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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. . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Tensor basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Stiffness matrix storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. .Contents 1 Introduction 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Isoparametric mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 One-dimensional bar . . . . . . . 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. . . 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Linear algebra . . . . . .3 3. . . 5 Implementation of the ﬁnite element 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 General ﬁnite element basis functions . . 4. 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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 . . . . . . .5 Post-processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Regularity requirements .2 3. . . . . . . . . . 2. .2 Continuum elasticity .2 Vector calculus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Strong and weak forms of the governing equations 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Numerical integration . . . . . . . . .7 Exercises . . . 4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Program ﬂow . . . . method . .3 Local-global . . . . . .1 Preprocessing . . .4 Essentials from continuum mechanics 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Poisson equation . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Deﬁnition of trial and weight function spaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Finite element method with piecewise linear basis functions 4.1 3.4 Galerkin method Approximate solution . . . . . 6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Minimisation of potential energy . . . . .3 Governing equations . . . . . . . .7 Exercises . . . . . . . . . 3 The 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Imposition of Dirichlet boundary conditions . . . . 4. . . . . . . . . . Basic error analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Convergence of the Galerkin method Exercises . .

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

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

and is deﬁned through the operation which gives the length x of a vector x.3) Consider the dot product between two vectors a and b. i =1 n (1. ai where i runs from one to n. which is denoted a · b.7) 8 Version 0. a2 (1. (1. In the case n = 2. i =1 3 (1. where repeated indices imply summation: a·b = For n = 3.2 January 21. a= a1 .1 Introduction x2 a e2 = [0 1 0] e1 = [1 0 0] x1 e3 = [0 0 1] x3 Figure 1.6) ∑ a i b i = a 1 b1 + a 2 b2 + a 3 b3 .5) ∑ a i bi . x = √ x · x. A vector a in an n-dimensional space R n can be expressed in terms of its components. 2011 .1: Example of orthonormal base vectors.4) The dot product of two vectors is given by: a · b = a i bi . a·b = (1.

A. A31 A32 A33 (1. and in index notation as Dij = Aik Bkj . A = Aij . M. the dot product maybe written as a T b.13) where n is the dimension of the vector b. (1. which is expressed as D = AB. (1. The symbol δij is known as the Kronecker delta: δij = 1 if i = j. 0 if i = j.10) As with vectors. Second-order tensors can be multiplied.9) Second-order tensors (which possess some similar properties to matrices) are generally denoted by uppercase bold characters.11) (1.16) (1.15) (1. The transpose of a tensor is denoted by the superscript ‘T’. (1. A second-order tensor A takes the vector b and transforms it into the vector a. allowing the base vectors to be discarded and the more familiar notation a · b = ai b j δij = ai bi . K.14) January 21. a = Ab = Aij b j = ∑ Aij bj j =1 n (1.8) can be used.1 Tensor basics For an orthonormal basis.1. ei · e j = δij .2 9 . Consider the case a = ABc = Dc.12) Second-order tensors are linear operators that act upon vectors. It is deﬁned by: a · Bc = Bc · a = c · B T a. 2011 Version 0.17) (1. in the vein of matrix multiplication. Aij . At times. The second-order tensor A in R3 can be expressed as A11 A12 A13 A = Aij = A21 A22 A23 . a second-order tensor A can be expressed in terms of components. R (1.

It also yields a scalar.20) The trace of a second-order tensor is essentially the summation of its diagonal components. This is equivalent to A : B = Aij Bij . i =1 j =1 n n (1. (1.22) Using the trace. The repeated i and j indices implies: Aij Bij = (1. A useful identity involving the transpose is: ( AB) T = B T A T . which is equivalent to Aij = ai b j .1 Introduction In terms of indices: Aij T = A ji . A : B = A11 B11 + A12 B12 + A21 B21 + A22 B22 .23) (1.28) 10 Version 0. For a second-order tensor A in R3 . It is deﬁned by: A : B = tr A T B . = ai b j .25) ∑ ∑ Aij Bij .19) Second-order tensors can be formed through the dyadic production of two vectors. is provided for two second-order tensors. an inner product. (1.24) (1. For two second-order tensors in R2 . (1.18) The transpose of a second-order tensor implies interchanging the rows and columns of its components.26) (1. an operation similar to the dot product of two vectors.27) This operation has no equivalent in matrix-vector convention. (1. (1. A = a ⊗ b. For example.2 January 21. tr ( a ⊗ b) = ai bi and tr ( A) = Aii . this implies: tr ( A) = A11 + A22 + A33 .21) (1. 2011 .

or vector. A common third-order tensor is the alternating (or permutation) tensor E .37) 11 . If the permutation {i. and is equal to I = δij ei ⊗ e j . A third-order tensor maps a second-order tensor to a ﬁrst order tensor. Another important operation is the cross. (1. The result of the above equation is rather simple. matrices which rotate the reference frame are orthogonal.33) (1. It is deﬁned for a. A matrix A is symmetric if: A T = A. k} is even. j. 2011 Version 0. (1. A third-order tensor can be deﬁned which will make manipulations more convenient.34) (1. Eijk = 1.1 Tensor basics The identity tensor I is deﬁned by: a = Ia.36) The expression for E in terms of the basis ei is lengthy and not shown here.29) A second-order tensor A. If any of the indices are repeated. a tensor Aij is symmetric if: Aij = A ji .30) (1. k} is odd.32) As will be shown in the following section. A tensor A is orthogonal if: A T = A −1 .2 (1. and if the permutation {i. j. January 21. E : ( a ⊗ b) = a × b. a 1 b2 − a 2 b1 Such a deﬁnition however is not convenient for manipulation. The cross product of two vectors yields a vector. multiplied by its inverse A−1 . The cross product can be introduced via the third-order tensor E . Eijk = 0. (1. (1. is equal to the identity tensor. Eijk = −1.1. The components of E are given by: [E ] = Eijk = ei · e j × ek . Using index notation.31) Second-order tensors are often characterised by their special properties. b ∈ R3 by: a 2 b3 − a 3 b2 (1.35) [ a × b ] = a 3 b1 − a 1 b3 . product. AA−1 = A−1 A = I.

it will not be necessary to manipulate fourthorder tensors directly. They are related to each other via a fourth-order tensor. Consider the orthonormal coordinate systems in Figure 1. (1.40) (1. ′ and it would be convenient to have the components in the ei system. C = Cijkl . due to physical symmetries. Consider that for a vector a.1 Introduction x2 ′ e2 = [− sin θ cos θ ] e2 = [0 1] ′ e1 = [cos θ sin θ ] θ e1 = [1 0] x1 Figure 1. For an orthonormal basis. Deﬁning Qij by Qij = ei · e′j .38) In elasticity. denoted here as C . It may prove convenient to transform vector components relative to the ei system to components ′ in the ei system. ′ the components ai are given by ′ ai = Q ji a j . in terms of indices. A : B = Aijk Bjk .2 January 21.39) Fortunately.2: Rotation between coordinate systems. Vector and tensor components can be rotated (change of basis) using a rotation matrix Q. which is orthogonal. (1. This operation is particularly important when considering moments.41) 12 Version 0. it is convenient to rotate the coordinate frame. Coordinate transformations For many problems. the components in ei system are known.2. the stress and strain are second-order tensors. 2011 . (1.

47) (1. ∂x ∂4 u ∂2 u = u. An important operator is the divergence. Some of its derivatives can be written as: ∂u = u. ∂x2 ∂x4 ∂2 u ∂3 u = u. QQ T = Q T Q = I.xy .46) Often coordinate transforms are used to simplify a problem. (1.1.48) This notation is used commonly throughout these notes.49) 13 .44) Therefore. 0.2 (1.45) At times it is necessary to also rotate the components of a second-order tensor from one coordinate system to another. = u.xx .2 Vector calculus Subscripts are commonly used as a short-hand notation for derivatives.xxxx . It is expressed as: ∇ · a. Characters after a comma in the subscript denote differentiation with respect to that variable. components in the rotated reference frame can be transformed back to the original reference frame by: a = Qa′ . Considering the coordinate systems illustrated in Figure 1. An example is a onedimensional rod element in a three-dimensional space. 2011 Version 0. cos θ (1. 1. January 21.2.42) − sin θ . = u. Consider a function u which is dependent on the position x. Q= ′ e1 · e1 ′ e2 · e1 ′ e1 · e2 cos θ ′ = sin θ e2 · e2 (1. 0 . This is done by the operation: A′ = Q T AQ. and A = QA′ Q T .2 Vector calculus which can also be expressed as: a′ = Q T a.x . The divergence of a vector ﬁeld a yields a scalar. ∂x∂y ∂x∂y2 (1. (1. It is convenient to rotate the ′ reference such such the position along the bar is given by [ x]′ = x1 .43) and note that Q is orthogonal. (1.xyy . which effectively reduces the three-dimensional problem to a one-dimensional problem.

∂A11 + ∂A12 ∂x ∂x2 . ∂xi (1. ∇ · a is equal to ∇·a = ∂ai = ai. In a three-dimensional space. ∇ · A = ∂A 1 ∂A22 21 ∂x + ∂x 1 2 (1. ∇a = (1. In a three-dimensional space. 2011 .1 Introduction In terms of indices.57) ∂y ∂z ∂x ∂a3 ∂a3 ∂a3 ∂x ∂y ∂z 14 Version 0.56) which yields a second-order tensor.50) In a three-dimensional space R3 .54) which yields a vector.j . the components of ∇ a are given by: ∂a1 ∂a1 ∂a1 ∂x ∂y ∂z ∂a2 ∂a2 ∂a2 . The gradient of a scalar a is given by: ∇a = ∂a = a.52) For a two-dimensional tensor A. ∂y ∂a ∂z The gradient of a vector is given by: ∇a = ∂ai = ai. ∂x1 ∂x2 ∂x3 ∂x ∂y ∂z (1. ∂x j (1.55) ∇a = .i .53) Another important operator is the gradient.51) The divergence of a second-order tensor is given by: ∇·A = ∂Aij = Aij.i . ∂x j (1.j . the components of ∇ a are given by: ∂a ∂x ∂a (1. ∂xi (1.2 January 21. ∇·a = ∂ay ∂a ∂a x ∂a ∂az ∂a1 + 2+ 3 = + + .

58) where n is the outward normal to the body Ω. The surface of Ω is given by ∂Ω.59) Integration by parts is used frequently in the formulation of the ﬁnite element method.3.60) The above equation also holds for the case in which a is replaced by a scalar and B is replaced by a vector. the eigenvalues of the stress tensor are the principal stresses. 2011 Version 0. It transforms a volume integral to a surface integral.3: Continuous body Ω ⊂ R n bounded by Γ. (1. For a vector a. (1.61) and then applying the divergence theorem. For example. and the January 21. (1.3 Linear algebra The eigenvalues and eigenvectors of a matrix provide information as to its properties. The outward unit normal to the body is denoted n. The boundary of the body Ω is denoted Γ = ∂Ω.3 Linear algebra n Ω Γ Figure 1. ∂x j i ij (1. 1. Consider the body Ω in Figure 1.2 15 . It implies that: Ω a · (∇ · B) dΩ = − Ω ∇ a : B dΩ + ∂Ω a · Bn dΓ.1. Ω ∇ · a dΩ = ∂Ω a · n dΓ. The divergence theorem states: Ω ∇ · A dΩ = ∂Ω An dΓ. The above formula is simple to derive by using the product rule for differentiation to expand Ω ∇ · ( aB ) dΩ = Ω ∂ a B dΩ. An essential theorem in formulating the ﬁnite element method is the divergence theorem (also known as Gauss’s theorem).

4 Essentials from continuum mechanics The ﬁnite element method is used in these notes to solve primarily problems in continuum mechanics. vectors b and scalars λ which satisfy ( A − λI ) b = 0 (1. 2011 . K will often be referred to as the ‘stiffness matrix’ and f the ‘right-hand side vector’. 2 i.66) 16 Version 0. the eigenvalues of a matrix indicates if a matrix has a unique inverse. special numerical algorithms are used to calculate the eigenvalues. The polynomial is known as the characteristic equation of A. the system of equations in a ﬁnite element equation will be very large. Solvers for ﬁnite element problems are discussed in Chapter 8. Equation (1. respectively. This requires some background in continuum mechanics and linear-elasticity.2 January 21.1 Introduction corresponding eigenvectors are the principal stress directions.63) For a 2 × 2 matrix. and is unique. and u and f are vectors of length n. 1. all eigenvalues are positive and real. of A.i . the roots of a cubic equation must be found. all eigenvalues are real. A zero eigenvalue implies that the matrix A has a linearly dependent column.j (1. (1. It is not a comprehensive coverage of the topic. For a matrix A. Eigenvalue tests are often used in studying the matrices arising in the ﬁnite element method. The strain ǫ is deﬁned as the symmetric gradient of the displacement vector: ǫij = 1 u + u j. In the context of the ﬁnite element method. Also. which guarantees that the inverse of A exists. This section is intended to cover only the important concepts which are used later in these notes.64) where K is an n × n matrix. (1.62) are known as eigenvectors and eigenvalues. (1. For a symmetric matrix. The solution u is given by: u = K −1 f . For a 3 × 3 matrix. ﬁnding λ requires ﬁnding the roots of a quadratic equation. A system of n linear equations can be expressed as: Ku = f . The system of equations is usually solved using a direct method (such as Gauss elimination or LU decomposition) or an approximate iterative method. For large matrices.65) Typically. For a positive deﬁnite matrix A.62) implies that: det ( A − λI ) = 0. 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).

as will be shown in the next chapter).72) (1.i .68) where the bracket around the subscript denotes the symmetric gradient.74) νE (1 + ν) (1 − 2ν) (1. A constitutive equation relates the stresses in a material to the strain. the stress tensor is symmetric (which can be proved by considering the balance of angular momentum. or in index notation. σn = t (1.67) For convenience.1. The stress tensor is deﬁned through the traction vector t (force per unit area) on a surface. 2 i. 2 (1.j) = 1 u + u j. linear-elastic continua. Obviously. For convenience. this can be written as: σ = C : ǫ. the above expression can be written as: ǫ = ∇s u = 1 ∇u + (∇u) T . σij = Cijkl ǫkl where C is a fourth-order tensor.j (1.69) where n is the unit normal vector to the surface. For solid.71) (1.2 17 . In compact notation. In a homogeneous body.73) (1. it is deﬁned by: Cijkl = µ δik δjl + δil δjk + λδij δkl where λ= and µ= E 2 (1 + ν ) (1.70) with E the Young’s modulus and ν Poisson’s ratio. in three-dimensions the stress and strain tensors have only six independent components. Similar to the strain tensor. The constants λ and µ are often referred to as Lam´ constants. For linear elasticity. this reduces to four. January 21. 2011 Version 0. the strain tensor is symmetric. Lam´ constants are indepene e dent of the position. Due to symmetry.4 Essentials from continuum mechanics which is clearly a second-order tensor. In two-dimensions. the symmetric gradient using index notation will be expressed as: u(i.

The third possibility is axisymmetric.76) σ= σ12 σ13 σ23 Using the vector format for stress and strain. It is then likely that the stress in the out-of-plane direction is not equal to zero. For isotropic linear-elasticity. In these notes.x 2ǫ13 γ13 u.z ǫ33 ǫ33 . in which the stress and strain are represented as vectors.1 Introduction ‘engineering’ notation is often adopted.z + w. An axisymmetric formulation is for example commonly used when simulating a circular foundation.x ǫ22 ǫ22 v. In this case.y + v.75) = = ǫ= 2ǫ12 γ12 u. The second possibility is plane stress (σ33 = 0). This assumes that the normal strain in the out-of-plane direction is zero (ǫ33 = 0).z + w. particular attention will be paid to solving elastic continuum problems. This approximation is good for very thin members.y γ23 2ǫ23 The stress tensor is expressed in a vector form. (1.2 January 21. 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. the constitutive relationship can be written as: σ = Dǫ (1. In this case. there are three possibilities. the normal stress out-of-plane is assumed to be zero. The ﬁrst is known as plane strain. such as many beams. σ11 σ22 σ33 (1. 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.77) When reducing a three-dimensional problem to two-dimensions.y u. This is reasonable for problems which are relatively thick in the third direction. although without the factor ‘2’ on the shear terms.78) D= 0 0 0 µ 0 0 0 0 0 0 µ 0 0 0 0 0 0 µ 18 Version 0. such as a dam wall. 2011 .x v. ǫ11 ǫ11 u. containing components of the fourthorder tensor C .

83) If translational equilibrium (equation (1.82) where r is the position vector of a point on ∂Ω.83) is zero. Note that this equation is general. Therefore. and applying the divergence theorem. the partial differential equation of equilibrium is given by equation (1. Application of the divergence theorem to the integral over ∂Ω gives: Ω ∇ · σ + b dΩ = 0 (1.81) Consider now moment equilibrium (balance of angular momentum).80) Balance of linear momentum should also be satisﬁed for any subdomain of Ω. Then.80). Ω r × (∇ · σ + b) dΩ + Ω E : σ T dΩ = 0 (1. 1. 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. 2011 Version 0.5 Exercises 1. moment equilibrium is satisﬁed if the stress tensor is symmetric. How many independent components does a symmetric second-order tensor in R n have? January 21. and not speciﬁc to elasticity.79) where b is a body force. since E : σ T = 0. which requires that ∂Ω t dΓ + Ω b dΩ = ∂Ω σn dΓ + Ω b dΩ = 0 (1. In order to derive the governing partial differential equation.80)) is satisﬁed. This will also be referred to as the ‘strong’ governing equation. Therefore. consider ﬁrst translational equilibrium (balance of linear momentum) of a body Ω ⊂ R n with boundary Γ = ∂Ω.1. the ﬁrst term in equation (1.80). 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. etc.5 Exercises elastic bodies. Considering that t = σn. For three-dimensions (i = 1 → 3. if σ is symmetric.2 19 .). the integral can be removed from equation(1. leading to: ∇ · σ + b = 0 in Ω (1.

