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Dr. Garth N. Wells

gnw20@cam.ac.uk

University of Cambridge and Delft University of Technology

c G. N. Wells 2009 gnw20@cam.ac.uk

.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 3. . . . . . . . . . . .7 Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Essentials from continuum mechanics 1. . 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 One-dimensional bar .5 Regularity requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Post-processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Contents 1 Introduction 1. . . . . .1 Tensor basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. . 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Finite element method with piecewise linear basis functions 4. . . . . . . . . 5. . . . . . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . .3 Governing equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . method . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Implementation of the ﬁnite element 5.7 Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Basic error analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Local-global . . . . . . . . 4. . .5 Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Poisson equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Deﬁnition of trial and weight function spaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. . . . . . .2 Continuum elasticity . . . . . . . . 4. . .4 Minimisation of potential energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. . . . . . . .6 Imposition of Dirichlet boundary conditions . . . . . . . . . . 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The 3. . . . . . 2.5 Numerical integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3 3. . .4 Stiffness matrix storage . . . . . . . . . . Convergence of the Galerkin method Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Linear algebra . . . . . 2. . . . . . . . . .1 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method 4. . . . . . 5. . . . . . . . 2 Strong and weak forms of the governing equations 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. . .2 Program ﬂow . 6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Galerkin method Approximate solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. .1 Preprocessing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 General ﬁnite element basis functions . .4 Isoparametric mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 7 13 15 16 19 21 21 23 25 26 27 28 29 31 31 32 33 34 35 35 37 49 50 54 57 60 63 63 64 65 70 71 73 . . . 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Vector calculus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Exercises . 73 . . . . . . . . . .6 Space-time formulations . Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. . . . . . . . 111 8. . . . . . . . . . . 9. . .4 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Solvers for large linear systems 111 8. . . . 91 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 105 107 108 109 7 Analysis of the ﬁnite element method 7. . . . . . . . . . . . 104 . . 9. . . . . . . . .1 LU-decomposition . . . . . . . . . . . . . Plate . . . . .2 Heat equation . . . . . . . . 76 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 113 116 117 118 119 124 124 125 6 Version 0. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3 6. . . . 9. .5 Rod elements in space Beams .2 6. . . . . . . . . 9. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Modal analysis for elastodynamics . . . . . . . . 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . .2 January 21. . . . . . . .1 A priori error estimation . . . . . . 9. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Time stepping algorithms . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 A posteriori error estimation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Elastodynamics . 104 . . . . . . . .2 Iterative solvers .7 Exercises . . . . . . . .1 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Adaptivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Frequency analysis for elastodynamics 9. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Contents 6. 112 9 Time-dependent problems 9. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shell elements . . . .

orthonormal basis is assumed. which for simplicity is assumed to be orthonormal. This simpliﬁes vector and tensor operations considerably as the basis vectors can be ignored and operations expressed in terms of indices only. 1. f . a Cartesian.1) Vectors involve components and a basis. The underlying mathematics of the method are introduced and details of its computer implementation are discussed. b. (1. It also provides a reference point for later developments in the text. The application of the ﬁnite element method leads to systems (often very large) of linear equations (matrices) which can be solved using a computer. This chapter establishes the notation used in these notes and reviews the basic tools needed to develop and understand the ﬁnite element method.1. What is the ﬁnite element method? The ﬁnite element method (FEM) is a numerical method for solving partial differential equations. making it well suited to efﬁcient computer implementation. it is closely related to the concepts of energy and virtual work. a. Students will develop an understanding of the fundamentals underlying the ﬁnite element method and commercial ﬁnite element software. such as ‘Finite element methods for nonlinear analysis’ (CT5142). (1. a. When applied for solving problems in solid and structural mechanics. x. It is particularly suited for solving partial differential equations on complex geometries.2) 7 . and possibly an extension of familiar concepts. u. and are generally denoted by lowercase bold characters.1 Tensor basics Throughout these notes. The material should serve as a review. This course also provides a foundation to the more advanced courses. Scalars are denoted by italic type face. Orthonormal basis vectors are shown in Figure 1. b. The procedure can be largely automatised.1 Introduction This course provides an introduction to the ﬁnite element method for linear problems. The ﬁnite element method differs from the commonly used ﬁnite difference method as it is based on a variational formulation. as are commonly encountered in solid and structural mechanics. s.

3) Consider the dot product between two vectors a and b. In the case n = 2.1: Example of orthonormal base vectors. and is deﬁned through the operation which gives the length x of a vector x.6) ∑ a i b i = a 1 b1 + a 2 b2 + a 3 b3 .7) 8 Version 0. ai where i runs from one to n.5) ∑ a i bi . a·b = (1.2 January 21. a= a1 . a2 (1. A vector a in an n-dimensional space R n can be expressed in terms of its components.4) The dot product of two vectors is given by: a · b = a i bi . 2011 . (1. i =1 n (1. i =1 3 (1.1 Introduction x2 a e2 = [0 1 0] e1 = [1 0 0] x1 e3 = [0 0 1] x3 Figure 1. which is denoted a · b. x = √ x · x. where repeated indices imply summation: a·b = For n = 3.

(1. Second-order tensors can be multiplied. the dot product maybe written as a T b. The symbol δij is known as the Kronecker delta: δij = 1 if i = j.14) January 21. (1.8) can be used. K. A = Aij . allowing the base vectors to be discarded and the more familiar notation a · b = ai b j δij = ai bi . in the vein of matrix multiplication.16) (1. R (1. a second-order tensor A can be expressed in terms of components. and in index notation as Dij = Aik Bkj . A second-order tensor A takes the vector b and transforms it into the vector a. Consider the case a = ABc = Dc. Aij . A31 A32 A33 (1.10) As with vectors. 0 if i = j. 2011 Version 0. a = Ab = Aij b j = ∑ Aij bj j =1 n (1.9) Second-order tensors (which possess some similar properties to matrices) are generally denoted by uppercase bold characters. M. (1.1 Tensor basics For an orthonormal basis. It is deﬁned by: a · Bc = Bc · a = c · B T a.1.2 9 . At times. which is expressed as D = AB.11) (1.15) (1. The transpose of a tensor is denoted by the superscript ‘T’. ei · e j = δij .17) (1.13) where n is the dimension of the vector b. A. The second-order tensor A in R3 can be expressed as A11 A12 A13 A = Aij = A21 A22 A23 .12) Second-order tensors are linear operators that act upon vectors.

A : B = A11 B11 + A12 B12 + A21 B21 + A22 B22 . (1. (1. The repeated i and j indices implies: Aij Bij = (1. This is equivalent to A : B = Aij Bij . For a second-order tensor A in R3 .28) 10 Version 0. It also yields a scalar.23) (1.21) (1. For example. 2011 .2 January 21.26) (1.25) ∑ ∑ Aij Bij . = ai b j . A = a ⊗ b.27) This operation has no equivalent in matrix-vector convention. i =1 j =1 n n (1. is provided for two second-order tensors. A useful identity involving the transpose is: ( AB) T = B T A T . this implies: tr ( A) = A11 + A22 + A33 . which is equivalent to Aij = ai b j . tr ( a ⊗ b) = ai bi and tr ( A) = Aii . It is deﬁned by: A : B = tr A T B . an operation similar to the dot product of two vectors.19) Second-order tensors can be formed through the dyadic production of two vectors.18) The transpose of a second-order tensor implies interchanging the rows and columns of its components.1 Introduction In terms of indices: Aij T = A ji .22) Using the trace.24) (1. (1. an inner product. (1.20) The trace of a second-order tensor is essentially the summation of its diagonal components. (1. For two second-order tensors in R2 .

Eijk = −1. A matrix A is symmetric if: A T = A. It is deﬁned for a.1. j. The cross product can be introduced via the third-order tensor E . If the permutation {i. j. A common third-order tensor is the alternating (or permutation) tensor E . (1. A third-order tensor maps a second-order tensor to a ﬁrst order tensor. January 21. Eijk = 0.2 (1. and if the permutation {i. AA−1 = A−1 A = I. b ∈ R3 by: a 2 b3 − a 3 b2 (1. Another important operation is the cross. is equal to the identity tensor. a 1 b2 − a 2 b1 Such a deﬁnition however is not convenient for manipulation. A third-order tensor can be deﬁned which will make manipulations more convenient.36) The expression for E in terms of the basis ei is lengthy and not shown here. k} is odd. E : ( a ⊗ b) = a × b.32) As will be shown in the following section. 2011 Version 0.31) Second-order tensors are often characterised by their special properties.30) (1. matrices which rotate the reference frame are orthogonal. A tensor A is orthogonal if: A T = A −1 . a tensor Aij is symmetric if: Aij = A ji .34) (1.35) [ a × b ] = a 3 b1 − a 1 b3 . The result of the above equation is rather simple. and is equal to I = δij ei ⊗ e j . multiplied by its inverse A−1 .33) (1. Eijk = 1. or vector.37) 11 . Using index notation. k} is even. (1.1 Tensor basics The identity tensor I is deﬁned by: a = Ia.29) A second-order tensor A. The components of E are given by: [E ] = Eijk = ei · e j × ek . If any of the indices are repeated. (1. product. The cross product of two vectors yields a vector. (1.

41) 12 Version 0. (1.39) Fortunately. C = Cijkl . ′ and it would be convenient to have the components in the ei system. Consider the orthonormal coordinate systems in Figure 1. A : B = Aijk Bjk . due to physical symmetries. For an orthonormal basis.2 January 21. (1. This operation is particularly important when considering moments. Deﬁning Qij by Qij = ei · e′j . 2011 . Consider that for a vector a.40) (1. the components in ei system are known. it will not be necessary to manipulate fourthorder tensors directly. denoted here as C . It may prove convenient to transform vector components relative to the ei system to components ′ in the ei system. it is convenient to rotate the coordinate frame. the stress and strain are second-order tensors. in terms of indices.2: Rotation between coordinate systems. Vector and tensor components can be rotated (change of basis) using a rotation matrix Q.1 Introduction x2 ′ e2 = [− sin θ cos θ ] e2 = [0 1] ′ e1 = [cos θ sin θ ] θ e1 = [1 0] x1 Figure 1.2. which is orthogonal. (1. ′ the components ai are given by ′ ai = Q ji a j .38) In elasticity. Coordinate transformations For many problems. They are related to each other via a fourth-order tensor.

= u. 2011 Version 0.47) (1.1. cos θ (1. ∂x2 ∂x4 ∂2 u ∂3 u = u.45) At times it is necessary to also rotate the components of a second-order tensor from one coordinate system to another.2. (1.43) and note that Q is orthogonal. An example is a onedimensional rod element in a three-dimensional space.xy .xyy .42) − sin θ . (1.2 Vector calculus which can also be expressed as: a′ = Q T a. and A = QA′ Q T .49) 13 .2 Vector calculus Subscripts are commonly used as a short-hand notation for derivatives. It is expressed as: ∇ · a. January 21. Characters after a comma in the subscript denote differentiation with respect to that variable.44) Therefore. Considering the coordinate systems illustrated in Figure 1. This is done by the operation: A′ = Q T AQ. It is convenient to rotate the ′ reference such such the position along the bar is given by [ x]′ = x1 . = u. which effectively reduces the three-dimensional problem to a one-dimensional problem.xx . components in the rotated reference frame can be transformed back to the original reference frame by: a = Qa′ .2 (1. ∂x∂y ∂x∂y2 (1. ∂x ∂4 u ∂2 u = u.46) Often coordinate transforms are used to simplify a problem. QQ T = Q T Q = I. An important operator is the divergence.xxxx . Q= ′ e1 · e1 ′ e2 · e1 ′ e1 · e2 cos θ ′ = sin θ e2 · e2 (1. Consider a function u which is dependent on the position x.x . 0 . 1. The divergence of a vector ﬁeld a yields a scalar. Some of its derivatives can be written as: ∂u = u.48) This notation is used commonly throughout these notes. 0. (1.

the components of ∇ a are given by: ∂a ∂x ∂a (1.57) ∂y ∂z ∂x ∂a3 ∂a3 ∂a3 ∂x ∂y ∂z 14 Version 0. ∂A11 + ∂A12 ∂x ∂x2 .i . ∂x1 ∂x2 ∂x3 ∂x ∂y ∂z (1. 2011 . ∇a = (1.1 Introduction In terms of indices. ∂x j (1. ∂x j (1.56) which yields a second-order tensor. ∂y ∂a ∂z The gradient of a vector is given by: ∇a = ∂ai = ai.54) which yields a vector. The gradient of a scalar a is given by: ∇a = ∂a = a.52) For a two-dimensional tensor A.55) ∇a = . ∇ · a is equal to ∇·a = ∂ai = ai. In a three-dimensional space.50) In a three-dimensional space R3 . ∇·a = ∂ay ∂a ∂a x ∂a ∂az ∂a1 + 2+ 3 = + + . ∂xi (1.j . ∂xi (1.j . the components of ∇ a are given by: ∂a1 ∂a1 ∂a1 ∂x ∂y ∂z ∂a2 ∂a2 ∂a2 . ∇ · A = ∂A 1 ∂A22 21 ∂x + ∂x 1 2 (1.i . In a three-dimensional space.53) Another important operator is the gradient.2 January 21.51) The divergence of a second-order tensor is given by: ∇·A = ∂Aij = Aij.

1.2 15 . Consider the body Ω in Figure 1. The divergence theorem states: Ω ∇ · A dΩ = ∂Ω An dΓ.3.3 Linear algebra The eigenvalues and eigenvectors of a matrix provide information as to its properties. (1. 2011 Version 0. the eigenvalues of the stress tensor are the principal stresses.61) and then applying the divergence theorem. ∂x j i ij (1. The above formula is simple to derive by using the product rule for differentiation to expand Ω ∇ · ( aB ) dΩ = Ω ∂ a B dΩ. The surface of Ω is given by ∂Ω. An essential theorem in formulating the ﬁnite element method is the divergence theorem (also known as Gauss’s theorem). For example.3 Linear algebra n Ω Γ Figure 1.60) The above equation also holds for the case in which a is replaced by a scalar and B is replaced by a vector. It transforms a volume integral to a surface integral. and the January 21.59) Integration by parts is used frequently in the formulation of the ﬁnite element method. (1. Ω ∇ · a dΩ = ∂Ω a · n dΓ. (1. The boundary of the body Ω is denoted Γ = ∂Ω. It implies that: Ω a · (∇ · B) dΩ = − Ω ∇ a : B dΩ + ∂Ω a · Bn dΓ.1.3: Continuous body Ω ⊂ R n bounded by Γ.58) where n is the outward normal to the body Ω. The outward unit normal to the body is denoted n. For a vector a.

the roots of a cubic equation must be found. The polynomial is known as the characteristic equation of A.65) Typically.62) are known as eigenvectors and eigenvalues. Also. K will often be referred to as the ‘stiffness matrix’ and f the ‘right-hand side vector’. 2 i. all eigenvalues are positive and real.63) For a 2 × 2 matrix. It is not practical to compute the inverse of the matrix K as it is computationally expensive (both in terms of the number of operations required and the memory required).4 Essentials from continuum mechanics The ﬁnite element method is used in these notes to solve primarily problems in continuum mechanics. and is unique. For a symmetric matrix. The system of equations is usually solved using a direct method (such as Gauss elimination or LU decomposition) or an approximate iterative method. which guarantees that the inverse of A exists. vectors b and scalars λ which satisfy ( A − λI ) b = 0 (1. Equation (1. and u and f are vectors of length n.i . The strain ǫ is deﬁned as the symmetric gradient of the displacement vector: ǫij = 1 u + u j. A zero eigenvalue implies that the matrix A has a linearly dependent column.1 Introduction corresponding eigenvectors are the principal stress directions. For large matrices. (1. 1. Solvers for ﬁnite element problems are discussed in Chapter 8. In the context of the ﬁnite element method.j (1. (1.64) where K is an n × n matrix. Eigenvalue tests are often used in studying the matrices arising in the ﬁnite element method. the eigenvalues of a matrix indicates if a matrix has a unique inverse. special numerical algorithms are used to calculate the eigenvalues. For a 3 × 3 matrix. This section is intended to cover only the important concepts which are used later in these notes.62) implies that: det ( A − λI ) = 0. This requires some background in continuum mechanics and linear-elasticity.2 January 21. For a matrix A.66) 16 Version 0. respectively. The solution u is given by: u = K −1 f . It is not a comprehensive coverage of the topic. ﬁnding λ requires ﬁnding the roots of a quadratic equation. of A. all eigenvalues are real. A system of n linear equations can be expressed as: Ku = f . (1. 2011 . the system of equations in a ﬁnite element equation will be very large. For a positive deﬁnite matrix A.

in three-dimensions the stress and strain tensors have only six independent components.j (1. or in index notation.i . the strain tensor is symmetric. A constitutive equation relates the stresses in a material to the strain. For linear elasticity.69) where n is the unit normal vector to the surface. linear-elastic continua.1.2 17 . this reduces to four. 2 i. For solid. For convenience. the stress tensor is symmetric (which can be proved by considering the balance of angular momentum.72) (1. Due to symmetry.70) with E the Young’s modulus and ν Poisson’s ratio. The constants λ and µ are often referred to as Lam´ constants. Similar to the strain tensor. 2011 Version 0. January 21.j) = 1 u + u j.4 Essentials from continuum mechanics which is clearly a second-order tensor.67) For convenience.73) (1. 2 (1.68) where the bracket around the subscript denotes the symmetric gradient. The stress tensor is deﬁned through the traction vector t (force per unit area) on a surface.71) (1. the symmetric gradient using index notation will be expressed as: u(i. it is deﬁned by: Cijkl = µ δik δjl + δil δjk + λδij δkl where λ= and µ= E 2 (1 + ν ) (1.74) νE (1 + ν) (1 − 2ν) (1. as will be shown in the next chapter). In a homogeneous body. Obviously. this can be written as: σ = C : ǫ. In two-dimensions. the above expression can be written as: ǫ = ∇s u = 1 ∇u + (∇u) T . σn = t (1. Lam´ constants are indepene e dent of the position. σij = Cijkl ǫkl where C is a fourth-order tensor. In compact notation.

the normal stress out-of-plane is assumed to be zero. For isotropic linear-elasticity.2 January 21. This assumes that the normal strain in the out-of-plane direction is zero (ǫ33 = 0). particular attention will be paid to solving elastic continuum problems. This approximation is good for very thin members. D has the following form: λ + 2µ λ λ 0 0 0 λ λ + 2µ λ 0 0 0 λ λ λ + 2µ 0 0 0 (1. σ11 σ22 σ33 (1.y u.y + v. In these notes. The ﬁrst is known as plane strain. In this case. ǫ11 ǫ11 u. The second possibility is plane stress (σ33 = 0). containing components of the fourthorder tensor C . The third possibility is axisymmetric. there are three possibilities. the constitutive relationship can be written as: σ = Dǫ (1. in which the stress and strain are represented as vectors. such as a dam wall. This is reasonable for problems which are relatively thick in the third direction.78) D= 0 0 0 µ 0 0 0 0 0 0 µ 0 0 0 0 0 0 µ 18 Version 0.75) = = ǫ= 2ǫ12 γ12 u.1 Introduction ‘engineering’ notation is often adopted. (1. In this case. It is then likely that the stress in the out-of-plane direction is not equal to zero. such as many beams.x ǫ22 ǫ22 v. the strain in the out-of-plane direction is dependent on the distance from an axis of rotation. This will require identiﬁcation of the equations which govern equilibrium of where the matrix D is the constitutive matrix.76) σ= σ12 σ13 σ23 Using the vector format for stress and strain.z + w. although without the factor ‘2’ on the shear terms.y γ23 2ǫ23 The stress tensor is expressed in a vector form.x v.z + w. 2011 .x 2ǫ13 γ13 u.77) When reducing a three-dimensional problem to two-dimensions. An axisymmetric formulation is for example commonly used when simulating a circular foundation.z ǫ33 ǫ33 .

and applying the divergence theorem.). the ﬁrst term in equation (1. Note that this equation is general. the partial differential equation of equilibrium is given by equation (1.5 Exercises 1. 2011 Version 0. consider ﬁrst translational equilibrium (balance of linear momentum) of a body Ω ⊂ R n with boundary Γ = ∂Ω. Considering that t = σn.83) If translational equilibrium (equation (1. Therefore. Then. if σ is symmetric. Therefore. For three-dimensions (i = 1 → 3.81) Consider now moment equilibrium (balance of angular momentum). This will also be referred to as the ‘strong’ governing equation. since E : σ T = 0. Ω r × (∇ · σ + b) dΩ + Ω E : σ T dΩ = 0 (1.1. etc.79) where b is a body force.80). leading to: ∇ · σ + b = 0 in Ω (1. 1. the integral can be removed from equation(1. How many independent components does a symmetric second-order tensor in R n have? January 21. moment equilibrium is satisﬁed if the stress tensor is symmetric. In order to derive the governing partial differential equation.80) Balance of linear momentum should also be satisﬁed for any subdomain of Ω.5 Exercises elastic bodies.80)) is satisﬁed.83) is zero. Application of the divergence theorem to the integral over ∂Ω gives: Ω ∇ · σ + b dΩ = 0 (1.80). which requires that ∂Ω t dΓ + Ω b dΩ = ∂Ω σn dΓ + Ω b dΩ = 0 (1. Moment equilibrium of the body Ω requires that: ∂Ω r × t dΓ + Ω r × b dΩ = ∂Ω r × σn dΓ + Ω r × b dΩ = 0 (1.82) where r is the position vector of a point on ∂Ω. and not speciﬁc to elasticity. expand the terms: a) b) c) d) e) f) a i bi ai b j Aij Bij Cij bi Cij b j Fik Gkj 2.2 19 .

2011 .43) is orthogonal.60). derive the integration by parts formula in equation (1. Derive the isotropic linear-elastic constitutive matrix D for plane stress and plane strain conditions 20 Version 0.1 Introduction 3. What is the trace of the identity tensor I equal to in R n ? 4. 7.2 January 21. Conﬁrm that the rotation matrix R in equation (1. 6. It is equivalent to ∇ · ∇. Expand ∆u in a three-dimensional space using index notation. 5. A common and important operator in applied mathematics (and mechanics) is the Laplace operator ∆ (sometimes denoted ∇2 ). Using the product rule for differentiation and the divergence theorem.

