Collaborative Research: SI2-SSI: Scalable Infrastructure for EnablingMultiscale and Multiphysics Applications in Fluid Dynamics, SolidMechanics, and Fluid-Structure Interaction

Project: Research project


From the writhing and coiling of DNA, to the beating and pumping of cilia and flagella, to the flow of blood in the body, to the locomotion of fish, insects, and birds, fluid-structure interaction (FSI) is ubiquitous in biology and medicine. The immersed boundary (IB) method is a broadly applicable framework for modeling and simulating these systems. The IB method was introduced to model the fluid dynamics of heart valves, and subsequent development initially focused on simulating cardiac fluid dynamics. This methodology is broadly useful, however, and has been applied to a variety of problems in which a fluid flow interacts with immersed structures, including elastic bodies, bodies with known or prescribed deformational kinematics, and rigid bodies. Extensions of the IB method have also been developed to model electrophysiological systems and systems with chemically active structures.

Resolving viscous boundary layers at fluid-structure interfaces and flow features shed from such interfaces can require high spatial resolution. To improve the efficiency of the IB method, the PI has developed adaptive versions of the IB method that employ structured adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) to deploy high spatial resolution only where needed. These methods have been implemented within the IBAMR software framework, which provides parallel implementations of the IB method and its extensions that leverage high-quality computational libraries including SAMRAI, PETSc, and libMesh. IBAMR has grown from a research code used primarily by the PI to a framework that enables innovative work by a growing number of independent research groups related both to the further development of the IB method and also to its application in various fields of science and engineering. This software is being actively used in projects that model different aspects of cardiovascular dynamics, such as platelet aggregation and the dynamics of natural and prosthetic heart valves, and in projects that study other biological problems, including cancer dynamics, insect flight, aquatic locomotion, and the dynamics of phytoplankton. IBAMR is also being applied to non-biological problems, including nanoscale models of colloidal suspensions and models of active particles.

The goals of this project are to further extend the IBAMR software by implementing modeling and discretization technologies required by the research applications of current and prospective users of the software, by developing improved solver infrastructure facilitated by the implementation of native support for structured AMR discretizations in the PETSc library, and by developing high-quality user interface (UI) tools for model development, deployment, and analysis. Successfully executing these aims will ensure that IBAMR is able to meet the needs of its growing user community, and will facilitate the use of IBAMR as an educational tool in a variety of settings.
Effective start/end date8/1/157/31/20


  • National Science Foundation (NSF)


Fluid structure interaction
Fluid dynamics
Heart valve prostheses
User interfaces
Flow of fluids
Boundary layers