Simulations of propelling and energy harvesting articulated bodies via vortex particle-mesh methods

Caroline Bernier, Mattia Gazzola, Renaud Ronsse, Philippe Chatelain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emergence and understanding of new design paradigms that exploit flow induced mechanical instabilities for propulsion or energy harvesting demands robust and accurate flow structure interaction numerical models. In this context, we develop a novel two dimensional algorithm that combines a Vortex Particle-Mesh (VPM) method and a Multi-Body System (MBS) solver for the simulation of passive and actuated structures in fluids. The hydrodynamic forces and torques are recovered through an innovative approach which crucially complements and extends the projection and penalization approach of Coquerelle et al. [1] and Gazzola et al. [2]. The resulting method avoids time consuming computation of the stresses at the wall to recover the force distribution on the surface of complex deforming shapes. This feature distinguishes the proposed approach from other VPM formulations. The methodology was verified against a number of benchmark results ranging from the sedimentation of a 2D cylinder to a passive three segmented structure in the wake of a cylinder. We then showcase the capabilities of this method through the study of an energy harvesting structure where the stocking process is modeled by the use of damping elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-55
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Biomimetic propulsion
  • Energy harvesting
  • Flow-Structure Interaction (FSI)
  • Multi-Body Systems (MBS)
  • Penalization
  • Vortex Particle-Mesh method (VPM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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