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Chapter 3: Structures with Geometric Nonlinearities

This chapter discusses the various geometrically nonlinear options available, including large strain, large
deflection, stress stiffening, pressure load stiffness, and spin softening. Only elements with displacements
degrees of freedom (DOFs) are applicable. Not included in this section are multi-status elements (such
as COMBIN40, discussed in Element Library (p. 411)) and the eigenvalue buckling capability (discussed
in Buckling Analysis (p. 792)).
The following topics are available:
3.1. Understanding Geometric Nonlinearities
3.2. Large Strain
3.3. Large Rotation
3.4. Stress Stiffening
3.5. Spin Softening
3.6. General Element Formulations
3.7. Constraints and Lagrange Multiplier Method

3.1. Understanding Geometric Nonlinearities

Geometric nonlinearities refer to the nonlinearities in the structure or component due to the changing
geometry as it deflects. That is, the stiffness [K] is a function of the displacements {u}. The stiffness
changes because the shape changes and/or the material rotates. The program can account for four
types of geometric nonlinearities:
1. Large strain assumes that the strains are no longer infinitesimal (they are finite). Shape changes (e.g. area,
thickness, etc.) are also accounted for. Deflections and rotations may be arbitrarily large.
2. Large rotation assumes that the rotations are large but the mechanical strains (those that cause stresses)
are evaluated using linearized expressions. The structure is assumed not to change shape except for rigid
body motions. The elements of this class refer to the original configuration.
3. Stress stiffening assumes that both strains and rotations are small. A 1st order approximation to the rotations is used to capture some nonlinear rotation effects.
4. Spin softening also assumes that both strains and rotations are small. This option accounts for the coupling
between the transverse vibrational motion and the centrifugal force due to an angular velocity.
All elements support the spin softening capability, while only some of the elements support the other
options. Please refer to the Element Reference for details.

3.2. Large Strain

When the strains in a material exceed more than a few percent, the changing geometry due to this
deformation can no longer be neglected. Analyses which include this effect are called large strain, or
finite strain, analyses. A large strain analysis is performed in a static (ANTYPE,STATIC) or transient (ANTYPE,TRANS) analysis while flagging large deformations (NLGEOM,ON) when the appropriate element
type(s) is used.

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29

Structures with Geometric Nonlinearities

The remainder of this section addresses the large strain formulation for elastic-plastic elements. These
elements use a hypoelastic formulation so that they are restricted to small elastic strains (but allow for
arbitrarily large plastic strains). Hyperelasticity (p. 124) addresses the large strain formulation for hyperelastic elements, which allow arbitrarily large elastic strains.

3.2.1. Theory
The theory of large strain computations can be addressed by defining a few basic physical quantities
(motion and deformation) and the corresponding mathematical relationship. The applied loads acting
on a body make it move from one position to another. This motion can be defined by studying a position
vector in the deformed and undeformed configuration. Say the position vectors in the deformed
and undeformed state are represented by {x} and {X} respectively, then the motion (displacement)
vector {u} is computed by (see Figure 3.1: Position Vectors and Motion of a Deforming Body (p. 30)):
=

(3.1)
Figure 3.1: Position Vectors and Motion of a Deforming Body

{u}

{X}

{x}

Undeformed

Deformed

The deformation gradient is defined as:

which can be written in terms of the displacement of the point via Equation 3.1 (p. 30) as:

= +

(3.2)

(3.3)

where:
[I] = identity matrix
The information contained in the deformation gradient [F] includes the volume change, the rotation
and the shape change of the deforming body. The volume change at a point is

(3.4)

where:

30

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Large Strain
Vo = original volume
V = current volume
det [ ] = determinant of the matrix

The deformation gradient can be separated into a rotation and a shape change using the right polar
decomposition theorem:
=
(3.5)
where:
[R] = rotation matrix ([R]T[R] = [I])
[U] = right stretch (shape change) matrix
Once the stretch matrix is known, a logarithmic or Hencky strain measure is defined as:
=

(3.6)

([] is in tensor (matrix) form here, as opposed to the usual vector form {}). Since [U] is a 2nd order
tensor (matrix), Equation 3.6 (p. 31) is determined through the spectral decomposition of [U]:

