West Virginia University

United States Brand: SIMULIA
Industry: Construction, Cities & Territories

Plugging Design Gaps with Simulation West Virginia University uses SIMULIA Solutions to help analyze the design and operation of huge, inflatable tunnel plugs.

The Challenge

West Virginia University (WVU) was asked by U.S. Homeland Security to explore the development of huge inflatable plugs for use in emergency situations requiring the closing of vehicular tunnels or other large cylindrical structures. Refining prototypes in a test facility was complex and time-intensive.

Dassault Systèmes Response

WVU employed Abaqus Unified Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and CAE solutions from Dassault Systèmes’ SIMULIA to create realistic simulations of inflatable plug components and models of global plug behavior inside full-size tunnels.


SIMULIA solutions provided predictive models that closely matched actual deployment of inflatables as seen in large-scale testing. The accuracy of these tools gives the University the confidence to reduce the amount of large-scale testing needed to refine their designs and allows them to further develop their inflatable solutions and consider applying their methodology to other infrastructure systems.