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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 54
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping
Paper I.2

Special Kink and Fold Elements for Simulating Parachute Dynamics

K. Lu*, J.W. Leonard*, M.L. Accorsi*, R. Benney+ and K. Stein+

*Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, United States of America
+Army Natick Research Development and Engineering Centre, Natick, Massachusetts, United States of America

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
K. Lu, J.W. Leonard, M.L. Accorsi, R. Benney, K. Stein, "Special Kink and Fold Elements for Simulating Parachute Dynamics", in B.H.V. Topping, (Editor), "Advances in Finite Element Procedures and Techniques", Civil-Comp Press, Edinburgh, UK, pp 15-23, 1998. doi:10.4203/ccp.54.1.2
The coupled aerodynamic behavior of parachutes and parafoils is extremely difficult to model with finite elements. This work focuses on techniques to simulate unfolding during the ill-defined transition from the deployment to the inflation phase of a parachute or parafoil mission. Since the behavior is localized in time and space, it was decided to locally patch special kink or fold elements onto the basic grid of elements to simulate the unfolding behavior without adding rotational degrees of freedom to the underlying model. The special elements are local to, and move with, the kink in the suspension line or fold-line in the membrane. The elements stabilize convergence properties as constrained unfolding occurs. Example are given to validate and demonstrate capabilities of the special elements for use in simulations of parachute dynamics.

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