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Fall 1997  Volume 7 Number 4 Winter/Spring 1998  Volume 8 Number 12
The Shear Slip Mesh Update Method
Marek Behr and Tayfun Tezduyar (AHPCRC UM/Rice)
Flows with moving boundaries and interfaces can be encountered in many
realworld fluid mechanics applications, including fluidobject and
fluidstructure interactions and flows with moving mechanical components. The
DeformableSpatialDomain/Stabilized SpaceTime (DSD/ SST) formulation was
introduced earlier [1,2] for this class of flow problems. In the DSD/SST
formulation, the finite element formulation of a problem is written over its
associated spacetime domain, and this automatically takes into account the
changes in the spatial domain. The finite element functions are continuous in
space and discontinuous in time. The discontinuity in time allows the
computations to be carried out one spacetime slab at a time. This way we are
not adding to the computations the full burden of a fourth dimension.
As the spatial domain changes, the finite element mesh needs to be updated to
accommodate the change. In general one can count on using automatic or
special mesh moving. This is the approach most frequently used so far in our
DSD/SST computations. When needed but not too frequently the mesh movement
can be followed by remeshing, defined as creating a new finite element mesh
with a new node connectivity. Frequent remeshing with automatic mesh
generators can be prohibitively expensive in 3D simulations. Remeshing also
requires projection of the solution from the old mesh to the new one, and
this introduces projection errors. In some cases the frequency of remeshing
can be reduced substantially. Sometimes remeshing can be totally eliminated.
Several cases in this category have been successfully simulated using the
DSD/SST approach. In all these cases, the changes in the spatial domain can
be characterized as small or medium. At such levels, we do not face a major
problem in terms of the remeshing cost.
For flow problems with spinning geometries, on the other hand, the
meshupdate requirements become substantially different. The ShearSlip Mesh
Update Method (SSMUM), introduced previously [3] was developed for this
purpose. The DSD/SST formulation, enhanced with the SSMUM, can be very
effectively applied to modeling of geometries that undergo rotations or
straightline translations. This is accomplished by letting, at each time
step, the elements in a thin zone undergo shear deformation. This zone is
remeshed frequently via regeneration of element connectivity. In this
approach the nodal positions for the old (deformed) and new (goodquality)
meshes are matched, so that projection is not necessary. Since only a small
part of the overall connectivity is being regenerated, the computational cost
associated with the regeneration is kept low. Application of this method to a
3D computation involving translating geometries and structured meshes was
presented by the second author and his coworkers. This approach was used in
3D simulation of two highspeed trains passing each other in a tunnel. Here
we focus on computations involving spinning geometries and mixed
structured/unstructured meshes.
Mesh Update Method

Figure 1. The SSMUM concept. Regions of deforming elements are shown in gray. 
The SSMUM strategy is based on specialpurpose mesh designs that combine
regions of rigid nondeforming elements with layers of shearabsorbing
deforming elements. A translating object is embedded in a strip (in 2D) or a
tube (in 3D) of rigid elements that move glued to that object. Similarly, a
rotating object is embedded in a disk of rigid elements that rotate glued to
that object. These nondeforming regions are immersed in another set of
nondeforming elements spanning the exterior boundaries, as shown in Figure
1.

Figure 2. Shearabsorbing element layer: a 2D view. 
A singleelement shearslip layer is illustrated in Figure 2 in the context
of a 2D spatial domain with a translating object. The quadrilateral elements
on the right, coded blue, belong to the stationary exterior mesh, while the
elements on the left, coded purple, belong to the translating mesh which
follows the moving object. The direction of the movement is upward. Evolution
of a single shearabsorbing element during the two time steps illustrated
here is highlighted in red. The spatial outline of that element deforms
during the first step, and then reconnects to new purple nodes, which moved
into proper positions. This process is carried out repeatedly, with changes
in element connectivity, but with no projection. Note that the spatial mesh
at the lower level of the second time step is of the same quality as the one
at the lower level of the first time step.
It may not be necessary to reconnect the elements in the shearslip layer at
every time step. Choosing a smaller time step, for a given mesh resolution
and rotational or translational speed, is still possible, leading to lower
frequency of reconnects. Conversely, selecting a wider shearslip layer,
more than one element thick, will allow the use of larger time steps. These
possibilities, although slightly more complicated in implementation, lend
considerable flexibility to the SSMUM.
Example: 2D Flow Past Two Counterrotating Square Cylinders

Figure 3. 2D flow past two counterrotating square cylinders: computational domain. 
We begin with this test computation to illustrate the capability of the
method to handle flows past multiple rotating objects.
The arrangement of the squares is shown in Figure 3. Both squares have a side
dimension of 2.0 units. The top and bottom squares are rotating
counterclockwise and clockwise, respectively, each with a rotational
velocity magnitude of 0.25 P. The axes of rotation of the two objects are 4.0
units apart and are placed symmetrically about the centerline of the domain.
The shearslip layers surrounding each cylinder have an inner radius of 1.5
units and are 0.05 units thick.

