Computational Sciences Seminar/Lecture Series

Numerical Modeling and Visualization of Airplane Crashes: The Case of Germanwings Flight 9525

Goong Chen

Professor, Mathematics Department, Texasa A&M University

Student Computing Center (SCC): 4.210F
October 03, 2016: 2:30 - 3:30 pm


      The study and simulation of an airplane crashing into mountain involves the numerical modeling and supercomputing of a large scale complex physical system. This talk aims at conducting a forensic investigation and making assessments of how the Germanwings Flight 9525 “pulverized” when the airplane crashed into the French Alps in March 2015. Our main numerical modeling tool is LS-DYNA. We have developed a method by hybridizing two primary methods: the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH), and validated the methodology against an experimental crash test of an F4 Phantom II fighter jet into a wall. The data from the recovered Flight Data Recorder are used and the effects of terrain on pulverization are visualized through the animation videos as the basis for making the assessments. Our major assessment is that Flight 9525 crashed “head-in” into a ravine where the rock formation has high degree of hardness. Finally, we point out that our study has a potential of being made into real-time flight crash simulators to help the study of crashworthiness and survivability for future aviation safety.

Spearker's Bio

Goong Chen was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1950. He received his BSc (Math) from the National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan in 1972 and PhD (Math) from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1977. He has taught at the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1977–78), and the Pennsylvania State University at University Park (1978–1987). Since 1987, he has been Professor of Mathematics and Aerospace Engineering, and (since 2000) a member of the Institute for Quantum Studies,at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. He has also held visiting positions at INRIA in Rocquencourt, France, Centre de Recherche Mathematiques of the Universite de Montreal, theTechnical University of Denmark in Lyngby, Denmark, the National University of Singapore, and National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu,Taiwan. He has research interests in many areas of applied and computational mathematics: control theory for partial differential equations (PDEs), boundary element methods and numerical solutions of PDEs, engineering mechanics, chaotic dynamics, quantum computation, chemical physics and quantum mechanics. He has written over one hundred and forty papers, seven advanced texts/monographs, and co-edited four books. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications, and has served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Chapman & Hall/CRC Press Applied Mathematics and Nonlinear Science Series (2002-2011), and as Associate Editor for several other editorial boards, including the SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization, the International Journal on Quantum Information, Physica Scripta, and the Electronic Journal of Differential Equations. He is also a co-holder of a U.S. Patent on certain quantum circuit design for quantum computing. He has memberships in the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). His last book, “Chaotic Maps: Dynamics, Fractals and Rapid Fluctuations”, 227 pages, coauthored with Y. Huang, was published by Morgan & Claypool, Williston, Vermont, in November 2011. He is presently preparing a new book on computational fluid dynamics and turbulence mode ling.