1
STRAIN COMPATIBILITY EQUATIONS
Consider a body with displacements at points P
1
and P
2
given by u
1
and u
2
, respectively,
as shown in Figure 1:
Figure 1
Let = u
2
u
1
= the relative displacement of P
2
with respect to P
1
Breaking that relative displacement into its components, we have
Then those components can be written in terms of integrals of the local strains and
rotations as:
But,
so that
By differentiating the straindisplacement relationship it can be verified that
P
P
u
u
1
2
1
2
C
=
i
i =1
3
e
i
( )
2 2 2
1 1 1
3 3
1 1
P P P
i
i i j ij ij j
j j
j P P P
u
du dx dx
x
= =
= = = +
ij
dx
j
= d
ij
x
j
( ) x
j
ij
x
k
dx
k
k=1
3
i
=
ij
x
j
j =1
3
P
1
P
2
+
ik
x
j
ij
x
k
j =1
3

\

.

dx
k
P1
P
2
k=1
3
i
is independent of the path C between those two points (and hence only depends on P
1
and P
2
) if, for a simply connected region (a region with no holes) we have
(see Wylie, C.R., Advanced Engineering Mathematics, 4
th
Ed., McGrawHill, p. 684).
Thus, if Eq. (1) is satisfied everywhere in a simply connected region the displacement
will have a single value everywhere in that region (the displacement is single valued but
not unique since we can always add a rigid body displacement that does not change the
strains). The derivatives contained in Eq. (1) can be written as
However, the first two terms in the above equations cancel and the third terms in the
above equations also cancel when placed back into Eq. (1), reducing Eq. (1) to:
ik
x
j
jk
x
i
=
1
2
x
k
u
i
x
j
u
j
x
i

\

.
 =
ij
x
k
i
=
ij
x
j
j =1
3
P
1
P
2
+
ik
dx
k
P
1
P
2
k=1
3
where
ik
=
ik
x
j
ik
x
j
jk
x
i

\

.

j =1
3
ik
x
l
=
il
x
k
ik
x
l
=
ik
x
l
ik
x
l
lk
x
i

\

.

x
j
ik
x
j
x
l
jk
x
i
x
l

\

.

j =1
3
il
x
k
=
il
x
k
il
x
k
kl
x
i

\

.

x
j
il
x
j
x
k
jl
x
i
x
k

\

.

j =1
3
(1)
(2)
EM 424: Compatibility Equations
3
But, since the x
j
are independent, the quantity in the brackets must vanish, and
We will write Eq.(3) symbolically as
Since i, j, k, and l can all have values ranging from 1 to 3, Eq. (4) looks like a total of 81
equations. However, because of the following symmetries and antisymmetries:
it turns out that there are really only six distinct terms in Eq. (4) given by the
compatibility conditions:
which we have written in terms of the components of a symmetric S matrix:
All six of the compatibility equations listed in Eq. (5), however, are not independent
since the components of the S matrix can be shown to satisfy the three equations:
x
j
ik
x
j
x
l
+
jl
x
i
x
k
jk
x
i
x
l
il
x
j
x
k

\

.

j =1
3
= 0
ik
x
j
x
l
+
jl
x
i
x
k
jk
x
i
x
l
il
x
j
x
k
= 0
(3)
R
ijkl
= 0 (4)
R
ijkl
= R
klij
R
ijkl
= R
jikl
= R
ijlk
S
11
S
12
S
13
S
21
S
22
S
23
S
31
S
32
S
33
(
(
(
(
(5)
S
11
R
2323
= 0
S
22
R
3131
= 0
S
33
R
1212
= 0
S
21
= S
12
R
2331
= 0
S
23
= S
32
R
3112
= 0
S
13
= S
31
R
1223
= 0
EM 424: Compatibility Equations
4
so that these six compatibility equations really represent only three independent
conditions that the strains must satisfy. Explicitly, these six equations are
Because these six equations are not independent, it is difficult in general 3D problems to
use these compatibility equations directly. However, for plane strain problems, we have
only two nonzero displacements since plane strain conditions require
which implies that
so there is only one compatibility equation that is not identically zero given by
S
ij
x
j
j =1
3
= 0 i = 1, 2, 3 ( )
2
23
x
2
x
3
22
x
3
2
33
x
2
2
= 0
2
31
x
3
x
1
33
x
1
2
11
x
3
2
= 0
2
12
x
1
x
2
11
x
2
2
22
x
1
2
= 0
33
x
1
x
2
+
12
x
3
2
23
x
3
x
1
31
x
3
x
2
= 0
11
x
2
x
3
+
23
x
1
2
31
x
1
x
2
12
x
1
x
3
= 0
22
x
3
x
1
+
31
x
2
2
12
x
2
x
3
23
x
2
x
1
= 0
u
1
= u
1
x
1
, x
2
( )
u
2
= u
2
x
1
, x
2
( )
u
3
= 0
33
=
13
=
23
= 0
11
=
11
x
1
, x
2
( )
22
=
22
x
1
, x
2
( )
12
=
12
x
1
, x
2
( )
2
12
x
1
x
2
11
x
2
2
22
x
1
2
= 0
EM 424: Compatibility Equations
5
For plane stress problems, on the other hand, we have the conditions
which implies that
so that the compatibility equations reduce to
In general, the first three of the above conditions cannot be satisfied exactly, so that plane
stress conditions can only be approximately true in a body. For thin bodies, however, this
approximation can be usually justified. Note that the compatibility equation for the in
plane strains in the case of plane stress is identical to the compatibility equation for plane
strain.
For bodies with holes these compatibility equations are not sufficient to guarantee
that the strains can be obtained from a singlevalued displacement field. In fact, in bodies
with holes there may be some cases where we want to have displacements that are not
single valued such as the split ring shown in Fig.2:
13
=
23
=
33
= 0
11
=
11
x
1
, x
2
( )
22
=
22
x
1
, x
2
( )
12
=
12
x
1
, x
2
( )
( )
( )
( )
13 23 33
11 11 1 2
22 22 1 2
12 12 1 2
0 0
,
,
,
but
x x
x x
x x
= =
=
=
=
33
x
2
2
= 0
33
x
1
2
= 0
33
x
1
x
2
= 0
2
12
x
1
x
2
11
x
2
2
22
x
1
2
= 0
EM 424: Compatibility Equations
6
Fig.2
where the point P on one side of the split is fixed (displacement = 0) and the x
displacement of the same point P on the other side of the split = D. In this case, we see
that
1
2
0
1
0 2, 3
j
C
j
C
du
D j
du
j
=
=
=
To ensure that a multiply connected body like the ring shown above cannot split in this
fashion, we must supplement the compatibility equations by additional conditions. For a
body with m holes as shown in Fig. 3 if, in addition to the compatibility equations, we
require the m subsidiary conditions,
where the integrals are taken around each hole, then the displacements will be single
valued.
Note that in solving any problem, if we end up obtaining directly a displacement field
that represents the solution to the desired problem, then compatibility is not an issue since
we can always generate a set of strains that are compatible with those displacements
simply by taking the appropriate displacement derivatives. When we directly solve a
P
P
C
1
C
2
D
( ) 0 1, 2, ...,
i
j
C
du i m = =