Using the product rule for differentiation and the divergence theorem. Derive the isotropic linear-elastic constitutive matrix D for plane stress and plane strain conditions 20 Version 0. It is equivalent to ∇ · ∇. 5.2 January 21.1 Introduction 3.60).43) is orthogonal. 2011 . derive the integration by parts formula in equation (1. A common and important operator in applied mathematics (and mechanics) is the Laplace operator ∆ (sometimes denoted ∇2 ). Expand ∆u in a three-dimensional space using index notation. Conﬁrm that the rotation matrix R in equation (1. What is the trace of the identity tensor I equal to in R n ? 4. 6. 7.

1. 21 . For example. (2. This is complemented by a constitutive relationship which gives the stress in the rod in terms of the strain. the strong form is multiplied by a weight function and integrated by parts. A Dirichlet (essential) boundary condition prescribes the displacement at a point.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’. The weak form is also commonly known as a the ‘variational form’ or a ‘variational equation’. and leads to a form which is convenient for later numerical solution. For a linear-elastic rod. The governing equation for a onedimensional rod element with unit cross-sectional area is (see equation (1.4) 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. (2.x is the normal stress in the rod and f is a distributed load along the rod. The ﬁnite element method is a variational method.2) where E is the Young’s modulus.x = f . This has the effect of reducing the order of the derivatives appearing in the equation. To do this. 2. The governing equation can then be expressed as: − Eu.3) To complete the problem.1) where σ.xx = f . the normal stress is given by: σ = Eǫ = E du . addressing the weak (variational) form of the relevant governing equation. u = 0 at x=0 (2. boundary conditions must be speciﬁed.81)): −σ.1: One-dimensional bar. dx (2.1 One-dimensional bar Consider the one-dimensional bar in Figure 2.

6) (2.x σ dx − wh| x= L ∀w ∈ V . Note that in the strong form. The above boundary condition sets the applied traction at x = L equal to h. then − wσ. Inserting now the constitutive relationship σ = Eu.11) Note the term wEu.x Eu. which yields: − L 0 wσ. both sides of equation (2.6) are multiplied by a scalar weight function w ∈ V (w ∈ V means that w comes from the appropriately deﬁned space of functions V . (2.x dx = L 0 w. If equation (2. 2011 .xx = f u=0 Eu.60). equation (2.x dx = L 0 w f dx + wh| x= L ∀w ∈ V .2 Strong and weak forms of the governing equations prescribes the displacement at one end of the bar in Figure 2.6). (2. The mathematical problem can now be summarised as: ﬁnd u such that: − Eu. A Neumann (natural) boundary condition prescribes the applied traction.12) where S is an appropriately deﬁned space of functions which satisﬁes the Dirichlet boundary conditions. after inserting the constitutive relationship (2.9) must hold point-wise. (2. Taking guidance from equation (1. σn = h at x = L.x . at x = 0. applying a force at the end of the bar is equivalent to prescribing u. the equation must still hold for all admissible weight function (this is a technical point which is discussed in section 2.8) To develop the weak form of the governing equation.x dx = w f dx ∀w ∈ V . −wσ. An important requirement on the space V is that functions w be zero where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied.7) (2.10) is also true.x = w f L 0 ∀w ∈ V .1 to be equal to zero.1) by w.x .x n| x=0 is not included as by deﬁnition the weight function w is equal to zero at x = 0. solving the weak form involves: ﬁnd u ∈ S such that L 0 w.5) where n is the outward normal to the bar (equal to 1 in this case). at x = L. Multiplying equation (2. This is the weak form of the governing equation. (2. Considering that σ = Eu.8) inserted. Since both sides of the equation are multiplied by the weight function.10) can be integrated by parts and the Neumann boundary condition from equation (2. derivatives of order 22 Version 0. which has an inﬁnite number of members).2 January 21.3).x n = h 0 < x < L. (2.9) where ‘∀w ∈ V ’ means ‘for all w ∈ V ’. L 0 (2.x .

Consider now the continuous body in Figure 2. Since the weak form is derived from the strong form.xx = f .14) which can be rearranged to give L 0 φ ( Eu.2 Continuum elasticity two with respect to x appear.12) yields − L 0 wEu. Assuming that E is constant and integrating by parts the ﬁrst term in (2. 2011 Version 0. (2. For a more elaborate mathematical treatment. it follows that a solution of the strong form is also a solution of the weak form. In the weak form (2.17) 23 . Hence. w(0) = 0.xx + f ).x n| x= L = L 0 w f dx + wh| x= L .13).xx dx + wEu. Recall that the governing equation is given by: ∇ · σ + b = 0 in Ω. What remains now is to ensure that the Neumann boundary condition is satisﬁed (Dirichlet boundary conditions are satisﬁed by construction). satisfying the strong governing equation (in a distributional sense). as by construction.16) proving that the Neumann boundary conditions are satisﬁed.2. The complication arises from the three-dimensional setting.xx + f )2 dx = 0. (2. 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. 2. Following Hughes (1987). (2. at least in a generalised sense).xx + f ) Eu. − L 0 φ ( Eu. The strong governing equation for this problem was developed in the previous chapter. (2. The basic form of the equations is the same as the one-dimensional bar in the previous section. January 21.15) Since φ > 0 and ( Eu. Eu. where φ is greater than zero over the interval ]0. for any allowable weight function at x = L.xx + f )2 ≥ 0. Returning to equation (2.xx + f ) f dx.13). see Brenner and Scott (1994). consider a weight function w ∈ V which is equal to φ ( Eu. the above equation can only hold if − Eu.2 (2.xx dx = L 0 φ ( Eu. Inserting the weight function into equation (2.x n = h. L[ and zero outside (speciﬁcally at x = 0 and x = L).13) Note again that no terms at x = 0 appear.2 Continuum elasticity A more complicated example is continuum elasticity.12). it is now proven that the ﬁrst term is equal to zero.2. only ﬁrst derivatives with respect to x appear.

(2.22) 24 Version 0. Boundary conditions are still required to complete the problem. and integrating over the body Ω yields: Ω w · (∇ · σ ) dΩ + Ω w · b dΩ = 0 ∀w ∈ V . Note that in this case. (2.2 Strong and weak forms of the governing equations h Γh Ω Γg n Figure 2.19) On the remaining boundary. As in the one-dimensional case. the weight function w is a vector. Γg ∩ Γh = ∅).18) where C is a fourth-order tensor. (2. and integrated over the body. To derive the weak form.17) by w ∈ V . a constitutive relationship is required.2 January 21. (2. 2011 . the governing equation is multiplied by a weight function w ∈ V .2.60)). yielding: − Ω ∇w : σ dΩ + Ω w · b dΩ + Γh w · h dΓ = 0. the same steps as in the case of the one-dimensional bar are followed. On part of the boundary. t=h on Γh .2: Continuous body Ω ⊂ R n with boundary Γ (Γ = Γg ∪ Γh .21) The ﬁrst term in equation (2.21) can be integrated by parts (see equation (1. tractions (potentially zero) are applied (traction ≡ force per unit area on a surface).20) The boundary-value problem is now complete. Γh . the displacements are prescribed (Dirichlet boundary conditions). Multiplying equation (2. First. σ = C : ǫ. In Figure 2. For a linearelastic material. where again V is an appropriately deﬁned function space (w = 0 on Γg ). u=g on Γg . (2. the part of the boundary where displacements are prescribed is denoted Γg .

j ) (2. Ω δǫ : C : ǫ dΩ = Ω δu · b dΩ + Γh δu · h dΓ.23). q is the heat ﬂux vector.2 25 . Here the Poisson equation is addressed in a more generic fashion. (2. Inserting now the constitutive relationship from equation (2. However. The constitutive relationship depends on the problem being solved. including steady-state heat conduction and ﬂow in permeable media (Darcy’s law). Often the term ∇w is written as ∇s w. A wide range of physical phenomena are governed by this equation. u is the hydraulic head and κ is known as the hydraulic conductivity.24) which is the equation of virtual work. This is the weak equilibrium equation for a stationary continuous elastic body. (2. The equation of virtual work is therefore the weak form of the governing equation. the scalar u is the temperature. In the case of heat conductivity.25) where q is a ﬂux vector and f is a source term. There exists a close link between weak forms and virtual work for a range of problems. 2. Consistency can be proven in the same fashion as was used for the onedimensional problem.3 Poisson equation where σn has been replaced by the prescribed traction h (the Neumann boundary condition). q is the ﬂow rate.26) where u is a potential. The previous example of continuum elasticity was an example of a system of Poisson equations – one for each spatial direction. Consider the following equation: −∇ · q + f = 0 in Ω (2.2. For linear heat conduction. where κ is the thermal conductivity.18). 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 . In Darcy’s law. January 21.23) where S is an appropriate space of functions which satisfy the Dirichlet boundary conditions. Inserting the constitutive equation into (2.25) yields a Poisson equation. the symmetric gradient of w. Consider now w as a ‘virtual displacement’ δu. The constitutive relationship is given by: q = −κ ∇ u (qi = −κij u. 2011 Version 0. Inserting this into equation (2. Therefore ∇s w ≡ δǫ. For an isotropic medium. κ = κI. It is simple to show that ∇w : σ = ∇s w : σ if σ is symmetric (see exercise 1). For Darcy’s law. the variational framework is more general.3 Poisson equation An equation which is often solved using the ﬁnite element method is the Poisson equation.

Multiplying equation (2. the boundary-value problem requires boundary conditions. there exists a close link between minimisation of energy and solution of the weak form. w = u + v. (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 . this is the temperature on the boundary Γg . The Dirichlet conditions impose: u=g on Γg (2. The weak form of the Poisson equation is derived following the same steps as in the previous two examples.2).28) where n is the outward normal to the surface Γh (see Figure 2. and for Darcy ﬂow is it the inﬂow/outﬂow across a boundary. it is the hydraulic head.4 Minimisation of potential energy For particular equations. For Darcy ﬂow. this imposes the heat ﬂux on Γh . (2.2 Strong and weak forms of the governing equations As for all previous examples. (2. 2. and consider the potential energy functional I.33) 26 Version 0. 2011 .32) The potential energy for another displacement ﬁeld. In the case of heat conduction.25) by a weight function w and integrating over the body Ω. − Ω w (∇ · q) dΩ + Ω w f dΩ = 0 ∀w ∈ V . suppose that u is the solution to the weak problem.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 . (2.2 January 21. 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. such as equilibrium of an elastic body. For an elastic body Ω.31) which is the weak form of the Poisson equation. (2.27) which prescribes the potential on the boundary. For heat conduction.

the weak form allows for more possible solutions. Consider now if the function f is a possible solution u of the strong equation for a bar (equation (2. The function shown in Figure 2.3. A C0 function is shown in Figure 2. since for equation (2. it is clear that it is simple to take the ﬁrst derivative of the function f .3) to make sense. and the last term Ω ∇s v : C : ∇s v dΩ ≥ 0.34) Ω ∇s v : C : ∇s v dΩ. functions which are C0 are most commonly used. It is not a possible solution. the second derivative of f with respect to x ( f .2. As will be seen in the following chapters. Therefore a function like f is a possible solution of the weak form and a possible weight function. Examining now the weak form for the rod (equation (2.3: Example of a C0 function f . in which the terms inside the brackets sum to zero for any v since u is a solution to the weak form (see equation 2.3. This is a classic mathematical property of weak forms. Functions are often classiﬁed as being C n continuous. which proves that solution of the weak form corresponds to minimisation of the potential energy.3)). This means that the functions are continuous. 2011 Version 0. piecewise linear function.5 Regularity requirements f f .23). 2.12)). but their ﬁrst derivatives are not. and is essential for the ﬁnite element method. However. this is a commonly used function in ﬁnite element analysis. If a function is C n . 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. its second derivative does not exist. In summary.3 is a continuous. Continuity refers to whether or not the derivatives of a function are continuous.5 Regularity requirements A common topic in ﬁnite element analysis is continuity. it is clear that it involves only ﬁrst derivatives with respect to x of u and w. January 21.x x Figure 2. in a classical sense. In ﬁnite element analysis. this means that its nth derivative is continuous.xx ) must exist. From Figure 2.2 27 .

36) are known as members of the Sobolev space on degree one. (2.37) 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 = 0.6 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’. Clearly.35) Functions which are square integrable come from the Hilbert space known as L2 (Ω). which is deﬁned by: V = {w | w ∈ H 1 (Ω) . Importantly. This is of crucial importance. (2. Sobolev spaces are inﬁnite-dimensional. The function space S is deﬁned by: S = {u | u ∈ H 1 (Ω) . Note that C0 functions belong to H 1 .x )2 dΩ < ∞ (2. When solving second-order differential equations. It is useful to deﬁne function spaces. 28 Version 0. (2. Functions for which: Ω (u)2 + (u. which is denoted H 1 (Ω). Consider ﬁrst a scalar problem in an n-dimensional domain Ω. The weight functions come from the space V (w ∈ V ). an inﬁnite number of different functions belong to a given Sobolev space. 2011 . but this point is not important here). such functions may be discontinuous. the requirement that the trial functions be square-integrable implies that energy must be ﬁnite. since a fundamental step in the ﬁnite element method will involve ﬁnite-dimensional function spaces. from which the trial and weight functions come.2 January 21. In physical terms. functions which have square-integrable derivatives are of interest. w| Γg = 0}.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. there do however exist functions from H 1 (Ω) which are not C0 continuous. For multiple spatial dimensions. 2.2 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. u| Γg = g}. Functions spaces can be considered the ‘family’ of functions from which u and w can come. A function u is said to be square integrable if: Ω (u)2 dx < ∞. The notation u ∈ H 1 means that u comes from (is an element of) H 1 . Trial functions u come from the space S (u ∈ S ). That is. This can be seen in the well-known Sobolev embedding theorem.

Derive the weak equilibrium equation (2.7 Exercises 1. Derive the weak form. ui | Γg = gi } and similarly for weight functions w ∈ V .2. a = b) 5. 2011 Version 0.2 29 .7 Exercises In multiple dimensions.23) for elasticity using index notation. is u a possible trial solution? January 21.39) V = {wi | wi ∈ H 1 (Ω) . wi | Γg = 0}. (2. 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. where r is the distance from the crack tip (r ≥ 0). The Helmholtz equation is given by: ∇ · (∇φ) + kφ = 0 and is often used in wave propagation problems. (2. u ∈ S where S = {ui | ui ∈ H 1 (Ω) . 4. For 3 × 3 second-order tensors (matrices). (Hint: use index notation.40) Further details can be found in texts on functional analysis and the mathematical analysis of the ﬁnite element method. 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. 3. prove that ∇w : σ = ∇s w : σ if σ is symmetric. Solutions for the displacement ﬁeld from linear-elastic fracture mechanics often √ involve a term r.

.

where S h ⊂ S is a ﬁnite-dimensional space. uh = L wh where B wh .4) L 0 h h w. uh could be a combination of low order polynomial functions.12)) involves: ﬁnd uh ∈ S h such that − L 0 h h w.1) where V h ⊂ V is a ﬁnite dimensional space. (3. and ﬁnding the best solution to a problem given a collection of functions. For example.x dx + w h h| x= L = 0 ∀w h ∈ V h . consider the approximate solution to some problem. 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. The essence of the Galerkin method involves taking the weak form of the governing equation. as developed in the previous chapter. Furthermore.1 Approximate solution First. respectively. uh ∈ S h .2) (3. uh = and L wh = wh h| x= L . In a multidimensional context. 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. being able to solve a greater range of problems.3) This abstract format is introduced to keep the derivation of some later developments compact. It is a method for ﬁnding approximate solutions to partial differential equations. Considering now the elasticity problem in equation (2. Commonly.3 The Galerkin method The ﬁnite element method is one particular Galerkin method. it is generic for a range of different problems.x dx ∀w h ∈ V h (3. (3.x Eu. The Galerkin method is however more general. 3.5) 31 . named after the Russian engineer Galerkin.23). This means that there is a limited number of possibilities. the above equation is expressed in the abstract format as: ﬁnd uh ∈ S h such that B wh .x Eu. The Galerkin problem for an elastic bar (equation (2. the ﬁnite-dimensional trial and weight functions are denoted uh and wh .

2 January 21.2). (3. The approximate solution is therefore equal to: uh = u − e (3. u − L w h = 0 ∀w h ∈ V h .1). Different Galerkin-based methods are deﬁned by how the unknown ﬁeld uh is represented. the weight functions come from a different function space than the trial functions. u − B wh . In Petrov-Galerkin method.3 The Galerkin method where ǫ h = ∇s uh . Spectral Galerkin methods for example use a truncated Fourier series as the basis.8) where u is the exact solution and uh is the solution to equation (3. often in ﬂuid mechanics. This is examined in the following section. this will be investigated using the abstract notation.6) wh · b dΩ + Γh (3. piecewise low-order polynomials deﬁned on ‘ﬁnite elements’. e − L wh = 0 ∀w h ∈ V h (3. B w h . A basic question which arises when computing an approximate solution is how uh relates to the exact solution u. uh and w h will be simple continuous. This method is used for special applications.10) Since u is the exact solution.2. which solution does the method seek? Understanding this requires some basic error analysis. 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.2 Basic error analysis It is interesting to check how the solution computed using the Galerkin procedure compares to the exact solution. e = B wh .7) The Galerkin method (more speciﬁcally. Inserting equation (3.9) For generality. 2011 . Given a ﬁnite number of possibilities in S h . the Bubnov-Galerkin method) requires that the weight and trial functions come from the same ﬁnite-dimensional space. why it doesn’t work). In the ﬁnite element method. this implies that: B wh . the error in the displacement e at a point is deﬁned by: e = u − uh (3. B wh . u − B wh . 3. B wh . In the abstract notation of equation 3. taking into account the special requirements on the weight and trial functions where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied. For the one-dimensional problem.9) into equation (3. uh = 0 ∀w h ∈ V h (3. uh = and L wh = Ω Ω ∇s wh : C : ǫh dΩ wh · h dΓ.11) 32 Version 0.

