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An approximate solution for a stress analysis problem using the FEM based on assumed displacement fields does not

generally satisfy all the requirements for equilibrium and compatibility that an exact theory of elasticity satisfies. However, relatively few exact solutions exist!!. Hence, the FEM is a very practical one for obtaining reasonable, but approximate numerical solutions.

Some Modeling Considerations

When the mesh size is reduced that is the number of elements is increased we are ensured of monotonic convergence of the solution when compatible and complete displacement functions are used.
Displacements Exact solution Number of elements

Compatible displacement formulation

Finite element modeling is partly an art guided by visualizing physical interactions taking place within a body, In modeling the user is confronted with the difficult task of understanding physical behavior taking place and understanding behavior of various elements available for use. Matching the appropriate FEM to the physical behavior being modeling is one of many decisions. Understanding the boundary conditions can be one of the most difficult tasks.

In the stiffness or displacement formulation of the FEM, used in this course, the primarily quantities determined are the interelement nodal displacements of the assemblage. Secondary quantities, such as stresses and strain are computed based on the nodal displacements. In the previous example, in the case of CST, stresses are constant over the element. For these elements, it is common to assign the stress computed to the centroid of the element with acceptable results.

Equilibrium is not usually satisfied between elements. A differential element including parts of two adjacent finite elements is not usually in equilibrium. This is the case for two- and threedimensional elements but not for line elements. The coarseness of the mesh causes this lack of interelement equilibrium to be even more pronounced.

The aspect ratio is defined as the ratio of the longest dimension to the shortest dimension of a quadrilateral element, in general, as the aspect ratio increases, the inaccuracy of the finite element solution increases.

Work in Class Consider the five different FEM model shown in the figure. Modify the quad4 program in MATLAB to compute displacement at point A and at point B of the beam then plot the resulting error at verse aspect ratio given

In general, elements that yield the best results are compact and regular in shape. - Aspect ratios near one - Corner angles of quadrilaterals near 90 degrees

The use of symmetry will expedite the modeling of a problem. Symmetry allows one to consider a reduced problem instead of the actual problem. This will enable one to use a finer discretization of element with less computational cost.

The displacements in the direction perpendicular to the plane = 0 and they are modeled by rollers.

A discretization depends on the geometry of structure, the loading, and the boundary conditions. For example, areas of high, rapidity changing stresses require a finer mesh than regions where the stress is constant.

checking the Model, the Results A typical example is a soil foundation problem. The guideline for the FEM model is that enough material must be included such that at nodes displacements and stresses within the elements become negligibly small at locations far from the foundation load. Experience has shown that the influence of the footing becomes insignificant if the horizontal distance of the model is taken as 4-6 times the width of the footing and the vertical distance is taken as 4-10 times the width of the footing.