To do this. and leads to a form which is convenient for later numerical solution. The governing equation can then be expressed as: − Eu. u = 0 at x=0 (2. The governing equation for a onedimensional rod element with unit cross-sectional area is (see equation (1.x is the normal stress in the rod and f is a distributed load along the rod.1: One-dimensional bar. the strong form is multiplied by a weight function and integrated by parts.1) where σ.1 One-dimensional bar Consider the one-dimensional bar in Figure 2. (2. The ﬁnite element method is a variational method.2 Strong and weak forms of the governing equations An essential step in developing the ﬁnite element method is the identiﬁcation of the governing equation and casting it in its ‘weak form’. 2.x = f . The weak form is also commonly known as a the ‘variational form’ or a ‘variational equation’.1. boundary conditions must be speciﬁed. 21 . A Dirichlet (essential) boundary condition prescribes the displacement at a point. addressing the weak (variational) form of the relevant governing equation.81)): −σ.xx = f .3) To complete the problem. (2. For a linear-elastic rod. This has the effect of reducing the order of the derivatives appearing in the equation.4) f 1 0 111 000 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 11111111111 00000000000 h x L x=0 Figure 2. For example. This is complemented by a constitutive relationship which gives the stress in the rod in terms of the strain.2) where E is the Young’s modulus. dx (2. the normal stress is given by: σ = Eǫ = E du .

which has an inﬁnite number of members). σn = h at x = L. Taking guidance from equation (1. which yields: − L 0 wσ.3).xx = f u=0 Eu.x dx = w f dx ∀w ∈ V .x Eu. equation (2.x . 2011 . Considering that σ = Eu. (2.5) where n is the outward normal to the bar (equal to 1 in this case). (2.10) is also true.2 Strong and weak forms of the governing equations prescribes the displacement at one end of the bar in Figure 2. both sides of equation (2.x = w f L 0 ∀w ∈ V . Multiplying equation (2. derivatives of order 22 Version 0.x dx = L 0 w f dx + wh| x= L ∀w ∈ V .7) (2. This is the weak form of the governing equation.x n = h 0 < x < L. Note that in the strong form. (2.6).60). then − wσ. (2.6) (2. solving the weak form involves: ﬁnd u ∈ S such that L 0 w.9) must hold point-wise. If equation (2. The mathematical problem can now be summarised as: ﬁnd u such that: − Eu.11) Note the term wEu. The above boundary condition sets the applied traction at x = L equal to h.x σ dx − wh| x= L ∀w ∈ V .12) where S is an appropriately deﬁned space of functions which satisﬁes the Dirichlet boundary conditions.x . Inserting now the constitutive relationship σ = Eu. Since both sides of the equation are multiplied by the weight function.9) where ‘∀w ∈ V ’ means ‘for all w ∈ V ’.8) inserted. the equation must still hold for all admissible weight function (this is a technical point which is discussed in section 2.2 January 21. L 0 (2.1) by w.x dx = L 0 w. at x = L.1 to be equal to zero.8) To develop the weak form of the governing equation.x n| x=0 is not included as by deﬁnition the weight function w is equal to zero at x = 0.x . A Neumann (natural) boundary condition prescribes the applied traction. applying a force at the end of the bar is equivalent to prescribing u. An important requirement on the space V is that functions w be zero where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied. after inserting the constitutive relationship (2.10) can be integrated by parts and the Neumann boundary condition from equation (2. −wσ.6) are multiplied by a scalar weight function w ∈ V (w ∈ V means that w comes from the appropriately deﬁned space of functions V . at x = 0. (2.

The basic form of the equations is the same as the one-dimensional bar in the previous section. (2. w(0) = 0. for any allowable weight function at x = L.12) yields − L 0 wEu. For a more elaborate mathematical treatment.16) proving that the Neumann boundary conditions are satisﬁed.13). The strong governing equation for this problem was developed in the previous chapter. What remains now is to ensure that the Neumann boundary condition is satisﬁed (Dirichlet boundary conditions are satisﬁed by construction). L[ and zero outside (speciﬁcally at x = 0 and x = L). satisfying the strong governing equation (in a distributional sense). Consider now the continuous body in Figure 2.xx + f ) Eu. Hence.2 Continuum elasticity A more complicated example is continuum elasticity. 2011 Version 0. Assuming that E is constant and integrating by parts the ﬁrst term in (2. Since the weak form is derived from the strong form.14) which can be rearranged to give L 0 φ ( Eu. Following Hughes (1987). at least in a generalised sense).2.xx dx + wEu. January 21.17) 23 . it follows that a solution of the strong form is also a solution of the weak form. (2.12). consider a weight function w ∈ V which is equal to φ ( Eu.xx + f ). the above equation can only hold if − Eu.xx dx = L 0 φ ( Eu. Eu. (2. it is now proven that the ﬁrst term is equal to zero.13). see Brenner and Scott (1994). (2.x n = h. where φ is greater than zero over the interval ]0. The complication arises from the three-dimensional setting.2 (2.x n| x= L = L 0 w f dx + wh| x= L . In the weak form (2.2 Continuum elasticity two with respect to x appear.xx + f )2 dx = 0. What remains to be shown is that the weak form is equivalent to the strong form (that a solution of the weak form is also a solution of the strong form.15) Since φ > 0 and ( Eu.xx + f )2 ≥ 0.2. Returning to equation (2. − L 0 φ ( Eu. as by construction.xx + f ) f dx. Inserting the weight function into equation (2.xx = f . only ﬁrst derivatives with respect to x appear.13) Note again that no terms at x = 0 appear. Recall that the governing equation is given by: ∇ · σ + b = 0 in Ω. 2.

18) where C is a fourth-order tensor.2: Continuous body Ω ⊂ R n with boundary Γ (Γ = Γg ∪ Γh .22) 24 Version 0. tractions (potentially zero) are applied (traction ≡ force per unit area on a surface). As in the one-dimensional case. the same steps as in the case of the one-dimensional bar are followed. Γg ∩ Γh = ∅). σ = C : ǫ.21) The ﬁrst term in equation (2. On part of the boundary. and integrating over the body Ω yields: Ω w · (∇ · σ ) dΩ + Ω w · b dΩ = 0 ∀w ∈ V . the weight function w is a vector.2. Γh . the part of the boundary where displacements are prescribed is denoted Γg . To derive the weak form. For a linearelastic material. First. a constitutive relationship is required. u=g on Γg . Note that in this case.21) can be integrated by parts (see equation (1. In Figure 2.60)).2 Strong and weak forms of the governing equations h Γh Ω Γg n Figure 2. Boundary conditions are still required to complete the problem. where again V is an appropriately deﬁned function space (w = 0 on Γg ). 2011 . (2. and integrated over the body.2 January 21. the governing equation is multiplied by a weight function w ∈ V .20) The boundary-value problem is now complete.19) On the remaining boundary. (2. t=h on Γh . the displacements are prescribed (Dirichlet boundary conditions). (2. Multiplying equation (2. (2. yielding: − Ω ∇w : σ dΩ + Ω w · b dΩ + Γh w · h dΓ = 0.17) by w ∈ V . (2.

January 21. the symmetric gradient of w.3 Poisson equation An equation which is often solved using the ﬁnite element method is the Poisson equation.23). A wide range of physical phenomena are governed by this equation.26) where u is a potential.25) where q is a ﬂux vector and f is a source term. 2011 Version 0. 2. Consistency can be proven in the same fashion as was used for the onedimensional problem. Consider now w as a ‘virtual displacement’ δu. There exists a close link between weak forms and virtual work for a range of problems. The constitutive relationship is given by: q = −κ ∇ u (qi = −κij u. Consider the following equation: −∇ · q + f = 0 in Ω (2. where κ is the thermal conductivity. Often the term ∇w is written as ∇s w. including steady-state heat conduction and ﬂow in permeable media (Darcy’s law). The previous example of continuum elasticity was an example of a system of Poisson equations – one for each spatial direction.18).24) which is the equation of virtual work. q is the heat ﬂux vector.3 Poisson equation where σn has been replaced by the prescribed traction h (the Neumann boundary condition).2.23) where S is an appropriate space of functions which satisfy the Dirichlet boundary conditions. κ = κI. Ω δǫ : C : ǫ dΩ = Ω δu · b dΩ + Γh δu · h dΓ.25) yields a Poisson equation. For an isotropic medium. Inserting now the constitutive relationship from equation (2. a solution to the weak form involves: ﬁnd u ∈ S such that − Ω ∇w : C : ǫ dΩ + Ω w · b dΩ + Γh w · h dΓ = 0 ∀w ∈ V . (2. (2. Here the Poisson equation is addressed in a more generic fashion. It is simple to show that ∇w : σ = ∇s w : σ if σ is symmetric (see exercise 1). In the case of heat conductivity. the variational framework is more general. Inserting this into equation (2. Therefore ∇s w ≡ δǫ. q is the ﬂow rate. u is the hydraulic head and κ is known as the hydraulic conductivity. For linear heat conduction. This is the weak equilibrium equation for a stationary continuous elastic body. Inserting the constitutive equation into (2.j ) (2. The equation of virtual work is therefore the weak form of the governing equation. In Darcy’s law. The constitutive relationship depends on the problem being solved.2 25 . the scalar u is the temperature. However. For Darcy’s law.

2). w = u + v. it is the hydraulic head. For heat conduction. 2011 . For Darcy ﬂow.4 Minimisation of potential energy For particular equations. The weak form of the Poisson equation is derived following the same steps as in the previous two examples.28) where n is the outward normal to the surface Γh (see Figure 2. (2. (2.2 January 21. Multiplying equation (2. the boundary-value problem requires boundary conditions.27) which prescribes the potential on the boundary. there exists a close link between minimisation of energy and solution of the weak form. suppose that u is the solution to the weak problem. (2. I (u) = 1 2 Ω ∇s u : C : ∇s u dΩ − Ω u · b dΩ − ∂Ω u · h dΩ. The Neumann boundary condition requires that: −q · n = h on Γh (2.29) Integrating the LHS of the above equation by parts yields: Ω ∇w · q dΩ − Γh wq · n dΓ + Ω w f dΩ = 0 ∀w ∈ V . The Dirichlet conditions impose: u=g on Γg (2. this imposes the heat ﬂux on Γh . 2. this is the temperature on the boundary Γg .32) The potential energy for another displacement ﬁeld. (2. and for Darcy ﬂow is it the inﬂow/outﬂow across a boundary. (2.31) which is the weak form of the Poisson equation. such as equilibrium of an elastic body. and consider the potential energy functional I. In the case of heat conduction.33) 26 Version 0.2 Strong and weak forms of the governing equations As for all previous examples. is given by I (u) ≤ I (u + v) = 1 2 Ω ∇s (u + v) : C : ∇s (u + v) dΩ − Ω (u + v) · b dΩ − ∂Ω (u + v) · h dΩ. − Ω w (∇ · q) dΩ + Ω w f dΩ = 0 ∀w ∈ V . For an elastic body Ω.25) by a weight function w and integrating over the body Ω.30) Inserting now the constitutive relationship and the boundary condition −q · n = h leads to the problem: ﬁnd u ∈ S such that: − Ω ∇w · κ∇u dΩ + Γh wh dΓ + Ω w f dΩ = 0 ∀w ∈ V .

its second derivative does not exist. it is clear that it involves only ﬁrst derivatives with respect to x of u and w. and the last term Ω ∇s v : C : ∇s v dΩ ≥ 0.23). However. which is equal to I (u) ≤ I (u + v) x = I (u) + + 1 2 Ω ∇s v : C : ∇s u dΩ − Ω v · b dΩ − ∂Ω v · h dΩ (2. If a function is C n .xx ) must exist. piecewise linear function.5 Regularity requirements f f .12)). but their ﬁrst derivatives are not. Therefore a function like f is a possible solution of the weak form and a possible weight function. Functions are often classiﬁed as being C n continuous.3) to make sense. This is a classic mathematical property of weak forms. which proves that solution of the weak form corresponds to minimisation of the potential energy.34) Ω ∇s v : C : ∇s v dΩ.3: Example of a C0 function f .3 is a continuous. The function shown in Figure 2. Continuity refers to whether or not the derivatives of a function are continuous. in which the terms inside the brackets sum to zero for any v since u is a solution to the weak form (see equation 2. This means that the functions are continuous. and is essential for the ﬁnite element method. the weak form allows for more possible solutions. From Figure 2.x x Figure 2. in a classical sense. A C0 function is shown in Figure 2.3. it is clear that it is simple to take the ﬁrst derivative of the function f . It is not a possible solution. As will be seen in the following chapters. since for equation (2. functions which are C0 are most commonly used. this means that its nth derivative is continuous. In ﬁnite element analysis.2. Examining now the weak form for the rod (equation (2. this is a commonly used function in ﬁnite element analysis.3. In summary. 2011 Version 0.3)).2 27 . 2. January 21. the second derivative of f with respect to x ( f .5 Regularity requirements A common topic in ﬁnite element analysis is continuity. Consider now if the function f is a possible solution u of the strong equation for a bar (equation (2.

2. the requirement that the trial functions be square-integrable implies that energy must be ﬁnite.37) This says that the S is a collection of functions from H 1 (Ω) which satisfy the Dirichlet boundary conditions (technically this is not a space if g = 0. there do however exist functions from H 1 (Ω) which are not C0 continuous. 28 Version 0. In physical terms. w| Γg = 0}. which is denoted H 1 (Ω). This can be seen in the well-known Sobolev embedding theorem. 2011 . For multiple spatial dimensions. Sobolev spaces are inﬁnite-dimensional. since a fundamental step in the ﬁnite element method will involve ﬁnite-dimensional function spaces. It is useful to deﬁne function spaces.35) Functions which are square integrable come from the Hilbert space known as L2 (Ω).36) are known as members of the Sobolev space on degree one.2 Strong and weak forms of the governing equations The theory of which functions are allowed is discussed on more detail in the following advanced section. The weight functions come from the space V (w ∈ V ). functions which have square-integrable derivatives are of interest. A function u is said to be square integrable if: Ω (u)2 dx < ∞. This is of crucial importance. from which the trial and weight functions come.x )2 dΩ < ∞ (2. Functions for which: Ω (u)2 + (u. Trial functions u come from the space S (u ∈ S ). Importantly. The notation u ∈ H 1 means that u comes from (is an element of) H 1 .6 Deﬁnition of trial and weight function spaces There are certain mathematical requirements that must be met by the trial and weight functions for the weak form to ‘make sense’. an inﬁnite number of different functions belong to a given Sobolev space. but this point is not important here). Clearly. The function space S is deﬁned by: S = {u | u ∈ H 1 (Ω) . (2. (2.38) This says that V is a collection of functions which come from H 1 (Ω) which are equal to zero where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied. such functions may be discontinuous. Consider ﬁrst a scalar problem in an n-dimensional domain Ω. Functions spaces can be considered the ‘family’ of functions from which u and w can come. (2. That is. Note that C0 functions belong to H 1 . u| Γg = g}.2 January 21. which is deﬁned by: V = {w | w ∈ H 1 (Ω) . When solving second-order differential equations.

The Helmholtz equation is given by: ∇ · (∇φ) + kφ = 0 and is often used in wave propagation problems. For 3 × 3 second-order tensors (matrices).23) for elasticity using index notation.2 29 . 3. where r is the distance from the crack tip (r ≥ 0). is u a possible trial solution? January 21. ui | Γg = gi } and similarly for weight functions w ∈ V .7 Exercises In multiple dimensions. Solutions for the displacement ﬁeld from linear-elastic fracture mechanics often √ involve a term r. 2. (2. Derive the weak equilibrium equation (2. (Hint: use index notation. a = b) 5.40) Further details can be found in texts on functional analysis and the mathematical analysis of the ﬁnite element method. prove that ∇w : σ = ∇s w : σ if σ is symmetric. If the √ displacement ﬁeld was of the form u = a r (all derivatives of a exist and are well behaved and a is not dependent on r).2. Derive the weak form.7 Exercises 1.39) V = {wi | wi ∈ H 1 (Ω) . wi | Γg = 0}.) 2. Show whether the following functions belong to H 1 on the given domain: a) b) c) d) u = 1/r on 1 < r < 2 u = 1/r on 0 < r < 2 √ u = 1/ r on 0 < r < 2 u = ax for x < 0 and u = bx for x > 0 on −1 < x < 1 (a and b are arbitrary constants. 4. (2. 2011 Version 0. u ∈ S where S = {ui | ui ∈ H 1 (Ω) .

.

12)) involves: ﬁnd uh ∈ S h such that − L 0 h h w.x Eu. Furthermore. 3. as developed in the previous chapter. uh = and L wh = wh h| x= L . it is generic for a range of different problems.3 The Galerkin method The ﬁnite element method is one particular Galerkin method.5) 31 .2) (3.23).1) where V h ⊂ V is a ﬁnite dimensional space. uh = L wh where B wh . The Galerkin problem for an elastic bar (equation (2. It is a method for ﬁnding approximate solutions to partial differential equations. where S h ⊂ S is a ﬁnite-dimensional space.x Eu. the Galerkin problem involves: ﬁnd uh ∈ S h such that − Ω ∇s wh : C : ǫh dΩ + Ω wh · b dΩ + Γh wh · h dΓ = 0 ∀wh ∈ V h (3.3) This abstract format is introduced to keep the derivation of some later developments compact. (3. This means that there is a limited number of possibilities. (3. Considering now the elasticity problem in equation (2.4) L 0 h h w. In a multidimensional context. uh ∈ S h . For example. It is closely related to the Rayleigh-Ritz method which involves choosing functions (a basis) for the solution and ﬁnding the amplitude of each function by minimising the energy. named after the Russian engineer Galerkin. being able to solve a greater range of problems. consider the approximate solution to some problem. the ﬁnite-dimensional trial and weight functions are denoted uh and wh . uh could be a combination of low order polynomial functions. the above equation is expressed in the abstract format as: ﬁnd uh ∈ S h such that B wh . The Galerkin method is however more general.1 Approximate solution First.x dx + w h h| x= L = 0 ∀w h ∈ V h . respectively. The essence of the Galerkin method involves taking the weak form of the governing equation. Commonly.x dx ∀w h ∈ V h (3. and ﬁnding the best solution to a problem given a collection of functions.

For the one-dimensional problem. u − B wh . This method is used for special applications. uh = and L wh = Ω Ω ∇s wh : C : ǫh dΩ wh · h dΓ. In the abstract notation of equation 3. piecewise low-order polynomials deﬁned on ‘ﬁnite elements’. In the ﬁnite element method. 3. (3. Given a ﬁnite number of possibilities in S h .10) Since u is the exact solution. In Petrov-Galerkin method. this will be investigated using the abstract notation.6) wh · b dΩ + Γh (3.9) into equation (3.2 January 21. Different Galerkin-based methods are deﬁned by how the unknown ﬁeld uh is represented.2 Basic error analysis It is interesting to check how the solution computed using the Galerkin procedure compares to the exact solution.2). B w h . uh and w h will be simple continuous.1). 2011 . Inserting equation (3.8) where u is the exact solution and uh is the solution to equation (3.2.11) 32 Version 0. Spectral Galerkin methods for example use a truncated Fourier series as the basis. uh = 0 ∀w h ∈ V h (3. A basic question which arises when computing an approximate solution is how uh relates to the exact solution u. The error analysis will tell how the computed solution uh differs from the actual solution u and why the Galerkin method works (or for problems not considered here. taking into account the special requirements on the weight and trial functions where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied. why it doesn’t work). B wh . the Bubnov-Galerkin method) requires that the weight and trial functions come from the same ﬁnite-dimensional space. which solution does the method seek? Understanding this requires some basic error analysis. The approximate solution is therefore equal to: uh = u − e (3.3 The Galerkin method where ǫ h = ∇s uh .7) The Galerkin method (more speciﬁcally. the error in the displacement e at a point is deﬁned by: e = u − uh (3. B wh . the weight functions come from a different function space than the trial functions. u − B wh . this implies that: B wh . e − L wh = 0 ∀w h ∈ V h (3. u − L w h = 0 ∀w h ∈ V h . e = B wh .9) For generality. often in ﬂuid mechanics. This is examined in the following section.

**3.3 Convergence of the Galerkin method
**

which in mathematical terms means that the error is orthogonal to the function space V h with respect to B (·, ·). This important result is commonly known as Galerkin orthogonality. This means that the approximate solution uh is a projection of the exact solution u onto the space of the weight functions. In the Bubnov-Galerkin, the weight functions w h come form the same space as the trial functions uh , hence the solution uh is the projection of the exact solution onto the ﬁnite dimensional space of trial functions. It can be shown that the Galerkin ﬁnite element method is optimal in terms of the energy. This error analysis tells something of what the Galerkin method calculates. Given some approximate functions, the Galerkin method will yield the best ﬁt to the exact solution in terms of energy. Consider the following: B u − uh + vh , u − uh + vh = B u − uh , u − uh + vh + B vh , u − uh + vh

= B u − uh , u − uh + 2B vh , u − uh + B vh , vh

(3.12)

for any vh ∈ V h , where u is the exact solution and uh is the solution to the Galerkin problem. From Galerkin orthogonality (equation (3.11)), the term B(u − uh , vh ) is equal to zero. Furthermore, B(vh , vh ) ≥ 0. Denoting now w h = uh − vh , the above result leads to the conclusion that: B u − uh , u − uh ≤ B u − wh , u − wh

∀w h ∈ V h

(3.13)

This implies that the solution uh is closer to u than any other element of V h in terms of B (·, ·). Consider the ‘energy’ norm: v

2 E

= 1 B (v, v) 2

(3.14)

which for an elastic body is the strain energy for a given displacement ﬁeld v. Equation (3.13) can then be expressed as: u − uh

E

≤ u − wh

E

∀w h ∈ V h

(3.15)

which says that the solution computed using the Galerkin method yields a solution which is optimal in terms of the strain energy. Given a choice of functions, the Galerkin method therefore chooses those which minimise the error in terms of the strain energy. There is a close relationship between the Rayleigh-Ritz method and the Galerkin method. It has been shown that the Galerkin method minimises the error in terms of the energy, which is the principle behind the Rayleigh-Ritz method. For many problems in solid mechanics, the two are equivalent.

**3.3 Convergence of the Galerkin method
**

It has been shown here that the Galerkin method works. How well it works requires a priori error estimation. This is reserved for a later section as it relies on some details

January 21, 2011

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33

**3 The Galerkin method
**

of the ﬁnite element method. Crucially, convergence requires that:

h →0

lim uh = u

(3.16)

For ﬁnite element analysis, this corresponds to the exact solution being approached upon mesh reﬁnement. A major question which arises is how fast the exact solution is approached as h is reduced. Details of these procedures and more elaborate mathematical analysis of the issue considered in this chapter can be found in a range of books relating to the mathematics of the ﬁnite element method (Braess, 2001; Brenner and Scott, 1994; Reddy, 1998; Strang and Fix, 1973).

3.4 Exercises

1. For elasticity, show that a solution to the Galerkin problem corresponds to a minimisation of the potential energy.

34

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January 21, 2011

**4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method
**

In this chapter, a key component of the ﬁnite element method is developed. This is the discretisation of the governing equations using ﬁnite element shape functions. The unknown ﬁeld uh (the displacement for elasticity problems) will be described using basis functions (the shape functions) and discrete nodal values which represent the amplitude of the basis functions. Discretisation is a step toward computer implementation. The terminology in this chapter relates primarily to elasticity problems. The developments are however general and the same procedure can be used to solve other problems.

