A robust algorithm for computational floating body dynamics

J. Roenby*, S. Aliyar, H. Bredmose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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We present a non-iterative algorithm, FloatStepper, for coupling the motion of a rigid body and an incompressible fluid in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. The purpose of the algorithm is to remove the so-called added mass instability problem, which may arise when a light, floating body interacts with a heavy fluid. The idea underlying the presented coupling method is to precede every computational time step by a series of prescribed probe body motions in which the fluid response is determined, thus revealing the decomposition of the net force and torque into two components: (i) an added mass contribution proportional to the instantaneous body acceleration and (ii) all other forces and torques. The algorithm is implemented and released as an open-source extension module to the widely used CFD toolbox, OpenFOAM, as an alternative to the existing body motion solvers. The accuracy of the algorithm is investigated with several single-phase and two-phase flow benchmark cases. The benchmarks demonstrate excellent stability properties, allowing simulations even with massless bodies. They also highlight aspects of the implementation, such as the mesh motion method, where it can be improved to further enhance the flexibility and predictive capabilities of the code.
Original languageEnglish
Article number231453
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number4
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Numerical methods
  • Added mass
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • OpenFOAM
  • FloatStepper
  • Floating body dynamics


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