**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

Version 0.2

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

2) where ui is the value of the ﬁeld uh at node i. h ǫh = u.x Eu. Ω ∑ Ni.5) and inserting the expression for the expressions for the approximate displacement ﬁeld and the weight function. (4.1) where xi is the coordinate of node i. it can be taken outside of the integrals.x u j j =1 n dΩ = Ω ∑ Ni wi i =1 n f dΩ + Γh ∑ Ni.6) for all possible values of wi . In ﬁnite element analysis. (4. dx i i =1 ∑ n (4. hence wh = ∑ Ni wi . is given by x x i −1 − x i −1 < x ≤ x i .x dΩ = Ω w h f dΩ + Γh w h h dΓ ∀ wh ∈ V h . an expression is needed for the weight function w h . 2011 . the approximate displacement ﬁeld is given in terms of the shape functions and the approximate displacement at a ﬁnite number of points (nodes). Ω h h w. these basis functions are known as ‘shape functions’.x = dNi u. The basis function at node i. discretised with n nodal points. x i − x i +1 − x i − x i +1 0 otherwise.7) 36 Version 0.2 January 21.x wi i =1 n E ∑ Nj.4) Recalling the weak form for a one-dimensional elastic rod. (4. ∑ wi i =1 n Ω Ni. the approximate displacement ﬁeld uh is given by uh = ∑ Ni ( x) ui .3) To develop the Galerkin problem. the strain ﬁeld can be computed easily by taking the derivative of the shape functions. i =1 n (4. For a one-dimensional bar. Given that wi is not a function of spatial position. i =1 n (4. Hence.x wi i =1 n h dΓ (4. x i − x i −1 x i − x i −1 x i +1 x Ni = x i < x < x i +1 . It is expressed using the same basis functions as the displacement ﬁeld.x E ∑ Nj. From this expression.x u j j =1 n dΩ = ∑ wi i =1 n Ω Ni f dΩ + ∑ wi i =1 n Γh Ni h dΓ.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method nodes.

where Kij = and fi = Ω Ω (4. This yields n equations (one for each wi . Kij u j = f i . Consider the case that all but one wi is equal to zero.2 General ﬁnite element basis functions Likewise.2 37 . surfaces (2D) or volumes (3D) which are constructed by joining nodal points. It is useful to deﬁne shape functions on ﬁnite elements.9) must hold. 4.x dΩ = ∑ wi i =1 n Ω Ni f dΩ + ∑ wi i =1 n Γh Ni h dΓ.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.8) This equation must hold for all possible combinations of wi . In order the solve the linear system. and n unknowns in the form of ui ). this is relatively simple. Elements may not overlap.11) Nj f dΩ + Γh Nj h dΓ (4. Therefore. and f = f i as the right-hand side (RHS) vector. which can be expressed as the system of equations. u j can also be taken outside of the integrals.x dΩ (4. A discussion of more general boundary conditions is delayed until the end of the chapter.x E Nj. A simple ﬁnite element January 21. If a boundary condition is applied at node k.x E Nj. For the zero Dirichlet conditions. while elements are lines (1D).x E Nj. for each i ∑ uj j =1 n Ω Ni.10) Ni. ∑ wi ∑ u j i =1 j =1 n n Ω Ni. A typical ﬁnite element mesh is shown in Figure 4. and hence an expression for the approximate displacement ﬁeld along the rod. (4. Matrices and vectors can be built for each element before being assembled into global matrices and vectors.x dΩ = Ω Ni f dΩ + Γh Ni h dΓ (4. then the row and the column k is removed from the stiffness matrix. and the kth term is deleted from the vector f . Solving this linear system of equations provides u j . Nodes are points in space. 2011 Version 0.12) The matrix K = Kij is commonly known as the stiffness matrix. The problem has been divided into many quadrilateral elements. A mesh divides a body into a number of elements.2. Dirichlet boundary conditions must be enforced.4. A ﬁnite element mesh consists of nodal points and elements.

6 4 3 4 3 1 2 1 2 5 9 Figure 4.2 January 21.3: Simple two-dimensional ﬁnite element mesh. 7 8 5 7 8 6 38 Version 0.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method Figure 4.2: Typical two-dimensional ﬁnite element mesh. 2011 .

1 One-dimensional bar elements To begin.13) January 21. shape functions are non-zero only close to their node. For a node i. the discretised ﬁeld can be inserted into the weak governing equations. They are characterised by being equal to unity at their node. denoted by the solid circles. mesh is shown in Figure 4. Each element has three nodes.3. In the ﬁnite element method. the shape function associated with that node.4: One-dimensional linear bar element and associated shape functions. Each shape function Ni is associated with a node i. each multiplied by a nodal value. 2011 Version 0. is equal to one at the node and zero at all other nodes. the mesh is constructed with triangular elements.2 39 . the amplitude). 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.4. The displacement ﬁeld is given by a linear combination of a ﬁnite number of basis functions (a summation of the basis functions. 4. As in the one-dimensional case. 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 . Having a compact support.4. linear one dimensional elements. In Figure 4. (4. and zero at all other nodes.2. the basis functions are deﬁned on simple geometric elements.3. Both nodes and elements are numbered. Once the displacement ﬁeld uh and its derivatives ∇uh can be expressed in terms of nodal unknowns. A ﬁnite element shape function is only non-zero on elements to which it is attached. Shape functions for various elements are discussed in detail in the following sections. as introduced in Section 4. Consider the one-dimensional bar element in Figure 4. Finite element shape functions are typically piecewise continuous polynomial functions with a ‘compact support’. Ni .2 General ﬁnite element basis functions 1 1 1 2 L x=0 Figure 4. The bar has two nodes. known as ﬁnite elements. are examined.1.

It does however make the generalisation to multiple dimensions simple.21) The shape functions for two linear elements are shown in Figure 4. L (4.5. as its shape functions are linear polynomials. the displacement and strain can be calculated in any part of the element. Taking the derivative of equation (4. Therefore. uh = − x x + 1 a1 + a2 . where N = N1 and ae = a1 .16) x + 1.17) In the case of a linear displacement interpolation.14) (4. the derivative of the shape function with respect to x is a constant function within an element. The matrix-vector notation for uh and ǫh may seem trivial for one-dimensional problems. the derivative of the displacement ﬁeld with respect to x (the strain) is required. L This type of element is known as a linear element. dx dx 1 dx L L (4. 40 Version 0. Now.2 January 21.20) N2 .22) (4. a2 (4. In matrix-vector notation. (4. 2011 . Note also that these shape functions posses C0 continuity – they are continuous but their derivatives involve jumps across element boundaries. to solve a problem. the displacement ﬁeld is expressed as: uh = Nae .4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method where ai is the displacement at node i (it is ‘stored’ at the node). L L (4. where the matrix B is equal to: B= dN1 dx dN2 .16) with respect to x. The weak form of the governing equations involves derivatives with respect to the spatial position. The shape functions corresponding to each node are given by: N1 = − N2 = Hence. ǫh = duh dN1 dN2 1 1 = a + a2 = − a1 + a2 . in terms of nodal degrees of freedom ae . dx (4.19) (4.15) x .18) The strain is given by: ǫh = Bae .

linear and quadratic (and even higher) variations in the unknown ﬁeld can be described within an element. Higher-order elements simply have more nodes.6 illustrates shape functions for quadratic and cubic elements..5: Shape functions for two one-dimensional linear bar elements. (4.. Nnn 0 0 . More nodes through which the shape function must interpolate naturally means a higher-order polynomial is required.24) and the B matrix has a similar form.23) Therefore.2 Two-dimensional continuum elasticity elements In two or more dimensions. i =1 3 (4. Since the displacement ﬁeld is quadratic..25) The matrix N contains the element shape functions. Nnn (4.26) (4.4.2 General ﬁnite element basis functions 1 1 1 L1 L2 Figure 4. 4. the N matrix has the form: N = N1 N2 N3 . For a one-dimensional quadratic element.. (4.2 41 . Higher-order one-dimensional elements It is possible to develop one-dimensional elements with higher-order polynomial interpolations. . The interpolation basis for higher-order elements is richer since both constant. obviously the strain ﬁeld is linear. The displacement ﬁeld for an element is given by: uh = Nae .27) January 21. the displacement ﬁeld is given by: uh = ∑ Ni (x) ai .2. it has the form: N= N1 0 0 N1 N2 0 0 N2 . and the strain ﬁeld (using engineering notation) is given by: ǫ h = Bae . Figure 4. In two dimensions. 2011 Version 0. each unknown ﬁeld (such as displacement in each direction) is interpolated using the polynomial shape functions.

It is shown in Figure 4.6: Higher-order one-dimensional elements. 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.28) B= 0 .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. . ∂y ∂x ∂y ∂x ∂y ∂x The simplest element in two-dimensions is the three-node triangle. 0 ∂x ∂x ∂x ∂N1 ∂N2 ∂Nnn 0 .... (4... 0 (4. ann x ann y 42 Version 0. ∂y ∂y ∂y ∂N1 ∂N1 ∂N2 ∂N2 ∂Nnn ∂Nnn . For a two-dimensional problem. For two-dimensional problems. where nn is the numbers of nodes of the element. the matrix B has the form: ∂N2 ∂Nnn ∂N1 0 0 .7. a1 x a 1y a2 x a2 y .29) ae = . .. 2011 .2 January 21.

7: Three-node triangular element. Consider node 1 in Figure 4. (4.30) The shape function for a node is illustrated in Figure 4. y3 ) = c1 x3 + c2 y3 + c3 = 0. N1 ( x2 .4. y3 ) 3 1 2 ( x1 .7. (4.34) c3 x3 y3 1 0 January 21. It is clear from the linear form of the shape functions for the three-node triangle that the derivatives are constant. y1 ) = c1 x1 + c2 y2 + c3 = 1.33) Solving the above system of equations yields the coefﬁcients for the shape function of node 1.2 General ﬁnite element basis functions ( x3 . Its shape function must satisfy: N1 ( x1 . Given that a shape function should have a value of unity at its node and zero at other nodes. 2011 Version 0.7. Given the following coordinates of each of where ( xi . yi ) is the location of the ith node. y1 ) ( x2 . N1 ( x3 .2 43 . the coefﬁcients c can be found by solving a linear system of equations. Example 4.8.8: Shape function for a three-node element. (4. y2 ) = c1 x2 + c2 y2 + c3 = 0. y2 ) Figure 4.1 Consider the element in Figure 4. This can be cast in a matrix form as: x 1 y 1 1 c 1 1 x2 y2 1 c2 = 0 .32) (4. hence the strain in the element is constant. Figure 4. N = c1 x + c2 y + c3 .31) (4.

y B= 0 N1. ( x1 . y3 ) = (2. 2) ( x2 .x 0 N1.y N2. 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. y1 ) = (1. 1) ( x3 .34)) is formed.25x − 0. 2011 . Its shape functions are of the form: N = c1 xy + c2 x + c3 y + c4 .4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method the nodes.x N2.y A very commonly used element in ﬁnite element analysis is the four-node quadrilateral.x N3. A four-node quadrilateral element is shown in Figure 4.25y + 0.9. Unlike the three-node triangle. a system of equations (see equation (4.36) 44 Version 0. A shape function for a four-node element is shown in Figure 4. 1 2 1 c1 0 4 1 1 c 2 = 1 c3 2 3 1 0 Solving this system of equations gives: N2 = 0. Higher-order solid elements As in one-dimensional problems. Since the shape function for node 2 is being calculated. the N and B matrices can be formed.35) It is also know as a bilinear element. due to the presence of the xy terms in the shape functions.25 Once the shape functions have been computed for each node. the only non-zero term on the RHS corresponds to node 2.x 0 N3.10.x and the B matrix is of the form: N1. plane and three-dimensional elements can have higher-order interpolations. the strain in this element is not constant.2 January 21. (4. 3) To ﬁnd the coefﬁcients. ﬁnd the shape function for node 2.x 0 N2. 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 N1.y 0 N2. y2 ) = (4.y N3.

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.37) January 21.13. Each time the order of a triangle is increased.11 The polynomial terms needed for triangular elements can be taken from a Pascal triangle (see Figure 4. Linear. Serendipity elements have nodes only on element boundaries. A Pascal triangle for serendipity elements is shown in Figure 4. 2011 Version 0. 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 4.9: Four-node quadrilateral element. Higher-order quadrilateral elements can also be constructed.12).14. Solving the below system of equations would yield the coefﬁcients for node 1.10: A shape function for four-node quadrilateral element. Several serendipity and Lagrange ﬁnite elements are shown in Figure 4. Note that serendipity 1 c1 1 1 c2 0 c 0 1 3 .2 45 .4. whereas Lagrange elements have nodes on the element interior. = 1 c4 0 1 c5 0 c6 0 1 (4. They belong to one of two families: serendipity or Lagrange. quadratic and cubic triangular elements are shown in Figure 4. Figure 4.15.2 General ﬁnite element basis functions 4 3 1 2 Figure 4. As with the three-node triangle. the coefﬁcients can be found by solving a linear system of equations.

46 Version 0. x2 y x 2 y2 .... . .. 1 x x2 x3 x4 . xy xy2 xy3 .. quadratic and cubic triangular elements.. x3 y .13: Linear. 2011 ....2 January 21. Figure 4. y y2 y3 y4 .4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method Figure 4.11: Two shape functions for a six-node triangular element..12: Pascal triangle – polynomial terms for triangular elements of order n.. Figure 4....

.39) January 21..16. (4... Internal nodes must be introduced to ensure all polynomial terms are included..15: Pascal triangle for serendipity elements. (4. .and nine-node quadrilateral elements are commonly used in ﬁnite element analysis.. Eight.2 General ﬁnite element basis functions (a) (b) Figure 4. The Pascal triangle for Lagrange elements is shown in Figure 4. 1 x x2 x3 x4 . x3 y x2 y xy xy2 xy3 .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 . 2011 Version 0..2 47 .. 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 . and are therefore not recommended. elements of order higher than three ’miss’ polynomial terms. The elements do not suffer from the limitation of missing polynomial terms for any order interpolation. Figure 4.14: Serendipity (a) and Lagrange (b) quadrilateral ﬁnite elements. y y2 y3 y4 .

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

Take a single element (of any order) which extends from l1 to l2 (see Figure 4. 2011 Version 0. wh = Nbe . (4. 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).e N T h dΓ.45) The be terms appear on both sides of the equality. for the multi-dimensional case within an element. The discrete nodal values can be removed from the integrals.43) ∇ w = Bbe . (4.44) where the integral over Γh. The weight (test) functions are discretised in the same fashion as the unknown ﬁeld uh . l2 l1 B T EB dΩ ae = Γh. 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.46) January 21. What remains is the insertion of the discretised ﬁeld uh into the governing weak equation. and can therefore be eliminated.3 Governing equations x=0 x x = l1 x = l2 x=L Figure 4.18: One-dimensional bar showing the element that extends from x = l1 to x = l2 .2 49 .1)) is considered. 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. 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).18).4. The discretised governing equation for the element is expressed as: l2 l1 ( Bbe ) T EBae dΩ = Γh.e N T h dΓ. (4.42) (4. the one-dimensional governing equation for an elastic rod (equation (3.e is only non-zero if the boundary of the element coincides with the boundary Γh .e ( Nbe ) T h dΓ. (4. 1989) 4. Therefore.3 Governing equations At this point.

the point ( x. it must be assembled into the global stiffness matrix. the term k ij relates local nodes i and j.5). This is denoted symbolically by the operation: K = Ane 1 ke . A third advantage is that isoparametric mapping allows higher-order elements to have curved edges. For a continuum elasticity problem. it requires the programming of only one function to evaluate the shape functions of a type of element. For a two dimensional problem. 4.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method The term ke = l2 l1 B T EB dΩ (4. This approach has a number of advantages. In the global mesh. From the point of view of implementation. Once the stiffness matrix has been formed for an element. the element stiffness matrix is expressed as: B T DB dΩ ae = N T h dΓ + N T b dΩ. It also allows the simple application of numerical integration. For an element stiffness matrix.47) is known as the ‘element stiffness matrix’. 2011 .e ( Nbe ) T h dΓ + Ωe ( Nbe ) T b dΩ (4. (4. 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).50) (4. irrespective of the exact shape of the element. The component k ij is added to the location K I J . This yields: Ωe ( Bbe ) T DBae dΩ = Γh. An isoparametric mapping is deﬁned via a mapping using the nodal shape functions. e= (4.2 January 21. The assembly process is discussed in more detail in Chapter 5. the discretised displacement and strain ﬁelds are inserted into equation (3. Following the same steps as for the onedimensional problem.e Ωe Once the stiffness matrix has been formed for each element in the problem. as is discussed in the following section.51) where A represents the assembly operation and ne is the number of elements in the mesh.49) Ωe Γh. isoparametric elements are used in ﬁnite element software. and similarly for J. its contribution is added to the ‘global’ stiffness matrix K.4 Isoparametric mapping In practice. e= f = Ane 1 f e . local node i has global node number I.48) (recall that b denotes the body force). y) in the ‘physical’ Cartesian 50 Version 0.