**4.1 Finite element method with piecewise linear basis functions
**

The simplest ﬁnite element shape functions are continuous, piecewise linear functions. Consider the elastic bar in Figure 4.1, which is restrained at both ends and loaded by a distributed force f . Along the bar, a number of ‘nodes’ are located, and the domain between two nodes is known as an element. Associated with each node is a hat-like basis function which has a value of one at the node, and zero at all other

f

1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0

L Figure 4.1: One-dimensional bar.

35

x i − x i −1 x i − x i −1 x i +1 x Ni = x i < x < x i +1 . it can be taken outside of the integrals. 2011 . these basis functions are known as ‘shape functions’.1) where xi is the coordinate of node i. For a one-dimensional bar. the approximate displacement ﬁeld uh is given by uh = ∑ Ni ( x) ui . i =1 n (4. the strain ﬁeld can be computed easily by taking the derivative of the shape functions.4) Recalling the weak form for a one-dimensional elastic rod. ∑ wi i =1 n Ω Ni.6) for all possible values of wi .x u j j =1 n dΩ = Ω ∑ Ni wi i =1 n f dΩ + Γh ∑ Ni. (4. In ﬁnite element analysis.5) and inserting the expression for the expressions for the approximate displacement ﬁeld and the weight function.7) 36 Version 0.x wi i =1 n E ∑ Nj. (4. hence wh = ∑ Ni wi . Given that wi is not a function of spatial position. an expression is needed for the weight function w h . From this expression.x E ∑ Nj.x u j j =1 n dΩ = ∑ wi i =1 n Ω Ni f dΩ + ∑ wi i =1 n Γh Ni h dΓ. x i − x i +1 − x i − x i +1 0 otherwise. Ω h h w. discretised with n nodal points. (4.2 January 21.x wi i =1 n h dΓ (4. dx i i =1 ∑ n (4. It is expressed using the same basis functions as the displacement ﬁeld. Ω ∑ Ni. The basis function at node i. h ǫh = u.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method nodes. i =1 n (4.x Eu.x = dNi u.3) To develop the Galerkin problem. the approximate displacement ﬁeld is given in terms of the shape functions and the approximate displacement at a ﬁnite number of points (nodes). is given by x x i −1 − x i −1 < x ≤ x i .2) where ui is the value of the ﬁeld uh at node i. Hence.x dΩ = Ω w h f dΩ + Γh w h h dΓ ∀ wh ∈ V h .

2 General ﬁnite element basis functions Likewise. A mesh divides a body into a number of elements. Dirichlet boundary conditions must be enforced. Solving this linear system of equations provides u j . (4.2 37 . while elements are lines (1D). 2011 Version 0. It is useful to deﬁne shape functions on ﬁnite elements.10) Ni. u j can also be taken outside of the integrals. A ﬁnite element mesh consists of nodal points and elements. In order the solve the linear system. Matrices and vectors can be built for each element before being assembled into global matrices and vectors.4.12) The matrix K = Kij is commonly known as the stiffness matrix. 4.11) Nj f dΩ + Γh Nj h dΓ (4. this is relatively simple. Nodes are points in space.x E Nj.2 General ﬁnite element basis functions The concept introduced in the previous section can be extended to higher spatial dimensions and more complex shape functions. and n unknowns in the form of ui ). Consider the case that all but one wi is equal to zero. A simple ﬁnite element January 21.x dΩ = ∑ wi i =1 n Ω Ni f dΩ + ∑ wi i =1 n Γh Ni h dΓ.x E Nj. which can be expressed as the system of equations.x dΩ = Ω Ni f dΩ + Γh Ni h dΓ (4. Kij u j = f i .x dΩ (4. If a boundary condition is applied at node k.9) must hold. surfaces (2D) or volumes (3D) which are constructed by joining nodal points. then the row and the column k is removed from the stiffness matrix. for each i ∑ uj j =1 n Ω Ni. A discussion of more general boundary conditions is delayed until the end of the chapter. The problem has been divided into many quadrilateral elements. Therefore.2. and hence an expression for the approximate displacement ﬁeld along the rod. Elements may not overlap. For the zero Dirichlet conditions. A typical ﬁnite element mesh is shown in Figure 4.8) This equation must hold for all possible combinations of wi . This yields n equations (one for each wi . ∑ wi ∑ u j i =1 j =1 n n Ω Ni. and the kth term is deleted from the vector f . and f = f i as the right-hand side (RHS) vector. where Kij = and fi = Ω Ω (4.x E Nj.

6 4 3 4 3 1 2 1 2 5 9 Figure 4.2 January 21.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method Figure 4. 7 8 5 7 8 6 38 Version 0.2: Typical two-dimensional ﬁnite element mesh. 2011 .3: Simple two-dimensional ﬁnite element mesh.

4. is equal to one at the node and zero at all other nodes. In Figure 4. shape functions are non-zero only close to their node.1. as introduced in Section 4. the discretised ﬁeld can be inserted into the weak governing equations. Finite element shape functions are typically piecewise continuous polynomial functions with a ‘compact support’.3. The bar has two nodes. The displacement ﬁeld inside the bar in terms of discrete nodal values and shape functions is given by: uh ( x ) = N1 ( x ) a1 + N2 ( x ) a2 . The displacement ﬁeld is given by a linear combination of a ﬁnite number of basis functions (a summation of the basis functions. the mesh is constructed with triangular elements.2. Ni . Shape functions for various elements are discussed in detail in the following sections. the basis functions are deﬁned on simple geometric elements. each multiplied by a nodal value. 2011 Version 0.4. Both nodes and elements are numbered. Once the displacement ﬁeld uh and its derivatives ∇uh can be expressed in terms of nodal unknowns. are examined. the shape function associated with that node.4: One-dimensional linear bar element and associated shape functions. A ﬁnite element shape function is only non-zero on elements to which it is attached. In the ﬁnite element method. the unknown (displacement) ﬁeld uh is discretised by developing a method in which the displacement at any point in a body is determined in terms of a discrete number of values which are stored at the nodes (known as degrees of freedom) and basis functions. Each element has three nodes.2 39 . the amplitude).2 General ﬁnite element basis functions 1 1 1 2 L x=0 Figure 4.3. They are characterised by being equal to unity at their node. mesh is shown in Figure 4.13) January 21. known as ﬁnite elements. and zero at all other nodes. As in the one-dimensional case. Consider the one-dimensional bar element in Figure 4. Having a compact support. linear one dimensional elements. 4.1 One-dimensional bar elements To begin. (4. denoted by the solid circles. For a node i. Each shape function Ni is associated with a node i.

17) In the case of a linear displacement interpolation. as its shape functions are linear polynomials. 2011 . 40 Version 0. It does however make the generalisation to multiple dimensions simple. the displacement ﬁeld is expressed as: uh = Nae .18) The strain is given by: ǫh = Bae .2 January 21. In matrix-vector notation.15) x . (4. The weak form of the governing equations involves derivatives with respect to the spatial position. Now. a2 (4. where N = N1 and ae = a1 . the derivative of the shape function with respect to x is a constant function within an element. dx (4. in terms of nodal degrees of freedom ae . The matrix-vector notation for uh and ǫh may seem trivial for one-dimensional problems.16) with respect to x. L (4. the derivative of the displacement ﬁeld with respect to x (the strain) is required.14) (4.5. uh = − x x + 1 a1 + a2 .4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method where ai is the displacement at node i (it is ‘stored’ at the node). The shape functions corresponding to each node are given by: N1 = − N2 = Hence.16) x + 1. to solve a problem. Note also that these shape functions posses C0 continuity – they are continuous but their derivatives involve jumps across element boundaries. L This type of element is known as a linear element.21) The shape functions for two linear elements are shown in Figure 4.19) (4. ǫh = duh dN1 dN2 1 1 = a + a2 = − a1 + a2 . dx dx 1 dx L L (4. Therefore.22) (4. where the matrix B is equal to: B= dN1 dx dN2 .20) N2 . Taking the derivative of equation (4. L L (4. the displacement and strain can be calculated in any part of the element.

Figure 4.24) and the B matrix has a similar form.25) The matrix N contains the element shape functions. it has the form: N= N1 0 0 N1 N2 0 0 N2 . (4. linear and quadratic (and even higher) variations in the unknown ﬁeld can be described within an element. (4..6 illustrates shape functions for quadratic and cubic elements.23) Therefore.2 Two-dimensional continuum elasticity elements In two or more dimensions.26) (4. In two dimensions. Since the displacement ﬁeld is quadratic.. Nnn (4.2 41 . For a one-dimensional quadratic element.. Nnn 0 0 . and the strain ﬁeld (using engineering notation) is given by: ǫ h = Bae . 4.5: Shape functions for two one-dimensional linear bar elements.4..27) January 21.2 General ﬁnite element basis functions 1 1 1 L1 L2 Figure 4. The displacement ﬁeld for an element is given by: uh = Nae . The interpolation basis for higher-order elements is richer since both constant. the N matrix has the form: N = N1 N2 N3 . 2011 Version 0. the displacement ﬁeld is given by: uh = ∑ Ni (x) ai . More nodes through which the shape function must interpolate naturally means a higher-order polynomial is required. Higher-order one-dimensional elements It is possible to develop one-dimensional elements with higher-order polynomial interpolations. i =1 3 (4. each unknown ﬁeld (such as displacement in each direction) is interpolated using the polynomial shape functions. Higher-order elements simply have more nodes. .2. obviously the strain ﬁeld is linear.

For a two-dimensional problem. . ∂y ∂x ∂y ∂x ∂y ∂x The simplest element in two-dimensions is the three-node triangle..28) B= 0 .. 2011 . It is shown in Figure 4.29) ae = . Its shape functions are of the form: The nodal degrees of freedom (normally one for each spatial dimension at each node for elasticity problems) are stored in a vector a...4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method 1 1 1 1 2 3 quadratic shape functions 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 4 cubic shape functions Figure 4. For two-dimensional problems. the matrix B has the form: ∂N2 ∂Nnn ∂N1 0 0 . 0 ∂x ∂x ∂x ∂N1 ∂N2 ∂Nnn 0 .2 January 21. where nn is the numbers of nodes of the element. (4. 0 (4. ann x ann y 42 Version 0.7.6: Higher-order one-dimensional elements. a1 x a 1y a2 x a2 y .. .. ∂y ∂y ∂y ∂N1 ∂N1 ∂N2 ∂N2 ∂Nnn ∂Nnn .

y2 ) = c1 x2 + c2 y2 + c3 = 0.1 Consider the element in Figure 4. N = c1 x + c2 y + c3 . Figure 4. (4. Given the following coordinates of each of where ( xi .4.7. the coefﬁcients c can be found by solving a linear system of equations. This can be cast in a matrix form as: x 1 y 1 1 c 1 1 x2 y2 1 c2 = 0 . Given that a shape function should have a value of unity at its node and zero at other nodes. y2 ) Figure 4. (4.31) (4.8: Shape function for a three-node element. y3 ) 3 1 2 ( x1 . hence the strain in the element is constant. yi ) is the location of the ith node. y1 ) = c1 x1 + c2 y2 + c3 = 1.34) c3 x3 y3 1 0 January 21. y1 ) ( x2 . N1 ( x3 . It is clear from the linear form of the shape functions for the three-node triangle that the derivatives are constant. N1 ( x2 . y3 ) = c1 x3 + c2 y3 + c3 = 0.2 General ﬁnite element basis functions ( x3 .8. Its shape function must satisfy: N1 ( x1 .32) (4.7: Three-node triangular element.7. Consider node 1 in Figure 4. 2011 Version 0. Example 4.2 43 .30) The shape function for a node is illustrated in Figure 4.33) Solving the above system of equations yields the coefﬁcients for the shape function of node 1. (4.

25x − 0. plane and three-dimensional elements can have higher-order interpolations. y3 ) = (2. 2011 .y N1. y1 ) = (1. ( x1 .2 January 21.x N2. the strain in this element is not constant. Since the shape function for node 2 is being calculated. 1 2 1 c1 0 4 1 1 c 2 = 1 c3 2 3 1 0 Solving this system of equations gives: N2 = 0.25 Once the shape functions have been computed for each node.x 0 N2.35) It is also know as a bilinear element. Higher-order solid elements As in one-dimensional problems.y A very commonly used element in ﬁnite element analysis is the four-node quadrilateral.y N3. 3) To ﬁnd the coefﬁcients. due to the presence of the xy terms in the shape functions.x and the B matrix is of the form: N1. The N matrix for this element is of the form: N= N1 0 0 N1 N2 0 0 N2 N3 0 0 N3 0 N3. the only non-zero term on the RHS corresponds to node 2.x N3.9.y B= 0 N1. 1) ( x3 .10.x 0 N1.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method the nodes. (4. Unlike the three-node triangle. a system of equations (see equation (4. ﬁnd the shape function for node 2. A shape function for a four-node element is shown in Figure 4.25y + 0.36) 44 Version 0.34)) is formed. the N and B matrices can be formed.y N2. 2) ( x2 . A four-node quadrilateral element is shown in Figure 4. Its shape functions are of the form: N = c1 xy + c2 x + c3 y + c4 . y2 ) = (4.x 0 N3. The shape functions for a six-node triangle are of the form: N = c1 x2 + c2 y2 + c3 xy + c4 x + c5 y + c6 (4.y 0 N2.

Linear.11 The polynomial terms needed for triangular elements can be taken from a Pascal triangle (see Figure 4.12). 2 x1 y2 1 y2 2 y2 3 y2 4 2 y5 y2 6 x1 y1 x2 y2 x3 y3 x4 y4 x5 y5 x6 y6 x1 x2 x3 x4 x5 x6 y1 y2 y3 y4 y5 y6 2 x2 2 x3 2 x4 x2 5 2 x6 Two shape functions for a six-node triangle are shown in Figure 4. whereas Lagrange elements have nodes on the element interior.4.10: A shape function for four-node quadrilateral element. quadratic and cubic triangular elements are shown in Figure 4. Figure 4.2 General ﬁnite element basis functions 4 3 1 2 Figure 4. A Pascal triangle for serendipity elements is shown in Figure 4.14. Note that serendipity 1 c1 1 1 c2 0 c 0 1 3 .37) January 21.2 45 . Solving the below system of equations would yield the coefﬁcients for node 1.13. Serendipity elements have nodes only on element boundaries. As with the three-node triangle. Each time the order of a triangle is increased. Several serendipity and Lagrange ﬁnite elements are shown in Figure 4. They belong to one of two families: serendipity or Lagrange. Note that triangular elements are complete – that is the shape functions contain all polynomial terms up to a given order. a new ‘row’ of terms from the Pascal triangle is added to the shape functions.9: Four-node quadrilateral element. Higher-order quadrilateral elements can also be constructed.15. = 1 c4 0 1 c5 0 c6 0 1 (4. 2011 Version 0. the coefﬁcients can be found by solving a linear system of equations.

1 x x2 x3 x4 . x3 y .4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method Figure 4....... Figure 4. 2011 . quadratic and cubic triangular elements...13: Linear... . y y2 y3 y4 .12: Pascal triangle – polynomial terms for triangular elements of order n.. 46 Version 0. Figure 4. .. x2 y x 2 y2 ... xy xy2 xy3 .2 January 21.11: Two shape functions for a six-node triangular element.

. 2011 Version 0.. elements of order higher than three ’miss’ polynomial terms.4. Figure 4.2 47 . (4.38) and for the nine-node Lagrange quadrilateral the shape functions have one extra term and are of the form: N = c1 x2 y2 + c2 x2 y + c3 xy2 + c4 x2 + c5 y2 + c6 xy + c7 x + c8 y + c9 . The shape functions for the eight-node serendipity quadrilateral have the form: N = c1 x2 y + c2 xy2 + c3 x2 + c4 y2 + c5 xy + c6 x + c7 y + c8 .14: Serendipity (a) and Lagrange (b) quadrilateral ﬁnite elements.. Internal nodes must be introduced to ensure all polynomial terms are included.15: Pascal triangle for serendipity elements. x3 y x2 y xy xy2 xy3 . (4. 1 x x2 x3 x4 .16.. The Pascal triangle for Lagrange elements is shown in Figure 4. The elements do not suffer from the limitation of missing polynomial terms for any order interpolation.. y y2 y3 y4 .2 General ﬁnite element basis functions (a) (b) Figure 4..39) January 21. Eight.. ..and nine-node quadrilateral elements are commonly used in ﬁnite element analysis. and are therefore not recommended.

Commonly used shapes are tetrahedra and bricks.2 January 21.. . (4. Figure 4. y y2 y3 . 48 Version 0. 2011 . . The computational effort required for three-dimensional analysis can become high.and two-dimensional elements. wedge type elements are often used for generating meshes for complex geometries.40) Similar to the three-node triangle.. Also.. They can be formed in the same fashion as one. They are of the form: N = c1 x + c2 y + c3 z + c4 .2. Not only do the elements tend to have more nodes.. The simplest brick element has eight nodes.. the derivatives of the shape functions are constant within an element.17. (4. Higher-order version of both tetrahedral and brick elements also exist.3 Three-dimensional elements Three-dimensional elements are increasingly used in engineering analysis. x3 y x 3 y2 x 3 y3 x2 y x 2 y2 x 2 y3 .. A four-node tetrahedral element has linear shape functions. Its shape functions are of the form: N = c1 xyz + c2 xy + c3 xz + c4 yz + c5 x + c6 y + c7 z + c8 . xy xy2 xy3 .17: Tetrahedral and brick three-dimensional ﬁnite elements.16: Pascal triangle for Lagrange elements.41) This is known as a ‘trilinear element’.. These two elements are shown in Figure 4. The numbers of nodes per element increases rapidly.... Figure 4.. 4. they often have more degrees of freedom per node..4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method 1 x x2 x3 .

(4. (4.e N T h dΓ.42) (4.e N T h dΓ. The weight (test) functions are discretised in the same fashion as the unknown ﬁeld uh . The discrete nodal values can be removed from the integrals. it is known how the displacement and the displacement gradient at a point in space can be expressed in terms of the nodal variables (degrees of freedom). and can therefore be eliminated. Therefore. s h where the notation has been ‘abused’ as ∇s wh is being expressed as a vector (recall that this is possible due to symmetry).18: One-dimensional bar showing the element that extends from x = l1 to x = l2 . which after some rearranging (using ( Ac) T = c T A T ) leads to: be T l2 l1 B T EB dΩ ae = be T Γh. Now. 2011 Version 0. 1989) 4.1)) is considered. Take a single element (of any order) which extends from l1 to l2 (see Figure 4. the one-dimensional governing equation for an elastic rod (equation (3. (4.3 Governing equations x=0 x x = l1 x = l2 x=L Figure 4. wh = Nbe . for the multi-dimensional case within an element.4.2 49 .44) where the integral over Γh.18). l2 l1 B T EB dΩ ae = Γh. (4.46) January 21. What remains is the insertion of the discretised ﬁeld uh into the governing weak equation.e is only non-zero if the boundary of the element coincides with the boundary Γh . The discretised governing equation for the element is expressed as: l2 l1 ( Bbe ) T EBae dΩ = Γh.45) The be terms appear on both sides of the equality. The three-dimensional equivalent of a Pascal triangle can be used to ﬁnd the polynomial terms for higher-order three-dimensional elements (Zienkiewicz and Taylor.43) ∇ w = Bbe .e ( Nbe ) T h dΓ.3 Governing equations At this point.

The shape functions are formed for a simple element conﬁguration (typically elements with unit length side and with sides aligned with the coordinate system and with a convenient origin). It also allows the simple application of numerical integration. as is discussed in the following section. In the global mesh. the term k ij relates local nodes i and j. 4. A third advantage is that isoparametric mapping allows higher-order elements to have curved edges.4 Isoparametric mapping In practice. The component k ij is added to the location K I J . isoparametric elements are used in ﬁnite element software. 2011 . This approach has a number of advantages.50) (4.48) (recall that b denotes the body force).2 January 21. local node i has global node number I.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method The term ke = l2 l1 B T EB dΩ (4. Once the stiffness matrix has been formed for an element. the discretised displacement and strain ﬁelds are inserted into equation (3. it requires the programming of only one function to evaluate the shape functions of a type of element. its contribution is added to the ‘global’ stiffness matrix K. e= (4. and similarly for J.5).e ( Nbe ) T h dΓ + Ωe ( Nbe ) T b dΩ (4.49) Ωe Γh. e= f = Ane 1 f e .e Ωe Once the stiffness matrix has been formed for each element in the problem. irrespective of the exact shape of the element. For a two dimensional problem.47) is known as the ‘element stiffness matrix’. This is denoted symbolically by the operation: K = Ane 1 ke . Following the same steps as for the onedimensional problem. the element stiffness matrix is expressed as: B T DB dΩ ae = N T h dΓ + N T b dΩ. This yields: Ωe ( Bbe ) T DBae dΩ = Γh. (4. The assembly process is discussed in more detail in Chapter 5. From the point of view of implementation. For a continuum elasticity problem. For an element stiffness matrix.51) where A represents the assembly operation and ne is the number of elements in the mesh. it must be assembled into the global stiffness matrix. the point ( x. y) in the ‘physical’ Cartesian 50 Version 0. An isoparametric mapping is deﬁned via a mapping using the nodal shape functions.

2011 Version 0.−1) x 1 ξ Figure 4.−1) y 2 (1. ξ and η. The mapping for a four-node quadrilateral element is illustrated in Figure 4. η ) xi .1) (1. derivatives of the unknown ﬁeld with respect to x and y are required. taking a point in the real Cartesian ( x. and nn is number of nodes of the element. y) system.52) ∑ Ni (ξ. conﬁguration is given by: nn x= y= ∑ Ni (ξ. η ) are known as the ‘natural coordinates’. consider the application of the product rule for differentia- January 21. The position on the bi-unit square is given by the natural coordinates. To proceed. y) system and mapping to a point (ξ. shape functions can be deﬁned on simple shapes.19: Isoparametric mapping for a bi-unit square.19. Using an isoparametric mapping.2 51 . i =1 (4. η ) yi . such as the bi-unit square.53) The difﬁculty that arises is when computing derivatives with respect to the real coordinates. In the governing weak equations.4 Isoparametric mapping x 3 (−1. i =1 nn i =1 (4. The map ξ is the inverse of x. η ) in the bi-unit square.1) 2 4 4 3 η ξ 1 (−1. where (ξ. η ) domain and maps it to a point in the ‘real’ element in the Cartesian ( x. For example the displacement in the x-direction at a point is given by: nn uh = ∑ Ni (ξ. The map x takes a point within the bi-unit square in the (ξ. as the shape functions are deﬁned in terms of the natural coordinates. η ) aix .4.

