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# Solution for MECH 300H Midterm Exam

1. Simple Questions
(1) What are the two most important ideas of the finite element method?
Discretization and piecewise polynomial approximation.
(2) How to improve the accuracy of your numerical results obtained by the
finite element method and why will it work?
To improve the accuracy of the numerical results, one can either refine mesh,
i.e., use more elements or increase the order of polynomials used for
approximating unknown functions. Both of them would reduce the errors
since the accuracy depends on the element size and the order of
approximation.
(3) What is the minimum number of linear elements required to obtain the
exact solution for the following truss structure using FEM? Discretize the
truss. Label clearly the elements and global nodes. List the element
connectivity matrix.

The minimum number of linear elements required is 3. The vertical member is
actually a zero-force member. It would not carry any load (think why this is
the case). Thus the horizontal member can be modeled using only one
element.

3
2

1
Element

First nodal
1
2
3

1
2
3

Second nodal
2
3
1

## u u11 u22 u33 . Express them in terms of the local coordinate .

=-1

=1

S:
As the bar model shown in the above figure, the shape function is assumed to
be a quadratic function. In the local coordinates, it is
i ai bi ci 2
(1)
For 1 a1 b1 c1 2 , the values at every node are expressed as
1 1 1 a1 b1 c1 1
0 1 0 a1 0
1
1 0 a1 b1 c1 0
Solving these equations, the factors of 1 can be found as
a1 0

b1

1
2

c1

1
2

## For 2 a 2 b2 c 2 2 , the values at every node are expressed as

1 2 0 a 2 b2 c 2 0
0 2 1
a2 1
1
2 0 a 2 b2 c2 0
Solving these equations, the factors of 2 can be found as

a2 1

b2 0

c 2 1

3 1

1 3 0
0 3 0

a3 b3 c3 0
a3 0
a3 b3 c3 1

## Solving these equations, the factors of 2 can be found as

a3 0

b3

1
2

c3

1
2

After substituting these factors into equ.(1), the quadratic shape functions are
expressed as
1
1
1
, 2 1 1 , 3
2
2
3. A stepped shaft ACB having solid circular cross sections with two different
diameters is held against rotation at the ends. If the maximum shear stress allowed
in the shaft is 200 MPa, what is the maximum torque (To) that may be applied at
the section C? The unit of all dimensions is cm.

S:
The stepped shaft can be divided into two elements as shown in figure. The local
element equation of each element is expressed as
Element I

T1 I

GJ I
I I
L
T2

4
1 1 1 I Gd1
1 1 I 32l

2
1

1 1 I
1 1 1 I G
6
3 1
1 1 I 32 10 (m ) 1 1 I

Element II

T1 II

GJ II

II
LII
T2

4
1 1 1 II Gd 2
1 1 II 32l

2
2

1 1 II
1 1 1 II G
6
3 1
1 1 II 5 10 (m ) 1 1 II

Assembling them into the global system and the application of B.C. yields

5
0
TA
5
G

6
10 5 37 32
T0
160
T
0 32 32
B

C
0

## Condensing the above equations, the unknown deformation C is expressed as

160T0
C
10 6
37G
So the maximum shear stress of each element is found as
20
10
GD c
I
T0 10 6 Pa
T0 MPa

Element I max
37
2 L I 69
16
8
GD c
II
II
I
T0 10 6 Pa
T0 MPa

max max
Element II max
2
L
69

37

II
Since the maximum shear stress limitation is 200 MPa, the maximum torque (To)
allowed is
10
(T0 ) max 200
37

## 4. Illustrated in the following figure is a two-span beam.

(1) Discretize the beam and write down element equation for each element.
(2) Assemble the system and write down the global system.
conditions.

5000 N

5m

1200 N/m

5m

## The interpolation functions for beam element are

5m

2
x
x
x
x
x

2 x 1
1 1 3 2
3 3 2
L

L
L
L
L
2
x
x
4 x
L
L
where x x x1 and L is the length of the element.