The map x takes a point within the bi-unit square in the (ξ. η ) xi . y) system and mapping to a point (ξ.4 Isoparametric mapping x 3 (−1.−1) x 1 ξ Figure 4. To proceed. η ) in the bi-unit square. taking a point in the real Cartesian ( x. The mapping for a four-node quadrilateral element is illustrated in Figure 4.1) (1. as the shape functions are deﬁned in terms of the natural coordinates. derivatives of the unknown ﬁeld with respect to x and y are required. The position on the bi-unit square is given by the natural coordinates. such as the bi-unit square.1) 2 4 4 3 η ξ 1 (−1.19. For example the displacement in the x-direction at a point is given by: nn uh = ∑ Ni (ξ. η ) yi . conﬁguration is given by: nn x= y= ∑ Ni (ξ.−1) y 2 (1. η ) are known as the ‘natural coordinates’. where (ξ.4. η ) aix . ξ and η. In the governing weak equations.52) ∑ Ni (ξ. y) system.19: Isoparametric mapping for a bi-unit square. consider the application of the product rule for differentia- January 21. η ) domain and maps it to a point in the ‘real’ element in the Cartesian ( x. The map ξ is the inverse of x. shape functions can be deﬁned on simple shapes. 2011 Version 0. Using an isoparametric mapping. i =1 (4.2 51 .53) The difﬁculty that arises is when computing derivatives with respect to the real coordinates. i =1 nn i =1 (4. and nn is number of nodes of the element.

4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method tion for a function f . the terms in the matrix J can be computed. ∂η ∂η i i =1 (4. (4. ∂ξ ∂ξ i i =1 nn ∂y ∂Ni =∑ y. ∂ξ ∂x ∂ξ ∂y ∂ξ ∂f ∂ f ∂x ∂ f ∂y = + . ∂η ∂η i i =1 nn ∂Ni ∂y =∑ y. from equation (4.59) Once terms of the matrix J have been formed. Using the shape function.54) (4.ξ y j ∂ξ ∂x 1 ∑ j=1 Nj. ∂y ∂ f ∂y ∂f − ∂x ∂ξ ∂ξ 1 ∂η = . (4.57) ∂x ∂ f ∂f j ∂x − ∂y ∂η ∂ξ ∂η J where j = det J. ∂f ∂ f ∂x ∂ f ∂y = + . (4.η x j ∑nn1 Nj.η y j = . ∂ξ ∂ξ i i =1 nn ∂x ∂Ni =∑ x.60) ∂Ni j − ∑nn Nj. Taking the inverse of the Jacobian.52)).55) (4.2 January 21. deﬁned in terms of ξ and η.57) the derivatives of the shape function of node i with respect to x and y can be computed. nn ∂x ∂Ni =∑ x.56) where the matrix J is commonly known as the Jacobian matrix.ξ x j ∂Ni j =1 j= ∂y ∂η 52 Version 0. ∂η ∂x ∂η ∂y ∂η This can be written in matrix form as: ∂x ∂y ∂ f ∂f ∂ξ ∂ξ ∂ξ ∂x = . ∂Ni nn ∂Ni nn − ∑ j=1 Nj.58) In light of the isoparametric mapping (equation (4. 2011 . ∂ f ∂x ∂y ∂ f ∂η ∂η ∂η ∂y J (4.

For the bi-unit quadrilateral in Figure 4. (4.4. Is is also possible to directly address isoparametric triangular elements. Quadrilateral elements The shape functions for quadrilateral elements on a bi-unit square is particularly simple.1) 3 3 6 5 2 1 (0. 1987). where: t = 1 − r − s. Hughes. The position of a point inside the triangle is given by r.0) (1. η ) = 1 (1 + ξ i ξ ) (1 + ηi η ) . 4 (4. 1987).1) s (0. This way. 2011 Version 0. The latter approach is followed here.20. the shape function of the ith node is given by: Ni (ξ. Triangular elements Isoparametric mappings are also applied for triangular elements. Now. A popular approach is to ‘degenerate’ a quadrilateral element to a triangular element (Bathe. Consider the triangle in Figure 4. s and t. 1996. Triangular elements are often described using area coordinates. and an eight-node quadrilateral element can be reduced to a six-node triangular element.20: Three-node and six-node triangles using area coordinates.and nine-node elements (Hughes. they can be calculated for the real conﬁguration.2 53 .4 Isoparametric mapping s (0.62) January 21. While this procedure may seen complex.0) 4 2 (1.19.61) Similar formulae can be found for eight. it can be implemented in a computer code in a simple and compact fashion.0) r Figure 4. once the derivatives of the shape functions have been calculated on the simple isoparametric domain. a four-node quadrilateral element can be reduced to a threenode triangular element.0) r 1 (0.

numerical integration is applied. N2 = r. Two schemes which arise in ﬁnite element analysis are Newton-Cotes and Gauss integration. N5 = 4rs.20. To do this. (4. (4. 1 nint −1 f (ξ ) dξ ≃ ∑ f ( ξ i ) wi .67) i =1 where ξ i are discrete points on the integral domain. To make the formulation fully discrete (and amendable to computer implementation).5 Numerical integration At this stage. (4. 2011 . η ) domain.64) (4. To evaluate the stiffness matrix of an element.65) Note the numbering of the nodes for the quadratic triangle in Figure 4. 166). 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 .21. s and t on triangles (Hughes.20 are then: N1 = t. 1987. It is common for higher-order elements that the apexes are ﬁrst numbered (corner nodes in the case of quadrilateral elements). Different integration schemes specify where the points are located and the weight associated with each point. N6 = 4st. consider in two dimensions that: B T DB dΩ = 1 1 Ωe −1 −1 B T DBj dξ dη. Before proceeding to the element matrices. it convenient to integrate in the (ξ.68) 54 Version 0.66) N3 = 2s2 − s. There is a formula for the shape functions of arbitrary order in terms of r. 4. Numerical integration is illustrated in Figure 4. the problem is not yet fully discrete. numerical integration in one-dimension is considered. For the integration of a function f (ξ ) from −1 to 1. the shape functions are equal to: N1 = 2t2 − t. For a quadratic (six-node) triangular element. 2 N4 = 4rt. then the mid-side nodes. the element stiffness matrices and RHS vectors still involve integration over volumes and surfaces (see section 4. N2 = 2r − r. (4.63) (4. N3 = s. p.2 January 21.3). While the displacement ﬁeld has been discretised.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method The shape functions for the nodes of the element in Figure 4.

ηi ) j (ξ i . ηi ) i n wi . The integrand of the stiffness matrix is B T DB. ηi )T DB (ξ i . This is due to dx dy = j dξ dη (the substitution rule for integration has been applied). The location and weights for Gauss integration in one dimension for up to three points are given in Table 4. (4. full integration schemes are recommended for their robustness. The sampling points and weights are listed in Table 4. Importantly. Gauss integration is used. Most commonly in ﬁnite element analysis. (n + 1) integration points are required when using a Newton-Cotes scheme to integrate an nth-order polynomial. j.1. evaluated at the point (ξ i . This is simple when using isoparametric elements. containing derivatives of the shape functions with respect to x and y. the one-dimensional scheme can be extended in each spatial direction. Therefore. Optimal means that to integrate a polynomial exactly. one integration point is sufﬁcient (in one. Full integration means that the stiffness matrix is integrated exactly (assuming j = constant).2 55 . the terms in B are constant and the stiffness matrix is also constant throughout the element. in multiple dimensions Gauss integration is not necessarily the most efﬁcient scheme. B contains linear terms. two and three dimensions). 2011 Version 0. To perform the numerical integration of the element stiffness matrix. it requires the least number of points.5 Numerical integration f −1 ξ1 ξ2 ξ3 ξ4 1 ξ Figure 4.69) Note that B (ξ i . For multi-dimensional problems. Gauss quadrature is the optimal numerical integration scheme for polynomials in one dimension. ηi ). ηi ) is the usual B matrix.2. where B contains derivatives of the shape functions.4. Note the appearance of the determinant of the Jacobian. the last remaining issue is the selection of an appropriate integration scheme. which when squared give a January 21. The question that arises in ﬁnite element analysis is: How many integration points should be used? Generally. Application of numerical integration leads to: 1 1 −1 −1 B T DBj dξ dη ≃ ∑ B (ξ i . if the shape functions are linear. Therefore. Gauss integration requires n points to integrate the polynomial exactly. It is also known as ‘Gauss quadrature’. Three points integrate as 5th order polynomial exactly in one dimension.21: Numerical integration of the function f . A Newton-Cotes scheme uses equally spaced integration points. If the shape functions are quadratic. For a (2n − 1)th-order polynomial. However.

2 January 21. 1].1: Newton-Cotes integration rules for one dimension on the domain [−1. 2011 . 1]. 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 4.2: Gauss integration rules for one dimension on the domain [−1. 56 Version 0.4 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.

two relating the translation (x and y directions) and one for rigid body rotation. The four-node quadrilateral element requires 2 × 2 points for full integration. although a 2 × 2 scheme is often used.2 57 .modes which do not contribute to the energy. Similarly. Reduced integration schemes can improve the performance of some elements for special applications. If a two-dimensional element has more than three zero eigenvalues. two points are required in each direction. In one dimension. 4. there is likely a deﬁciency in the formulation. The number of zero eigenvalues indicates the number of rigid body modes . In two dimensions.6 Imposition of Dirichlet boundary conditions Figure 4.6 Imposition of Dirichlet boundary conditions The imposition of Neumann (force) boundary conditions in the ﬁnite element method is straightforward. although it is often integrated with just one point. The danger of underintegrating elements is that spurious modes may arise. the eight-node quadrilateral requires 3 × 3 points for full integration. although it is safer to use full integration. January 21. Figure 4. They appear naturally in the weak formulation (hence the common name ‘natural boundary conditions’). This means that a deformation mode exists which does not contribute to the energy. recommended integration schemes for commonly used one. In solid and structural mechanics. For some applications it may be advantageous to use reduced integration schemes in combination with particular elements. there should only be one zero eigenvalue which corresponds to translation. In the Galerkin method. A test for the element stiffness matrix is to calculate its eigenvalues. In summary. the trial functions (uh ) must satisfy the Dirichlet boundary conditions. Non-zero Dirichlet boundary conditions are more complicated to enforce. To integrate a quadratic function in two dimensions.4. there should be only three zero eigenvalues.and twodimensional elements are shown in Table 4. This deformation mode can develop in an uncontrolled fashion.22: Spurious zero energy mode for the eight-node quadrilateral element when using 2 × 2 integration.3. 2011 Version 0. 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. quadratic variation.

58 Version 0.4 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. 2011 .2 January 21.3: Recommended integration schemes for commonly used elements.

ke a = ke vv ke gv ke vg ke gg av g = fv fg . Two common approached are outlined below.6 Imposition of Dirichlet boundary conditions this means that the uh must satisfy the prescribed displacements where they are speciﬁed.73) where av is the only unknown.70) where uh is the displacement.75) Once the element stiffness matrix has been formed.74) j =1 ∑ ke ge .mod = f ie − nn (4. 2011 Version 0. the element RHS vector can be modiﬁed to enforce Dirichlet boundary conditions before assembly into the global RHS vector. ke av = f e − ke g. ij j (4. f ie.1 Elimination of ‘Dirichlet’ degrees of freedom The displacement ﬁeld can be expressed by: uh = vh + gh . (4. 0 (4. vv vg (4.2 59 . Dirichlet boundary conditions can be enforced by modifying the RHS vector. ke vv ke gv ke vg ke gg av g = fv . the element RHS vector is modiﬁed. and g are the applied Dirichlet boundary conditions. it is not included in the global system of equations to be solved. January 21. 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. It is possible to write: ke av + ke g = f v . 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. Since g is known. In discretised form at element level.4. (4.6. 4.72) Since g is known. vh is equal to zero where Dirichlet (displacement) boundary conditions are applied and gh satisﬁes the Dirichlet boundary conditions.71) where av are the nodal unknowns at nodes where no Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied. vv vg In terms of indexes. Since the weight function is deﬁned to be zero where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied.

symmetry is lost. The advantage of this scheme is its simplicity. at which points is the stress from the ﬁnite element solution not uniquely deﬁned when using C0 elements? 2.6.4 Formulation of the ﬁnite element method 4. Show why this is. 2004). The three-node triangle element is often referred to as the ‘constant strain triangle’ (CST). 4. Consider the Laplace equation. 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. In one dimension and for equally spaced nodal points (nodes are a distance h apart). and that the value of the Dirichlet boundary condition is returned in the solution vector which simpliﬁes postprocessing. However. both the ﬁnite element method and the ﬁnite difference method require the solution of a system of equations Ka = f . 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. except the diagonal term which is set equal to one. 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. The value of Dirichlet boundary condition is then inserted into the vector f at position k. For a plane elasticity problem.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.2 January 21. 2011 . compare the matrix K for the ﬁnite element method with linear elements and for the secondorder central ﬁnite difference method. Form the shape functions for a Lagrange nine-node quadrilateral element 3. 60 Version 0. 4.7 Exercises 1. which is given by: ∆u = ∇ · (∇u) = 0 To solve this problem. 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. Under what conditions the matrix B T DB is symmetric? 5.

Calculate the eigenvalues of the stiffness matrix and comment on their signiﬁcance.2 61 . 2011 Version 0.1 and for E = 1 and ν = 0. Formulate the stiffness matrix for the element in Figure 4. 7. 8. Form the stiffness matrix for a four-node quadrilateral on a bi-unit square.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. Calculate its eigenvalues using one-point and 2 × 2 integration. January 21.2.4.7 Exercises 6.

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this can be done by hand. A ﬁnite element mesh consists of nodal coordinates and a connectivity.1 shows a simple ﬁnite element mesh of four-noded quadrilaterals. Also shown are the applied boundary conditions (both prescribed displacements and the applied force). 5.5 Implementation of the ﬁnite element method This chapter addresses practical aspects of implementing the ﬁnite element method. Mesh generation programs exist which produce meshes suitable for ﬁnite element analysis. The generated mesh ﬁles serve as input for a ﬁnite element program. The notation used in this chapter follows as closely as possible the notation used in the accompanying Matlab code. Note: Code examples in the chapter does not reﬂect the structure of the current version of the Matlab code used in CT5123. a mesh is too complicated to produce by hand. Both nodes and elements have been numbered. For problems typically analysed using the ﬁnite element method. A typical input ﬁle containing F= 5. 63 . For simple problems with only a few elements.1: Finite element mesh with elements and nodes numbered. the underlying theory has been addressed and the discretised formulation for individual elements discussed. This chapter describes how the ﬁnite element method can be implemented in a computer code. Figure 5.1 Preprocessing The ﬁrst step in ﬁnite element analysis is known as preprocessing. This step involves generating a ﬁnite element mesh. often a mesh generator is included. In large ﬁnite element software packages. To this point. It is illustrated with schematic extracts of computer code.3 3 4 3 2 5 4 9 8 2 1 6 7 1 Figure 5. One of the strengths of the ﬁnite element method is the efﬁciency with which it can be implemented in a computer code.

For an isotropic linear-elastic analysis.0 1. The list in Figure 5. the calculation phase can begin. The second column gives the boundary condition type: Dirichlet (displacement) = 1 and Neumann (force) = 0.6 0. 5.1 is given in Figure 5. The outline of a typical ﬁnite element program for linear static problems 64 Version 0.4 gives the applied boundary condition. For each element.82 1. In addition to nodal coordinates and the connectivity. the node numbers are listed.0 0. the node to which a boundary condition is applied is listed.3. % 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 5.2.0 0. although the numbering must process in an anti-clockwise direction (to avoid calculating a negative volume and hence a negative element stiffness).0 Figure 5. boundary conditions must be speciﬁed.0 2. The problem in Figure 5.0 0.1 y 0. The density is necessary when taking the self-weight into account. 2011 .7 0.8 2.5 2.2: Nodal coordinates. The ﬁnal column is the value of the applied boundary condition.5 Implementation of the ﬁnite element method % node 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 x 0.0 0.2 Program ﬂow Once the input for a ﬁnite element analysis has been prepared.1 2.0 0. the nodal coordinates is shown in Figure 5. This is either a prescribed force or the prescribed displacement.1 2.3: Element connectivity.2 January 21. For each node. the is Young’s modulus. The connectivity list for Figure 5. 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). The list can begin with any node of the element.76 2. the x and y coordinate is given.1 involves both Dirichlet (displacement) and Neumann (force) boundary conditions. The preprocessing is completed by specify the material data.5 0. First. the Poisson’s ratio and the density of the material.

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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9: Formation of element stiffness matrix.8: Set-up of local element arrays for element i. 2011 .j). % 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 .j).:) = x(connect(i. 68 Version 0.5 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.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.j).k) ~= 0 a_e(jj) = a( ID(connect(i.

% 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 .jj) = K(ii. k) kk = j*dof_per_node .11: Assembly of local arrays into global arrays.l).k_e(:.i)*g_e(i) end % return to main program Figure 5.j).jj) + k_e(kk.ll) end end end if ii ~= 0 f(ii) = f(ii) + f_e(kk) end end end % return to main program Figure 5. January 21. 2011 Version 0. m) ll = l*dof_per_node .dof_per_node + m if ii~=0 & jj~=0 K(ii.5.dof_per_node + k for l=1:nodes_per_element for m=1:dof_per_node jj = ID(connect(i.10: Imposing Dirichlet boundary conditions.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. This essentially requires that the node numbers of nodes which are close to each should also be close. Non-zero terms are marked by a dot. both in terms of memory and computational time. 70 Version 0.2 January 21. Assuming double precision storage.5 Implementation of the ﬁnite element method 0 500 1000 1500 0 500 1000 1500 Figure 5. For this method to be efﬁcient.12 is well-numbered. mesh generation programs will label nodes optimally. The dimension of the matrix is 1530 × 1530 (giving a total of 2 340 900 entries). only 23 638 entries are non-zero (1% of the total matrix elements). and hence the computational time.4 Stiﬀness matrix storage A feature of the ﬁnite element method is that the stiffness matrix is sparse. However. Many ﬁnite element programs store the stiffness matrix in a skyline format. Storing only the non zero terms requires on 283 kilobytes of memory! In addition. Figure 5.12 represents graphically the structure of the stiffness matrix for a problem involving 700 four-noded quadrilateral elements. Typically. Yet further savings can be achieved by taking into account symmetry of the stiffness matrix. The stiffness matrix in Figure 5. signiﬁcantly. Taking advantage of the sparse nature of the stiffness matrix yields signiﬁcant computational savings. solvers are implemented such that operations are not performed on non-zero terms which reduces the number of ﬂoating point operations required.12: Graphical representation of a stiffness matrix 5. the mesh must be constructed in an ‘optimal’ fashion to minimise the bandwidth of the stiffness matrix. This is relatively small for a ﬁnite element analysis. 2011 . or have the option to relabel nodes to minimise the stiffness matrix bandwidth. as all non-zero terms are close to the diagonal which minimises the bandwidth. storing the whole matrix would require almost 18 megabytes of memory.