(3.7)

where:
i = eigenvalues of [U] (principal stretches)
{ei} = eigenvectors of [U] (principal directions)
The polar decomposition theorem (Equation 3.5 (p. 31)) extracts a rotation [R] that represents the average
rotation of the material at a point. Material lines initially orthogonal will not, in general, be orthogonal
after deformation (because of shearing), see Figure 3.2: Polar Decomposition of a Shearing Deformation (p. 31). The polar decomposition of this deformation, however, will indicate that they will remain
orthogonal (lines x-y' in Figure 3.2: Polar Decomposition of a Shearing Deformation (p. 31)). For this
reason, non-isotropic behavior (e.g. orthotropic elasticity or kinematic hardening plasticity) should be
used with care with large strains, especially if large shearing deformation occurs.
Figure 3.2: Polar Decomposition of a Shearing Deformation

y'

x
x'

Undeformed

Deformed

3.2.2. Implementation
Computationally, the evaluation of Equation 3.6 (p. 31) is performed by one of two methods using the
incremental approximation (since, in an elastic-plastic analysis, we are using an incremental solution
procedure):
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31

Structures with Geometric Nonlinearities

=

(3.8)

with
! = !

(3.9)

where [Un] is the increment of the stretch matrix computed from the incremental deformation
=

(3.10)

where [Fn] is:

=

(3.11)

[Fn] is the deformation gradient at the current time step and [Fn-1] is at the previous time step.
(Hughes( (p. 929))) uses the approximate 2nd order accurate calculation for evaluating Equation 3.9 (p. 32):
=

(3.12)

where [R1/2] is the rotation matrix computed from the polar decomposition of the deformation gradient
evaluated at the midpoint configuration:
(3.13)
=
where [F1/2] is (using Equation 3.3 (p. 30)):
=

(3.14)

and the midpoint displacement is:

=

(3.15)

{un} is the current displacement and {un-1} is the displacement at the previous time step. [n] is the
rotation-neutralized strain increment over the time step. The strain increment
from the midpoint configuration:

[ ]

is also computed
(3.16)

{un} is the displacement increment over the time step and [B1/2] is the strain-displacement relationship
evaluated at the midpoint geometry:
=

(3.17)

This method is an excellent approximation to the logarithmic strain if the strain steps are less than
~10%. This method is used by the standard 2-D and 3-D solid and shell elements.
The computed strain increment [n] (or equivalently {n}) can then be added to the previous strain
{n-1} to obtain the current total Hencky strain:
32

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Large Strain
= +

(3.18)

This strain can then be used in the stress updating procedures, see Rate-Independent Plasticity (p. 64)
and Rate-Dependent Plasticity (Including Creep and Viscoplasticity) (p. 105) for discussions of the rateindependent and rate-dependent procedures respectively.

3.2.3. Definition of Thermal Strains

According to Callen( (p. 934)), the coefficient of thermal expansion is defined as the fractional increase
in the length per unit increase in the temperature. Mathematically,

=
(3.19)

where:
= coefficient of thermal expansion
= current length
T = temperature
Rearranging Equation 3.19 (p. 33) gives:

(3.20)

On the other hand, the logarithmic strain is defined as:

=

(3.21)

where:
= logarithmic strain
o = initial length
Differential of Equation 3.21 (p. 33) yields:

(3.22)

Comparison of Equation 3.20 (p. 33) and Equation 3.22 (p. 33) gives:
=

(3.23)

Integration of Equation 3.23 (p. 33) yields:

# =

(3.24)

where:
= initial (reference) strain at temperature T
o
To = reference temperature

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33

), then Equation 3.24 (p. 33) reduces to:

(3.25)

The thermal strain corresponds to the logarithmic strain. As an example problem, consider a line element
of a material with a constant coefficient of thermal expansion . If the length of the line is o at temperature To, then the length after the temperature increases to T is:
=

(3.26)

Now if one interpreted the thermal strain as the engineering (or nominal) strain, then the final length
would be different.
=

(3.27)

where:
e = engineering strain
The final length is then:
= + = +

(3.28)

(3.29)

because

(3.30)

3.2.4. Element Formulation

The element matrices and load vectors are derived using an updated Lagrangian formulation. This
produces equations of the form:

=

(3.31)
has the form:

(3.32)

[Ki] is the usual stiffness matrix:

=

(3.33)

[Bi] is the strain-displacement matrix in terms of the current geometry {Xn} and [Di] is the current stressstrain matrix.
[Si] is the stress stiffness (or geometric stiffness) contribution, written symbolically as:
=

34

(3.34)

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Large Rotation
where [Gi] is a matrix of shape function derivatives and [i] is a matrix of the current Cauchy (true)
stresses {i} in the global Cartesian system. The Newton-Raphson restoring force is:
"

(3.35)

Some of the plane stress and shell elements account for the thickness changes due to the out-of-plane
strain z using an approach similar to that of Hughes and Carnoy ( (p. 929)). Shells, however, do not
update their reference plane (as might be required in a large strain out-of-plane bending deformation);
the thickness change is assumed to be constant through the thickness. General element formulations
using finite deformation are developed in General Element Formulations (p. 50) and apply to currenttechnology elements only.

