Body Dynamics


The module described in this page can be imported as follows:

from proteus.mbd import CouplingFSI as fsi

Proteus uses wrappers and modified/derived classes from the Chrono engine, an open-source multibody dynamics library available at

The bodies and cables classes described below can interact with proteus models such as Navier-Stokes to retrieve forces and moments, moving (ALE) mesh for moving the domain with the structure, and added-mass model.



The ProtChSystem class has a pointer to a Chrono ChSystem, and holds the general options for the Chrono simulation, such as time step size, gravity, etc. All the physical bodies described must be associated to a ProtChSystem instance.

import pychono
from proteus.mbd import CouplingFSI as fsi

my_system = fsi.ProtChSystem()
g = np.array([0., 0., -9.81])
my_system.setTimeStep(0.001)  # the time step for Chrono calculations
my_chsystem = my_system.getChronoObject()  # access chrono object


The ProtChSystem instance itself must be added to the auxiliaryVariables list of the Navier-Stokes model in order to calculate and retrieve the fluid forces from the fluid pressure field provided by Proteus at the boundaries of the different bodies.


Class for creating a rigid body. It has a Chrono ChBody body variable (ProtChBody.ChBody) accessible within python with some of the functionalities/functions of Chrono ChBody. It must be associated to a ProtChSystem instance in order to be included in the multibody dynamics simulation. This can be done with the passing of the system argument as the ProtChBody instance is created (see example below). Otherwise, the function ProtChSystem.addProtChBody(my_body) can be called separately.

my_body = fsi.ProtChBody(system=my_system)
my_body.attachShape(my_shape)  # sets everything automatically
my_body.setRecordValues(all_values=True) # record everything
my_chbody = my_body.getChronoObject()  # access chrono object

When set up properly and running with a Proteus Navier-Stokes simulation, the fluid pressure will be applied on the boundaries of the rigid body. The ChBody will be moved accordingly, as well as its boundaries (supposing that a moving mesh or immersed boundaries are used).


The ProtChBody.ChBody variable accessible with ProtChBody.getChronoObject() is actually using a derived class from the base Chrono ChBody in order to add the possibility of using an added-mass matrix (see ChBodyAddedMass in proteus.mbd.ChRigidBody.h).


This class creates a ChMesh that is needed to create moorings.

my_mesh = fsi.ProtChMesh(system=my_system)
my_chmesh = my_mesh.getChronoObject()


This class is for easily creating cables. The following properties must be known in order to instantiate a ProtChMoorings: ProtChSystem instance, Mesh instance, length for the length of the cable/segment, nb_elems for the number of elements along the cable/segment, d for the diameter of the cable/segment, rho for the density of the cable/segment, E for the Young modulus of the cable/segment.

my_mooring = fsi.ProtChMoorings(system=my_system,
                                nb_elems=np.array([10], dtype=np.int32),
# set function to place the nodes along cable ('s' is the position along the 1D cable)
fpos = lambda s: np.array([s, 1., 0.])  # position along cable
ftan = lambda s: np.array([1., 0., 0.])  # tangent of cable along cable
my_mooring.setNodesPositionFunction(fpos, ftan)
# set the nodes position from the function
# build nodes (automatic with fpos/ftan)
# nodes are equally spaced according to the number of elements (nb_elems)
# add a body as fairlead
# fix front node as anchor

Setting the position function is useful when a relatively complex layout of the cable is desired, such as a catenary shape.


The reason for the array structure for the length, nb_elems, d, rho, and E parameters is that a cable can be multi-segmented (different sections of the same cable having different material properties).


A class to deal with the added mass model from proteus.mprans.AddedMass. This class should not be instantiated manually and will be automatically instantiating as a variable of ProtChSystem (accessible as my_system.ProtChAddedMass). It is used to build the added mass matrix for the rigid bodies.


This class instance must be passed to the AddedMass model auxiliaryVariables to have any effect (auxiliaryVariables.append(my_system.ProtChAddedMass)

Postprocessing Tools


The data related to mooring cables is saved in an csv file, usually [].csv. Additionally, if the added mass model was used, the values of the added mass matrix are available in []_Aij_.csv


The data related to mooring cables is saved in an hdf5 file, usually [].h5, which can be read directly with h5py. Another way to read and visualise the data is to use the associated [].xmf. The following script must be first ran (note that there is no extension for the file name): .. code-block:

{PROTEUS_DIR}/scripts/ -f []

where {PROTEUS_DIR} is the root directory of the Proteus installation. This will create []_complete.xmf which can be opened in Paraview to navigate the time steps that have been recorded.