The internal force vector for an element is given by: int fe = Ωe B T σ dΩ + Ωe N T b dΩ (5. This means that the body is in equilibrium.5.2 71 . stresses and reaction forces. it gives the reaction force at each node. post-processing of the data is required. the internal force vector should be zero where no Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied.5 Post-processing After a calculation has been completed. For static problems.5 Post-processing 5. It is important to realise that the stress computed at a point is not always reliable. January 21. 2011 Version 0. including where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied). Reaction forces can be evaluates by calculating the so-called internal force vector f int . Three quantities of potential interest from a linear-elastic calculation are displacements.1) Once assembled for all elements (at all nodes. More reliable are the reaction forces at nodes where Dirichlet boundary conditions are applied.

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

(6.2) 0 Q11 Q21 a2x a2x⋆ 0 ⋆ 0 0 Q12 Q22 a2y a2y where Qij are components of the matrix Q. Since truss elements are based on the assumption that only normal forces (σx⋆ ) can be transmitted.3) = a2x⋆ 0 0 Q11 Q21 a2x a2y a⋆ = e a1x⋆ a2x⋆ . Therefore.4) The following deﬁnitions are now adopted: 74 Version 0.2 January 21.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis Fx* x* y* y z* z x Figure 6. Given that the only displacements of interest are the in x ⋆ -direction. 2011 .1) The vector ae holds the displacement components at the nodes of an element. The displacements at nodes one and two.1) to give the nodal displacements in terms of the coordinate system aligned with the axis of the truss element. the rotation is particularly simple. two degrees of freedom. For a two dimensional truss structure. of a linear bar. three dimensions. The only displacement of any consequence for an element is in the x ⋆ -direction. the above problem can be reduced to give: a1x a1y a1x⋆ Q11 Q21 0 0 . the rotation matrix has the form: QT = cos θ − sin θ sin θ cos θ (6. (6.and y⋆ -directions are given by: Q Q21 0 0 a1x a1x⋆ ⋆ 11 a1y Q Q22 0 0 a1y = 12 . the vector ae has four components (a component in the x and y direction at each node). displacements in the y⋆ -direction are not resisted by an element. Denoting the angle between the x-axis and the x ⋆ -axis as θ. and in two dimensions. in the x ⋆ . (6. a node will have three degrees of freedom. The displacement components can be rotated using the matrix Q (see section 1.2: Linear truss element in three-dimensional space.

It is important to ensure that a truss structure does not form a mechanism.8) (recall that be is a variation). the stiffness matrix for a one-dimensional element can be formed.6) where N ⋆ contains the shape functions for a one-dimensional bar (see equation (4.10) Ωe This is equivalent to ke = q T k⋆ q. the derivative of a weight function w can be expressed in the local coordinate system in terms of the global degrees of freedom. where k⋆ is the standard one-dimensional stiffness e e matrix for a bar.1 Rod elements in space and q= Q11 0 Q21 0 0 Q11 0 .8) into the weak governing equation (2. and eliminating be . A classic sign of a mechanism is singularity of the global stiffness matrix of the structure.x⋆⋆ = B⋆ qae (6. Q21 (6. Inserting the relationships in equations (6. Clearly. 2011 Version 0. January 21. h w.19) for a linear element). The ‘star’ denotes that the shape functions are constructed relative to the coordinate system on the bar. and with the aid of the matrix q it can be transformed into the global. (6.12).9) is the stiffness matrix.5) The displacement in the x ⋆ -direction along the bar is therefore given by: uh⋆ = N ⋆ a⋆ = N ⋆ qae . (6. Inserting now the discretised ﬁelds into the weak governing equation for a onedimensional bar. Ωe ( Bbe ) T EBae dΩ = Γh ( Nbe ) T h dΓ. multidimensional coordinate system.x⋆ = B⋆ qbe ⋆ (6. The strain in the x ⋆ -direction is therefore given by: h ǫh⋆ = u.9) where the LHS of equation (6. e (6.7) Similarly.7) and (6.2 75 . the element stiffness matrix is equal to: ke = q T B⋆ T EB⋆ q dΩ.6.

2 January 21. The ﬁrst is the classic BernoulliEuler beam. in-plane beams are considered. Consistent with previous sections. which is valid for relatively slender beams. The development of beam elements follows the same steps as for continuum elements.x v. straight. and its ends (the boundary of Ω) are denoted Γ = x1 ∪ x2 . which takes into account shear deformations.4 shows the rotation of the plane due to a rigid body rotation. For a transverse displacement v.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis y fy Fy x T x = x1 x = x2 Figure 6.x y x Figure 6. 6.4: Rotation of a line normal to the axis in a beam segment. The second is the Timoshenko beam. Figure 6. Such a beam is illustrated in Figure 6. 6.1 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. The outward normal is denoted n. For simplicity. is denoted Ω = ( x1 . 2011 .3. Consider now a ﬁbre in a beam 76 Version 0. x2 ). x2 ).2.3: Plane beam element Ω = ( x1 .2 Beams Two types of beams are considered in this section. The governing equation is identiﬁed and then the weak form developed. the ‘domain’ of the beam. v.

5: Beam segment subjected to pure shear. the rotation θ of a ﬁbre which is initially perpendicular to the beam’s axis is shown in Figure 6. Considering translational equilibrium of a beam segment Ω. The ﬁrst is to elaborate the kinematics of the beam. The ﬁbre is indicated by the heavy line. In the second method. Subjecting a segment from a beam to pure shear.2 77 . 2011 Version 0.2 Equilibrium of a beam The equilibrium equations for a beam can be developed in two ways. a plane which remains perpendicular to the axis undergoes a rotation γ.12) and the shear stress q is deﬁned by q= h/2 − h/2 σxy dy. Relative to the ﬁbre which has not rotated. equilibrium of a beam can be considered directly. The bending moment m in a beam is deﬁned as m= h/2 (6.x y x Figure 6. (6. (6.6 that θ = v.x − γ. it is clear January 21.11) − h/2 σxx y dy. 6. Note that M = m n and Q = q n. which will be followed here.2 Beams γ v. as illustrated in Figure 6. which together with some assumptions as to the stress in different directions can be inserted into the elasticity equations from Chapter 1.13) Figure 6. which is initially perpendicular to the beam axis.2.6. It is clear from Figure 6.5. where n is the outward unit normal vector. the ﬁbre will not rotate.6.7 show the ‘resultant’ force Q and moment M due to a moment m and a shear force q in a beam. For a beam segment subjected to both rotation and shear deformation.

2011 .7: Sign conventions for a bending moment and shear force resultant.2 January 21. +Q n y n +M x Figure 6.x y x Figure 6.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis γ θ v. 78 Version 0.6: Rotation of ﬁbre in a beam.

(6.16) dΩ dΩ Ω This expression can be rearranged such that m. it is required that: m n dΓ − q nx dΓ − f y x dΩ = 0.14) Noting that q n dΓ = q| x= L2 − q| x= L1 . translational equilibrium requires that q.x x dΩ − f y x dΩ = 0. The boundary Γ of a beam is partitioned such that: Γv ∪ ΓQ = Γ. on ΓQ .15) Since equilibrium must hold for an inﬁnitely small segment of a beam. on ΓM . Γθ ∩ ΓM = ∅ + f y ) x dΩ = (6. (6.x − q = 0. therefore rotational equilibrium requires that m.19) (6.x Ω Ω Ω Ω (6.21b) (6.20a) (6.x dΩ − q dΩ − q.x dΩ + f y dΩ = 0.2 Beams that: q n dΓ + dΩ dΩ Ω f y dΩ = 0.3). January 21.18) Satisfaction of the translational equilibrium equation implies that 0. it is clear that Ω Ω q.21d) These equations.21a) (6. Ω (q. Γθ ∪ ΓM = Γ.20b) Denoting applied end forces Fy . Γv ∩ ΓQ = ∅.6. the boundary conditions are v = gv θn = gθ mn = T q n = Fy on Γv . For rotational equilibrium.2 79 . (6. and boundary conditions. (6.17) (6. 2011 Version 0.x + f y = 0. on Γθ .21c) (6. distributed loads f y and applied moments T (all shown in Figure 6. are valid for both Bernoulli-Euler and Timoshenko beam theories.

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. The negative sign is due to the sign convention in which the rotation and the resultant moment are in opposite directions. and Neumann involve either the shear force or moment (equations (6.27) 80 Version 0.21b)).21d)). and then inserting equation (6. Weak governing equation Following the procedures from Chapter 2.2. (6. dx2 (6. the boundary value problem is complete and can be solved. 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.23) The bending moment in the beam is related to the curvature by: m = − EIκ = − EI (6.21a) and (6.26) which is the strong equation of equilibrium for a Bernoulli-Euler beam. Being a fourth-order equation. θ= dv . and inserting the constitutive relationship from equation (6. from an appropriately deﬁned space. Taking now the derivative of all terms in equation (6. two boundary conditions are required at both ends of the beam. 2011 .6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis 6. Multiplying equation (6. − EI d4 v + f y = 0.24). dx4 (6.2 January 21.xx dΩ + Ω ¯ v f y dΩ = 0.25) Assuming EI to be constant.24) where I is the moment of inertia of the beam. the weak form of equilibrium for a beam ¯ can be developed.16) yields: d2 m + f y = 0.19) with respect to x.22) which also implies that κ= (6. so the rotation can be directly related to the displacement v. dx d2 v . dx2 (6. Dirichlet boundary conditions involve the prescription of the displacement or the rotation (equations (6. dx2 d2 v . This assumption implies that the shear rotation γ is equal to zero.21c) and (6. With appropriate boundary conditions.25) by a weight function v.

x dΩ + Γ ¯ vm.x = 0 on Γθ .xx dΩ − ΓM ¯ v. .21c) and (6.x n dΓ + Ω ¯ v f y dΩ = 0.2 Beams Integrating by parts the term involving the moment M once yields: − Ω ¯ v. solving the governing weak equation for a beam involves: ﬁnd v ∈ S such that − Ω ¯ v.x n dΓ + Ω ¯ v f y dΩ = 0.28) Applying integrating by parts again. which means that both their ﬁrst and second derivatives exist. The existence of second-order derivatives in the weak form deserves some special attention.21d). Consistency of the above weak form can be proven following the same procedure as in in Section 2.33) δv.30) gives: Ω (6.x T dΓ + ΓQ ¯ vFy dΓ + Ω ¯ v f y dΩ = 0 ¯ ∀v ∈ V . the spaces S and V are formally deﬁned by: S = v | v ∈ H 2 (Ω) . v. this time to the term Ω ¯ v.xx EIv.x m. (6.2 81 . and v.1. Note that a fourth-order problem. This is in contrast to second-order problems.31) In one dimension this is equivalent to the trial and test functions being at least C1 continuous.34) which is the equation of virtual work for a Bernoulli-Euler beam beam.xx (6.x = gθ on Γθ .29) Inserting now the Neumann (natural) boundary conditions from equations (6. (6. January 21.x dΩ. 2011 Version 0. the trial functions (v ∈ S ) and the ¯ weight (test) functions (v ∈ V ) must possess a higher degree of regularity (roughly speaking. (6.24). v = 0 on Γv .32a) (6. and inserting the constitutive relation in equation (6.x = 0 on Γθ .32b) For the case of an elastic continuum. (6.xx dΩ = − ΓM δv. For the weak form to ‘make sense’.30) where S and V are appropriately deﬁned spaces. it implies that the weak form of the governing equation is identical to the equation of virtual work. which contains functions satisfying: Ω v2 + v2 + v2 dx < ∞.xx m dΩ − Γ ¯ v. The integration domain for the ¯ ¯ boundary integrals has been changed since v = 0 on Γv . Consider now: ¯ v ≡ δv Inserting this relationship into equation (6.x m. Both S and V must be subspaces of the Sobolev space H 2 (Ω).x . has second-order derivatives in its weak form.xx EIv. ¯ Ω v.x mn dΓ + Γ ¯ vm. For completeness. v. which require C0 continuity only. v = gv on Γv . ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ V = v | v ∈ H 2 (Ω) .x T dΓ + ΓQ δvFy dΓ + Ω δv f y dΩ (6. continuity) than for classical continuum problems. after integrating by parts twice.6. it was shown that if the weight function could be considered as a ‘virtual displacement’.

has been introduced. and are hence suitable for relatively short beams. and the second for the displacement v.2 January 21. This means that shear deformations can be taken into account.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis 6. In terms of the shear force and properties of the beam. but not necessarily normal.40) + fy = 0 which are two coupled second-order equations.36) where G is the shear modulus and As is the effective shear area.19) and (6. Together with the previously deﬁned boundary conditions. Inserting the constitutive relationships into the equilibrium equations in (6. it is related to the shear force by the constitutive relationship: γ= q . They also provide a solid introduction to moderately thick plate theories where the advantage of shear deformable theories will become more apparent. 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.37) dv −θ .39) (6.16) leads to: d2 θ − GAs dx2 dθ d2 v − dx dx2 dv −θ dx − EI GAs =0 in Ω. in Ω. The governing equations are given by the equilibrium conditions in equations (6.16) with the constitutive relationships m = − EIκ. Planes must remain plane.11) that rotation θ of a plane is given by θ= dv − γ.38) and considering v and θ to be the fundamental unknowns. an additional unknown.35) where γ is the rotation due to shear.19) and (6. (6. the ﬁrst for the rotation θ.4 Timoshenko beam Timoshenko beams are more general Bernoulli-Euler beams as they allow for shear deformation. the shear strain γ. Relative to the Bernoulli-Euler theory. q = GAs γ = GAs (6. the problem is complete. 82 Version 0. dx (6.2. 2011 . Recall from equation (6. GAS (6. dx (6.

x dΩ − Ω Ω ¯ θGAs (v.x − θ ) dΩ = 0. and using γ = v.2 Beams Weak governing equations ¯ Multiplying equations (6.xx dΩ − Ω ¯ θGAs (v. ¯ ¯ As before. − Ω Ω ¯ θEIθ. the weak form or virtual work expressions appear naturally and can be used as a starting point in developing a ﬁnite element model.x n dΓ − Γ Ω ¯ θGAs (v.43) (6. It is however assumed that θ = 0 on Γθ and that θ satisﬁes ¯ the rotation boundary condition.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 ) dΩ + ¯ vGAs (v. (6.x T dΓ + ΓQ ¯ vh Fy dΓ + Ω ¯ vh f y dΩ = 0 ¯ ∀vh ∈ V h (6.x − θ. consistency can be proven through the application of integration by parts. and v satisﬁes the transverse displacement boundary condition. ¯ ∀θ ∈ Vθ ¯ ∀v ∈ Vv . As with all problems.47) For many mechanical problems.46) is equivalent to the virtual work equation. Ω (6.x − θ ) dΩ + ΓQ ΓM Ω ¯ θT dΓ = 0.41) (6. 6. and v = 0 on Γv .48) January 21.2. The test and trial functions should be at least C0 continuous (in contrast to the C1 continuity for the Bernoulli-Euler theory). Ω (6.x GAs (v.x GAs (v.2 83 .46) − ¯ v.39) and (6.44) − ¯ v.xx EIv. adding the weak forms in equations (6.xx dΩ = − ΓM ¯h v. ¯ θ.xx − θ.40) by appropriately deﬁned weight functions θ ¯ and v.x − θ ) dΩ = 0.x − θ ) n x dΓ + ¯ v f y dΩ = 0.x ) dΩ + ¯ v f y dΩ = 0. 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 ) dΩ + ¯ vFy dΓ + ¯ v f y dΩ = 0 A more precise deﬁnition of the necessary functions spaces should be provided to ¯ complete the problem. − Ω δκ m dΩ + Ω δγ q dΩ = − ΓM δθ T dΓ + ΓQ δv Fy dΓ + Ω δv f y dΩ (6.42) ¯ vGAs (v.x dΩ − Ω Ω Γ ¯ θEIθ.45) (6.45) and (6. Applying integration by parts once.x EIθ. 2011 Version 0. considering δθ ≡ θ and δv ≡ v.x EIθ.6.

x N2.50b) h3 ( x − x1 ) ( x − x2 ) 2 (6.51) 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. The displacement ﬁeld vh is given by: vh ( x ) = ∑ ( Ni ( x ) vi + Mi ( x ) θi ) . i 2 (6. and involve both displacement and rotational degrees of freedom. The problem that arises is that simple C0 ﬁnite element shape functions are not suitable.49) where vi and θi are degrees of freedom associated with node i. the second derivative of a C0 continuous function does not exist in a classical sense. Such shape functions can be constructed relatively easily in one dimension (the extension to multiple dimensions is however far from trivial).50c) M1 = h2 ( x − x1 )2 ( x − x2 ) M2 = (6. The above equation requires the evaluation of the second derivative of the interpolated displacement ﬁeld.2 January 21. 2011 .x ae = N1. Hermitian polynomials are C1 functions.x v2 θ2 84 Version 0.50a) h3 ( x − x1 )2 ( h + 2 ( x2 − x )) N2 = (6. The use of C0 interpolations for fourth-order problems is not mathematically consistent and can lead to unpredictable results. we wish to express the displacement ﬁeld v in terms of shape functions and nodal degrees of freedom. However.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis where S h ⊂ S and V h ⊂ V are ﬁnite-dimensional spaces. convergence of the solution is not assured for interpolations with insufﬁcient continuity. The ﬁrst derivative is given by: v1 θ1 h (6. The solution is to use C1 shape functions. The displacement at a point in the beam is given by: v1 θ1 h (6. A Hermitian beam element with two nodes has four degrees of freedom (two displacement degrees of freedom and two rotation degrees of freedom). Crucially.x M1. This results in a cubic interpolation of the displacement along the element.x M2. As for continuum elements.x = N. and the shape functions are equal to: − ( x − x2 )2 (− h + 2 ( x1 − x )) (6.52) v.50d) h2 for an element of length h with ends from x1 to x2 (x2 > x1 ).

