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1. Simple Questions

(1) What are the two most important ideas of the finite element method?

Answer:

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?

Answer:

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.

Answer:

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

=-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

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

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

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

(1) Discretize the beam and write down element equation for each element.

(2) Assemble the system and write down the global system.

(3) Form the condensed system by imposing boundary conditions and loading

conditions.

5000 N

5m

1200 N/m

5m

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

The condensed system by imposing boundary conditions and loading

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

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)

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

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