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Mathematical Modelling and

Simulation
P Chandramouli
Indian Institute of Technology Madras

March 5, 2009

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What is a model?

Classification of models

Need for a model

Learning from models

Math Model Steps

Modelling example

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What does model bring to your mind?


Someone posing for a
product?
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We are not going to


be talking about those
models

Word borrowed from


Italian
Means Copy or
Template or
Prototype

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What do models represent?


Representation of phenomena or systems we want
to understand
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Billiard ball model of a gas


Bohr representation of the atom
Double helix structure of DNA
Scale model of an automobile/airplane

Representation of data
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Drawing a smooth curve through the observations


Need to eliminate faulty observations

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Model Classification

Physical objects
Fictional objects
Equations
A combination of the above!

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Physical Models
Class of physical or material objects
Serves as a representation of something
Scale models of bridges, planes, cars and ships are
examples
Watson and Cricks DNA model also falls in this
category

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Scale Model in Clay

Courtesy of General Motors


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Wind Tunnel testing of scale model

Courtesy of CRP Technology


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Other Classes of Models


Fictional objects
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Bohrs model of atom or frictionless pendulum


Exists only in the researchers mind
Physically need not be realized in the lab to represent
the function

Analogical models
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Comparison based on some relevant similarity


Liquid drop model of nucleus
Billiard ball model of a gas

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Other Models ...

Phenomenological Models
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Models that represent observable properties of their


target
Refrain from coming up with individual mechanisms
Automotive suspension and shock absorber models based
on testing is an example

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Automotive Suspension with MR Fluid

This and the next 2 slides are from Mr. Prabakars


PhD research
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Suspension force vs. piston stroke


600

Damper force (N)

400

200

-200

-400

-600
-1.5

-1.0

-0.5

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

Piston displacement (cm)

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Suspension force vs. piston velocity


600

400

200

-200

-400

-600
-20

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-15

-10

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Finally ...

Equation based models


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Representation purely in terms of mathematics


Simple pendulum differential equation is an example
We will focus on these models for the rest of the lecture

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Why Model?

We like to study and comprehend the natural world


around us
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Scientist in us ..

We also like to comprehend the man-made world


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The engineering-scientist ...

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Why bother about Models?

Scientists/Engineers spend a great deal of time on


models
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Building, testing, comparing and revising


Papers published introducing, applying and interpreting
models
One of the major learning instruments of research

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Learning from models


As we already mentioned these are vehicles for
learning about the real world
Easier to study the model rather than reality
Example of studying behaviour of polymers through
their constitutive models
Learning happens during the construction and
manipulation of the model
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This seems easy for a physical model


One can easily construct a scale model of a car
Manipulate involves measuring say drag in a wind
tunnel

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Other models ...


How does one construct and then manipulate a
fictional model?
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We do what are called thought experiments !!

When the chain is draped over a double frictionless


plane how does it move?

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Thought experiment
Add some links as shown below
Our surmise is that the initial links must have been
in static equilibrium
If not we wind up with a perpetual motion machine!!

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Math Models
Math models are represented by equations
In some cases analytical solutions exist for these
If not we tend to use the computer to solve these
numerically
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We have generated a numerical or simulation model from


the math model!!
Simulation usually represents solving models as a
function of time
Is handy when standard methods fail
But this can also lead to wrong results!!

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Simulation model cartoon


A

Real
World

We See
This

Computer
Model

C
Mathematical
Model

Polygon is our approximation to the circle


A is perception and B maybe abstraction
C is the simulation
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Above cartoon courtesy Prof. M. Ramakrishna, AE

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Step A
Understand or visualise the physical world to be
investigated
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Notice that in the second picture the grey fill is now


white
Our perception may not mirror the real thing

Need to be very clear about our objective(s) for


modelling
Make appropriate assumptions based on the physics
required
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Exclude features that we consider insignificant


F

Needs to be checked

Phenomena too complex to handle are ignored

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Step B
Generate the appropriate equations governing the
physics
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Please remember this is perceived physics with all its


attendant assumptions

Mechanics
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Newtons second law of motion


Conservation laws

Thermodynamics
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Zeroth/First/Second Laws
Equation of state

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Step C
Representation on Computer
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Solving algebraic/differential/integral equations

A number of techniques exist and a small laundry


list is below
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Matrix inversions/eigenvalue estimates


Newton-Raphson for nonlinear algebraic equations
A number of ODE solvers such as Runge-Kutta method
PDE solvers using say shooting methods

Most of these involve discretization of math


equations
Need to be aware of accuracy and stability of solvers
used
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Most important part now ...