56) and the RHS vector by: fe = ΓQ N T Fy dΓ − ΓM N T T dΓ + Ω N T f y dΩ.xx dΩ.54) After some rearranging.6.xx (6.57) The operation to form the RHS vector essentially translates the applied loads into equivalent nodal shear forces and moments.xx = N.x be ) T T dΓ + ΓQ ( Nbe ) T Fy dΓ Ω + ( Nbe ) T f y dΩ (6.xx M2.53) h h Now that vh . (6.55) The element stiffness matrix is given by: ke = Ω N. Ω N.xx ae dΩ = − ΓM ( N. Ω ( N.xx T EI N.xx T EI N.xx can be computed given ae .xx ae = N1. they can be inserted into the Galerkin problem.x T T dΓ + ΓQ N T Fy dΓ + Ω N T f y dΩ. (6. January 21.xx dΩ ae = − ΓM N. v.xx N2.2 85 .2 Beams The second derivative of v is given by: v1 θ1 v2 θ2 h v. (6.x and v. 2011 Version 0.xx be ) T EI N.xx M1.

Considering just the second derivatives with respect to x. h h (6.xx = h3 ( x − x2 ) (3x − 2x1 − x2 ) M1.x = (6.58f) (6.59a) (6. M2.xx = 12x .58c) (6.58h) Assuming the centre of the element is at x = 0 (x2 + x1 = 0. h3 ( x − x1 ) (3x − x1 − 2x2 ) . h h 12x N2.xx = − .xx = . h 6x 1 M2. x1 = − h/2).xx = 2 − . (6.56). 2011 .2 January 21.59b) (6.x = . h3 6x 1 M1.58g) (6.59c) (6. h3 2 (6x + h − 2x1 − 4x2 ) .xx = 2 + .x = − .50). 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.58b) (6. N1.58e) (6.x = h2 2 (3x − 2x1 − x2 ) . h2 2 (3x − x1 − 2x2 ) M1.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis Taking derivatives of the Hermitian shape functions in equation (6.xx = − 3 .xx = h2 N1. N1.58d) (6.59d) Inserting these terms into equation (6.60) Integrating the terms in the stiffness matrix exactly from − h/2 to h/2 (assuming EI 86 Version 0. h3 2 (6x − h − 4x1 − 2x2 ) N2. the above equations can be simpliﬁed signiﬁcantly. h2 2 ( x − x1 ) (3x − h − x1 − 2x2 ) N2. M2. 2 ( x − x2 ) (3x + h − 2x1 − x2 ) .58a) (6.

61) Timoshenko beams The ﬁnite element formulation for the Timoshenko beam is relatively simple. and corresponding derivatives.x EIθ.x − θ h dΩ = Ω ¯ vh f y dΩ + ¯ vh Fy dΓ h ¯ ∀v h ∈ Vv . Inserting the expressions for the unknown ﬁelds in terms of nodal variables and variations into equations (6.63) 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.2 Beams to be constant).2 87 . in terms of shape functions and nodal variable.63) Consider the representation of the ﬁelds vh and θ h .M N θ T dΓ. (6.64c) (6.6. − 6EI h2 4EI h (6. v h = N v av . (6.x − θ h dΩ = − ΓQ ΓM ¯ θ h T dΓ h ¯ ∀θ h ∈ Vθ . due to the second-order nature of the governing equations. This will allow the use of the standard shape functions introduced in Chapter 4.62) and (6.64a) (6. T (6. h h The Galerkin problem for the Timoshenko beam involves: ﬁnd vh ∈ Sv and θ h ∈ Sθ such that Ω Ω h ¯h θ. 2011 Version 0.Q N v T Fy dΓ + Ωe N v T f y dΩ.65) Ωe Bv T GAs Bv dΩav − e Ωe Bv T GAs N θ dΩaθ e = Γe.64b) (6. e θ = ¯ v = ¯ θh = h h (6. A distinction is made between the shape functions for vh and θ h as these may differ. 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 . (6.62) h ¯h v.x GAs v.x dΩ − Ω h ¯ θ h GAs v. e θ θ N be . e N v bv .64d) N θ aθ .66) January 21.

when applying Timoshenko elements for thin bending problems. Ωe Ωe T T (6.69) (6. resulting in an overly stiff response. and components of the element RHS vector are given by fθ = − fv = Γe. Bv T GAs N θ dΩ. and for simplicity as the Timoshenko element used C0 shape functions. 2011 . Ideally. This is the effect in which the shear contribution to the energy does not vanish. However. This would be advantageous from the point of view of generality.71) kθv = − kvθ = − kvv = Ωe N θ GAs Bv dΩ. T Bv T GAs Bv dΩ. Timoshenko beam theory is superior to the Bernoulli-Euler theory in that it is valid for both short and slender beams.70) (6.6 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. T T (6. with linear shape functions for both the displacement and rotation.72) (6.Q N v T Fy dΓ + Ωe Note that the stiffness matrix is symmetric (kθv = kvθ ). The components of the stiffness matrix are given by: GAs L EI GAs L EI − + L + 3 L 6 .74) e EI GAs L GAs L EI + − + L 6 L 3 GAs GAs − 2 2 . N v T f y dΩ. only a Timoshenko beam element would be necessary in practice. and both short and slender beams could be analysed. the result are plagued by shear locking. (6.68) (6. kθθ = (6. Locking Conceptually. Consider a Timoshenko beam element of length L.M N θ T dΓ.2 January 21.67) where the components of the the element stiffness matrix are given by kθθ = Ωe Bθ EIBθ + N θ GAs N θ dΩ.75) kθv = e GA GAs s − 2 2 88 Version 0.73) Γe.

2011 Version 0. EI GAs L L + 3 ke = GAs − 2 − GAs θ 0 2 2 = GAs v2 P L (6.2 89 . and a shear load P is applied one end.2 Beams and GAs L = GA s − L GAs − L GAs L GAs 2 GAs − 2 GAs − L GAs L kvv e (6. will yield a very stiff response. GAs (6. v2 ≈ 4PL . the displacement v2 is equal to v2 = P ( EI/L + GAs L/3) EIGAs /L2 + G2 A2 /12 s (6.76) Therefore.77) If at one end the beam is clamped.78) Therefore.80) which is independent of I. v2 ≈ PL . 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. If the term Ωe N θT GAs N θ dΩ is evaluated using one-point numerical integration T January 21. θ1 = v1 = 0.79) If L is large.81) which is the correct result. this element will exhibit a very stiff response.6. Even with a very ﬁne mesh. GAs (6. As L → 0.

83) If L is very large.84) which qualitatively the desired response. v2 ≈ PL GAs (6. for the one element problem clamped at one end.85) When using reduced integration. 90 Version 0. 2011 .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. The case is similar for quadratic elements. v2 is equal to v2 = P ( EI/L + GAs L/4) EIGAs /L2 (6. this element performs quite well when the mesh is sufﬁciently well-reﬁned. and as L → 0. 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 (6.2 January 21.82) ke = GAs GAs GAs GAs − 2 2 L L GAs GAs GAs GAs − − − 2 2 L L Now. v2 ≈ PL3 4EI (6.

the relevant dangers in analysing plate and shell structures with the ﬁnite element method are presented.1 Plate kinematics The adopted coordinate system and sign convention for rotations θα for plates is shown in Figure 6. A particularly accessible account can be found in Cook et al. The plate has a thickness t.3 Plate x3 p θ1 x2 t x1 θ2 Figure 6. and the coordinate z = 0 corresponds to the mid-surface of the plate. u3 = u3 ( x. displacement may be denoted u. The adopted deﬁnitions simplify the formulation as it will avoid the need for a −1 factor on particular terms.9). this section does not provide an exhaustive coverage.3. They are ﬂat two-dimensional entities.6.8. (1989). the displacement of a point is given by: uα = −zθα ( x. In plate theory. 1987. or u1 . The surface of the plate in the x1 –x2 plane is denoted Ω. and the boundary is Γ. 1991.2 91 .86b) where θα is the rotation of a ﬁbre in the plate (see Figure 6. y and z directions. Hughes. 2011 Version 0. It is convenient to express many relationships for plates using index notation. are are typically loaded out of plane. y) . The basic governing equations of shell and plate elements and the most common ﬁnite element approaches are discussed. 6. x2 and x3 .8: Coordinate system for a plate. the convention differs from the right-hand rule. y) . Also. respectively). More detailed coverage can be found in a number of books (Zienkiewicz and Taylor. Plate ﬁnite elements can be extremely complex and are an area of ongoing research. y and z. 1996). For convenience. A serious problem stems from the need for C1 interpolations in the classic thin plate and shell bending theories. or x1 . u2 and u3 when using indexes. Given the enormous number of different plate and shell elements. v and w (displacements in the x. 6.86a) (6. (6.3 Plate Plates are effectively generalisations of beam elements to two spatial dimensions. The rotation of the January 21. Similarly. summation is implied from one to two. T When using Greek subscripts. The three coordinates are denoted x. Bathe.

9: Plate kinematics with shear deformation included.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis γα θ α w.α 1 w x3 xα Figure 6. 92 Version 0. 2011 .2 January 21.

which is a second-order tensor and at a point is given by: καβ = 1 θ + θ β.88a) (6.i )).β + θ β. it is clear that the moment tensor is symmetric. ǫαβ = ǫα3 = −z θα.3 Plate mid-surface of the plate is given by w. From the displacement ﬁeld in equations (6. The moment tensor mαβ in a plate is deﬁned as: t/2 −t/2 σαβ z dz (6.α 2 (6.α 2 −θα + w.90) From symmetry of the stress tensor. (6. This allows the deﬁnition of following notation for January 21. the strain ﬁeld can be calculated at any point (recall ǫ = (1/2)(ui.α − θα . 2 α. 2011 Version 0. γα = w. and the shear strain is given by γα .3. The shear force vector qα is deﬁned as: t/2 −t/2 σα3 dz (6.2 93 .j + u j.2 Equilibrium of a plate The equilibrium equations for a plate are developed here in the same fashion as for plates.β (6.β) . It is useful to deﬁne a vector s which is normal to the vector n.α = θ(α. The alternative approach would be to insert the plate kinematics into the elasticity equations.91) The different resultant moments and transverse forces acting on cross-sections of a plate are shown in Figure 6.6.α .89) 6.α .10 (‘resultants’ are forces which are equivalent to a moment or shear stress). and lies in the plane of Ω. then θα = w.86).88b) A useful quantity is the curvature.87) Note that if γα = 0.

s = The quantities are illustrated in Figure 6. (6. w. ∂mnn .2 January 21.92c) (6.α dΩ + Ω pz dΩ = 0.s = ∂s qn = qα nα .α + pz = 0. mns = mαβ n β sα .92d) (6.α nα 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 6.95) 94 Version 0.92e) (6. 2011 .93) Applying the divergence theorem to the term involving qα leads to Ω qα. θn = θα nα .11.92f) (6.92h) qα nα dΓ + Ω pz dΩ = 0. mns. Translation equilibrium of a plate requires that: ∂Ω (6. (6. ∂s ∂mns . (6.10: Moment and transverse shear force resultants acting on cross-sections of a plate (adapted from Hughes (1987)).s = w.α sα mnn.94) which must also hold for an inﬁnitesimally small piece of the plate.92b) (6.n = w. therefore qα.92g) (6.92a) (6. quantities relative to an arbitrarily oriented plate edge: mnn = mαβ n β nα .

PSfrag 6.α xα = qα + q β. constitutive relationships are required which relate the moment tensor and the shear force to deformations.α xα . (6.β + pz = 0. (6.β + q β.Kirchhoﬀ theory The Kirchhoff plate model theory is analogous to the Bernoulli-Euler beam. rotational equilibrium requires that mαβ. mαβ n β dΓ − q β n β xα dΩ − pz xα dΩ = 0.11: Moment and transverse shear force resultants acting on an edge of a plate (adapted from Hughes (1987)). (6. 2011 Version 0. These constitutive relationships will also be elaborated upon in the context of the different theories.3.2 95 . Considering now rotational equilibrium.β = q β xα.96) ∂Ω ∂Ω Ω which leads to: Ω mαβ. Ironically. the outwardly simplest plate theory presents the most problems when formulating the ﬁnite January 21.β xα dΩ − Ω pz xα dΩ = 0. 6. Since translation equilibrium requires that q β. To complete the problem.97) noting that q β xα .β − qα = 0.3 Plate q2 m21 m22 qn x3 x2 θ1 mns m11 q1 m12 s mnn n x1 θ2 Figure 6. and are speciﬁc to the considered plate theory.β dΩ − Ω qα dΩ − Ω q β.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. is the equation for translational equilibrium. hence boundary conditions are elaborated upon in the context of a given theory.3 Thin plates .

The shear force qα is no longer ‘independent’. The goal is now to eliminate qα from the governing equations.102) into equation (6. This can be done by differentiating equation (6. four different types of boundary conditions are possible. and the Kirchhoff plate model requires two boundary conditions at all points 96 Version 0.2 January 21. the governing equation can be expressed in a particularly convenient form: w.101) (6.ααββ = 12 1 − ν2 pz . 12 (6.106) As a fourth-order equation. ∇4 w = ∂4 w ∂4 w ∂4 w +2 2 2 + 4 . 2011 .102) Cαβγδ = t3 ¯ µ δαβ δβδ + δαδ δβγ + λδαβ δγδ .87) reduces to: θα = w. Et3 (6.αβ + w.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. equation (6. 12 1 − ν2 ∂4 w ∂4 w ∂4 w +2 2 2 + 4 = pz .105) This equation is known as the ‘biharmonic equation’.βα .100) The moment is related to the curvature by mαβ = −Cαβγδ κγδ .95).α (6. Inserting the constitutive relationship (6.104) Expanding this equation. 2 (6. where the constitutive tensor is equal to: (6.98) and inserting equation (6.103) ¯ where λ = 2λµ/ (λ + 2µ). It is often written in a shorthand format using the biharmonic operator ∇4 . the curvature κ is equal to: καβ = 1 w. ∂x y ∂x4 ∂y (6. After some rearranging.αβ + pz = 0.100) yields a fourthorder partial differential equation. Assuming transverse shear deformations are zero. ∂x y Et3 ∂x4 ∂y (6. Since shear deformations are zero. mαβ.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis element method.

110) which is the weak form of the governing equation for thin plate bending. and leads to the well known ‘corner forces’ in thin plate theory. − Ω ¯ w. The governing equation is multiplied by a weight function.100).α mαβ n β dΓ + Γ ¯ wmαβ.β dΩ + Γ ¯ wmαβ. (6.107d) The ﬁrst two boundary conditions are Dirichlet boundary conditions.n mnn dΓ − ¯ w. Weak form The weak form of the governing equation for a thin plate is derived using the same processes applied for second-order problems.105) by a weight function w.110) (ignoring the point terms). 2011 Version 0.20).α mαβ n β dΓ = − Γ Γ ¯ w.n mnn dΓ + Γ ¯ w (mns. (6. The problem here is that too many boundary terms appear in the ﬁrst boundary integral.β nα dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0. Ω ¯ w. The last boundary condition is known as the ‘modiﬁed shear’ boundary condition. the boundary conditions are given by: w = gw θ n = gθ mnn = T qn + mns. (6.2 97 .n mnn dΓ + Γ Γ ¯ w. then integrated by parts.s dΓ − wmns | B A (6.s = Q on Γw on Γθ on ΓM on ΓQ (6.αβ dΩ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0. The moment can only be applied normal to the boundary (mαβ n β nα ). and integrating over the surface of the plate.107a) (6.112) January 21.3 Plate on the boundary.107c) (6. − Γ ¯ w.αβ mαβ dΩ − Γ ¯ w. Considering the partition of the boundary in equation (6. Multiplying by a weight ¯ function w.n = 0 on Γθ .109) Using integration by parts again on the ﬁrst term.β nα dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0.111) =− The last term will be ignored. it is convenient to carry out the process on equation (6. (6.αβ mαβ dΩ − Γ ¯ w. Rather than multiplying the governing ¯ equation (6. and integrating over the plate surface Ω. Integrating the moment term by parts once.108) where Ω is the surface of the plate.s + qn ) dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0. Ω ¯ wmαβ.α mαβ.107b) (6. Inserting the above relationship into equation (6.s mns dΓ ¯ ¯ wmns. for which w = 0 on Γw and w.6. yields Ω ¯ w. and the last two are Neumann boundary conditions.

