Fluid-Structure Interaction and Python-Scripting Capabilities in OpenSees, PEER Report 2019/06


Building upon recent advances in OpenSees, the goals of this project are to expand the framework’s Python scripting capabilities and to further develop its fluid–structure interaction (FSI) simulation capabilities, which are based on the particle finite-element method (PFEM). At its inception, the FSI modules in OpenSees were based on Python scripting. To accomplish FSI simulations in OpenSees, Python commands have been added for a limited number of pre-existing element and material commands, e.g., linear-elastic triangle elements and beam–column elements with Concrete01/Steel01 fiber sections. Incorporation of hundreds of constitutive models and element formulations under the Python umbrella for FSI and general OpenSees use remain to be done. Although the original scripting language, Tcl, in OpenSees is string based, powerful, and easy to learn, it is not suitable for mathematical computations. Recent trends in scripting languages for engineering applications have embraced more general, scientific languages such as Python, which has evolved to a large community with numerous libraries for numerical computing, data analysis, scientific visualization, and web development. These libraries can be utilized with the FSI simulation for tsunami analysis. Extending OpenSees to Python will help OpenSees keep pace with new scripting developments from the scientific computing community and make the framework more accessible to graduate students, who likely have learned Python as undergraduates.

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Minjie Zhu
Michael H. Scott
Publication date: 
August 1, 2019
Publication type: 
Technical Report
Zhu, M. & Scott, M. H. (2019). Fluid-Structure Interaction and Python-Scripting Capabilities in OpenSees (Report No. 2019/06). Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER). https://doi.org/10.55461/VDIX3057