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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMP5454M Fluid-Structure Interactions

15 creditsClass Size: 15

Module manager: Prof Peter Jimack

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

All students will have completed an undergraduate degree in a sub-discipline of Engineering, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences or Environmental Science. Their undergraduate programme will have had some Fluid Dynamics content. They will have had studied sufficient mathematics in their undergraduate programme to enable them to engage with the module: in particular vector calculus and differential equations.


CAPE5990MCFD Software
MATH5453MFoundations of Fluid Dynamics

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Many problems in fluid dynamics also involve the interaction with solids, typically in the form of boundaries or immersed bodies, or both. In many cases these solids may be treated as rigid and fixed – thus considerably simplifying their interaction with the fluid. In many applications however the movement and the deformation of the solid cannot be neglected and so there is a coupled interaction between the flow of the fluid and the displacement of the solid. This is known as fluid-structure interaction (FSI) and is the topic of this module.


Upon successful completion of the module students will have familiarity with theories of linear and nonlinear elastic and viscoelastic solids, techniques for coupling fluid flow and structure equations, as well as the development and application of appropriate numerical methods. Students will develop software for model problems and tackle more advanced problems using/modifying existing numerical and commercial tools, gaining insight into a wide range of applications - from blood flow in arteries to wave-flow interactions with structures and flexible pipelines.

Learning outcomes
1. Familiarity with mathematical models for linear elastic solids and for selected models of nonlinear elasticity
2. Understanding of the coupling between equations of flow and solid deformation in fluid-structure interactions (FSIs)
3. Knowledge of analytical approaches to the solution of suitably simplified model problems
4. Awareness of the range of numerical methods that may be deployed for the computational simulation of FSI problems
5. Proficiency in the development of selected numerical methods and the application of mature numerical software, both commercial and open source, for the solution of FSI problems
6. Understanding of a range of application domains where FSI problems play an important role in society, with detailed knowledge of at least one


Mathematical foundations: Conservation laws; deformation gradients; Piola-Kirchhoff stress; linear and nonlinear elasticity; hyperelasticity; compressible and incompressible models; fluid-solid interface conditions; and thin-structure limits.
Simplified models: FSI cases that may be reduced to analytic solutions; elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL); poro-elastic materials; aeroelasticity in wings.
Numerical methods: Meshing; single and multiple mesh methods; fitted and non-fitted approaches for the fluid-solid interface; explicit versus implicit coupling; common numerical techniques (interface tracking, immersed finite element and fictitious domain methods).
Software: use of commercial software such as ANSYS or COMSOL as segregated solvers, based upon coupling separate fluid and solid solvers, or COMSOL as a monolithic solver; use and modification of in-house software; applications based upon open source tools such as OpenFOAM.
Selected applications: An introduction to practical problems and applications in Engineering, Environment and Biomedical Science.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Computer Class22.004.00
Industry Site Visit / Seminars21.503.00
Independent online learning hours12.00
Private study hours99.00
Total Contact hours39.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Each of the lectures will require a further 1.5 hours of reflection, follow-up reading and comprehension (30 hours total). The assessment for this module will require multiple components to be undertaken that both build upon the lecture material and demand significant private study – these components include: mathematical modelling, computer programming, application of commercial software, post-processing and visualization, literature search and review, report writing (66 hours in total).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The intensive nature of this module means that there will be limited opportunity for formative feedback. However the design of the EPSRC Centre for Doctorial Training allows the students to discuss their understanding and their progress with each other as a single cohort in order to support their progress. Furthermore, there will be a tutorial at the end of weeks 1 to 5 to allow students the opportunity to formally discuss any areas that they wish to obtain feedback on and to allow their progress to be monitored.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
PortfolioShort portfolio of mathematical derivations for elasticity models12.00
ReportShort report to demonstrate understanding of aero-elasticity12.00
PortfolioPortfolio of analysis and computer codes to demonstrate wave-structure interaction knowledge and implementations24.00
Computer ExerciseComputer-based practical using COMSOL12.00
ReportExtended report comparing different approaches to FSI problems and their software implementations40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The module is reassessed by coursework only.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/09/2023


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