52)). ∂η ∂x ∂η ∂y ∂η This can be written in matrix form as: ∂x ∂y ∂ f ∂f ∂ξ ∂ξ ∂ξ ∂x = .2 January 21.58) In light of the isoparametric mapping (equation (4. ∂y ∂ f ∂y ∂f − ∂x ∂ξ ∂ξ 1 ∂η = . ∂η ∂η i i =1 nn ∂Ni ∂y =∑ y.η y j = . ∂Ni nn ∂Ni nn − ∑ j=1 Nj. the terms in the matrix J can be computed.η x j ∑nn1 Nj.57) the derivatives of the shape function of node i with respect to x and y can be computed. (4. 2011 .57) ∂x ∂ f ∂f j ∂x − ∂y ∂η ∂ξ ∂η J where j = det J. ∂f ∂ f ∂x ∂ f ∂y = + . from equation (4. (4. ∂η ∂η i i =1 (4.ξ x j ∂Ni j =1 j= ∂y ∂η 52 Version 0. ∂ξ ∂ξ i i =1 nn ∂y ∂Ni =∑ y. (4.56) where the matrix J is commonly known as the Jacobian matrix.54) (4.55) (4.ξ y j ∂ξ ∂x 1 ∑ j=1 Nj. ∂ξ ∂ξ i i =1 nn ∂x ∂Ni =∑ x. deﬁned in terms of ξ and η. nn ∂x ∂Ni =∑ x. ∂ f ∂x ∂y ∂ f ∂η ∂η ∂η ∂y J (4. Taking the inverse of the Jacobian.59) Once terms of the matrix J have been formed.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method tion for a function f . ∂ξ ∂x ∂ξ ∂y ∂ξ ∂f ∂ f ∂x ∂ f ∂y = + .60) ∂Ni j − ∑nn Nj. Using the shape function.

19.0) r 1 (0.1) s (0. Now. 2011 Version 0.4.4 Isoparametric mapping s (0.62) January 21. 4 (4. s and t. 1996. where: t = 1 − r − s. While this procedure may seen complex. This way.and nine-node elements (Hughes. Is is also possible to directly address isoparametric triangular elements.1) 3 3 6 5 2 1 (0. Quadrilateral elements The shape functions for quadrilateral elements on a bi-unit square is particularly simple.61) Similar formulae can be found for eight. A popular approach is to ‘degenerate’ a quadrilateral element to a triangular element (Bathe. once the derivatives of the shape functions have been calculated on the simple isoparametric domain. Triangular elements Isoparametric mappings are also applied for triangular elements.0) (1. Hughes. Consider the triangle in Figure 4. The latter approach is followed here. 1987).0) 4 2 (1. 1987). (4. it can be implemented in a computer code in a simple and compact fashion. Triangular elements are often described using area coordinates.0) r Figure 4.20: Three-node and six-node triangles using area coordinates. The position of a point inside the triangle is given by r. For the bi-unit quadrilateral in Figure 4. the shape function of the ith node is given by: Ni (ξ. η ) = 1 (1 + ξ i ξ ) (1 + ηi η ) . a four-node quadrilateral element can be reduced to a threenode triangular element.20.2 53 . and an eight-node quadrilateral element can be reduced to a six-node triangular element. they can be calculated for the real conﬁguration.

It is common for higher-order elements that the apexes are ﬁrst numbered (corner nodes in the case of quadrilateral elements).3). then the mid-side nodes.67) i =1 where ξ i are discrete points on the integral domain. While the displacement ﬁeld has been discretised. 2011 .21. numerical integration is applied. N3 = s. There is a formula for the shape functions of arbitrary order in terms of r.2 January 21. N2 = 2r − r.5 Numerical integration At this stage.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method The shape functions for the nodes of the element in Figure 4. (4.68) 54 Version 0. numerical integration in one-dimension is considered. s and t on triangles (Hughes. 1 nint −1 f (ξ ) dξ ≃ ∑ f ( ξ i ) wi . 166). Before proceeding to the element matrices. consider in two dimensions that: B T DB dΩ = 1 1 Ωe −1 −1 B T DBj dξ dη. the problem is not yet fully discrete. For the integration of a function f (ξ ) from −1 to 1. it convenient to integrate in the (ξ. (4. Different integration schemes specify where the points are located and the weight associated with each point. the shape functions are equal to: N1 = 2t2 − t. η ) domain. the element stiffness matrices and RHS vectors still involve integration over volumes and surfaces (see section 4.20.66) N3 = 2s2 − s.20 are then: N1 = t. p. (4. To make the formulation fully discrete (and amendable to computer implementation).65) Note the numbering of the nodes for the quadratic triangle in Figure 4. N6 = 4st. To evaluate the stiffness matrix of an element. N5 = 4rs. Two schemes which arise in ﬁnite element analysis are Newton-Cotes and Gauss integration. nint is the number of discrete points (integration points) at which the function is evaluated and wi is the weight asnint signed to each point ∑i=1 wi = 2 .64) (4. For a quadratic (six-node) triangular element. (4. 4. 1987. N2 = r.63) (4. To do this. 2 N4 = 4rt. Numerical integration is illustrated in Figure 4.

ηi ). For multi-dimensional problems. the one-dimensional scheme can be extended in each spatial direction. ηi ) is the usual B matrix. The sampling points and weights are listed in Table 4. j. A Newton-Cotes scheme uses equally spaced integration points.2 55 . Note the appearance of the determinant of the Jacobian. (n + 1) integration points are required when using a Newton-Cotes scheme to integrate an nth-order polynomial. Gauss integration requires n points to integrate the polynomial exactly. It is also known as ‘Gauss quadrature’. full integration schemes are recommended for their robustness. Gauss integration is used. in multiple dimensions Gauss integration is not necessarily the most efﬁcient scheme. one integration point is sufﬁcient (in one. The integrand of the stiffness matrix is B T DB. Gauss quadrature is the optimal numerical integration scheme for polynomials in one dimension. To perform the numerical integration of the element stiffness matrix. ηi ) i n wi . B contains linear terms.1. the last remaining issue is the selection of an appropriate integration scheme. two and three dimensions). However.69) Note that B (ξ i . For a (2n − 1)th-order polynomial. This is due to dx dy = j dξ dη (the substitution rule for integration has been applied). Importantly. Optimal means that to integrate a polynomial exactly. This is simple when using isoparametric elements. ηi )T DB (ξ i . Application of numerical integration leads to: 1 1 −1 −1 B T DBj dξ dη ≃ ∑ B (ξ i . ηi ) j (ξ i .5 Numerical integration f −1 ξ1 ξ2 ξ3 ξ4 1 ξ Figure 4. it requires the least number of points. The location and weights for Gauss integration in one dimension for up to three points are given in Table 4. where B contains derivatives of the shape functions. Full integration means that the stiffness matrix is integrated exactly (assuming j = constant).4.21: Numerical integration of the function f . Three points integrate as 5th order polynomial exactly in one dimension. Therefore. evaluated at the point (ξ i . which when squared give a January 21. The question that arises in ﬁnite element analysis is: How many integration points should be used? Generally. (4. containing derivatives of the shape functions with respect to x and y. 2011 Version 0. if the shape functions are linear.2. the terms in B are constant and the stiffness matrix is also constant throughout the element. Most commonly in ﬁnite element analysis. If the shape functions are quadratic. Therefore.

2: Gauss integration rules for one dimension on the domain [−1. 1].4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method n 1 2 location ξ i 0 1 1 weight wi 2 1 1 1 3 4 3 1 3 1 4 3 4 3 4 1 4 3 −1 0 1 4 −1 − 1 3 1 3 1 Table 4.2 January 21. 56 Version 0.1: Newton-Cotes integration rules for one dimension on the domain [−1. 1]. 2011 . n 1 2 location ξ i 0 1 −√ 3 1 √ 3 3 − 5 0 3 5 weight wi 2 1 1 5 9 8 9 5 9 3 Table 4.

In summary. the trial functions (uh ) must satisfy the Dirichlet boundary conditions.6 Imposition of Dirichlet boundary conditions Figure 4. In one dimension.4. It is often argued that a zero energy mode will be restrained by neighbouring elements.22 shows the classic ‘hour-glass’ spurious mode for an eight-node quadrilateral when using reduced 2 × 2 integration. January 21. there should be only three zero eigenvalues. If a two-dimensional element has more than three zero eigenvalues. To integrate a quadratic function in two dimensions. A test for the element stiffness matrix is to calculate its eigenvalues.2 57 . Non-zero Dirichlet boundary conditions are more complicated to enforce.3. quadratic variation. The danger of underintegrating elements is that spurious modes may arise. although it is safer to use full integration. Figure 4. although it is often integrated with just one point. The number of zero eigenvalues indicates the number of rigid body modes . In two dimensions. Similarly. This means that a deformation mode exists which does not contribute to the energy.modes which do not contribute to the energy. 2011 Version 0. The four-node quadrilateral element requires 2 × 2 points for full integration. 4. recommended integration schemes for commonly used one. there should only be one zero eigenvalue which corresponds to translation. two points are required in each direction. there is likely a deﬁciency in the formulation. In solid and structural mechanics. two relating the translation (x and y directions) and one for rigid body rotation. This deformation mode can develop in an uncontrolled fashion. They appear naturally in the weak formulation (hence the common name ‘natural boundary conditions’).22: Spurious zero energy mode for the eight-node quadrilateral element when using 2 × 2 integration. For some applications it may be advantageous to use reduced integration schemes in combination with particular elements. although a 2 × 2 scheme is often used. the eight-node quadrilateral requires 3 × 3 points for full integration. In the Galerkin method.6 Imposition of Dirichlet boundary conditions The imposition of Neumann (force) boundary conditions in the ﬁnite element method is straightforward.and twodimensional elements are shown in Table 4. Reduced integration schemes can improve the performance of some elements for special applications.

2011 .2 January 21.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method element two-node bar three-node bar integration scheme 1 2 three-node triangle (T3) 1 six-node triangle (T6) or 3 four-node quadrilateral (Q4) 2×2 eight-node quadrilateral(Q8) 3×3 Table 4.3: Recommended integration schemes for commonly used elements. 58 Version 0.

f ie. (4. and g are the applied Dirichlet boundary conditions.71) where av are the nodal unknowns at nodes where no Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied. Two common approached are outlined below. it is not included in the global system of equations to be solved. Since the weight function is deﬁned to be zero where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied.1 Elimination of ‘Dirichlet’ degrees of freedom The displacement ﬁeld can be expressed by: uh = vh + gh .6.72) Since g is known.75) Once the element stiffness matrix has been formed.4.mod = f ie − nn (4. the element RHS vector is modiﬁed. The advantages of this approach are that degrees of freedom to which Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied do not appear in the global stiffness matrix and symmetries which may be present in the stiffness matrix are preserved. vv vg (4.70) where uh is the displacement. the element RHS vector can be modiﬁed to enforce Dirichlet boundary conditions before assembly into the global RHS vector. ke vv ke gv ke vg ke gg av g = fv . It is possible to write: ke av + ke g = f v .74) j =1 ∑ ke ge .2 59 . 4. Classical enforcement of Dirichlet boundary conditions in the ﬁnite element method relies on the property of the shape functions that they are non-zero at their own node and equal to zero at all other nodes. January 21. In discretised form at element level. ke av = f e − ke g. vh is equal to zero where Dirichlet (displacement) boundary conditions are applied and gh satisﬁes the Dirichlet boundary conditions.6 Imposition of Dirichlet boundary conditions this means that the uh must satisfy the prescribed displacements where they are speciﬁed. Since g is known. vv vg In terms of indexes. ke a = ke vv ke gv ke vg ke gg av g = fv fg . 2011 Version 0. 0 (4. Dirichlet boundary conditions can be enforced by modifying the RHS vector. (4.73) where av is the only unknown. ij j (4.

The three-node triangle element is often referred to as the ‘constant strain triangle’ (CST).2 Retention of ‘Dirichlet’ degrees of freedom A simpler approach to imposing Dirichlet boundary conditions is to set all terms on the row of the stiffness matrix corresponding to a node where a Dirichlet boundary condition is applied (row k) equal to zero. 60 Version 0. 2004). which is given by: ∆u = ∇ · (∇u) = 0 To solve this problem.2 January 21. both the ﬁnite element method and the ﬁnite difference method require the solution of a system of equations Ka = f . except the diagonal term which is set equal to one. 2011 . at which points is the stress from the ﬁnite element solution not uniquely deﬁned when using C0 elements? 2. 4. In one dimension and for equally spaced nodal points (nodes are a distance h apart). Form the shape functions for a Lagrange nine-node quadrilateral element 3. Consider the Laplace equation. Show why this is. compare the matrix K for the ﬁnite element method with linear elements and for the secondorder central ﬁnite difference method. The value of Dirichlet boundary condition is then inserted into the vector f at position k. Under what conditions the matrix B T DB is symmetric? 5. 4.6.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method 4.7 Exercises 1. and that the value of the Dirichlet boundary condition is returned in the solution vector which simpliﬁes postprocessing. modern iterative linear solvers can deal with the consequences of boundary conditions being applied in this fashion is a very efﬁcient manner (Ern and Guermond. A disadvantage is that the size of the system of equations to be solved is larger than when the extra degrees of freedom are eliminated (but only marginally so in a typical simulation) and if the stiffness matrix is symmetric before the imposition of Dirichlet boundary conditions. the difference equation for the second derivative is: d2 u dx2 = i 2ui+1 2ui−1 2ui + − h j h j +1 h j h j + h j +1 h j +1 h j + h j +1 Comment on the symmetry of the operators for ﬁnite elements and ﬁnite differences on unequally spaced grid. However. The advantage of this scheme is its simplicity. The second-order ﬁnite difference equation for the second derivative is: d2 u dx2 = i ui−1 − 2ui + ui+1 h2 For unequally spaced nodes. symmetry is lost. For a plane elasticity problem.

2 61 .4. Formulate the stiffness matrix for the element in Figure 4. 8.1 and for E = 1 and ν = 0. Calculate its eigenvalues using one-point and 2 × 2 integration.7 Exercises 6. Form the stiffness matrix for a four-node quadrilateral on a bi-unit square. January 21.2. 7.7 using the nodal coordinates in Example 4. Calculate and plot the shape functions for the eight-node quadrilateral element on a bi-unit square. 2011 Version 0. Calculate the eigenvalues of the stiffness matrix and comment on their signiﬁcance.

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One of the strengths of the ﬁnite element method is the efﬁciency with which it can be implemented in a computer code. Also shown are the applied boundary conditions (both prescribed displacements and the applied force). In large ﬁnite element software packages. To this point.1 Preprocessing The ﬁrst step in ﬁnite element analysis is known as preprocessing. Mesh generation programs exist which produce meshes suitable for ﬁnite element analysis. For simple problems with only a few elements. a mesh is too complicated to produce by hand.3 3 4 3 2 5 4 9 8 2 1 6 7 1 Figure 5.1 shows a simple ﬁnite element mesh of four-noded quadrilaterals. This chapter describes how the ﬁnite element method can be implemented in a computer code. The generated mesh ﬁles serve as input for a ﬁnite element program. A typical input ﬁle containing F= 5. Both nodes and elements have been numbered.1: Finite element mesh with elements and nodes numbered. 63 . 5. often a mesh generator is included. Note: Code examples in the chapter does not reﬂect the structure of the current version of the Matlab code used in CT5123. the underlying theory has been addressed and the discretised formulation for individual elements discussed. The notation used in this chapter follows as closely as possible the notation used in the accompanying Matlab code. This step involves generating a ﬁnite element mesh. For problems typically analysed using the ﬁnite element method.5 Implementation of the ﬁnite element method This chapter addresses practical aspects of implementing the ﬁnite element method. It is illustrated with schematic extracts of computer code. A ﬁnite element mesh consists of nodal coordinates and a connectivity. this can be done by hand. Figure 5.

% element 1 2 3 4 node1 2 3 9 5 node 2 1 2 4 6 node 3 6 5 5 7 node 4 5 4 8 8 Figure 5. the node to which a boundary condition is applied is listed.0 Figure 5. This is either a prescribed force or the prescribed displacement. 5. boundary conditions must be speciﬁed. In addition to nodal coordinates and the connectivity.2. The outline of a typical ﬁnite element program for linear static problems 64 Version 0.0 0.82 1. The density is necessary when taking the self-weight into account. For an isotropic linear-elastic analysis.5 Implementation of the ﬁnite element method % node 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 x 0. The ﬁnal column is the value of the applied boundary condition. the nodal coordinates is shown in Figure 5.3.0 2. 2011 .0 0. For each element.5 2. The third column gives the degree-of-freedom to which the boundary condition is applied (dof=1 represents the x-direction and dof=2 represents the y-direction).8 2. First.4 gives the applied boundary condition.6 0. The list in Figure 5. the calculation phase can begin.1 2.2 Program ﬂow Once the input for a ﬁnite element analysis has been prepared. The second column gives the boundary condition type: Dirichlet (displacement) = 1 and Neumann (force) = 0.2: Nodal coordinates.0 1.1 y 0. The problem in Figure 5.1 is given in Figure 5.5 0.0 0.76 2.1 involves both Dirichlet (displacement) and Neumann (force) boundary conditions.7 0.3: Element connectivity. the Poisson’s ratio and the density of the material. the x and y coordinate is given. For each node. the node numbers are listed.1 2. The connectivity list for Figure 5. the is Young’s modulus. The list can begin with any node of the element. although the numbering must process in an anti-clockwise direction (to avoid calculating a negative volume and hence a negative element stiffness).0 0.2 January 21. The preprocessing is completed by specify the material data.0 0.

5.3 Local-global

% node 1 1 2 3 9 bc type 1 1 1 1 0 dof 1 2 1 1 1 value 0 0 0 0.0 5.3

Figure 5.4: Speciﬁcation of boundary conditions. is shown in Figure 5.5. It begins with reading the input data from the preprocessing stage. Once the input data has been read, each degree of freedom at which no Dirichlet boundary condition is applied is given an equation number. This is stored in an array ID(node#,dof#) (see Figure 5.6). For degrees of freedom where a Dirichlet boundarycondition is applied, ID=0. Degrees of freedom where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied do not appear in the stiffness matrix. Hence, for the problem in Figure 5.1 the size of stiffness matrix is 14 × 14. After the number of equations has been determined, it is then possible to allocate the memory required for the calculation. Once the memory has been allocated, it is possible to start a major element of the analysis – the calculation of the element stiffness matrix and element RHS. For each element, the element stiffness matrix ke is formed and added into the global stiffness matrix K. Similarly, the element RHS vector f e for each element is formed and added into the global RHS vector f . If a Dirichlet boundary condition is applied to a degree of freedom (or degrees of freedom) of the element, the RHS vector is modiﬁed to impose the boundary condition. The element RHS vector is also assembled into the global RHS vector. After looping over all the elements and forming the stiffness matrix and RHS vector, Neumann boundary conditions are added into the RHS vector. The second major step is the solution of the system of equations: Ka = f . Various methods can be used to do this. The best method depends on the nature of the problem and its size. This aspect is discussed in Chapter 8. After the system of equations has been solved, the displacement can be calculated at any point in the body. For large problems, the amount of data can be immense. This data requires post-processing to interpret the data and to extract the desired information.

5.3 Local-global

A key to implementing the ﬁnite element method is the local-global relationship between nodes. All nodes in a mesh have a global number. Locally, for each element, each node of the element has a local number. The global node numbers can be seen in Figure 5.1. From the connectivity (Figure 5.3), the relationship between the local and global node numbers can be inferred for each element. Consider element 3

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5 Implementation of the ﬁnite element method

% start program % read input data read_nodes read_connectivity read_boundary_conditions read_material_data % number equations number_equations % setup memory allocation memory_allocate % loop over elements for i=1:number_elements local_arrays % copy global to local arrays element_form % form stiffness matrix k_e and f_e for element assemble_K % add element stiffness matrix into K apply_dirichlet_bc % modify f_e for Dirichlet boundary conditions assemble_f end % add element RHS into global RHS

% apply Neumann boundary conditions apply_neumann_bc % solve system Ku = f u = K\f % post-process results calculate_stress plot_displacements % end program

Figure 5.5: Finite element program ﬂow for a linear problem.

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5.3 Local-global

ID(1,1) ID(2,1) ID(3,1) ID(4,1) ID(5,1) ID(6,1) ID(7,1) ID(8,1) ID(9,1) = = = = = = = = = 0 0 0 3 5 7 9 11 13 ID(1,2) ID(2,2) ID(3,2) ID(4,2) ID(5,2) ID(6,2) ID(7,2) ID(8,2) ID(9,2) = = = = = = = = = 0 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14

**Figure 5.6: Equation numbering.
**

2(4) 1(9)

4(8) 3 (5)

Figure 5.7: Global/local numbering of element 3. The global node number is shown in brackets. in Figure 5.1. For element three, the local and global node numbers are shown in Figure 5.7. An array (matrix) connect(element#,local node#) contains the connectivity data which is in Figure 5.3. For example, connect(3,1) = 9, connect(3,2) = 4, connect(3,3) = 5, connect(3,4) = 8. Before forming the element i, information speciﬁc to that element is copied from the global arrays containing nodal positions, displacements at nodes and any other relevant information to smaller local arrays for the element. An example piece of code is shown in Figure 5.8 for copy elements of the global arrays to the local element arrays. Once the local arrays have been assembled for element i, its stiffness matrix can be formed. A simple function to form the stiffness matrix and RHS vector of an element is shown Figure 5.9. The process is repeated for every element in the mesh. Once the stiffness matrix has been calculated for an element, it is possible to impose Dirichlet boundary conditions by modifying the element RHS vector f e . The process is shown in Figure 5.10. After the stiffness matrix and RHS vector has been formed for an element and the RHS vector has been modiﬁed for any Dirichlet boundary conditions, the element stiffness matrix and RHS vector is added into the global stiffness matrix and global RHS vector. This process relies on indexing between local degrees of freedom and their global equation number. An example piece of code is given in Figure 5.11. Note that degrees of freedom where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied are not assembled into the global arrays.