Figure 4. 2D flow past two counterrotating square cylinders: vorticity field at t = 125.0, 126.0 and 127.0. 
The mesh consists of 31,928 spacetime nodes and 31,492 triangular elements,
and each shearslip layer is one element thick and has 160 segments in the
circumferential direction. Joining the moving and fixed regions of the mesh,
it shears during each time step and, at the end of a time step, reconnects
to the new nodes belonging to the rotating interior disk. A freestream
velocity of 1.0 is imposed. The Reynolds number based on the freestream
velocity and the size of the squares is 400.
Figure 4 shows, at three equallyspaced instants spanning one full
revolution, the vorticity field in the vicinity of the squares. We observe a
regular vortex shedding from the corners of the cylinders as they move
opposite to the flow direction and enter the gap, and also a lower frequency
shedding corresponding to flow past a compound object. The effect of the
layer of deforming elements is hardly visible in the solution. This
computation was carried out on an IBM SP2.
Example: 3D Flow Past a Rotating Propeller

Figure 5. 3D flow past a rotating propeller: selected boundaries of the initial mesh (left),and closeup view of the inner boundary of the shearslip layer and the propeller (right). 
Extending the method to 3D simulations, we compute here a highReynolds
number flow past a rotating propeller. The propeller is rotating in clockwise
direction as seen from the inflow side, with a rotational velocity magnitude
of 0.125 P. Although a similar simulation can be performed by using a
rotating frame of reference and a nondeforming mesh, we view our computation
as a first step towards modeling of more complex geometries in which the
rotating part interacts with other stationary or moving objects.
The propeller consists of a conical afterbody, a spherical tip, and seven
blades with radius of 2.9. The overall length of the propeller fairing is
5.0. The shearslip layer is an axisymmetric, closed shell with interior
radii 3.5 and 1.5 and a uniform thickness of 0.1, coaxial with the propeller
fairing.

Figure 6. 3D flow past a rotating propeller: pressure and isosurface p = 0.025 at t = 51.2. 
The mesh consists of 308,698 spacetime nodes and 948,420 tetrahedral
elements, and is shown in Figure 5. The shearslip layer, which is one
element thick, has 64 segments in the circumferential direction and 46
segments in the remaining direction. This layer goes through shear
deformation during each time step, and at the end of a time step reconnects
to the new nodes belonging to the rotating interior disk. The unstructured
meshes in both the inner (rotating) and the outer (stationary) rigid regions
of the domain were generated using an automatic mesh generator, while the
structured mesh, which fills the shearslip region, was generated manually.
A freestream velocity with magnitude 1.0 is imposed, leading to a Reynolds
number of approximately 1106 based on the propeller diameter.
Figure 6 shows, at t = 51.2, the pressure distribution on the propeller and
the pressure isosurface corresponding to p = 0.025. Blade wakes and the
core of a ring vortex are clearly visible. This computation was carried out
on the CRAY T3E 1200, acquired recently by the AHPCRC.
References
 T. Tezduyar, M. Behr and J. Liou,
A new strategy for finite element computations involving moving boundaries and interfaces the DSD/ST Procedure: I. The concept and the preliminary tests
, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 94 (1992) 339
351.
 T. Tezduyar, M. Behr, S. Mittal and J. Liou,
A new strategy for finite element computations involving moving boundaries and interfaces
the DSD/ST Procedure: II. Computation of freesurface flows, twoliquid flows, and flows with drifting cylinders
, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 94 (1992) 353
371.
 M. Behr and T. Tezduyar,
A note on ShearSlip Mesh Update Method
, in Lecture Notes of the Workshop on Parallel Computing in Applied Fluid Mechanics, Associazione Amici Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy (1997).
 M. Behr and T. Tezduyar,
The ShearSlip Mesh Update Method
, to appear in Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, (1998).