Remember the dashed arrow between the hexagon
and perceived reality?
The simulation results have to be interpreted to
gain insight into physics
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Sometimes researchers (including me) lose sight of this


fact when looking at data from the simulation !!

Before we do that VERIFY and VALIDATE the


results
So until now we have seen the process of modeling
and now it is time to look at an example to put the
ideas into practice
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Example: Motorcycle Rider Comfort


Motorcycle goes over a
speed breaker
Our objective is to
reduce the vibrations
felt by the rider
We then need to
generate a
mathematical model
capable of predicting
the rider vibrations
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Setting up the model


What causes this vibration when the rider goes over
the speed breaker?
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The sudden change in the road profile

How does the road profile create vibration?


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Profile change transfers as a force from the wheel to the


axle
From the axle transferred through the suspension to the
frame
Rider is sitting on the frame and feels the force

Hopefully that explains the physics involved (Step


A)
Now how do we generate a mathematical model to
satisfy our objective?
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Preliminaries
Some background for those not familiar with
vibrations
Vibration is basically to-and-fro motion in
bodies/objects which possess inertia and an ability
to deform
Usual cartoon representation of these two features is
by a set of inter-connected springs and blocks
representing masses

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Various Models

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One more model

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Assumptions for each model


First model
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Only up and down motion considered


This is more valid when the bump wavelength is not
small in relation to wheel base
At slower speeds

We club the front and rear suspension stiffness


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We also assume for simplicity deformation characteristic


is linear

We club the motorcycle and rider masses (assumed


rigid and represented by a Centre of Mass)

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Assumptions
Second model
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Only up and down motion and pitching considered


No restriction on wavelengths and speed

Front and rear suspensions separated


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We also assume for simplicity deformation characteristic


is linear

We still assume that we can club the motorcycle


and rider masses

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Mathematical Modelling and Simulation

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More ...
Last model
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Up and down motion/pitching/rider motion now


considered
No restriction on wavelengths and speed

Front and rear suspensions separated


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We also assume for simplicity deformation characteristic


is linear

The rider model needed if exposure time needs to


be found

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Mathematical Modelling and Simulation

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Finally some equations !!


The second model equations derived using Newtons
second law
m
x + kf (x l1 rf ) + kr (x + l2 rr ) = 0
J kf l1 (x l1 rf ) + kr l2 (x + l2 rr ) = 0
The road inputs are rf = a0 sin VL t and
)
rr = a0 sin V (t
L
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Exist only for 0 t

L
V

and 0 t

L
V

l1 and l2 are the distances of the front and rear


suspensions from the CG
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Solutions
The equations are second order linear ODEs
This can be solved in a number of ways
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Modal decomposition technique followed by application


of convolution integrals
Above is a decoupling technique based on eigenvalue
extraction
Direct time integration using Runge-Kutta method

Some results are shown for low speed and high speed
situations with the length of the bump held fixed
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Used Runge-kutta in SCILAB and verified with


convolution integral results

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High velocity approach


2500
Bounce
Pitch

2000
1500

Amplitude

1000
500
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
0.0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

1.2

1.4

1.6

1.8

2.0

Time

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Low velocity approach


800
Bounce
Pitch
600

Amplitude

400

200

200

400
0.0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

1.2

1.4

1.6

1.8

2.0

Time

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Drive for research


I hope that you will be excited in exploring the
unknown
Enjoy the research experience
I leave you with a problem that I would love
someone to model
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How does a roti become fluffy?


Problem involves fluid mechanics/ heat transfer/
materials and maybe something more

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Mathematical Modelling and Simulation

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Sources to acknowledge
Faculty with whom I had discussions on this topic
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Prof. M. Ramakrishna and Prof. Pramod Mehta

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/models-science/
Juri Neimark, 2003, Mathematical Models in
Natural Sciences and Engineering Springer: New
York
Rutherford Aris, 1994, Mathematical Modeling
Techniques Dover Publications: New York
J N Kapur, 1988, Mathematical Modelling New
Age Publishers: New Delhi

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