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k) ~= 0 a_e(jj) = a( ID(connect(i. 2011 .9: Formation of element stiffness matrix.j).8: Set-up of local element arrays for element i. % form element stiffness matrix ip_scheme % determine integration scheme for i=1:number_ip_points % loop over integration points ip_location % calculate position of integration point shape_function % evaluate shape functions at integration point form_B_matrix form_D_matrix k_e = k_e + B’*D*B*w(i)*xj(i) % add contribution of ip to k_e f_e = f_e + N’*b*w(i)*xj(i) % add contribution of ip to f_e if postprocess == true % if stress is required stress(i) = D*B*a_e end end % return to main program Figure 5.2 January 21.:) % copy nodal postions % copy displacements from global to local array for k=1:dof_per_node % loop over each degree of freedom jj = j*dof_per_node .:) = x(connect(i.j).j).5 Implementation of the ﬁnite element method % setup local arrays for element i for j=1:nodes_per_element % loop over each node x_e(j. 68 Version 0.dof_per_node + k if ID(connect(i. k) ) else a_e(jj) = g_e(jj) % displacement is prescribed end end end % return to main program Figure 5.

m) ll = l*dof_per_node .10: Imposing Dirichlet boundary conditions.jj) = K(ii.ll) end end end if ii ~= 0 f(ii) = f(ii) + f_e(kk) end end end % return to main program Figure 5. 2011 Version 0. January 21. k) kk = j*dof_per_node .dof_per_node + m if ii~=0 & jj~=0 K(ii.k_e(:. % assemble k_e and f_e for element i into K and f for j=1:nodes_per_element for k=1:dof_per_node ii = ID(connect(i.2 69 .dof_per_node + k for l=1:nodes_per_element for m=1:dof_per_node jj = ID(connect(i.11: Assembly of local arrays into global arrays.i)*g_e(i) end % return to main program Figure 5.j).5.l).jj) + k_e(kk.3 Local-global % impose Dirichlet boundary conditions for i=1:nodes_per_element*dof_per_node f_e(:) = f_e(:) .

This means that the stiffness matrix contains many zeros. However. For this method to be efﬁcient. Non-zero terms are marked by a dot. Assuming double precision storage. and hence the computational time.12 is well-numbered. 70 Version 0. The stiffness matrix in Figure 5.4 Stiﬀness matrix storage A feature of the ﬁnite element method is that the stiffness matrix is sparse. the mesh must be constructed in an ‘optimal’ fashion to minimise the bandwidth of the stiffness matrix. signiﬁcantly.12: Graphical representation of a stiffness matrix 5. This essentially requires that the node numbers of nodes which are close to each should also be close. as all non-zero terms are close to the diagonal which minimises the bandwidth.2 January 21. 2011 . Taking advantage of the sparse nature of the stiffness matrix yields signiﬁcant computational savings. both in terms of memory and computational time. or have the option to relabel nodes to minimise the stiffness matrix bandwidth. This is relatively small for a ﬁnite element analysis.5 Implementation of the ﬁnite element method 0 500 1000 1500 0 500 1000 1500 Figure 5. Yet further savings can be achieved by taking into account symmetry of the stiffness matrix. only 23 638 entries are non-zero (1% of the total matrix elements). Many ﬁnite element programs store the stiffness matrix in a skyline format.12 represents graphically the structure of the stiffness matrix for a problem involving 700 four-noded quadrilateral elements. Figure 5. The dimension of the matrix is 1530 × 1530 (giving a total of 2 340 900 entries). storing the whole matrix would require almost 18 megabytes of memory. Storing only the non zero terms requires on 283 kilobytes of memory! In addition. mesh generation programs will label nodes optimally. solvers are implemented such that operations are not performed on non-zero terms which reduces the number of ﬂoating point operations required. Typically.

post-processing of the data is required. The internal force vector for an element is given by: int fe = Ωe B T σ dΩ + Ωe N T b dΩ (5. Reaction forces can be evaluates by calculating the so-called internal force vector f int .5. For static problems. This means that the body is in equilibrium. It is important to realise that the stress computed at a point is not always reliable.2 71 . stresses and reaction forces. Three quantities of potential interest from a linear-elastic calculation are displacements. January 21. More reliable are the reaction forces at nodes where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied.5 Post-processing After a calculation has been completed.1) Once assembled for all elements (at all nodes. 2011 Version 0.5 Post-processing 5. it gives the reaction force at each node. the internal force vector should be zero where no Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied. including where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied).

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They are used in situations where conventional solid elements perform poorly with a practicably allowable number of elements. Their governing equations derive from the governing equation of elastostatics. Consider the truss element in Figure 6.1 Rod elements in space In Chapter 4. That is. For a truss structure in F Figure 6. A particular problem is that classical thin bending problems in structural mechanics are governed by fourth-order equations. It is however possible to assemble this element into a truss structure in two or three dimensions. Each element is rotated to a convenient coordinate system. Hence.1. The use of truss elements in a two. This has serious consequences for the shape functions which can be employed. the strong governing equations involve fourth-order derivatives.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis Special ﬁnite elements are often used in structural mechanics.1: Two-dimensional truss structure. These elements are derived from different governing equations.2. The most convenient system is one in which the axis of the truss element is aligned with the x coordinate axis. which is oriented in the three-dimensional space. A simple two-dimensional truss structure is shown in Figure 6. plate and shell elements.and y-directions. Examples are beam. a one-dimensional rod element was developed that could only transmit normal forces. 6. The formulation of structural elements tends to be more complex than continuum elements. which are closely related to classical equations from structural mechanics. a ﬁnite element model will require two degrees of freedom at each node. Joints (nodes) of the truss can translate in both the x. in contrast to continuum elasticity problems which involve only second-order derivatives. 73 . with simpliﬁcations and assumptions which are applicable for common structural problems. or in situations where they provide a higher degree of accuracy (in terms of the quantity of interest) than plane elements for the same computational effort.or three dimensional structure relies upon a rotation between different coordinate systems.

of a linear bar. three dimensions.2: Linear truss element in three-dimensional space.1) The vector ae holds the displacement components at the nodes of an element. The displacements at nodes one and two. the vector ae has four components (a component in the x and y direction at each node).2) 0 Q11 Q21 a2x a2x⋆ 0 ⋆ 0 0 Q12 Q22 a2y a2y where Qij are components of the matrix Q. (6. Since truss elements are based on the assumption that only normal forces (σx⋆ ) can be transmitted. the rotation matrix has the form: QT = cos θ − sin θ sin θ cos θ (6. Given that the only displacements of interest are the in x ⋆ -direction. the above problem can be reduced to give: a1x a1y a1x⋆ Q11 Q21 0 0 . The only displacement of any consequence for an element is in the x ⋆ -direction. Denoting the angle between the x-axis and the x ⋆ -axis as θ. Therefore.1) to give the nodal displacements in terms of the coordinate system aligned with the axis of the truss element. For a two dimensional truss structure.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis Fx* x* y* y z* z x Figure 6.2 January 21. (6.and y⋆ -directions are given by: Q Q21 0 0 a1x a1x⋆ ⋆ 11 a1y Q Q22 0 0 a1y = 12 . the rotation is particularly simple. two degrees of freedom.4) The following deﬁnitions are now adopted: 74 Version 0. The displacement components can be rotated using the matrix Q (see section 1. (6.3) = a2x⋆ 0 0 Q11 Q21 a2x a2y a⋆ = e a1x⋆ a2x⋆ . 2011 . displacements in the y⋆ -direction are not resisted by an element. in the x ⋆ . a node will have three degrees of freedom. and in two dimensions.

7) Similarly. the derivative of a weight function w can be expressed in the local coordinate system in terms of the global degrees of freedom.5) The displacement in the x ⋆ -direction along the bar is therefore given by: uh⋆ = N ⋆ a⋆ = N ⋆ qae .7) and (6.x⋆ = B⋆ qbe ⋆ (6.12).19) for a linear element). The strain in the x ⋆ -direction is therefore given by: h ǫh⋆ = u. Q21 (6. (6. e (6. multidimensional coordinate system. The ‘star’ denotes that the shape functions are constructed relative to the coordinate system on the bar.6) where N ⋆ contains the shape functions for a one-dimensional bar (see equation (4.9) where the LHS of equation (6. January 21.8) into the weak governing equation (2.9) is the stiffness matrix.2 75 . the stiffness matrix for a one-dimensional element can be formed. and eliminating be .8) (recall that be is a variation). and with the aid of the matrix q it can be transformed into the global. h w.x⋆⋆ = B⋆ qae (6. A classic sign of a mechanism is singularity of the global stiffness matrix of the structure. (6.1 Rod elements in space and q= Q11 0 Q21 0 0 Q11 0 .10) Ωe This is equivalent to ke = q T k⋆ q. the element stiffness matrix is equal to: ke = q T B⋆ T EB⋆ q dΩ. 2011 Version 0. Inserting now the discretised ﬁelds into the weak governing equation for a onedimensional bar. Ωe ( Bbe ) T EBae dΩ = Γh ( Nbe ) T h dΓ. Inserting the relationships in equations (6. Clearly. It is important to ensure that a truss structure does not form a mechanism. where k⋆ is the standard one-dimensional stiffness e e matrix for a bar.6.

The outward normal is denoted n.3: Plane beam element Ω = ( x1 . Figure 6. x2 ). is denoted Ω = ( x1 .2 Beams Two types of beams are considered in this section. straight.4 shows the rotation of the plane due to a rigid body rotation. Consistent with previous sections. The governing equation is identiﬁed and then the weak form developed. which is valid for relatively slender beams.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis y fy Fy x T x = x1 x = x2 Figure 6.2. 6. The development of beam elements follows the same steps as for continuum elements. and its ends (the boundary of Ω) are denoted Γ = x1 ∪ x2 . For a transverse displacement v. 6. 2011 . x2 ). Such a beam is illustrated in Figure 6.x v. the ‘domain’ of the beam. For simplicity.2 January 21. v. The second is the Timoshenko beam. in-plane beams are considered.4: Rotation of a line normal to the axis in a beam segment. The ﬁrst is the classic BernoulliEuler beam. which takes into account shear deformations.1 Kinematics of a beam Beam theory is based upon the assumption that planes which are normal to the beam’s axis remain plane. there are no out-of plane forces or moments.3. Consider now a ﬁbre in a beam 76 Version 0.x y x Figure 6.

In the second method. (6. where n is the outward unit normal vector. Considering translational equilibrium of a beam segment Ω. Note that M = m n and Q = q n. equilibrium of a beam can be considered directly.x y x Figure 6. The bending moment m in a beam is deﬁned as m= h/2 (6. Subjecting a segment from a beam to pure shear. the rotation θ of a ﬁbre which is initially perpendicular to the beam’s axis is shown in Figure 6. It is clear from Figure 6.2 77 . it is clear January 21. which will be followed here.6. the ﬁbre will not rotate. The ﬁrst is to elaborate the kinematics of the beam.2 Equilibrium of a beam The equilibrium equations for a beam can be developed in two ways.7 show the ‘resultant’ force Q and moment M due to a moment m and a shear force q in a beam.x − γ. as illustrated in Figure 6.11) − h/2 σxx y dy. a plane which remains perpendicular to the axis undergoes a rotation γ. which is initially perpendicular to the beam axis. (6. For a beam segment subjected to both rotation and shear deformation.2 Beams γ v.6.5.2.13) Figure 6. 6.6 that θ = v. The ﬁbre is indicated by the heavy line. 2011 Version 0.12) and the shear stress q is deﬁned by q= h/2 − h/2 σxy dy. Relative to the ﬁbre which has not rotated.5: Beam segment subjected to pure shear. which together with some assumptions as to the stress in different directions can be inserted into the elasticity equations from Chapter 1.

6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis γ θ v. 78 Version 0.7: Sign conventions for a bending moment and shear force resultant.6: Rotation of ﬁbre in a beam.2 January 21. +Q n y n +M x Figure 6.x y x Figure 6. 2011 .

are valid for both Bernoulli-Euler and Timoshenko beam theories.x Ω Ω Ω Ω (6. Ω (q.16) dΩ dΩ Ω This expression can be rearranged such that m.20a) (6. it is required that: m n dΓ − q nx dΓ − f y x dΩ = 0. (6. Γθ ∩ ΓM = ∅ + f y ) x dΩ = (6. Γv ∩ ΓQ = ∅.x dΩ + f y dΩ = 0. therefore rotational equilibrium requires that m. (6.3).x + f y = 0. For rotational equilibrium.2 Beams that: q n dΓ + dΩ dΩ Ω f y dΩ = 0. and boundary conditions.x dΩ − q dΩ − q.2 79 . January 21. distributed loads f y and applied moments T (all shown in Figure 6. (6.6. translational equilibrium requires that q. The boundary Γ of a beam is partitioned such that: Γv ∪ ΓQ = Γ. 2011 Version 0. on Γθ .21a) (6.21c) (6. Γθ ∪ ΓM = Γ.21b) (6.17) (6. (6.21d) These equations.x x dΩ − f y x dΩ = 0.14) Noting that q n dΓ = q| x= L2 − q| x= L1 .x − q = 0.18) Satisfaction of the translational equilibrium equation implies that 0. the boundary conditions are v = gv θn = gθ mn = T q n = Fy on Γv .19) (6. on ΓQ . on ΓM .15) Since equilibrium must hold for an inﬁnitely small segment of a beam. it is clear that Ω Ω q.20b) Denoting applied end forces Fy .

the boundary value problem is complete and can be solved. 2011 . θ= dv . Weak governing equation Following the procedures from Chapter 2.25) Assuming EI to be constant.26) which is the strong equation of equilibrium for a Bernoulli-Euler beam.21c) and (6.23) The bending moment in the beam is related to the curvature by: m = − EIκ = − EI (6. from an appropriately deﬁned space. Taking now the derivative of all terms in equation (6. dx2 (6.27) 80 Version 0.21b)). and then inserting equation (6. With appropriate boundary conditions. Being a fourth-order equation.25) by a weight function v. (6. and inserting the constitutive relationship from equation (6. the weak form of equilibrium for a beam ¯ can be developed.21d)). two boundary conditions are required at both ends of the beam. and Neumann involve either the shear force or moment (equations (6. The negative sign is due to the sign convention in which the rotation and the resultant moment are in opposite directions.2 January 21.22) which also implies that κ= (6. dx2 d2 v .6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis 6.24). dx d2 v . so the rotation can be directly related to the displacement v.24) where I is the moment of inertia of the beam. − EI d4 v + f y = 0. which is equal to zero where Dirichlet (kinematic) boundary conditions are applied (the bar is used in this section to denote a weight function) and integration over the beam Ω yields: Ω ¯ vm. Multiplying equation (6. dx2 (6. Dirichlet boundary conditions involve the prescription of the displacement or the rotation (equations (6.xx dΩ + Ω ¯ v f y dΩ = 0.19) with respect to x.16) yields: d2 m + f y = 0. This assumption implies that the shear rotation γ is equal to zero.2. dx4 (6.3 Bernoulli-Euler beam A fundamental assumption in the Bernoulli-Euler theory is that a plane which is initially normal to the longitudinal axis remains a plane and normal to the longitudinal axis.21a) and (6.

30) where S and V are appropriately deﬁned spaces.29) Inserting now the Neumann (natural) boundary conditions from equations (6. and v.x mn dΓ + Γ ¯ vm.xx EIv.2 81 . which contains functions satisfying: Ω v2 + v2 + v2 dx < ∞.21c) and (6. January 21. Consistency of the above weak form can be proven following the same procedure as in in Section 2.xx dΩ = − ΓM δv.x m. (6.x dΩ. this time to the term Ω ¯ v. 2011 Version 0.6. the spaces S and V are formally deﬁned by: S = v | v ∈ H 2 (Ω) . solving the governing weak equation for a beam involves: ﬁnd v ∈ S such that − Ω ¯ v. it implies that the weak form of the governing equation is identical to the equation of virtual work.32a) (6.34) which is the equation of virtual work for a Bernoulli-Euler beam beam.x = 0 on Γθ .x n dΓ + Ω ¯ v f y dΩ = 0. Note that a fourth-order problem. v = 0 on Γv . v.x T dΓ + ΓQ δvFy dΓ + Ω δv f y dΩ (6. (6.x dΩ + Γ ¯ vm. and inserting the constitutive relation in equation (6. which require C0 continuity only.2 Beams Integrating by parts the term involving the moment M once yields: − Ω ¯ v. For the weak form to ‘make sense’.x m. This is in contrast to second-order problems. it was shown that if the weight function could be considered as a ‘virtual displacement’. (6. For completeness. after integrating by parts twice. has second-order derivatives in its weak form.31) In one dimension this is equivalent to the trial and test functions being at least C1 continuous. v = gv on Γv .x n dΓ + Ω ¯ v f y dΩ = 0.xx m dΩ − Γ ¯ v. the trial functions (v ∈ S ) and the ¯ weight (test) functions (v ∈ V ) must possess a higher degree of regularity (roughly speaking.x .28) Applying integrating by parts again. ¯ Ω v.xx EIv.33) δv.32b) For the case of an elastic continuum. The existence of second-order derivatives in the weak form deserves some special attention. v.x = 0 on Γθ .30) gives: Ω (6.21d).x = gθ on Γθ . (6. .xx dΩ − ΓM ¯ v.xx (6. ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ V = v | v ∈ H 2 (Ω) . continuity) than for classical continuum problems.24). Consider now: ¯ v ≡ δv Inserting this relationship into equation (6.1.x T dΓ + ΓQ ¯ vFy dΓ + Ω ¯ v f y dΩ = 0 ¯ ∀v ∈ V . The integration domain for the ¯ ¯ boundary integrals has been changed since v = 0 on Γv . Both S and V must be subspaces of the Sobolev space H 2 (Ω). which means that both their ﬁrst and second derivatives exist.

dx (6.4 Timoshenko beam Timoshenko beams are more general Bernoulli-Euler beams as they allow for shear deformation. and the second for the displacement v. but not necessarily normal.11) that rotation θ of a plane is given by θ= dv − γ. the shear strain γ.16) with the constitutive relationships m = − EIκ. Planes must remain plane.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis 6. This means that shear deformations can be taken into account. 2011 .2 January 21.2. the ﬁrst for the rotation θ. They also provide a solid introduction to moderately thick plate theories where the advantage of shear deformable theories will become more apparent. has been introduced. Timoshenko beam theory does not rely on the assumption that a plane which is initially normal to the longitudinal axis remains normal to the longitudinal axis. dx (6. (6. in Ω.35) where γ is the rotation due to shear. Relative to the Bernoulli-Euler theory. Recall from equation (6. The governing equations are given by the equilibrium conditions in equations (6. Inserting the constitutive relationships into the equilibrium equations in (6. Together with the previously deﬁned boundary conditions.19) and (6.37) dv −θ . the problem is complete.38) and considering v and θ to be the fundamental unknowns.16) leads to: d2 θ − GAs dx2 dθ d2 v − dx dx2 dv −θ dx − EI GAs =0 in Ω. it is related to the shear force by the constitutive relationship: γ= q .36) where G is the shear modulus and As is the effective shear area.40) + fy = 0 which are two coupled second-order equations. q = GAs γ = GAs (6. 82 Version 0. In terms of the shear force and properties of the beam.19) and (6. GAS (6. an additional unknown.39) (6. and are hence suitable for relatively short beams.

− Ω Ω ¯ θEIθ. Applying integration by parts once.45) (6.x GAs (v. considering δθ ≡ θ and δv ≡ v.x n dΓ − Γ Ω ¯ θGAs (v.xx − θ.40) by appropriately deﬁned weight functions θ ¯ and v. 6.x − θ ) dΩ = 0.xx dΩ = − ΓM ¯h v.x ) dΩ + ¯ v f y dΩ = 0.xx EIv.2 83 .43) (6. (6.x EIθ.x dΩ − Ω Ω Γ ¯ θEIθ. ¯ ¯ As before.45) and (6.39) and (6.2 Beams Weak governing equations ¯ Multiplying equations (6. adding the weak forms in equations (6.x − θ ) dΩ + ¯ vGAs (v. Ω (6.48) January 21.42) ¯ vGAs (v.44) − ¯ v.41) (6.5 Finite element formulations form beams Euler beams A Galerkin problem for a Bernoulli-Euler beam involves: ﬁnd vh ∈ S h such that: Ω h ¯h v.x − θ. ¯ ∀θ ∈ Vθ ¯ ∀v ∈ Vv .x EIθ. consistency can be proven through the application of integration by parts.x dΩ − Ω Ω ¯ θGAs (v. 2011 Version 0.46) − ¯ v.47) For many mechanical problems.6. the weak form or virtual work expressions appear naturally and can be used as a starting point in developing a ﬁnite element model. As with all problems. ¯ θ.x T dΓ + ΓQ ¯ vh Fy dΓ + Ω ¯ vh f y dΩ = 0 ¯ ∀vh ∈ V h (6. The test and trial functions should be at least C0 continuous (in contrast to the C1 continuity for the Bernoulli-Euler theory).46) is equivalent to the virtual work equation. Ω (6. It is however assumed that θ = 0 on Γθ and that θ satisﬁes ¯ the rotation boundary condition.2.xx dΩ − Ω ¯ θGAs (v.x − θ ) dΩ + ¯ vFy dΓ + ¯ v f y dΩ = 0 A more precise deﬁnition of the necessary functions spaces should be provided to ¯ complete the problem.x GAs (v. and v satisﬁes the transverse displacement boundary condition. and then inserting the Neumann boundary conditions yields the weak problem for a Timoshenko beam of: ﬁnd v ∈ Sv and θ ∈ Sθ such that Ω ¯ θ.x − θ ) n x dΓ + ¯ v f y dΩ = 0.x − θ ) dΩ + ΓQ ΓM Ω ¯ θT dΓ = 0. − Ω δκ m dΩ + Ω δγ q dΩ = − ΓM δθ T dΓ + ΓQ δv Fy dΓ + Ω δv f y dΩ (6.x − θ ) dΩ = 0. and v = 0 on Γv . and using γ = v.

2 January 21. the second derivative of a C0 continuous function does not exist in a classical sense. we wish to express the displacement ﬁeld v in terms of shape functions and nodal degrees of freedom.x ae = N1. i 2 (6.x v2 θ2 84 Version 0. The solution is to use C1 shape functions. The displacement ﬁeld vh is given by: vh ( x ) = ∑ ( Ni ( x ) vi + Mi ( x ) θi ) . The displacement at a point in the beam is given by: v1 θ1 h (6. convergence of the solution is not assured for interpolations with insufﬁcient continuity. This results in a cubic interpolation of the displacement along the element.50d) h2 for an element of length h with ends from x1 to x2 (x2 > x1 ).x N2.50a) h3 ( x − x1 )2 ( h + 2 ( x2 − x )) N2 = (6. However.x M1. Crucially. As for continuum elements.52) v.x = N.49) where vi and θi are degrees of freedom associated with node i.50c) M1 = h2 ( x − x1 )2 ( x − x2 ) M2 = (6. and the shape functions are equal to: − ( x − x2 )2 (− h + 2 ( x1 − x )) (6. The ﬁrst derivative is given by: v1 θ1 h (6. The above equation requires the evaluation of the second derivative of the interpolated displacement ﬁeld. 2011 .6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis where S h ⊂ S and V h ⊂ V are ﬁnite-dimensional spaces.50b) h3 ( x − x1 ) ( x − x2 ) 2 (6.x M2. The problem that arises is that simple C0 ﬁnite element shape functions are not suitable. and involve both displacement and rotational degrees of freedom.51) v = Nae = N1 M1 N2 M2 v2 θ2 N1 = It is necessary to compute both the ﬁrst and second derivatives of v with respect to x. A Hermitian beam element with two nodes has four degrees of freedom (two displacement degrees of freedom and two rotation degrees of freedom). Such shape functions can be constructed relatively easily in one dimension (the extension to multiple dimensions is however far from trivial). Hermitian polynomials are C1 functions. The use of C0 interpolations for fourth-order problems is not mathematically consistent and can lead to unpredictable results.

