Modeling fluid-structure interactions during impact loading of water-backed panels

Adel Shams, Valentina Lopresto, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the response of water-backed panels to impact loading is of paramount importance in the design of marine and aerospace structures. In this theoretical study, we propose a modeling framework to investigate the two-dimensional, nonlinear hydroelastic response of thin structures. Within Euler–Bernoulli beam theory, we account for nonlinear stiffening due to membrane stretching. We demonstrate a closed-form solution for the fluid potential flow, which affords the exact computation of the hydrodynamic loading. The Galerkin discretization is used to cast the governing nonlinear integro-differential equation into a set of nonlinear ordinary differential equations. Two different semi-analytical solutions are established, by using the in-vacuum linear mode shapes of the beam and Hermitian finite element basis functions. Results are verified against full two-dimensional finite element simulations. We conduct a parametric study to elucidate the role of the beam thickness and the functional form of the impact loading. Our results indicate that the water-backing has a critical role on the structural dynamics, which is stronger for thin beams subject to rapid pulses. The model fills a significant gap in the technical literature, holding promise to inform the design of experimental setups and assist in the analysis of observations on water-backed panels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-590
Number of pages15
JournalComposite Structures
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Hydrodynamic loading
  • Impact loading
  • Water-backing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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