There is an increasing interest in the development of robust and efficient numerical methods for analysis of engineering problems involving the interaction of fluids and structures accounting for large motions of the fluid free surface and the existence of fully or partially submerged bodies. Examples of this kind are common in ship hydrodynamics, off-shore structures, spillways in dams, free surface channel flows, liquid containers, stirring reactors, mould filling processes, etc.
We present a general formulation for analysis of fluid-structure interaction problems using the particle finite element method (PFEM). The key feature of the PFEM is the use of a Lagrangian description to model the motion of nodes (particles) in both the fluid and the structure domains. Nodes are thus viewed as particles which can freely move and even separate from the main analysis domain representing, for instance, the effect of water drops. A mesh connects the nodes defining the discretized domain where the governing equations, expressed in an integral from, are solved as in the standard FEM. The necessary stabilization for dealing with the incompressibility condition in the fluid is introduced via the finite calculus (FIC) method. A fractional step scheme for the transient coupled fluid-structure solution is described. Examples of application of the PFEM method to solve a number of fluid-structure interaction problems involving large motions of the free surface and splashing of waves are presented.