57) The operation to form the RHS vector essentially translates the applied loads into equivalent nodal shear forces and moments. 2011 Version 0.xx dΩ.xx M2. (6.6.xx (6.xx = N.x and v. (6. Ω ( N.xx T EI N. (6.54) After some rearranging.xx be ) T EI N.xx N2. v. January 21.xx ae dΩ = − ΓM ( N. they can be inserted into the Galerkin problem. Ω N.56) and the RHS vector by: fe = ΓQ N T Fy dΓ − ΓM N T T dΓ + Ω N T f y dΩ.x T T dΓ + ΓQ N T Fy dΓ + Ω N T f y dΩ.2 Beams The second derivative of v is given by: v1 θ1 v2 θ2 h v.xx M1.xx dΩ ae = − ΓM N.xx ae = N1.xx T EI N.2 85 .53) h h Now that vh .xx can be computed given ae .x be ) T T dΓ + ΓQ ( Nbe ) T Fy dΓ Ω + ( Nbe ) T f y dΩ (6.55) The element stiffness matrix is given by: ke = Ω N.

x = − . the stiffness matrix is of the form: 12x h3 6x 1 h/2 2 − h EI 12x h ke = h3 − h/2 − 12x h3 6x 1 + h h2 6x 1 − h h2 − 12x h3 6x 1 + h h2 dx. h h (6. N1. Considering just the second derivatives with respect to x.59b) (6.60) Integrating the terms in the stiffness matrix exactly from − h/2 to h/2 (assuming EI 86 Version 0.59d) Inserting these terms into equation (6. h3 2 (6x − h − 4x1 − 2x2 ) N2.58a) (6.x = h2 2 (3x − 2x1 − x2 ) .xx = h2 N1.xx = − 3 .58d) (6. h3 6x 1 M1.x = .59a) (6.58g) (6.xx = 2 + .6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis Taking derivatives of the Hermitian shape functions in equation (6.xx = . h 6x 1 M2.xx = 2 − .58f) (6. h3 2 (6x + h − 2x1 − 4x2 ) . M2. N1. h h 12x N2. h3 ( x − x1 ) (3x − x1 − 2x2 ) .59c) (6. the above equations can be simpliﬁed signiﬁcantly.58c) (6.56). M2. h2 2 (3x − x1 − 2x2 ) M1.58h) Assuming the centre of the element is at x = 0 (x2 + x1 = 0. (6.58e) (6.xx = − .xx = 12x . 2 ( x − x2 ) (3x + h − 2x1 − x2 ) .50).x = (6.xx = h3 ( x − x2 ) (3x − 2x1 − x2 ) M1.2 January 21.58b) (6. x1 = − h/2). h2 2 ( x − x1 ) (3x − h − x1 − 2x2 ) N2. 2011 .

and corresponding derivatives. due to the second-order nature of the governing equations.x − θ h dΩ = Ω ¯ vh f y dΩ + ¯ vh Fy dΓ h ¯ ∀v h ∈ Vv . A distinction is made between the shape functions for vh and θ h as these may differ. − 6EI h2 4EI h (6.61) Timoshenko beams The ﬁnite element formulation for the Timoshenko beam is relatively simple. e θ θ N be .63) Consider the representation of the ﬁelds vh and θ h . Inserting the expressions for the unknown ﬁelds in terms of nodal variables and variations into equations (6.M N θ T dΓ. in terms of shape functions and nodal variable. h h The Galerkin problem for the Timoshenko beam involves: ﬁnd vh ∈ Sv and θ h ∈ Sθ such that Ω Ω h ¯h θ.2 Beams to be constant). v h = N v av . the element stiffness matrix is equal to: 12EI h3 6EI 2 h 12EI − h3 6EI h2 6EI h2 4EI h 6EI − h2 2EI h − 12EI h3 − 6EI h2 12EI h3 − 6EI h2 ke = 6EI h2 2EI h . (6.2 87 .65) Ωe Bv T GAs Bv dΩav − e Ωe Bv T GAs N θ dΩaθ e = Γe.x EIθ.64b) (6. (6. T (6.x dΩ − Ω h ¯ θ h GAs v. This will allow the use of the standard shape functions introduced in Chapter 4.62) and (6.64d) N θ aθ . 2011 Version 0. (6.64a) (6. e θ = ¯ v = ¯ θh = h h (6.Q N v T Fy dΓ + Ωe N v T f y dΩ.x GAs v.64c) (6.66) January 21.6. e N v bv .x − θ h dΩ = − ΓQ ΓM ¯ θ h T dΓ h ¯ ∀θ h ∈ Vθ .62) h ¯h v.63) leads to: Bθ EIBθ dΩ aθ + e T Ωe Ωe N θ GAs N θ dΩ aθ − e T Ωe N θ GAs Bv dΩ av e T =− Γe.

(6.72) (6. Ωe Ωe T T (6. T Bv T GAs Bv dΩ. 2011 .71) kθv = − kvθ = − kvv = Ωe N θ GAs Bv dΩ.69) (6.67) where the components of the the element stiffness matrix are given by kθθ = Ωe Bθ EIBθ + N θ GAs N θ dΩ. only a Timoshenko beam element would be necessary in practice. This would be advantageous from the point of view of generality. and components of the element RHS vector are given by fθ = − fv = Γe.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis The stiffness matrix of an element is of the form kθθ kvθ kθv kvv f aθ = θ fv av (6. with linear shape functions for both the displacement and rotation.M N θ T dΓ. N v T f y dΩ. Timoshenko beam theory is superior to the Bernoulli-Euler theory in that it is valid for both short and slender beams.75) kθv = e GA GAs s − 2 2 88 Version 0.Q N v T Fy dΓ + Ωe Note that the stiffness matrix is symmetric (kθv = kvθ ). Locking Conceptually.73) Γe. This is the effect in which the shear contribution to the energy does not vanish. kθθ = (6. However. The components of the stiffness matrix are given by: GAs L EI GAs L EI − + L + 3 L 6 . Consider a Timoshenko beam element of length L.68) (6. and both short and slender beams could be analysed. when applying Timoshenko elements for thin bending problems. the result are plagued by shear locking. Ideally. T T (6. Bv T GAs N θ dΩ.74) e EI GAs L GAs L EI + − + L 6 L 3 GAs GAs − 2 2 . and for simplicity as the Timoshenko element used C0 shape functions.70) (6.2 January 21. resulting in an overly stiff response.

GAs (6.6.2 89 . v2 ≈ 4PL .77) If at one end the beam is clamped. If the term Ωe N θT GAs N θ dΩ is evaluated using one-point numerical integration T January 21.80) which is independent of I. this element will exhibit a very stiff response. v2 ≈ PL . GAs (6. 2011 Version 0. the displacement v2 is equal to v2 = P ( EI/L + GAs L/3) EIGAs /L2 + G2 A2 /12 s (6. As L → 0. and a shear load P is applied one end. Even with a very ﬁne mesh. will yield a very stiff response.79) If L is large.78) Therefore.2 Beams and GAs L = GA s − L GAs − L GAs L GAs 2 GAs − 2 GAs − L GAs L kvv e (6.81) which is the correct result. θ1 = v1 = 0.76) Therefore. EI GAs L L + 3 ke = GAs − 2 − GAs θ 0 2 2 = GAs v2 P L (6. the stiffness matrix is of the form EI GAs L L + 3 EI GAs L + − 6 L ke = GAs 2 GAs − 2 − EI GAs L + L 6 EI GAs L + L 3 GAs 2 GAs − 2 GAs 2 GAs 2 GAs L GAs − L − (6.

v2 is equal to v2 = P ( EI/L + GAs L/4) EIGAs /L2 (6. The case is similar for quadratic elements.84) which qualitatively the desired response.82) ke = GAs GAs GAs GAs − 2 2 L L GAs GAs GAs GAs − − − 2 2 L L Now.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis (which is reduced for this term). where selective integration (two-point) leads to a dramatic reduction in locking response.85) When using reduced integration.2 January 21. and as L → 0. v2 ≈ PL3 4EI (6. v2 ≈ PL GAs (6. this element performs quite well when the mesh is sufﬁciently well-reﬁned. for the one element problem clamped at one end. 2011 .83) If L is very large. the element stiffness matrix would have the form EI GAs L EI GAs L GAs GAs + − + − L 4 L 4 2 2 EI GAs L GAs L GAs EI GAs + + − − 4 L 4 2 2 L (6. 90 Version 0.

1996). (1989). and the boundary is Γ. v and w (displacements in the x. u2 and u3 when using indexes. the relevant dangers in analysing plate and shell structures with the ﬁnite element method are presented. Plate ﬁnite elements can be extremely complex and are an area of ongoing research. the displacement of a point is given by: uα = −zθα ( x. respectively).86b) where θα is the rotation of a ﬁbre in the plate (see Figure 6. More detailed coverage can be found in a number of books (Zienkiewicz and Taylor. Also. (6. 1987.8: Coordinate system for a plate. They are ﬂat two-dimensional entities. Bathe. The adopted deﬁnitions simplify the formulation as it will avoid the need for a −1 factor on particular terms. A particularly accessible account can be found in Cook et al. or u1 . and the coordinate z = 0 corresponds to the mid-surface of the plate. A serious problem stems from the need for C1 interpolations in the classic thin plate and shell bending theories.2 91 . summation is implied from one to two.1 Plate kinematics The adopted coordinate system and sign convention for rotations θα for plates is shown in Figure 6. this section does not provide an exhaustive coverage. displacement may be denoted u. Similarly. The surface of the plate in the x1 –x2 plane is denoted Ω. T When using Greek subscripts. are are typically loaded out of plane.8. The rotation of the January 21. For convenience.3 Plate x3 p θ1 x2 t x1 θ2 Figure 6.3 Plate Plates are effectively generalisations of beam elements to two spatial dimensions. 2011 Version 0. u3 = u3 ( x. The plate has a thickness t. y and z. 6.86a) (6. Given the enormous number of different plate and shell elements. It is convenient to express many relationships for plates using index notation. Hughes. y) . In plate theory. x2 and x3 . y and z directions. or x1 . The three coordinates are denoted x. the convention differs from the right-hand rule.6.9). 6.3. y) . 1991. The basic governing equations of shell and plate elements and the most common ﬁnite element approaches are discussed.

6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis γα θ α w. 92 Version 0.2 January 21.α 1 w x3 xα Figure 6.9: Plate kinematics with shear deformation included. 2011 .

The alternative approach would be to insert the plate kinematics into the elasticity equations. 2011 Version 0. The shear force vector qα is deﬁned as: t/2 −t/2 σα3 dz (6.91) The different resultant moments and transverse forces acting on cross-sections of a plate are shown in Figure 6. (6.α = θ(α. and the shear strain is given by γα .87) Note that if γα = 0. 2 α.j + u j.α 2 (6. γα = w.β + θ β.10 (‘resultants’ are forces which are equivalent to a moment or shear stress).3 Plate mid-surface of the plate is given by w.2 Equilibrium of a plate The equilibrium equations for a plate are developed here in the same fashion as for plates.α − θα .88b) A useful quantity is the curvature.α .3.88a) (6.i )).α . then θα = w. and lies in the plane of Ω. From the displacement ﬁeld in equations (6.90) From symmetry of the stress tensor.β (6. It is useful to deﬁne a vector s which is normal to the vector n.89) 6.86). ǫαβ = ǫα3 = −z θα. the strain ﬁeld can be calculated at any point (recall ǫ = (1/2)(ui.6. it is clear that the moment tensor is symmetric.2 93 . which is a second-order tensor and at a point is given by: καβ = 1 θ + θ β. This allows the deﬁnition of following notation for January 21. The moment tensor mαβ in a plate is deﬁned as: t/2 −t/2 σαβ z dz (6.α 2 −θα + w.β) .

therefore qα. mns = mαβ n β sα . quantities relative to an arbitrarily oriented plate edge: mnn = mαβ n β nα . (6.94) which must also hold for an inﬁnitesimally small piece of the plate. mns.92d) (6.92e) (6.s = ∂s qn = qα nα .92b) (6. 2011 .92c) (6.n = w.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis q2 m21 m22 m11 x3 m12 x2 θ1 q1 q2 m11 q1 m12 m22 m21 x1 θ2 Figure 6. (6. Translation equilibrium of a plate requires that: ∂Ω (6.α dΩ + Ω pz dΩ = 0.93) Applying the divergence theorem to the term involving qα leads to Ω qα.s = w.α nα w.92h) qα nα dΓ + Ω pz dΩ = 0.s = The quantities are illustrated in Figure 6.α sα mnn.10: Moment and transverse shear force resultants acting on cross-sections of a plate (adapted from Hughes (1987)).92f) (6.95) 94 Version 0. ∂s ∂mns .2 January 21.α + pz = 0.11. ∂mnn . w.92g) (6.92a) (6. θn = θα nα . (6.

α xα .98) The boundary conditions for a plate are more complicated that for a beam. It is applicable for thin plates where shear deformations are negligible. To complete the problem. Considering now rotational equilibrium.PSfrag 6.β dΩ − Ω qα dΩ − Ω q β.96) ∂Ω ∂Ω Ω which leads to: Ω mαβ. (6. rotational equilibrium requires that mαβ.3 Plate q2 m21 m22 qn x3 x2 θ1 mns m11 q1 m12 s mnn n x1 θ2 Figure 6.97) noting that q β xα .β + q β.β = q β xα. (6. Since translation equilibrium requires that q β.β − qα = 0. constitutive relationships are required which relate the moment tensor and the shear force to deformations.2 95 . and are speciﬁc to the considered plate theory.α xα = qα + q β.Kirchhoﬀ theory The Kirchhoff plate model theory is analogous to the Bernoulli-Euler beam. is the equation for translational equilibrium.β + pz = 0.β xα dΩ − Ω pz xα dΩ = 0.3.3 Thin plates . These constitutive relationships will also be elaborated upon in the context of the different theories. mαβ n β dΓ − q β n β xα dΩ − pz xα dΩ = 0. 6. (6. the outwardly simplest plate theory presents the most problems when formulating the ﬁnite January 21.11: Moment and transverse shear force resultants acting on an edge of a plate (adapted from Hughes (1987)). 2011 Version 0. hence boundary conditions are elaborated upon in the context of a given theory. Ironically.

12 1 − ν2 ∂4 w ∂4 w ∂4 w +2 2 2 + 4 = pz .βα . ∇4 w = ∂4 w ∂4 w ∂4 w +2 2 2 + 4 . The shear force qα is no longer ‘independent’. the governing equation can be expressed in a particularly convenient form: w. Assuming transverse shear deformations are zero.105) This equation is known as the ‘biharmonic equation’.2 January 21. 12 (6.100) The moment is related to the curvature by mαβ = −Cαβγδ κγδ .100) yields a fourthorder partial differential equation.99) which corresponds to the classical theory for beams and plates which assumes ﬁbres which are initially normal to the mid-surface remain normal to the mid-surface. ∂x y Et3 ∂x4 ∂y (6. 2 (6. the curvature κ is equal to: καβ = 1 w.αβ + pz = 0.103) ¯ where λ = 2λµ/ (λ + 2µ). where the constitutive tensor is equal to: (6. equation (6.ααββ = 12 1 − ν2 pz . mαβ.106) As a fourth-order equation.87) reduces to: θα = w. four different types of boundary conditions are possible.102) Cαβγδ = t3 ¯ µ δαβ δβδ + δαδ δβγ + λδαβ δγδ . Inserting the constitutive relationship (6. The goal is now to eliminate qα from the governing equations.95). and the Kirchhoff plate model requires two boundary conditions at all points 96 Version 0.102) into equation (6. Since shear deformations are zero.98) and inserting equation (6. This can be done by differentiating equation (6. After some rearranging. It is often written in a shorthand format using the biharmonic operator ∇4 . ∂x y ∂x4 ∂y (6. 2011 .α (6.101) (6.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis element method.104) Expanding this equation.αβ + w. Et3 (6.

6. and leads to the well known ‘corner forces’ in thin plate theory. then integrated by parts. and the last two are Neumann boundary conditions.αβ dΩ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0.n mnn dΓ + Γ Γ ¯ w.s = Q on Γw on Γθ on ΓM on ΓQ (6. The problem here is that too many boundary terms appear in the ﬁrst boundary integral.α mαβ n β dΓ = − Γ Γ ¯ w.α mαβ. Integrating the moment term by parts once. and integrating over the plate surface Ω.αβ mαβ dΩ − Γ ¯ w.2 97 .109) Using integration by parts again on the ﬁrst term.3 Plate on the boundary.β nα dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0.n = 0 on Γθ . − Ω ¯ w.n mnn dΓ − ¯ w. The last boundary condition is known as the ‘modiﬁed shear’ boundary condition.s dΓ − wmns | B A (6. The moment can only be applied normal to the boundary (mαβ n β nα ). Rather than multiplying the governing ¯ equation (6. 2011 Version 0.20). − Γ ¯ w. Ω ¯ w.107a) (6. Weak form The weak form of the governing equation for a thin plate is derived using the same processes applied for second-order problems. Ω ¯ wmαβ. Inserting the above relationship into equation (6.s mns dΓ ¯ ¯ wmns.s + qn ) dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0.108) where Ω is the surface of the plate.α mαβ n β dΓ + Γ ¯ wmαβ. (6.β nα dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0. yields Ω ¯ w. Considering the partition of the boundary in equation (6.107b) (6.110) which is the weak form of the governing equation for thin plate bending. for which w = 0 on Γw and w.107c) (6.100). (6.αβ mαβ dΩ − Γ ¯ w.112) January 21.β dΩ + Γ ¯ wmαβ.107d) The ﬁrst two boundary conditions are Dirichlet boundary conditions.n mnn dΓ + Γ ¯ w (mns. it is convenient to carry out the process on equation (6.111) =− The last term will be ignored. the boundary conditions are given by: w = gw θ n = gθ mnn = T qn + mns. and integrating over the surface of the plate.105) by a weight function w. (6.110) (ignoring the point terms). (6. Multiplying by a weight ¯ function w. The governing equation is multiplied by a weight function.

¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ V = w | w ∈ H 2 (Ω) .2 January 21. w.115b) Consistency can proven through the repeated application of integration by parts. the governing equations for equilibrium are the same as for the Kirchhoff theory.n = gθ on Γθ .n T dΓ + ΓQ ¯ wQ dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0 ¯ ∀w ∈ V .3. w and θα .2. δκαβ . it is applicable for both thick and thin plates.116b) 98 Version 0. (6.α + pz = 0. hence the highest order derivatives in the weak governing equation are order two. For completeness. The equations of equilibrium are: mαβ. some serious practical problems arise in ﬁnite element analysis when applying Reissner-Mindlin elements for the analysis of thin plates. which in turn involves second derivatives of w. w. w = gw on Γw .116a) (6.n = 0 on Γθ .115a) (6. which depends on θα which is no longer calculated directly from w (θα = w. As such.αβ as the virtual curvature.β − qα = 0. The difference lies in the kinematics and the constitutive model. 6. The rotation of the plate cannot be calculated simply as a derivative of the transverse displacement. (6. the governing equations cannot be further reduced since θα is not a direct function of w. the spaces S and V for the weak form of Kirchhoff plate theory are deﬁned as follows: S = w | w ∈ H 2 (Ω) . the above equation is the equation of virtual work for a plate: δκαβ mαβ dΩ − δθn T dΓ + δwQ dΓ + δwpz dΩ = 0 (6. 2011 .6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis Inserting the Neumann boundary conditions. For this theory.α ). qα. w = 0 on Γw . Unlike for thin plates. ¯ ¯ ¯ Considering w as a virtual displacement δw. w. The governing equations for a thick plate are those given in Section 6. and w.α as a virtual rotation δθα .4 Moderately thick plates – Reissner-Mindlin theory The Reissner-Mindlin theory for plates includes shear deformation.3. The key to the success of this approach in a ﬁnite element context is that the moment tensor mαβ is calculated from the curvature. It is analogous to the Timoshenko beam.αβ mαβ dΩ − ΓM ¯ w.113) where the functions in S satisfy the Dirichlet boundary conditions.114) Ω ΓM ΓQ Ω Recall that the bending moment mαβ is a function of the curvature. The problem now involves two different unknowns. solving the weak problems then involves: ﬁnd w ∈ S such that Ω ¯ w. However. (6.

Weak form To derive the weak form.120c) (6. This is due to θα and w being decoupled.123) January 21.102)). where Cαβ = ktµδαβ .β − θ β . This set of equations cannot be reduced further. θα .119a) is multiplied by a weight function θα .117) Cαβ w. on ΓQ . and k is a correction factor which is equal to 5/6. The structure of the governing equations for Mindlin-Reissner plates theory offers a greater degree of ﬂexibility in applying boundary conditions than the Kirchhoff theory.β − Cαβ w. The ‘naturally’ occurring boundary conditions involve w = gw θα = gαθ mαn = Tα qn = Q on Γw . is a vector. (6.α + pz = 0 It is these equations which will be solved. (6.119b) (6. This means than the governing equations are being solved in their irreducible form.β − θ β dΩ = 0. both equations (6. (6. Ω ¯ θα mαβ.2 99 .118) (6. on Γθ .β dΩ − Ω ¯ θα Cαβ w. 2011 Version 0.119b) are addressed.6.119a) and (6.119a) (6. − Ω ¯ θ(α. three boundary conditions must be applied at all points on the boundary.β mαβ dΩ + ΓM ¯ θα Tα dΓ − Ω ¯ θα Cαβ w.121) Integrating the above equation by parts. Firstly.120b) (6.αβ − θ β.120a) (6. qα = Cαβ γβ = Cαβ w. mαβ.β − θ β dΩ = 0.122) ¯ Inserting now Neumann boundary conditions (θα = 0 where θα is prescribed) yields: − Ω ¯ θα.β) mαβ dΩ + Γ ¯ θα mαβ n β dΓ − Ω ¯ θα Cαβ w. ¯ equation (6.3 Plate In addition to the constitutive relationship relating moment and curvature (equation (6. This set of equations can be reduced by eliminating qα .120d) Given that one of the unknowns.β − θ β dΩ = 0. a constitutive relation relating the shear forces to the shear strain is introduced. on ΓM . (6.β − θ β = 0 (6.

