Parallel computational methods for 3D simulation of a parafoil with prescribed shape changes

T. Tezduyar*, V. Kalro, W. Garrard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we describe parallel computational methods for 3D simulation of the dynamics and fluid dynamics of a parafoil with prescribed, time-dependent shape changes. The mathematical model is based on the time-dependent, 3D Navier-Stokes equations governing the incompressible flow around the parafoil and Newton's law of motion governing the dynamics of the parafoil, with the aerodynamic forces acting on the parafoil calculated from the flow field. The computational methods developed for these 3D simulations include a stabilized space-time finite element formulation to accommodate for the shape changes, special mesh generation and mesh moving strategies developed for this purpose, iterative solution techniques for the large, coupled nonlinear equation systems involved, and parallel implementation of all these methods on scalable computing systems such as the Thinking Machines CM-5. As an example, we report 3D simulation of a flare maneuver in which the parafoil velocity is reduced by pulling down the flaps. This simulation requires solution of over 3.6 million coupled, nonlinear equations at every time step of the simulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1349-1363
Number of pages15
JournalParallel Computing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D simulation
  • Parafoil dynamics
  • Parallel finite elements
  • Space-time formulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Artificial Intelligence


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