Unlike for thin plates. some serious practical problems arise in ﬁnite element analysis when applying Reissner-Mindlin elements for the analysis of thin plates. The key to the success of this approach in a ﬁnite element context is that the moment tensor mαβ is calculated from the curvature. As such.114) Ω ΓM ΓQ Ω Recall that the bending moment mαβ is a function of the curvature.α as a virtual rotation δθα . (6.n T dΓ + ΓQ ¯ wQ dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0 ¯ ∀w ∈ V . (6.2 January 21. which depends on θα which is no longer calculated directly from w (θα = w. However.3. The governing equations for a thick plate are those given in Section 6.n = gθ on Γθ . ¯ ¯ ¯ Considering w as a virtual displacement δw. The rotation of the plate cannot be calculated simply as a derivative of the transverse displacement.α ).115b) Consistency can proven through the repeated application of integration by parts. qα. w. The difference lies in the kinematics and the constitutive model. For completeness. The problem now involves two different unknowns.β − qα = 0.αβ as the virtual curvature. 6.2. (6. w = 0 on Γw . the spaces S and V for the weak form of Kirchhoff plate theory are deﬁned as follows: S = w | w ∈ H 2 (Ω) . The equations of equilibrium are: mαβ.αβ mαβ dΩ − ΓM ¯ w. 2011 .116a) (6.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis Inserting the Neumann boundary conditions. δκαβ .116b) 98 Version 0. which in turn involves second derivatives of w. the governing equations for equilibrium are the same as for the Kirchhoff theory.113) where the functions in S satisfy the Dirichlet boundary conditions. the above equation is the equation of virtual work for a plate: δκαβ mαβ dΩ − δθn T dΓ + δwQ dΓ + δwpz dΩ = 0 (6. solving the weak problems then involves: ﬁnd w ∈ S such that Ω ¯ w. w = gw on Γw . hence the highest order derivatives in the weak governing equation are order two. the governing equations cannot be further reduced since θα is not a direct function of w.3. w. For this theory. and w. w and θα . It is analogous to the Timoshenko beam. ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ V = w | w ∈ H 2 (Ω) .4 Moderately thick plates – Reissner-Mindlin theory The Reissner-Mindlin theory for plates includes shear deformation.115a) (6.n = 0 on Γθ . w. it is applicable for both thick and thin plates.α + pz = 0.

Firstly.120c) (6.120b) (6.β) mαβ dΩ + Γ ¯ θα mαβ n β dΓ − Ω ¯ θα Cαβ w.β − θ β dΩ = 0. This set of equations cannot be reduced further.120a) (6.β − θ β = 0 (6.3 Plate In addition to the constitutive relationship relating moment and curvature (equation (6.β − θ β .6. (6. 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.119b) (6.117) Cαβ w.β mαβ dΩ + ΓM ¯ θα Tα dΓ − Ω ¯ θα Cαβ w. ¯ equation (6. This means than the governing equations are being solved in their irreducible form.β − θ β dΩ = 0. is a vector. (6.2 99 . on ΓM .β − Cαβ w.119a) (6. three boundary conditions must be applied at all points on the boundary. qα = Cαβ γβ = Cαβ w.αβ − θ β. (6.α + pz = 0 It is these equations which will be solved. a constitutive relation relating the shear forces to the shear strain is introduced. − Ω ¯ θ(α. The ‘naturally’ occurring boundary conditions involve w = gw θα = gαθ mαn = Tα qn = Q on Γw . Ω ¯ θα mαβ.118) (6.123) January 21. mαβ.β dΩ − Ω ¯ θα Cαβ w.119a) and (6. This set of equations can be reduced by eliminating qα . Weak form To derive the weak form.102)). where Cαβ = ktµδαβ .122) ¯ Inserting now Neumann boundary conditions (θα = 0 where θα is prescribed) yields: − Ω ¯ θα. both equations (6. (6. θα .121) Integrating the above equation by parts.120d) Given that one of the unknowns. on Γθ . This is due to θα and w being decoupled.119b) are addressed. 2011 Version 0. on ΓQ .β − θ β dΩ = 0.119a) is multiplied by a weight function θα .

119b).2 January 21. Multiplying now equation (6.125) ¯ Inserting again Neumann boundary conditions (w = 0 where w is prescribed).β) and δγα = w.128) − which is the equation of virtual work for a Reissner-Mindlin plate. This will require the interpolation of both the transverse displacement w and the rotation θα .119b) by a ¯ weight function w.127b) that are solved using the ﬁnite element method. It is equations (6. C0 shape functions can be applied. the above equation includes a contribution to the energy due to shear ( Ω δγα qα dΩ). 100 Version 0.127a) and (6.124) Ω Ω Integrating the above equation by parts yields: − Ω ¯ w. Hence.6 Structural elements for ﬁnite element analysis which is the weak form of equation (6.αβ − θ( β. However. The weak problem therefore involves: ﬁnd θα ∈ Sθ and w ∈ Sw such that: − Ω ¯ θα. yields: Ω −δκαβ mαβ dΩ + Ω δγα qα dΩ + ΓM δθα Tα dΓ − ΓQ Ω δwQ dΓ δwpz dΩ = 0 (6.α Cαβ w.126) which is the weak form of equation (6.127b) by minus one).β − θ β dΩ + ΓQ ¯ wQ dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0 ¯ ∀w ∈ Vw (6. ¯ ∀θα ∈ Vθ (6. the highest order derivative appearing for both terms is one. ¯ wCαβ w.127b) Note that both weak equations contains derivatives no higher than order one.β − θ β dΩ + Γ ¯ wCαβ γβ nα dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0.β − θ β dΩ = 0.α) dΩ + ¯ wpz dΩ = 0. (6. 2011 .119a).α Cαβ w. − Ω ¯ w.114).β mαβ dΩ + ΓM ¯ θα Tα dΓ − Ω ¯ θα Cαβ w. adopting ¯ ¯ ¯ the notation δw = w. Note that different to the virtual work equation for a Kirchhoff plate (6.127a) − Ω ¯ w. Combining both equations (multiplying equation (6. and taking advantage of the symmetry of mαβ . (6.β − θ β dΩ + ΓQ ¯ wQ dΓ + Ω ¯ wpz dΩ = 0. δκαβ = θ(α.α Cαβ w. (6.α − θα .

129) where m = (m11 . none of which are of general applicability. In place of requiring C1 continuity. 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. 2011 Version 0. The majority of Kirchhoff plate elements are non-conforming – this means that they do not satisfy C1 continuity. it tests whether an element can represent rigid body modes and a state of constant strain.131) Kirchhoﬀ plate elements There are few reliable.2 101 . m = −Db κ (6.5 Plate ﬁnite elements As in elasticity. In the context of plates. some non-conforming elements yield satisfactory results. where Ds = tkµ 0 0 . tkµ (6.3 Plate 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. It does not however satisfy C1 continuity. a less severe requirement is that elements satisfy a ‘patch test’. The complications are rooted in the need for C1 continuity. January 21. constant strain implies constant curvature. The matrix D b has the form: 1 ν 1 0 0 0 Et3 D = 12 (1 − ν2 ) b ν 0 (1 − ν ) 2 . m22 . ﬂexible and robust Kirchhoff plate elements. (6. The element is still useful as it passes the patch test. There exists a range of Kirchhoff plate elements. symmetry of mαβ and καβ allows the use of simpliﬁed ‘engineering’ notation.6. 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 . A common Kirchhoff plate element is rectangular and has four nodes and twelve degrees of freedom. (6. q = D s γ. In particular.130) For the shear forces qα . κ22 . 2κ12 ) T . However. m12 ) T and κ = (κ11 .132) (6.3.

**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

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

setting n = 0 gives: 1/2 e 0 = Ω (e · e) dΩ . i (7. Consider the nodal interpolate u I . c is an unknown constant. 1/2 e 1 = Ω (e · e + ∇e : ∇e) dΩ . hence it interpolates the exact solution using the provided shape functions.11) January 21. Interpolation theory provides the inequality u − uI m ≤ chk+1−m |u|k+1 . (7.7) where r is the order of the derivatives appearing in the weak form. For example.10) into the above expression.2 (7. Setting n = 1. and h is a measure of the element size. (7.7 Analysis of the ﬁnite element method involve n = 0 and n = 1. (7.8) The nodal interpolate is equal to the exact solution at the nodes (u − u I = 0 at the nodes). k + 1 > m. uI = ∑ Ni aiI . rather a question which can be answered from interpolation theory. 2011 . Given that a ﬁnite solution is known to be the best possible solution from the ﬁnite-dimensional space S h . the question of determining an error estimate is no longer a ﬁnite element question. thereby introducing a measure of the error in the strain. Version 0.6) which involves only a particular order derivative. (7. An important semi-norm is the energy norm. In this way. It is deﬁned by: u 2 E = | u |2 = r Ω ( Dr u)2 dΩ. Note that to ensure convergence. it holds that u − uh E ≤ u − uI E.9) where k is the polynomial order. A Sobolev semi-norm is given by |u|n = Ω ( D n u)2 dΩ 1/2 . (7. Inserting now equation (7. u − uh 106 r ≤ Chk+1−r |u|k+1 .10) This means that the ﬁnite element solution is at least as accurate as the nodal interpolate in terms if energy.5) which now includes the gradient of e.4) which is a measure of the error in the displacements. (7.

14) In terms of the strain. For practical purposes.2 A posteriori error estimation Once a ﬁnite element solution has been calculated. u − uh 0 . (7. In elasticity. but does not tell how far the computed solution is from the exact solution. a natural question is how close the solution is to the exact solution. If the exact solution is not sufﬁciently smooth. For k ≥ 1. Larger a implies faster convergence. It leads to the estimate: u − uh s ≤ Ch β |u|k+1 . hence u − uh 1 ≤ Chk |u|k+1 . 7. For linear elements.13) where β = min (k + 1 − s. which tells ‘how good’ the calculated solution is. It would be useful to ﬁnd an estimate in terms of lower norms. ≤ Chk |u|k+1 . The order of convergence of a particular element type indicates how quickly the exact solution is approached.2 107 . The notation O(h a ) means that the error is ‘of the order h a ’. 1/2 . The error in the displacements is given by e 0 . hence it represents the error in the energy. (7. the two quantities of special interest are the displacements and the strains (and hence the stresses). e e 0 1 ≤ Ch2 |u|2 ≤ Ch|u|2 . January 21. 2011 Version 0. Therefore. and O(h) in terms of strains. For an elasticity problem. This result is however conditional upon the seminorm |u|k+1 existing. the greater a the smaller the error.1. An estimate can be obtained using ‘Nitsche’s trick’ (see Strang and Fix (1973) for details). r = 1. (7. independent of h. This is error analysis.16) Hence linear elements are known as being O(h2 ) in terms of displacements. the displacement error is: which is equal to Ω e · e dΩ e 0 ≤ Chk+1 |u|k+1 . Of course as h becomes small.7. this norm is dominated by the error in the strain.2 A posteriori error estimation where C is a constant.15) which implies that the approximate strains converge to the exact result slower than the approximate displacements. e 1 (7.12) This implies that the solution converges in this norm at a rate equal to the polynomial order. such as the error in the displacement. The convergence order for different polynomial orders is given in Table 7. 2(k + 1 − r )). (7. k = 1. there may be no gain in accuracy through increasing the polynomial order.

3 Adaptivity To improve the accuracy of a ﬁnite element solution. some relatively simple error estimators exist for linear problems.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. Given a measure of the error. To halve the error in a particular problem using h-adaptivity. A mathematically appealing concept is hp-adaptivity. 7. assuming that the exact solution is sufﬁciently smooth. Based on an analysis of the error. h-adaptivity uses another technique to reduce the error. it 108 Version 0. by comparing the stresses interpolated from the super convergent points with the stress computed from the derivative of the displacement ﬁeld. The most common is the Zienkiewicz-Zhu (ZZ) (Zienkiewicz and Zhu. but is challenging to implement. the error is again estimated. A posteriori error estimators are generally either residual-based or rely on stress recovery techniques. adaptivity can be employed to reduce the error where needed. and adaptivity is employed. Two forms of adaptivity are commonly used: p-adaptivity and h-adaptivity. or to devise procedures which sub-divide elements where the error is large. Then. 1987) stress recovery error estimator. It may be desirable to reduce the error to a speciﬁed value throughout a mesh. It is possible to generate an entirely new mesh. padaptivity involves increasing the polynomial order of elements to reduce the error in the calculated solution. the problem is re-analysed.2 January 21.1: Order of convergence O(hk ) for commonly used ﬁnite elements in terms of displacements and strain. It relies upon reducing the size of the element. Given a estimation of the error. Then. 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. It is based on the property that the stresses at certain points within an element are super-convergent. Error estimation is a rich ﬁeld of applied mathematical research. a ﬁnite element mesh can be adapted to improve the solution. It has an extraordinary rate of convergence. knowing the order of convergence of an element may prove useful. That is. 2011 . they converge faster toward the exact solution than other points. a new mesh must be constructed. At this point. Fortunately. an adaptive scheme is required to reduce the error to the prescribed levels. the error can be estimated. Hence. The process can be repeated until the prescribed error tolerance is met. adaptivity techniques can be employed in combination with an error estimator.

4 Exercises 1.7. January 21.2 109 . List some advantages and disadvantages of p.4 Exercises helps to know how quickly the error reduces for a particular element. 7. 2011 Version 0. When using Q4 elements.7 times smaller? 3. how much smaller would you expect the error in the displacements and the stresses to be if all the elements are made 2.and h-adaptivity. 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.

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To ﬁnd the ﬁnite element solution to a problem. The number of steps performed depends on the desired accuracy.8 Solvers for large linear systems Note: This chapter is still being developed. For all problems examined in these notes. the exact structure of the stiffness matrix is not constant. Iterative solvers approach the exact solution. the matrix is also banded. Another special property is symmetry. the system of equations is sparse. the following system needs to be solved: Ka = f (8.1 LU-decomposition A commonly used direct solution technique is known as LU-decomposition. the stiffness matrix is symmetric. 8. 111 . The motivation is that it is relatively simple to solve triangular matrices. Storing only non-zero elements in the computer memory leads to enormous savings in memory. if nodes are numbered in an efﬁcient manner.1) The stiffness matrix K typically has a number of special properties. Gauss elimination is rarely used. Due to the compact support of ﬁnite element shape functions. It varies for different meshes. Large systems require signiﬁcant memory to store the matrices and large computational effort to solve the system. This is a consequence of using a Galerkin formulation. Furthermore. Gauss elimination – number of operations O n3 In ﬁnite element code however. Further savings can be achieved for symmetric matrices by storing only the diagonal terms and non-zero terms above the diagonal. Direct solvers yield a result with a known number of steps. unlike ﬁnite difference methods. However. Typically more efﬁcient direct or iterative solvers are used. The system of equations Ka = f is rewritten as: LUa = f (8. This means that the stiffness matrix contains many zero elements.2) where L is a lower triangular matrix with ones on the diagonal and U is an upper diagonal matrix. This mean that nonzero terms are located close to the diagonal. Therefore. 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. 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).

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

All problems up to this chapter were elliptic.4b) where v is the velocity (v = ∂u/∂t). u=g on Γg .3) Dynamic problems require some ‘extra’ information compared to their quasi-static counterparts. time-dependent Dirichlet boundary conditions are prescribed. therefore two initial conditions are required: u ( x.4a) (9. this equation differs signiﬁcantly from the static case as the governing equation is hyperbolic. 0) = u0 ( x) u ( x. when a load is applied at the 113 . With elliptic problems. the ﬁnite element method has been applied only for time-independent problems. For example. The second. In this chapter. Initial conditions correspond to the conditions at time zero (t = 0). less subtle. 9. modal analysis. On parts of the boundary.1 Governing equation and the weak form for elastodynamics The equation of motion is given by: ρu = ∇ · σ + b ¨ (9. Two approaches will be elaborated.2) On other parts of the boundary. These are initial conditions. time-dependent Neumann boundary conditions are applied. Elastodynamics involves the second derivative of the displacement with respect to time. In mathematical ¨ terms. its is complemented by boundary conditions. σn = h on Γh (9.1. relies on linearity of the underlying problem and is suited to vibration analysis. 0) = v0 ( x) ˙ (9. approach is more general and suited to wave propagation problems. The ﬁrst. the unsteady heat equation and elastodynamics are considered in which the time dimension must be addressed.9 Time-dependent problems Until now. 9.1 Elastodynamics The majority of this chapter deals with elastodynamics problems. Similar to static problems.1) where ρ is the density and u = ∂2 u/∂t2 is the acceleration vector. (9. information travels through the domain immediately.

From the weak from in the previous section. solving the weak form involves: for a given t > 0.e N T h dΓ. and integrating gives: Ω ρw · u dΩ = ¨ Ω w · (∇ · σ ) dΩ + Ω w · b dΩ (9.7) and rearranging.9) 114 Version 0. restrained at one end.2 Semi-discrete Galerkin form To reach a ﬁnite element formulation. Inserting the discretised displacement ﬁeld ˙ ¨ and the expression for the acceleration ﬁeld into equation (9. Ωe N T ρN dΩ ae = − ¨ Ωe B T DB dΩ ae + Ωe N T b dΩ + Γh. The velocity and acceleration ﬁelds are represented using the shape functions. ﬁnd u ∈ S such that Ω ρw · u dΩ = − ¨ Ω ∇s w : σ dΩ + Ω w · b dΩ + Γh w · h dΓ ∀w ∈ V . a stress wave will travel through the bar and a force at the restrained end will not be felt until the stress wave arrives.1. ¨ ¨ h (9. like for the static case the governing equation must be expressed in terms of nodal unknowns and basis functions. Therefore. and inserting Neumann boundary conditions. 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 .7) which is known as ‘semi-discrete’. the Galerkin form must be developed. To solve dynamic problems using a computer. (9. With hyperbolic problems ‘information’ travels at ﬁnite speeds. (9. Multiplying equation (9.6) 9. The time dimension is left continuous. which when considering the semidiscrete formulations are constant in time. The equations for elastodynamics are hyperbolic. (9.8b) where ae = dae /dt and ae = d2 ae /dt2 . If a bar.2 January 21.5) Integrating by parts. a reaction force is felt immediately at the other end.9 Time-dependent problems free end of a restrained rod. is hit with a hammer at the free end. using the same steps outlined in Chapter 2.8a) (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. Deriving the weak form for dynamic problems follows the familiar procedure. the ﬁnite-dimensional velocity and acceleration ﬁelds in an element are given by: uh = N ae . which is independent of time. This is again done using ﬁnite element shape functions. 2011 .1) by a weight function w. for an element. ˙ ˙ u = N ae .

