On the hyper-elastic formulation of the immersed boundary method

Daniele Boffi, Lucia Gastaldi, Luca Heltai, Charles S. Peskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The immersed boundary (IB) method is both a mathematical formulation and a numerical method for fluid-structure interaction problems, in which immersed incompressible visco-elastic bodies or boundaries interact with an incompressible fluid. Previous formulations of the IB method were not able to treat appropriately immersed materials of finite, nonzero thickness modeled by general hyper-elastic constitutive laws because of the lack of appropriate transmission conditions between the immersed body and the surrounding fluid in the case of a nonzero jump in normal stress at the solid-fluid interface. (Such a jump does not arise when the solid is comprised of fibers that run parallel to the interface, but typically does arise in other cases, e.g., when the solid contains elastic fibers that terminate at the solid-fluid interface). We present a derivation of the IB method that takes into account in an appropriate way the missing term. The derivation presented in this paper starts from a separation of the stress that appears in the principle of virtual work. The stress is divided into its fluid-like and solid-like components, and each of these two terms is treated in its natural framework, i.e., the Eulerian framework for the fluid-like stress and the Lagrangian framework for the solid-like stress. We describe how the IB method can be used in conjunction with standard formulations of continuum mechanics models for immersed incompressible elastic materials and present some illustrative numerical experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2210-2231
Number of pages22
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
Issue number25-28
StatePublished - Apr 15 2008


  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Hyper-elasticity
  • Immersed boundary method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications


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