types available for conversion to SPH particles are reduced integration continuum elements C3D8R, C3D6 and C3D4.

The SPH property definition offers two methods of particle generation – On background grid and Per element.

On background grid and Per Element

In the ‘per element’ method of particle generation, by default one particle is generated per parent element. However, the number of particles generated per element can be controlled by the user by specifying particles per iso-parametric direction. The total number of particles generated per element depends on the element type that is being converted.

Image below shows how each type of element is converted using three elements per isoparametric direction.

3 elements per isoparametric direction

The conversion technique of generating particles based on a uniform background grid is intended to generate a uniform distribution of SPH particles at the beginning of the analysis. This is useful in applications such as modeling fluids.

The drop test analysis was completed in less than thirty minutes.  Instead of running a complex fully coupled fluid-structure interaction analysis, SPH feature – a Multiphysics simulation capability of structural apps on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can be used to get a good first estimate of the results. These powerful capabilities in the 3DEXPERIENCE Simulation portfolio allow you to quickly analyze complex problems and accelerate design innovation.

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Suman Sudhakaren

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