However. the highest order derivative appearing for both terms is one.114).128) − which is the equation of virtual work for a Reissner-Mindlin plate.α Cαβ w. δκαβ = θ(α.β mαβ dΩ + ΓM ¯ θα Tα dΓ − Ω ¯ θα Cαβ w. adopting ¯ ¯ ¯ the notation δw = w.119b) by a ¯ weight function w.119b).α Cαβ w.127a) and (6. Note that different to the virtual work equation for a Kirchhoff plate (6. − Ω ¯ w. Hence.β − θ β dΩ = 0. C0 shape functions can be applied. This will require the interpolation of both the transverse displacement w and the rotation θα .127b) that are solved using the ﬁnite element method. ¯ wCαβ w. 2011 .124) Ω Ω Integrating the above equation by parts yields: − Ω ¯ w.125) ¯ Inserting again Neumann boundary conditions (w = 0 where w is prescribed).127b) Note that both weak equations contains derivatives no higher than order one. ¯ ∀θα ∈ Vθ (6. The weak problem therefore involves: ﬁnd θα ∈ Sθ and w ∈ Sw such that: − Ω ¯ θα.αβ − θ( β.β − θ β dΩ + ΓQ ¯ wQ dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0. Multiplying now equation (6.α Cαβ w.α) dΩ + ¯ wpz dΩ = 0. and taking advantage of the symmetry of mαβ .α − θα . (6. It is equations (6.β − θ β dΩ + ΓQ ¯ wQ dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0 ¯ ∀w ∈ Vw (6. the above equation includes a contribution to the energy due to shear ( Ω δγα qα dΩ).2 January 21.β − θ β dΩ + Γ ¯ wCαβ γβ nα dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis which is the weak form of equation (6.127a) − Ω ¯ w.126) which is the weak form of equation (6. (6.127b) by minus one). Combining both equations (multiplying equation (6. 100 Version 0. yields: Ω −δκαβ mαβ dΩ + Ω δγα qα dΩ + ΓM δθα Tα dΓ − ΓQ Ω δwQ dΓ δwpz dΩ = 0 (6. (6.119a).β) and δγα = w.

129) where m = (m11 . (6. m22 . some non-conforming elements yield satisfactory results. m12 ) T and κ = (κ11 . a less severe requirement is that elements satisfy a ‘patch test’. κ22 . ﬂexible and robust Kirchhoff plate elements. where Ds = tkµ 0 0 .3 Plate 6.2 101 . symmetry of mαβ and καβ allows the use of simpliﬁed ‘engineering’ notation. The majority of Kirchhoff plate elements are non-conforming – this means that they do not satisfy C1 continuity.130) For the shear forces qα . tkµ (6. The complications are rooted in the need for C1 continuity. It does not however satisfy C1 continuity. January 21. In place of requiring C1 continuity.132) (6.133) The applicability of this element is however limited by its inability to satisfy the patch test as a quadrilateral – the element can only be used as a rectangle. 2011 Version 0. (6. In the context of plates. A patch test is a numerical test which tests the ability of an element to reproduce particular results which provides and indication as to whether or not a particular element is suitable for analysis. none of which are of general applicability. There exists a range of Kirchhoff plate elements. However. The matrix D b has the form: 1 ν 1 0 0 0 Et3 D = 12 (1 − ν2 ) b ν 0 (1 − ν ) 2 . Its shape functions are of the form: N = c1 x3 y + c2 xy3 + c3 x3 + c4 y3 + c5 x2 y + c6 xy2 + c7 x2 + c8 y2 + c9 xy + c10 x + c11 y + c12 . constant strain implies constant curvature.131) Kirchhoﬀ plate elements There are few reliable. it tests whether an element can represent rigid body modes and a state of constant strain. A common Kirchhoff plate element is rectangular and has four nodes and twelve degrees of freedom.6.5 Plate ﬁnite elements As in elasticity. m = −Db κ (6. q = D s γ. In particular. The element is still useful as it passes the patch test.3. 2κ12 ) T .

**6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis
**

Reissner-Mindlin plate elements Plate ﬁnite elements based on the Reissner-Mindlin principle do not require C1 continuity. Two ﬁelds are interpolated (the transverse displacement and the rotation), with derivatives of order no higher than one for both ﬁelds appearing in the weak form. This is a signiﬁcant advantage. It is then possible to form different elements using the same procedures as for plane and three-dimensional continuum elements. Isoparametric mappings can be used to construct arbitrary shapes. The procedures developed in Chapter 4 for continuum elements can be applied to develop plate elements. When using C0 shape functions with full integration, convergence requirements are guaranteed. The unknown ﬁelds, w h and θh are interpolated using C0 shape functions in terms of nodal unknowns, w h = N w aw θ =N a

h θ θ

(6.134) (6.135)

Taking derivatives,

h w,α = Bw aw

(6.136) (6.137)

κ =B a

h

θ θ

**Inserting the discretised ﬁelds into equations (6.127a) and (6.127b) gives:
**

T T T

Ωe

Bθ D b Bθ dΩ aθ − e

Ωe

N θ CBw dΩaw + e

Ωe

N θ CN θ dΩaθ e

=−

ΓM

T Nθ T dΓ

(6.138a)

Ωe

Bw T CBw dΩaw − e

Ωe

Bw T CN θ dΩaθ e

=

ΓQ

N w T Q dΓ +

Ωe

N w T pz dΩ

(6.138b)

for an element. This can be expressed as: kww e kθw e kwθ e kθθ e f ew aw e θ = fθ , ae e

(6.139)

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6.3 Plate

where kww = e

Ωe

**Bw T CBw dΩ Bw T CN θ dΩ N θ CBw dΩ
**

T T

**(6.140a) (6.140b) (6.140c) N θ CN θ dΩ
**

T

**kwθ = − e kθw = − e kθθ = e f ew =
**

Ωe ΓQ

Ωe Ωe

Bθ D b Bθ dΩ + N w T Q dΓ +

T Nθ T dΓ T

Ωe

(6.140d) (6.140e) (6.140f)

Ωe

N w T pz dΩ

f eθ = −

ΓM

Note again that the element stiffness matrix is symmetric. These are the equations that are assembled into a global stiffness matrix, and solved. Shape functions of different orders can be formulated (even different orders for the transverse displacement and the rotation) and numerical integration is applied. While different elements can be used which will result in a consistent formulation, the performance of different elements may vary drastically. It is possible to simulate thin plates using elements based on the Reissner-Mindlin formulation. It is of course attractive if both thick and thin plates can be analysed using the same elements. To do this, the response of Reissner-Mindlin elements in the limit (t → 0) should be studied. The result should converge to the thin plate theory. This is not the case in practice, and is discussed in the following section. Mindlin-Reissner plate elements for thin plate problems Ideally, thick plate formulations could be used for analysing thin plates. The problem which is confronted is shear locking. As t → 0, Reissner-Mindlin elements typically show an overly stiff response, compared to exact thin plate solutions. The reason for this is that the contribution of the transverse shear deformation to the energy does not vanish. The locking effect can be so extreme as to render elements unusable. For this reason, extensive research efforts have been aimed at developing Reissner-Mindlin elements which do not lock in the thin plate limit. The simplest solution to shear locking is to use reduced or selective integration. This excludes the spurious contribution of the transverse shear deformation to the bending energy. For example, a four-node quadrilateral with 2 × 2 integration for bending terms and one-point integration for transverse shear terms yields good results for thin plate problems. Using full integration for this element results in extreme shear locking. Many Reissner-Mindlin elements involve reduced or selective integration to avoid shear locking. Another possibility to avoid shear locking is to use a mixed formulation. The governing equations are not reduced to their primal form in terms of w and θα , but three

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**6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis
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ﬁelds are interpolated: w, θα and qα . It can be shown however that most mixed formulations are equivalent to reduced or selective integration (Hughes, 1987). Discrete Kirchhoff elements are based on thick shell formulations. What they require is that the Kirchhoff thin plate requirement of zero transverse shear strain is met at a discrete number of points within an element. These elements do not require reduced integration to avoid shear locking. However, some ambiguities arise when applying distributed loads.

6.4 Shell elements

Shells exist in a three-dimensional space. They are essentially curved plates. A simple approximation to a shell structure is to use a collection of ﬂat combined plate/membrane elements to approximate the curved surface. Shell elements can also be formulated directly. The three-dimensional nature of the element makes them more complicated than plates. The direct formulation of shell elements is not addressed here. Details of their formulation can be found in numerous references (Bathe, 1996; Hughes, 1987; Cook et al., 1989; Zienkiewicz and Taylor, 1991).

6.5 Exercises

1. For a truss element with ends located at ( x1 , y1 ) and ( x2 , y2 ), ﬁnd the rotation matrix R that rotates from the ( x, y) system to the convenient ( x ′ , y′ ) system. 2. For a two-node Hermitian beam element, how does the bending moment and the shear forces vary along the length of the element? 3. Sketch the Hermitian shape functions in equation (6.50). 4. Give the stiffness matrix for a two-node beam element in two-dimensions that allows for axial deformations. 5. Give two examples of when ﬁnite element analysis with continuum elements is preferable and two examples where beam, plate or shell elements is preferable. Provide a short reasoning for each case. 6. What is the danger in applying reduced or selective integration for plate elements? 7. If a constant distributed load is applied normal to a plate surface, pz , calculate the equivalent nodal forces for an eight-node Reissner-Mindlin element.

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January 21, 2011

is given by: u n = α =0 Ω ∑ n 1/2 ( D u) dΩ α 2 . For ﬁnite element analysis. The order depends on several factors. or the error in terms of the strain. The magnitude of the error is quantiﬁed by calculating a norm of e.3) This scalar value is a measure of the ‘magnitude’ of a function. which is the type of norm which will be used here.7 Analysis of the ﬁnite element method It was shown in Chapter 3 that the ﬁnite element method calculates a solution which is optimal in terms of the energy.i u. it is useful to know ‘how accurate’ different elements are. how much smaller will the error be. One is with which ‘norm’ the error is being measured. Another factor is the smoothness of the exact solution. is the error in terms of displacements being measured. given a collection of basis functions. To give an indication of the size of the error. It is of course important to have some idea of the magnitude of the error and how it can be controlled and reduced.2) where D α denotes the α derivative. For example.1) where u is the exact solution and uh is the approximate solution. What it does provide is the order of convergence. this does not tell how large the error is.ij dΩ .ij u. Recall from Chapter 3 the error e at a point is deﬁned as: e = u − uh . the Sobolev norm is equal to: 1/2 u 2 = Ω uu + u. (7. This is known as the order of convergence – if the size of the element is halved. how much smaller will the error be? 7.1 A priori error estimation A priori error estimation does not provide quantitative information as to the error in a ﬁnite element simulation. e n . The Sobolev norm. While the solution may be optimal. The order of convergence indicates how quickly the error reduces upon mesh reﬁnement. Also. (7.i + u. For example. The subscript n indicates the type of norm. it is necessary to consider a norm of the error. Two norms of particular interest 105 . (7. setting n = 2. We want to know if we halve the element size (leading to at least a doubling in computational effort). the order of convergence depends heavily on the type of element.

2011 . Inserting now equation (7. It is deﬁned by: u 2 E = | u |2 = r Ω ( Dr u)2 dΩ. Given that a ﬁnite solution is known to be the best possible solution from the ﬁnite-dimensional space S h . c is an unknown constant. In this way. (7.2 (7. thereby introducing a measure of the error in the strain. (7.10) This means that the ﬁnite element solution is at least as accurate as the nodal interpolate in terms if energy. Note that to ensure convergence. Version 0.8) The nodal interpolate is equal to the exact solution at the nodes (u − u I = 0 at the nodes).10) into the above expression.11) January 21. Interpolation theory provides the inequality u − uI m ≤ chk+1−m |u|k+1 . An important semi-norm is the energy norm. (7.9) where k is the polynomial order. and h is a measure of the element size. rather a question which can be answered from interpolation theory. Setting n = 1. For example. uI = ∑ Ni aiI . Consider the nodal interpolate u I . 1/2 e 1 = Ω (e · e + ∇e : ∇e) dΩ .5) which now includes the gradient of e.7 Analysis of the ﬁnite element method involve n = 0 and n = 1. i (7. (7. (7.4) which is a measure of the error in the displacements.6) which involves only a particular order derivative. A Sobolev semi-norm is given by |u|n = Ω ( D n u)2 dΩ 1/2 . k + 1 > m. u − uh 106 r ≤ Chk+1−r |u|k+1 . setting n = 0 gives: 1/2 e 0 = Ω (e · e) dΩ . the question of determining an error estimate is no longer a ﬁnite element question. hence it interpolates the exact solution using the provided shape functions.7) where r is the order of the derivatives appearing in the weak form. it holds that u − uh E ≤ u − uI E. (7.

The order of convergence of a particular element type indicates how quickly the exact solution is approached.2 A posteriori error estimation where C is a constant. The convergence order for different polynomial orders is given in Table 7. k = 1. 2011 Version 0. independent of h. u − uh 0 .2 A posteriori error estimation Once a ﬁnite element solution has been calculated. hence u − uh 1 ≤ Chk |u|k+1 .7. which tells ‘how good’ the calculated solution is. 2(k + 1 − r )). the two quantities of special interest are the displacements and the strains (and hence the stresses). (7. The notation O(h a ) means that the error is ‘of the order h a ’. the displacement error is: which is equal to Ω e · e dΩ e 0 ≤ Chk+1 |u|k+1 . (7.1. 1/2 . If the exact solution is not sufﬁciently smooth. r = 1. For linear elements. An estimate can be obtained using ‘Nitsche’s trick’ (see Strang and Fix (1973) for details). the greater a the smaller the error. a natural question is how close the solution is to the exact solution.16) Hence linear elements are known as being O(h2 ) in terms of displacements. It leads to the estimate: u − uh s ≤ Ch β |u|k+1 . and O(h) in terms of strains. e e 0 1 ≤ Ch2 |u|2 ≤ Ch|u|2 . Therefore. It would be useful to ﬁnd an estimate in terms of lower norms. For k ≥ 1.15) which implies that the approximate strains converge to the exact result slower than the approximate displacements.14) In terms of the strain. there may be no gain in accuracy through increasing the polynomial order. January 21. such as the error in the displacement. For practical purposes. This is error analysis. hence it represents the error in the energy. 7. Larger a implies faster convergence.12) This implies that the solution converges in this norm at a rate equal to the polynomial order. The error in the displacements is given by e 0 .2 107 . this norm is dominated by the error in the strain. For an elasticity problem.13) where β = min (k + 1 − s. (7. but does not tell how far the computed solution is from the exact solution. This result is however conditional upon the seminorm |u|k+1 existing. e 1 (7. (7. ≤ Chk |u|k+1 . In elasticity. Of course as h becomes small.

some relatively simple error estimators exist for linear problems. adaptivity can be employed to reduce the error where needed. Based on an analysis of the error. A posteriori error estimators are generally either residual-based or rely on stress recovery techniques. Two forms of adaptivity are commonly used: p-adaptivity and h-adaptivity.3 Adaptivity To improve the accuracy of a ﬁnite element solution. and adaptivity is employed. Then. they converge faster toward the exact solution than other points. Error estimation is a rich ﬁeld of applied mathematical research. a ﬁnite element mesh can be adapted to improve the solution. It is based on the property that the stresses at certain points within an element are super-convergent. It has an extraordinary rate of convergence.1: Order of convergence O(hk ) for commonly used ﬁnite elements in terms of displacements and strain. 1987) stress recovery error estimator. 2011 . by comparing the stresses interpolated from the super convergent points with the stress computed from the derivative of the displacement ﬁeld. The essence of the error estimator is to take the stresses at the super convergent points and form an interpolation of the stress using these points. Then.2 January 21. the error is again estimated.7 Analysis of the ﬁnite element method polynomial order 1 2 3 4 displacements k 2 3 4 5 strains k 1 2 3 4 Table 7. Research is ongoing for more sophisticated error estimators for more complicated problems. but is challenging to implement. That is. Fortunately. It relies upon reducing the size of the element. It may be desirable to reduce the error to a speciﬁed value throughout a mesh. Given a estimation of the error. It is possible to generate an entirely new mesh. The process can be repeated until the prescribed error tolerance is met. or to devise procedures which sub-divide elements where the error is large. the error can be estimated. To halve the error in a particular problem using h-adaptivity. Hence. At this point. a new mesh must be constructed. assuming that the exact solution is sufﬁciently smooth. adaptivity techniques can be employed in combination with an error estimator. the problem is re-analysed. h-adaptivity uses another technique to reduce the error. knowing the order of convergence of an element may prove useful. padaptivity involves increasing the polynomial order of elements to reduce the error in the calculated solution. Given a measure of the error. 7. A mathematically appealing concept is hp-adaptivity. an adaptive scheme is required to reduce the error to the prescribed levels. it 108 Version 0. The most common is the Zienkiewicz-Zhu (ZZ) (Zienkiewicz and Zhu.

2011 Version 0. List some advantages and disadvantages of p.and h-adaptivity. how much smaller would you expect the error in the displacements and the stresses to be if all the elements are made 2. Give the order of convergence in terms of the strain for the following element: a) b) c) d) e) T3 Q4 T6 Q8 Q9 2.4 Exercises 1. 7. When using Q4 elements.7. January 21.4 Exercises helps to know how quickly the error reduces for a particular element.2 109 .7 times smaller? 3.

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8 Solvers for large linear systems Note: This chapter is still being developed. Another special property is symmetry. The system of equations Ka = f is rewritten as: LUa = f (8. the system of equations is sparse. 111 . the stiffness matrix is symmetric.2) where L is a lower triangular matrix with ones on the diagonal and U is an upper diagonal matrix. a general method is required to solve the system of equations. The ﬁnite element solution of practical problems often leads to very large systems of equations.1) The stiffness matrix K typically has a number of special properties. This mean that nonzero terms are located close to the diagonal. To ﬁnd the ﬁnite element solution to a problem. Iterative solvers approach the exact solution. the following system needs to be solved: Ka = f (8. the matrix is also banded. the exact structure of the stiffness matrix is not constant. This is a consequence of using a Galerkin formulation. It is particularly effective for solving moderately sized problems where the bandwidth of K is limited (as is the case for a well constructed ﬁnite element mesh). Large systems require signiﬁcant memory to store the matrices and large computational effort to solve the system. Furthermore.1 LU-decomposition A commonly used direct solution technique is known as LU-decomposition. if nodes are numbered in an efﬁcient manner. For all problems examined in these notes. Therefore. Direct solvers yield a result with a known number of steps. It varies for different meshes. This means that the stiffness matrix contains many zero elements. Gauss elimination is rarely used. Further savings can be achieved for symmetric matrices by storing only the diagonal terms and non-zero terms above the diagonal. Gauss elimination – number of operations O n3 In ﬁnite element code however. Storing only non-zero elements in the computer memory leads to enormous savings in memory. 8. The number of steps performed depends on the desired accuracy. unlike ﬁnite difference methods. However. Typically more efﬁcient direct or iterative solvers are used. The motivation is that it is relatively simple to solve triangular matrices. Due to the compact support of ﬁnite element shape functions.

although the time required for convergence depends heavily on the nature of the matrix K.K(i.2 January 21. ‘Pivoting’ is often used to avoid numerical problems associated with large and small terms on the diagonal. The process is stopped when the desired tolerance is reached. Unlike direct solvers. An alternative is the use of iterative solvers.3) is solved (the ‘result’ being y).j) end end end There are several variations on this procedure to improve its performance.k)/A(k. The procedure can be implemented in a computer programming surprisingly simply. In a computer implementation.n) K(i. Iterative solvers ‘iterate’ toward the exact solution. 2011 .4) which yields the solution to the original problem.n) for i=k+1:min(k+p. The following step.n) K(i. Also. 8. iterative solvers are generally faster than direct solvers. the system of equations: Ly = f (8. it is not possible to compute exactly the required computational effort before starting the computation. The following code extracts for solving a banded system are taken from Golub and Loan (1996).j) . ‘backward substitution’. the factorised matrices can be stored in the memory allocated for K. This is step is known as ‘forward substitution.k)*K(k. for k=1:n-1 for i=k+1:min(k+p. For large system of equations. they can become prohibitively expensive for very large problems.k) end for j=k+1:min(k+q. To be added: Gauss-Siedel Krylov subspace methods Conjugate-gradient The efﬁciency and robustness of iterative solvers can be improved signiﬁcantly through the use of preconditioning.k) = K(i. a. Then.8 Solvers for large linear systems The ﬁrst step is to factorise the matrix K in L and U. yielding considerable computational savings. However. for symmetric systems the algorithm can be modiﬁed. 112 Version 0.j) = K(i.2 Iterative solvers Direct solvers are relatively simple to program and are robust. is then to solve the system: Ua = y (8.

4a) (9.2) On other parts of the boundary.1 Elastodynamics The majority of this chapter deals with elastodynamics problems. time-dependent Neumann boundary conditions are applied. On parts of the boundary. For example. (9.1) where ρ is the density and u = ∂2 u/∂t2 is the acceleration vector. u=g on Γg . The second. time-dependent Dirichlet boundary conditions are prescribed. Elastodynamics involves the second derivative of the displacement with respect to time. 0) = v0 ( x) ˙ (9.3) Dynamic problems require some ‘extra’ information compared to their quasi-static counterparts. when a load is applied at the 113 .1. σn = h on Γh (9. information travels through the domain immediately. less subtle. this equation differs signiﬁcantly from the static case as the governing equation is hyperbolic. 0) = u0 ( x) u ( x. In this chapter. Similar to static problems. its is complemented by boundary conditions. 9. These are initial conditions. All problems up to this chapter were elliptic. In mathematical ¨ terms. the ﬁnite element method has been applied only for time-independent problems.1 Governing equation and the weak form for elastodynamics The equation of motion is given by: ρu = ∇ · σ + b ¨ (9.9 Time-dependent problems Until now. Two approaches will be elaborated. Initial conditions correspond to the conditions at time zero (t = 0).4b) where v is the velocity (v = ∂u/∂t). approach is more general and suited to wave propagation problems. modal analysis. 9. therefore two initial conditions are required: u ( x. relies on linearity of the underlying problem and is suited to vibration analysis. With elliptic problems. the unsteady heat equation and elastodynamics are considered in which the time dimension must be addressed. The ﬁrst.

which when considering the semidiscrete formulations are constant in time.2 Semi-discrete Galerkin form To reach a ﬁnite element formulation. To solve dynamic problems using a computer. is hit with a hammer at the free end. The equations for elastodynamics are hyperbolic.9) 114 Version 0.7) which is known as ‘semi-discrete’. the Galerkin problem involves: ﬁnd uh ∈ S h such that Ω ρwh · uh dΩ = − ¨ Ω ∇s wh : σ h dΩ + Ω wh · b dΩ Γh + wh · h dΓ ∀wh ∈ V h . The time dimension is left continuous.7) and rearranging. a stress wave will travel through the bar and a force at the restrained end will not be felt until the stress wave arrives. Therefore. restrained at one end. the Galerkin form must be developed. ˙ ˙ u = N ae .8a) (9. ﬁnd u ∈ S such that Ω ρw · u dΩ = − ¨ Ω ∇s w : σ dΩ + Ω w · b dΩ + Γh w · h dΓ ∀w ∈ V . solving the weak form involves: for a given t > 0. Ωe N T ρN dΩ ae = − ¨ Ωe B T DB dΩ ae + Ωe N T b dΩ + Γh. Deriving the weak form for dynamic problems follows the familiar procedure.2 January 21. From the weak from in the previous section. for an element.9 Time-dependent problems free end of a restrained rod. This is again done using ﬁnite element shape functions.8b) where ae = dae /dt and ae = d2 ae /dt2 .1. The velocity and acceleration ﬁelds are represented using the shape functions. and inserting Neumann boundary conditions. 2011 . Multiplying equation (9. (9. This stems from the fact that the dependence on time t has not been addressed in the same fashion as the spatial dependency x.e N T h dΓ. With hyperbolic problems ‘information’ travels at ﬁnite speeds. using the same steps outlined in Chapter 2. (9. like for the static case the governing equation must be expressed in terms of nodal unknowns and basis functions. the ﬁnite-dimensional velocity and acceleration ﬁelds in an element are given by: uh = N ae . If a bar. Inserting the discretised displacement ﬁeld ˙ ¨ and the expression for the acceleration ﬁeld into equation (9. which is independent of time. ¨ ¨ h (9.6) 9.5) Integrating by parts. and integrating gives: Ω ρw · u dΩ = ¨ Ω w · (∇ · σ ) dΩ + Ω w · b dΩ (9. a reaction force is felt immediately at the other end.1) by a weight function w. (9.