Another procedure is based on summing rows of the consistent mass matrix. a strategy is required to deal with the time derivatives of a. but with integration points located only at element nodes. as will be discussed in the following sections. it was not entirely clear how the mass matrix should be formed. All off-diagonal terms are equal to zero. Since ﬁnite element shape functions are equal to unity at their node and zero at all other nodes. Once the element contributions have been assembled into the global mass and stiffness matrices and the global RHS vector. cons = Me Ωe ρN T N dΩ.1 Elastodynamics This equation is commonly called the ‘semi-discrete’ equation. A common approach was to form a lumped mass matrix.9. the mass matrix is symmetric and will have off-diagonal terms. Other more January 21. It is however possible that nodes will have zero or negative masses.12) This is typically formed by integrating numerically. Since shape functions are equal to unity at their node and zero at all other nodes.2 115 . This property is highly advantageous in combination with some time integration schemes. the lumped mass matrix has non-zero terms only on the diagonal. ¨ (9. Mii lump = j =1 cons ∑ Mij n (9. This equation can be written is a shorthand format as: Me a e + k e a e = f e ¨ (9. 9.13) where n is the dimension of the mass matrix. for a given time tn M an + Kan = f n . This is formed similarly to the stiffness matrix. there is some freedom in determining exactly how the lumped mass matrix should be calculated. The obvious choice from the variational approach is the consistent mass matrix. Since lumped schemes do not follow naturally from the variational formulation.11) Before this equation can be solved. This procedure however can lead to negative masses on the diagonal. This corresponds to having discrete. this will yield a diagonal mass matrix. in the same fashion as for the element stiffness matrix.3 Mass matrix There are several methods to form the mass matrix. (9.1. Perhaps the simplest procedure to form lumped mass matrices is to form the matrices using numerical integration. Before the variational basis of the ﬁnite element method was properly understood. As with the element stiffness matrix. 2011 Version 0.10) where Me is the element mass matrix. lumped masses at each node.

The problem requires boundary conditions. unsteady heat diffusion is governed by: ˙ ρcu + ∇ · q = f . The precise source of damping and its mathematical form is often vague. (9. In strong form.17) 116 Version 0. Damping is often included by adding the term C a to the governing equations.2 January 21. kappa is the conductivity. Conversely. q = −κ ∇u is the heat ﬂux.15) where τ and ψ are user chosen parameters. It will become clear when addressing particular time integration schemes why lumped mass matrices are popular. t) = u0 ( x) . It can be included through the damping matrix C. u is the temperature. the contribution of the mass matrix increases damping with decreasing frequency. The contribution of the stiffness matrix to the damping matrix increases damping with increasing frequency. This topic is left to other courses which address non-linear material behaviour. or through the constitutive model relating stress and strain.4 Damping Problems in structural dynamics often involve damping. The steady-state version of the equation was introduced in Section 2.2 Heat equation The heat equation is introduced here as a step to the problems in elastodynamics. Damping due to the material response can also be included. The performance of lumped mass matrices is guided primarily by experience. Unlike elastodynamics. c is the ‘capacity’. only one type of initial condition may be provided.9 Time-dependent problems sophisticated lumping schemes are possible which will avoid negative masses. ˙ M a + C a + Ka = f . The choice of the parameters τ and ψ is certainly arbitrary. 9. 2011 . (9.3. This is known as Rayleigh damping.16) where in the context of diffusion of heat. namely the temperature at t = 0. 9.1. as outlined in Section 2. (1989). it involves ﬁrst order derivatives with respect to time. They two key points are that zero and negative masses on the diagonal should be avoided. A simple method of introducing damping is to say: C = τM + ψK. A discussion can be found in Cook et al. representing the uncertainty in the source of damping. (9. u ( x. and initial conditions.14) where the matrix C represents the sources of damping in the structure. There is no rich theory underlying the choices.3. Given that only the ﬁrst derivative with respect to time is involved. ¨ ˙ (9.

For explicit time integration procedures.20) where ω is the frequency (radians per second). this is immediately felt (an inﬁnitesimal amount) and increases with time. (9. it is relatively simple to calculate the natural frequencies. the semi-discrete Galerkin problem for the heat equation involves: for a given t > 0. The displacements at the nodes can be described by a = a cos (ωt − α) . it is important to know the highest natural frequency of the discrete problem.24) The highest frequency from all elements provides an upper bound to the highest frequency of the problem. (9. 2 det ke − ωe me = 0 (9. An upper bound to the highest frequency can be found by calculating the frequencies for all individual elements. ¯ a = −ω 2 a cos (ωt − α) .9.25) √ for an element of length L.23) where ω are the natural frequencies of the system. It turns out that for a lumped mass matrix. The difﬁculty is that the size of the problem in equation (9.22) which is a matrix eigenvalue problem.21) −ω 2 M + K a = 0. ωe = 2 3/L January 21.23) can be very large. this can be expressed at time tn as: M an + Kan = f n . its motion is harmonic. If stiffness and mass matrices are of dimension n.3 Frequency analysis for elastodynamics The heat equation is parabolic.2 117 . the highest frequency is equal to: ωe = 2 L E ρ E/ρ. (9. Non-trivial solutions (a = 0) require that: ¯ (9.11) and rearranging. Following the usual processes in developing the weak form.18) (9. For the consistent mass matrix. ¨ ¯ Inserting these results into equation (9. 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. there are n eigenvalues λ (λ = ω 2 ). If one end of a rod is heated.3 Frequency analysis for elastodynamics If an undamped system is allowed to vibrate freely (no forcing terms).19) In matrix form. 2011 Version 0. ˙ 9. For a one-dimensional linear element. The acceleration is therefore given by: (9. which ¯ are also known as natural modes. The eigenvectors are a. ¯ det K − ω 2 M = 0.

(9. Inserting equation (9.11) yields: ¨ M ∑ αi Ψi + K ∑ αi Ψi = f i i (9.2 January 21. (9. (9. The nodal displacements can be expressed as a summation of eigenfunctions. ¨ Ψj T M ∑ αi Ψi + Ψj T K ∑ αi Ψi = Ψj T f i i (9. separate equations. This means that: Ψi T MΨj = and Ψi T KΨj = ωi2 0 i = j. (9.11) . It is then possible to treat each mode separately. ¨ αi + ωi2 αi = Ψi T f . i = j.27) where Ψi are eigenvectors.32) The orthogonality property means that the equation has been decoupled into nm simple.31) Pre-multiplying both sides of this equation by Ψj T . i = j.28) where αi (t) is the amplitude of the ith eigenmode. Consider a solution a = ψi cos (ωi t + θi ) . 2011 .4 Modal analysis for elastodynamics Modal analysis involves the dividing of the response of a structure into a number of modes. For linear problems.29) Orthogonality implies that the vibration modes do not interact with each other. K − ωi2 M Ψi = 0.26) Inserting the above equation into the unforced version ( f = 0) of equation (9.30) 1 0 i = j.28) into equation (9. it is then possible to treat each mode individually. and ωi are the natural frequencies. (9.9 Time-dependent problems 9.33) 118 Version 0. and are known as vibration modes. A special property of the eigenmodes Ψi is that they are orthogonal. a (t) = ∑ αi (t) Ψi i (9. The sum of the modes gives the total displacement.

2 119 . Typically. Stability means the range of time steps ∆t for which an integrator will calculate a stable result (small errors do not grow exponentially). Therefore it is limited to linear analysis. it will ‘blow-up’. the unsteady heat equation is ﬁrst considered. equation (9. Therefore. Time is then incremented until the desired time is reached. an+1 and an+1 at time tn+1 = tn + ∆t are needed.33) is a homogeneous ordinary partial differential equation. In structural analysis. the above equation can be solved. Further discussion of modal methods can be found in Craig (1981) and Cook et al. rapidly diverging from any sensible result. 2011 Version 0. implicit schemes generally require signiﬁcantly extra computational effort. There are no known unconditionally stable explicit schemes. For non-linear problems. For the unforced case. If an integrator is unstable. (1989). but due to their extremely poor stability properties they are useless.5. equation (9. 9.34) Solutions for forced cases are dependent on the type of loading. Hence. There are known schemes of exceptional accuracy. an and an at time tn (and perhaps also at earlier times ˙ ¨ steps). and perhaps earlier steps (such as n − 1) to compute the solution at time step n + 1. which is O(∆t4 ) accurate). The difference between explicit and implicit schemes lies in stability. Conversely. Implicit schemes rely on information at time step n + 1. (9. implicit schemes may have a low degree of accuracy (such as the backward Euler scheme. this equation can be solved analytically. 9.1 One-step algorithms for the heat equation To introduce time stepping algorithms. Accuracy is not the difference between explicit and implicit schemes.5 Time stepping algorithms Time stepping algorithms involve schemes to increment the time in discrete steps ∆t. It provides a step towards the more complicated schemes for elastodynamics. In applying modal analysis. usually only the low frequency modes have a signiﬁcant inﬂuence on the structural response. Explicit schemes can be constructed to have a high degree of accuracy (such as the 4th order Runge-Kutta method. Modal analysis relies on the orthogonality property of the eigenfunctions. January 21. with the solution αi = c1 sin (ωi t) + c2 cos (ωi t) . the values an+1 . the orthogonality property does not hold. Given the values of an .33) is only solved for a few modes. To do this. for each mode of interest. This means a system of equations must be solved for implicit schemes. ˙ ¨ a time stepping scheme is needed.9.5 Time stepping algorithms Now. which is O(∆t) accurate). the computational effort lies in ﬁnding the eigenvectors and eigenvalues. Explicit integrators rely only on information at time step n. and perhaps information at time step n and earlier steps. Time stepping schemes are distinguished by being either explicit or implicit. compared to explicit schemes.

2 One-step algorithms for elastodynamics The most commonly used time integration scheme in solid and structural mechanics is the generalised Newmark scheme. In matrix form. and the implicit trapezoidal (θ = 1/2) and backward Euler (θ = 1) methods.2 January 21. the trapezoidal method is particularly attractive as it is unconditionally stable.40a) (9.5.40b) (9.38) 120 Version 0.37). ˙ Rearranging equation (9.35). the problem to solve an+1 has become ˆ Kan+1 = fˆn+1 . Newmark time integrators are a family of schemes. ˙ 9. Choosing parameters appropriately for a Newmark algorithm yields a number of different. ˙ ˙ (9.37) (9. The backward Euler method is also unconditionally stable. ˙ θ∆t n+1 θ∆t θ (9. well known integrators. 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. ˙ θ∆t θ∆t θ In compact notation.36) and inserting the above result into equation (9. the heat equation at time tn+1 must satisfy: M an+1 + Kan+1 = f n+1 .39) (9. Well known methods are the explicit forward Euler (θ = 0) method.41b) (9. ˙ θ∆t θ and an is computed from equation (9. but only ﬁrst-order accurate.41a) (9. They involve: an+1 = an + ∆t ((1 − θ ) an + θ an+1 ) . where 1 ˆ K= M+K θ∆t 1 (1 − θ ) fˆn+1 = f n+1 + Man + M an . 1 1 (1 − θ ) M + K a n +1 = f n +1 + Man + M an . the forward Euler is not particularly useful as its stability properties are poor. In practice. a n +1 = ˙ 1 1 (1 − θ ) a − an − an .35) where 0 ≤ θ ≤ 1.9 Time-dependent problems A popular family of algorithms are ‘generalised trapezoidal’ methods.36) gives. For the problems to be considered here. 2011 . both explicit and implicit. and is second-order accurate.

but as will be shown later. Another commonly used time integrator is based on the trapezoidal rule. This scheme is O(∆t2 ) accurate. but it is conditionally stable. an = ˙ an = ¨ a n +1 − a n −1 2∆t an−1 − 2an + an+1 . The term ω h can be estimated for linear elements as 2c/L. Its stability properties are attractive.46b) Inserting equation (9. an+1 = an + ∆t an + ˙ ∆t2 ¨ ¨ ( a n + a n +1 ) 4 (9. ∆t ≤ L .5 Time stepping algorithms where β and γ are parameters which deﬁne the nature and properties of the algorithm. 2011 Version 0.43b) It is possible to rearrange these terms and show that they are equivalent to equation (9. It corresponds to β = 1/4 and γ = 1/2 in the Newmark family of integrators. ∆t2 (9. a n +1 = a n + ˙ ˙ a n +1 ∆t ¨ ¨ ( a n + a n +1 ) . Appropriate choices of β and γ yield well known integration methods.42) For γ = 1/2.46a) (9. Calculating the necessary terms using ˙ ¨ central differences.47) This integrator is implicit. It is necessary to express the terms a and a in terms of a. A commonly used time integrator is the central difference method. a Newmark scheme is second-order accurate.43a) (9. It is also energy conserving. It is stable for: ∆t ≤ 2 ωh (9. Friedrichs and Lewy (CFL) stability condition.46a) into equation (9.45) which is the Courant. where c is the dilatational wave speed (c = E/ρ) and L is the length of an element.2 121 .46b). This method is unconditionally stable and the accuracy is O(∆t2 ).9.44) where ω h is the highest natural frequency (highest value from det K − ω 2 M = 0. 2 (9.41) for β = 0 and γ = 1/2. it requires the factorisation of a large matrix. Therefore. January 21. c (9. 2 ∆t ˙ ˙ = an + ( a n + a n +1 ) . 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). The Newmark method is unconditionally stale for: 2β ≥ γ ≥ 1 2 (9.

53) 1 1 C M+ 2 2∆t ∆t (9. ¨ ˙ (9. has the appearance: M an + C an + Kan = f n . (9.52) (9.43). Given an and an−1 . 2011 .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. (9. with damping.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. it is not necessary to form the stiffness matrix K. an+1 can be calculated without solving a system of equations (hence the attractiveness of lumped mass matrices when using explicit time integrators).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). The above equations can be written in a shorthand format as: ˆ Man+1 = fˆn .9 Time-dependent problems Explicit time integration – central diﬀerence approach The system of equations to be solved. The term Kan is equivalent to: Kan = B T σn dΩ.2 January 21. 1 1 1 1 M+ C an+1 = 2 M (2an − an−1 ) + Ca − Kan + f n . In practice. and unknown at step n + 1.55) Ω A difﬁculty with explicit central-difference time integration is the need for information at n − 1 when starting a calculation. M an−1 − 2an + an+1 a − a n −1 + Kan = f n . 2∆t n−1 ∆t Then.51) If both M and C are diagonal matrices. A procedure is required to ‘start’ the 122 Version 0. + C n +1 2 2∆t ∆t (9.54) (9. where ˆ M= and 1 1 fˆn = 2 M (2an − an−1 ) + Ca − Kan + f n . Inserting the central difference expressions from equation (9. the displacement vector a at step n + 1 is given by: ˆ an+1 = M −1 fˆn (9. it is possible to calculate an+1 .

41) for β = 0 to express the accelerations and velocity at step n + 1 in terms of step n and earlier. and all known quantities on the RHS. Furthermore.58b) These equations are then inserted into equation (9. Combining equations (9.57).61) January 21.43) it is possible to express an−1 in terms of quantities at n (time t = 0).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 (9.5 Time stepping algorithms algorithm at t = 0. 1 M + K a n +1 = M β∆t2 1 1 1 an + ˙ an − an ˙ ¨ a + 2 n β∆t 2β β∆t +f (9.60) which in a short-hand notation can be expressed as: ˆ Kan+1 = fˆn+1 (9. This yields. The signiﬁcant drawback is the conditional stability. M 1 1 1 an − ˙ an + an ¨ ¨ ( a n +1 − a n ) − β∆t 2β β∆t2 + Kan+1 = f n+1 (9.2 123 . 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. which are the initial conditions. an−1 = an − ∆t an + ˙ ∆t2 an ¨ 2 (9. it is second-order accurate. The time step must be chosen carefully for a particular discretisation.59) Rearranging such that all unknown quantities appear on the LHS. it is very efﬁcient and suitable for very large problems.57) Rearranging the expressions in equation (9.56) The vector an−1 can be used to start the time integration procedure. damping is ignored. The central difference procedure is popular in ﬁnite element analysis. In combination with a lumped mass matrix. 2011 Version 0.9. a n +1 = ¨ 1 1 1 an − ˙ an + an ¨ ¨ ( a n +1 − a n ) − β∆t 2β β∆t2 (9. For simplicity.

2. If −1/3 < α < 0.2 January 21. Calculate the consistent and lumped mass matrices for the four-noded quadrilateral element. If α = 0. It involves using a Newmark scheme to solve : M an+1 + (1 − α) Kan+1 − αKan = f n+1+α . Numerical dissipation can be controlled through the parameter α.3 α-Method for elastodynamics In dynamic simulations. 9. ¨ (9. γ = (1 − 2α) /2 and β = (1 − α)2 /4. 3. 1987). which is also known as the Hilber-Hughes-Taylor Method (Hughes. One such algorithm is the α-Method. However. it is usually desirable to introduce some numerical damping to suppress spurious high-frequency modes. With the Newmark scheme. 124 Version 0. Note that calculating the ‘new’ an+1 introduces a dependency ˙ on the parameter γ. the vector fˆ can be calculated from an .41) to show for β = 0 and γ = 1/2 the scheme is equivalent to a central-difference procedure. Rearrange equation (9. Decreasing α increases the dissipation. 2011 . numerical damping can be introduced by choosing γ > 1/2. A number of algorithms have been developed to preserve second-order accuracy while allowing for the introduction of numerical damping. choosing γ = 1/2 reduces the integration scheme to ﬁrst order accuracy O(t). The problem with the Newmark scheme is that the introduction of any numerical damping reduces the order of accuracy from two to one.62) where f n+1+α = f n+1+θ∆t . the algorithm is unconditionally stable and second-order accurate. Derive the mass matrix for a two-noded beam element.6 Space-time formulations Time as a degree of freedom. calculating an requires the solution of a system of equations. the α-Method reduces to the Newmark scheme. At time step n. Solving the resulting system of equations yields an+1 . 9. the terms in f are prescribed and both M and K can be formed.7 Exercises 1.9 Time-dependent problems Since the stiffness matrix K is not diagonal. Numerical damping aids in controlling undesirable spurious high frequency modes in the solution.5. 9.

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

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