Fluid-structure interaction of downwind sails: a new computational method

Tommaso Ingrassia, Vincenzo Nigrelli, Antonino Cirello, Felice Sfravara, Filippo Cucinotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The spreading of high computational resources at very low costs led, over the years, to develop new numerical approaches to simulate the fluid surrounding a sail and to investigate the fluidâstructure interaction. Most methods have concentrated on upwind sails, due to the difficulty of implementing downwind sailing configurations that present, usually, the problem of massive flow separation and large displacements of the sail under wind load. For these reasons, the problem of simulating the fluidâstructure interaction (FSI) on downwind sails is still subject of intensive investigation. In this paper, a new weak coupled procedure between a RANS solver and a FEM one has been implemented to study the FSI problem in downwind sailing configurations. The proposed approach is based on the progressive increasing of the wind velocity until reaching the design speed. In this way, the structural load is also applied progressively, therefore, overcoming typical convergence difficulties due to the non-linearity of the problem. Simulations have been performed on an all-purpose fractional gennaker. The new proposed method has been also compared with a classic weak FSI approach. Comparable results have been obtained in terms of flying shape of the gennaker and fluid-dynamic loads. The most significant characteristic of the proposed procedure is the easiness to find a solution in a very robust way without convergence problem, and also the capability to reduce the simulation time with regard to the computational cost.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-97
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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