6 3L
6 3L
3L 2 L2 3L L2
2 EI

[K ] 3
6
3L
L 6 3 L

2
3L 2 L2
3L L
S:

5000N

I
5m

1200N/m

II
5m

III

5m

(1)
The beam is divided into three elements as shown in figure. The local element
equation of each element is expressed as
Element I

Q1 I
I
Q2

Q3
Q I
4

6 3 L 6 3L

2
2
2 EI 3L 2 L 3L L
3
L 6 3L 6 3 L

2
2
3L L 3L 2 L

Element II

v1

1

v2
2

Q1 II
II
Q2

II

6 3 L 6 3L

2
2
2 EI 3L 2 L 3L L
3
L 6 3L 6 3 L

2
2
3L L 3 L 2 L

Q3
Q II
4

v2

2

v3
3

Element III

Q1 III
III
Q2

III

q1 III
III
q2

Q3
Q III
4

III

q3
q III
4

6 3 L 6 3L

2
2
2 EI 3L 2 L 3L L
3
L 6 3L 6 3L

2
2
3L L 3L 2 L

v3

3

v4
4

(2)
Assembling the system and the global system is expressed as

P1
M
1

0
0
0

6
3L
6
2
3L 2 L 3L
6 3L 12
3L L2
0

3L
L2
0
4 L2

0
0
6
3L

6
3L
0
0

3L
L2
0
0

12
0
6
3L

P2

2 EI
M2

III 3
P
0
L
3 q1

III
M 3 q2
0

III
0
P4 q3

M q III
0
4 4

0
0
0
0

v1

1
v2

2

0
6 3L v 3

4 L2 3L L2 3

3L
6
3L v 4

L2 3L 2 L2 4
0
0
3L
L2

0
0
0
0

(3)
The known boundary conditions are
v1 v3 v 4 0m

P2 5000 N

M 1 M 2 M 3 M 4 0N m

q1 III
III
q2

qL / 2 3000 N
qL2 / 12 2500 N m
L

III 0 i q dx

q3
qL / 2 3000 N
q III
qL2 / 12 2500 N m
4
conditions is expressed as.

0
0
0
0

0
2 L2 3L L2

5000
3L 12
0
2 EI 2

0 3 L
0
4 L2
L

2500
3L
L2
0

0
2500
0
0

0
3L
L2
4 L2
L2

0 1

0 v2

0 2

L2 3

2 L2 4

## 5. (Extra Credits) Using only two beam elements to re-do problem 4.

S:

5000N

1200N/m

II
I

5m

5m

5m

(1)
If the beam is divided into two elements as shown in figure, we can treat the
concentrated force F in the middle of the first element as the distribution force of
F (x ) , where the explicit form of (x ) is
xL
xL

1
0

( x)

## So the local element equation of each element is expressed as

Element I

Q1 I
I
Q2

Q3
Q I
4

q1 I
I
q2

3(2 L)
2
3(2 L) 2(2 L) 3(2 L) (2 L) 2
6 3(2 L)
6
3(2 L)
6

2 EI
I
3
q 3 ( 2 L)

q I
3(2 L)
4

3(2 L)

( 2 L) 2

II

Q3
Q II
4

q1 II
II
q2
II

q3
q II
4

v2

3(2 L) 2(2 L) 2 2

Element II

Q1 II
II
Q2

v1

1

6 3L 6 3L

2
2
2 EI 3L 2 L 3L L
3

L 6 3L 6 3L

2
2
3L L 3L 2 L

v2
2

v3

3 3L 3 3L v1

2
2
EI 3L 4 L 3L 2 L 1
3

2 L 3 3L 3 3L v 2

2
2
3L 2 L 3L 4 L 2

(2)
Assembling the system and the global system are expressed as

P1
M
1
P2

M2
P3

M 3

q1

I
I

q2
q I q II
3 I 1 II
q4 q2
q II
3

q 4 II

0
0 v1
3 3 L 3 3L
3L 4 L2 3L 2 L2

0
0

1
9 L 24 12 L v2
EI 3 3L 27
3

2 L 3L 2 L2 9 L 12 L2 12 L 4 L2 2
0
0 24 12 L 24 12L v3

0 12L 4 L2 12 L 8L2 3
0

(3)
The known boundary conditions are
v1 v 2 v3 0m

M 1 M 2 M 3 0N m

q1 I
I
q2

F / 2 2500 N
FL / 4 6250 N m

F
/
2

2500
N

FL / 4 6250 N m

i F ( x) dx i F
I
x L
q3 0
I
q4
II
qL / 2
q1
qL2 / 12
II
L
q2

i q dx

II
qL
/
2
q3 0

2
II

q4
qL / 12
L

3000 N
2500 N m

3000 N
2500 N m

conditions is expressed as.
4 L2 2 L2
0 1
6250
EI

2
2
2
3750 3 2 L 12 L 4 L 2
2L
2500
0
4 L2 8 L2 3