Mii lump = j =1 cons ∑ Mij n (9. This corresponds to having discrete.1 Elastodynamics This equation is commonly called the ‘semi-discrete’ equation.1. there is some freedom in determining exactly how the lumped mass matrix should be calculated. but with integration points located only at element nodes. a strategy is required to deal with the time derivatives of a.11) Before this equation can be solved. ¨ (9.13) where n is the dimension of the mass matrix. the lumped mass matrix has non-zero terms only on the diagonal. Another procedure is based on summing rows of the consistent mass matrix. Before the variational basis of the ﬁnite element method was properly understood. All off-diagonal terms are equal to zero. It is however possible that nodes will have zero or negative masses.2 115 . Since shape functions are equal to unity at their node and zero at all other nodes. This procedure however can lead to negative masses on the diagonal. This property is highly advantageous in combination with some time integration schemes. this will yield a diagonal mass matrix. This is formed similarly to the stiffness matrix. as will be discussed in the following sections. As with the element stiffness matrix. lumped masses at each node. Perhaps the simplest procedure to form lumped mass matrices is to form the matrices using numerical integration. for a given time tn M an + Kan = f n . 2011 Version 0. the mass matrix is symmetric and will have off-diagonal terms.12) This is typically formed by integrating numerically.10) where Me is the element mass matrix.9. in the same fashion as for the element stiffness matrix. Since ﬁnite element shape functions are equal to unity at their node and zero at all other nodes. (9. 9. The obvious choice from the variational approach is the consistent mass matrix.3 Mass matrix There are several methods to form the mass matrix. This equation can be written is a shorthand format as: Me a e + k e a e = f e ¨ (9. A common approach was to form a lumped mass matrix. cons = Me Ωe ρN T N dΩ. Other more January 21. it was not entirely clear how the mass matrix should be formed. Once the element contributions have been assembled into the global mass and stiffness matrices and the global RHS vector. Since lumped schemes do not follow naturally from the variational formulation.

2 January 21. the contribution of the mass matrix increases damping with decreasing frequency. only one type of initial condition may be provided. as outlined in Section 2. it involves ﬁrst order derivatives with respect to time. unsteady heat diffusion is governed by: ˙ ρcu + ∇ · q = f . q = −κ ∇u is the heat ﬂux. This topic is left to other courses which address non-linear material behaviour. ˙ M a + C a + Ka = f . The contribution of the stiffness matrix to the damping matrix increases damping with increasing frequency. A simple method of introducing damping is to say: C = τM + ψK. Conversely.2 Heat equation The heat equation is introduced here as a step to the problems in elastodynamics. Given that only the ﬁrst derivative with respect to time is involved. The precise source of damping and its mathematical form is often vague.14) where the matrix C represents the sources of damping in the structure. They two key points are that zero and negative masses on the diagonal should be avoided. Unlike elastodynamics. namely the temperature at t = 0. (9. u is the temperature.4 Damping Problems in structural dynamics often involve damping. (1989).1.3. This is known as Rayleigh damping. The problem requires boundary conditions. representing the uncertainty in the source of damping. It can be included through the damping matrix C. In strong form. A discussion can be found in Cook et al. (9. Damping due to the material response can also be included. or through the constitutive model relating stress and strain. The performance of lumped mass matrices is guided primarily by experience.16) where in the context of diffusion of heat.3. t) = u0 ( x) .17) 116 Version 0. The steady-state version of the equation was introduced in Section 2. Damping is often included by adding the term C a to the governing equations.15) where τ and ψ are user chosen parameters.9 Time-dependent problems sophisticated lumping schemes are possible which will avoid negative masses. ¨ ˙ (9. There is no rich theory underlying the choices. (9. u ( x. kappa is the conductivity. 9. The choice of the parameters τ and ψ is certainly arbitrary. and initial conditions. It will become clear when addressing particular time integration schemes why lumped mass matrices are popular. 9. c is the ‘capacity’. 2011 .

An upper bound to the highest frequency can be found by calculating the frequencies for all individual elements. the semi-discrete Galerkin problem for the heat equation involves: for a given t > 0. For a one-dimensional linear element. For explicit time integration procedures.3 Frequency analysis for elastodynamics The heat equation is parabolic. The eigenvectors are a. the highest frequency is equal to: ωe = 2 L E ρ E/ρ. ˙ 9.19) In matrix form. (9.21) −ω 2 M + K a = 0. which ¯ are also known as natural modes. ﬁnd uh ∈ S h such that Ω ˙ w h ρcuh dΩ + Ω ∇wh · κ ∇uh dΩ − Γh w h h dΓ = Ω w h f dΩ ∀wh ∈ V h (9. The difﬁculty is that the size of the problem in equation (9.9. The acceleration is therefore given by: (9. this can be expressed at time tn as: M an + Kan = f n . If stiffness and mass matrices are of dimension n. ωe = 2 3/L January 21. its motion is harmonic. For the consistent mass matrix. it is important to know the highest natural frequency of the discrete problem.2 117 . 2011 Version 0. there are n eigenvalues λ (λ = ω 2 ).23) can be very large.11) and rearranging.3 Frequency analysis for elastodynamics If an undamped system is allowed to vibrate freely (no forcing terms).22) which is a matrix eigenvalue problem. this is immediately felt (an inﬁnitesimal amount) and increases with time. ¨ ¯ Inserting these results into equation (9.20) where ω is the frequency (radians per second). The displacements at the nodes can be described by a = a cos (ωt − α) . ¯ det K − ω 2 M = 0. ¯ a = −ω 2 a cos (ωt − α) . If one end of a rod is heated.18) (9.25) √ for an element of length L. Non-trivial solutions (a = 0) require that: ¯ (9.24) The highest frequency from all elements provides an upper bound to the highest frequency of the problem. It turns out that for a lumped mass matrix. (9.23) where ω are the natural frequencies of the system. (9. Following the usual processes in developing the weak form. it is relatively simple to calculate the natural frequencies. 2 det ke − ωe me = 0 (9.

It is then possible to treat each mode separately. (9. i = j.33) 118 Version 0. ¨ αi + ωi2 αi = Ψi T f . (9. (9. a (t) = ∑ αi (t) Ψi i (9.2 January 21. The nodal displacements can be expressed as a summation of eigenfunctions.11) .31) Pre-multiplying both sides of this equation by Ψj T . This means that: Ψi T MΨj = and Ψi T KΨj = ωi2 0 i = j.32) The orthogonality property means that the equation has been decoupled into nm simple. (9. and ωi are the natural frequencies.11) yields: ¨ M ∑ αi Ψi + K ∑ αi Ψi = f i i (9. A special property of the eigenmodes Ψi is that they are orthogonal. 2011 .28) where αi (t) is the amplitude of the ith eigenmode.9 Time-dependent problems 9. i = j. separate equations. it is then possible to treat each mode individually.4 Modal analysis for elastodynamics Modal analysis involves the dividing of the response of a structure into a number of modes. For linear problems. (9.29) Orthogonality implies that the vibration modes do not interact with each other.30) 1 0 i = j. Consider a solution a = ψi cos (ωi t + θi ) . ¨ Ψj T M ∑ αi Ψi + Ψj T K ∑ αi Ψi = Ψj T f i i (9. and are known as vibration modes.28) into equation (9.27) where Ψi are eigenvectors. K − ωi2 M Ψi = 0. The sum of the modes gives the total displacement. Inserting equation (9.26) Inserting the above equation into the unforced version ( f = 0) of equation (9.

for each mode of interest. 9. (9. which is O(∆t) accurate). Therefore it is limited to linear analysis. In applying modal analysis. an+1 and an+1 at time tn+1 = tn + ∆t are needed. Hence. and perhaps information at time step n and earlier steps. usually only the low frequency modes have a signiﬁcant inﬂuence on the structural response. the above equation can be solved. Time stepping schemes are distinguished by being either explicit or implicit. it will ‘blow-up’. Typically. Modal analysis relies on the orthogonality property of the eigenfunctions.34) Solutions for forced cases are dependent on the type of loading. Given the values of an . For the unforced case.5 Time stepping algorithms Time stepping algorithms involve schemes to increment the time in discrete steps ∆t. Conversely. The difference between explicit and implicit schemes lies in stability.33) is a homogeneous ordinary partial differential equation. equation (9. Time is then incremented until the desired time is reached. Implicit schemes rely on information at time step n + 1. Further discussion of modal methods can be found in Craig (1981) and Cook et al. Stability means the range of time steps ∆t for which an integrator will calculate a stable result (small errors do not grow exponentially). Accuracy is not the difference between explicit and implicit schemes. January 21. the unsteady heat equation is ﬁrst considered. Therefore. and perhaps earlier steps (such as n − 1) to compute the solution at time step n + 1. which is O(∆t4 ) accurate).2 119 . (1989). This means a system of equations must be solved for implicit schemes. ˙ ¨ a time stepping scheme is needed. It provides a step towards the more complicated schemes for elastodynamics. Explicit integrators rely only on information at time step n.1 One-step algorithms for the heat equation To introduce time stepping algorithms. the values an+1 . If an integrator is unstable. 2011 Version 0. There are no known unconditionally stable explicit schemes. rapidly diverging from any sensible result. an and an at time tn (and perhaps also at earlier times ˙ ¨ steps).9.5 Time stepping algorithms Now. In structural analysis. equation (9.33) is only solved for a few modes. this equation can be solved analytically. For non-linear problems. implicit schemes may have a low degree of accuracy (such as the backward Euler scheme. 9. the computational effort lies in ﬁnding the eigenvectors and eigenvalues. compared to explicit schemes. the orthogonality property does not hold. implicit schemes generally require signiﬁcantly extra computational effort. but due to their extremely poor stability properties they are useless.5. To do this. There are known schemes of exceptional accuracy. Explicit schemes can be constructed to have a high degree of accuracy (such as the 4th order Runge-Kutta method. with the solution αi = c1 sin (ωi t) + c2 cos (ωi t) .

36) gives. and is second-order accurate.41a) (9. the trapezoidal method is particularly attractive as it is unconditionally stable.40b) (9.35). ˙ Rearranging equation (9.37) (9. and the implicit trapezoidal (θ = 1/2) and backward Euler (θ = 1) methods. For the problems to be considered here.35) where 0 ≤ θ ≤ 1.37).2 January 21.41b) (9. Choosing parameters appropriately for a Newmark algorithm yields a number of different. the heat equation at time tn+1 must satisfy: M an+1 + Kan+1 = f n+1 . They involve: an+1 = an + ∆t ((1 − θ ) an + θ an+1 ) . The backward Euler method is also unconditionally stable. well known integrators.36) and inserting the above result into equation (9. The Newmark algorithm gives an+1 and an+1 as: ˙ an+1 = an + ∆t an + ˙ a n +1 ˙ ∆t2 ¨ ¨ ((1 − 2β) an + 2β an+1 ) 2 = an + ∆t ((1 − γ) an + γ an+1 ) ˙ ¨ ¨ (9.2 One-step algorithms for elastodynamics The most commonly used time integration scheme in solid and structural mechanics is the generalised Newmark scheme. In practice.39) (9. 2011 . the forward Euler is not particularly useful as its stability properties are poor.9 Time-dependent problems A popular family of algorithms are ‘generalised trapezoidal’ methods.40a) (9. Well known methods are the explicit forward Euler (θ = 0) method. 1 1 (1 − θ ) M + K a n +1 = f n +1 + Man + M an . ˙ 9. a n +1 = ˙ 1 1 (1 − θ ) a − an − an . Newmark time integrators are a family of schemes. ˙ θ∆t θ and an is computed from equation (9. where 1 ˆ K= M+K θ∆t 1 (1 − θ ) fˆn+1 = f n+1 + Man + M an .5. but only ﬁrst-order accurate.38) 120 Version 0. In matrix form. ˙ θ∆t θ∆t θ In compact notation. ˙ ˙ (9. the problem to solve an+1 has become ˆ Kan+1 = fˆn+1 . ˙ θ∆t n+1 θ∆t θ (9. both explicit and implicit.

44) where ω h is the highest natural frequency (highest value from det K − ω 2 M = 0. This method is unconditionally stable and the accuracy is O(∆t2 ). It is clear that this algorithm is explicit – it is possible to express an+1 in terms of quantities at n and earlier times (which are known). It corresponds to β = 1/4 and γ = 1/2 in the Newmark family of integrators.2 121 . 2 ∆t ˙ ˙ = an + ( a n + a n +1 ) . Another commonly used time integrator is based on the trapezoidal rule. 2011 Version 0. It is also energy conserving. c (9. ∆t ≤ L . January 21. a n +1 = a n + ˙ ˙ a n +1 ∆t ¨ ¨ ( a n + a n +1 ) .45) which is the Courant.42) For γ = 1/2. an = ˙ an = ¨ a n +1 − a n −1 2∆t an−1 − 2an + an+1 . a Newmark scheme is second-order accurate. The Newmark method is unconditionally stale for: 2β ≥ γ ≥ 1 2 (9.5 Time stepping algorithms where β and γ are parameters which deﬁne the nature and properties of the algorithm. This scheme is O(∆t2 ) accurate. It is necessary to express the terms a and a in terms of a. but it is conditionally stable. ∆t2 (9.46b).46b) Inserting equation (9.9. The term ω h can be estimated for linear elements as 2c/L. where c is the dilatational wave speed (c = E/ρ) and L is the length of an element. Therefore. A commonly used time integrator is the central difference method.46a) (9.41) for β = 0 and γ = 1/2.47) This integrator is implicit.43a) (9. Appropriate choices of β and γ yield well known integration methods. It is stable for: ∆t ≤ 2 ωh (9. 2 (9. Its stability properties are attractive. but as will be shown later. Calculating the necessary terms using ˙ ¨ central differences.46a) into equation (9.43b) It is possible to rearrange these terms and show that they are equivalent to equation (9. it requires the factorisation of a large matrix. an+1 = an + ∆t an + ˙ ∆t2 ¨ ¨ ( a n + a n +1 ) 4 (9. Friedrichs and Lewy (CFL) stability condition.

(9.50) 2 2∆t 2∆t n−1 ∆t ∆t Recall that the displacement vector a is known at step n and all previous steps. Inserting the central difference expressions from equation (9.54) (9. 2∆t n−1 ∆t Then. has the appearance: M an + C an + Kan = f n . the displacement vector a at step n + 1 is given by: ˆ an+1 = M −1 fˆn (9. The term Kan is equivalent to: Kan = B T σn dΩ. A procedure is required to ‘start’ the 122 Version 0. 1 1 1 1 M+ C an+1 = 2 M (2an − an−1 ) + Ca − Kan + f n . ¨ ˙ (9. an+1 can be calculated without solving a system of equations (hence the attractiveness of lumped mass matrices when using explicit time integrators). M an−1 − 2an + an+1 a − a n −1 + Kan = f n . it is possible to calculate an+1 .48) It is assumed that a and its time derivatives are known at time t and unknown at time t + ∆t (corresponding to n + 1).43). In practice. 2011 . with damping.2 January 21. Given an and an−1 .53) 1 1 C M+ 2 2∆t ∆t (9.55) Ω A difﬁculty with explicit central-difference time integration is the need for information at n − 1 when starting a calculation.49) Rearranging the above equation such that all terms at t + ∆t are on the LHS and all terms at time t are on the RHS. and unknown at step n + 1. + C n +1 2 2∆t ∆t (9.52) (9.9 Time-dependent problems Explicit time integration – central diﬀerence approach The system of equations to be solved. it is not necessary to form the stiffness matrix K.51) If both M and C are diagonal matrices. where ˆ M= and 1 1 fˆn = 2 M (2an − an−1 ) + Ca − Kan + f n . (9. The above equations can be written in a shorthand format as: ˆ Man+1 = fˆn .

This yields.58b) These equations are then inserted into equation (9.59) Rearranging such that all unknown quantities appear on the LHS.61) January 21. 1 M + K a n +1 = M β∆t2 1 1 1 an + ˙ an − an ˙ ¨ a + 2 n β∆t 2β β∆t +f (9. and all known quantities on the RHS. M 1 1 1 an − ˙ an + an ¨ ¨ ( a n +1 − a n ) − β∆t 2β β∆t2 + Kan+1 = f n+1 (9. damping is ignored. Implicit time integration – the Newmark family Formulation of a Newmark scheme starts by inserting the expressions for the velocity and accelerations into: M an+1 + C an+1 + Kan+1 = f n+1 ¨ ˙ (9. it is very efﬁcient and suitable for very large problems.2 123 . a n +1 = ¨ 1 1 1 an − ˙ an + an ¨ ¨ ( a n +1 − a n ) − β∆t 2β β∆t2 (9.57) Rearranging the expressions in equation (9.60) which in a short-hand notation can be expressed as: ˆ Kan+1 = fˆn+1 (9. which are the initial conditions.56) The vector an−1 can be used to start the time integration procedure. The time step must be chosen carefully for a particular discretisation.41) for β = 0 to express the accelerations and velocity at step n + 1 in terms of step n and earlier. Furthermore.58a) a n +1 = a n ˙ ˙ + ∆t (1 − γ) an + γ ¨ 1 1 1 an − ˙ an + an ¨ ¨ ( a n +1 − a n ) − β∆t 2β β∆t2 (9. an−1 = an − ∆t an + ˙ ∆t2 an ¨ 2 (9.5 Time stepping algorithms algorithm at t = 0.43) it is possible to express an−1 in terms of quantities at n (time t = 0).9. 2011 Version 0. The central difference procedure is popular in ﬁnite element analysis. For simplicity. The signiﬁcant drawback is the conditional stability. Combining equations (9.57). it is second-order accurate. In combination with a lumped mass matrix.

Derive the mass matrix for a two-noded beam element. the terms in f are prescribed and both M and K can be formed. Calculate the consistent and lumped mass matrices for the four-noded quadrilateral element. the algorithm is unconditionally stable and second-order accurate.7 Exercises 1. 2011 . 9. However. the vector fˆ can be calculated from an . ¨ (9. With the Newmark scheme. choosing γ = 1/2 reduces the integration scheme to ﬁrst order accuracy O(t).2 January 21. 124 Version 0.41) to show for β = 0 and γ = 1/2 the scheme is equivalent to a central-difference procedure.5. Solving the resulting system of equations yields an+1 . If −1/3 < α < 0. The problem with the Newmark scheme is that the introduction of any numerical damping reduces the order of accuracy from two to one. 2. Rearrange equation (9.9 Time-dependent problems Since the stiffness matrix K is not diagonal. 1987). A number of algorithms have been developed to preserve second-order accuracy while allowing for the introduction of numerical damping. Note that calculating the ‘new’ an+1 introduces a dependency ˙ on the parameter γ.62) where f n+1+α = f n+1+θ∆t . calculating an requires the solution of a system of equations.3 α-Method for elastodynamics In dynamic simulations. the α-Method reduces to the Newmark scheme. Numerical damping aids in controlling undesirable spurious high frequency modes in the solution. which is also known as the Hilber-Hughes-Taylor Method (Hughes. numerical damping can be introduced by choosing γ > 1/2. 9. Decreasing α increases the dissipation. At time step n. Numerical dissipation can be controlled through the parameter α. 9. it is usually desirable to introduce some numerical damping to suppress spurious high-frequency modes. One such algorithm is the α-Method. γ = (1 − 2α) /2 and β = (1 − α)2 /4. 3. It involves using a Newmark scheme to solve : M an+1 + (1 − α) Kan+1 − αKan = f n+1+α . If α = 0.6 Space-time formulations Time as a degree of freedom.

J. volume 2. Cook. London. fast solvers. 24:337–357. Golub. third edition. (2001). K. Matrix Computations. A simple error estimator and adaptive procedure for practical engineering analysis. Braess. New Jersey. Finite Element Procedures. J. R. and applications in solid mechanics. (2004). Prentice-Hall. McGraw-Hill Book Company. (1994). England. L. New York. Springer. L. O. (1973). D. Craig. fourth edition. D. The Mathematical Theory of Finite Elements Methods. O. L. (1987). Reddy. (1989). and Taylor. H. Prentice-Hall. S. C. C. Zienkiewicz. Springer-Verlag. J. SpringerVerlag. John Wiley & Sons. V. R.. C. F. Inc. New York. A. Englewood Cliffs. and Scott.. M. 125 . Hughes. Concept and Applications of Finite Element Analysis. R. Baltimore.. G. The Finite Element Method . R. O. C. (1989). (1991). G. (1987). London. volume 1. T. E. New Jersey. Introductory Functional Analysis. New York. R. Prentice-Hall.Linear Static and Dynamic Finite Element Analysis. John Wiley and Sons. Theory and Practice of Finite Elements. (1996). The John Hopkins University Press. Zienkiewicz. and Zhu. International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering. and Loan. The Finite Element Method. New York. Zienkiewicz. Malkus. and Fix. fourth edition. Berkshire. (1996).References Bathe. R.-J. Strang. Brenner. and Guermond. and Taylor. and Plesha. Z. McGraw-Hill Book Company. C. Ern. G. The Finite Element Method. (1998). D. Structural Dynamics. S. R. Analysis of the Finite Element Method. D. Cambridge. Berkshire. Finite Elements: Theory. Cambridge University Press. L. B. (1981).

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