3.2.5. Applicable Input

NLGEOM,ON activates large strain computations in those elements which support it. NLGEOM,ON also
activates the stress-stiffening contribution to the tangent matrix.

3.2.6. Applicable Output

For elements which have large strain capability, stresses (output as S) are true (Cauchy) stresses in the
rotated element coordinate system (the element coordinate system follows the material as it rotates).
Strains (output as EPEL, EPPL, etc.) are the logarithmic or Hencky strains, also in the rotated element
coordinate system.
An exception is for the hyperelastic elements. For these elements, stress and strain components maintain
their original orientations and some of these elements use other strain measures.

3.3. Large Rotation

If the rotations are large but the mechanical strains (those that cause stresses) are small, then a largerotation procedure can be used.
A large-rotation analysis is performed in a static (ANTYPE,STATIC) or transient (ANTYPE,TRANS) analysis
while flagging large deformations (NLGEOM,ON) when the appropriate element type is used.
All large-strain elements also support this capability, as both options account for the large rotations
and for small strains, the logarithmic strain measure and the engineering strain measure coincide.

3.3.1. Theory
Large Strain (p. 29) presented the theory for general motion of a material point. Large-rotation theory
follows a similar development, except that the logarithmic strain measure (Equation 3.6 (p. 31)) is replaced
by the Biot, or small (engineering) strain measure:

(3.36)

where:
[U] = stretch matrix
[I] = 3 x 3 identity matrix

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Structures with Geometric Nonlinearities

3.3.2. Implementation
A corotational (or convected coordinate) approach is used in solving large-rotation/small-strain problems
(Rankin and Brogan( (p. 924))). "Corotational" may be thought of as "rotated with". The nonlinearities
are contained in the strain-displacement relationship which for this algorithm takes on the special form:

(3.37)

where:
[Bv] = usual small strain-displacement relationship in the original (virgin) element coordinate
system
[Tn] = orthogonal transformation relating the original element coordinates to the convected
(or rotated) element coordinates
The convected element coordinate frame differs from the original element coordinate frame by the
amount of rigid body rotation. Hence [Tn] is computed by separating the rigid body rotation from the
total deformation {un} using the polar decomposition theorem, Equation 3.5 (p. 31). From Equation 3.37 (p. 36), the element tangent stiffness matrix has the form:

(3.38)
= #

*

(3.39)

=

(3.40)

is the element deformation which causes straining as described in a subsequent subsection.

The large-rotation process can be summarized as a three step process for each element:
1. Determine the updated transformation matrix [Tn] for the element.
2. Extract the deformational displacement
the stresses as well as the restoring force

from the total element displacement {un} for computing

3. After the rotational increments in {u} are computed, update the node rotations appropriately. All three
steps require the concept of a rotational pseudovector in order to be efficiently implemented (Rankin
and Brogan( (p. 924)), Argyris( (p. 924))).

3.3.3. Element Transformation

The updated transformation matrix [Tn] relates the current element coordinate system to the global
Cartesian coordinate system as shown in Figure 3.3: Element Transformation Definitions (p. 37).

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Large Rotation
Figure 3.3: Element Transformation Definitions

Xn
Current Configuration
[Tn ]

Yn
Yv

[Rn ]

Xv
Original Configuration

[Tv ]

[Tn] can be computed directly or the rotation of the element coordinate system [Rn] can be computed
and related to [Tn] by

(3.41)

where [Tv] is the original transformation matrix. The determination of [Tn] is unique to the type of element
involved, whether it is a solid element, shell element, beam element, or spar element.
Solid Elements. The rotation matrix [Rn] for these elements is extracted from the displacement field
using the deformation gradient coupled with the polar decomposition theorem (see Malvern( (p. 925))).
Shell Elements. The updated normal direction (element z direction) is computed directly from the
updated coordinates. The computation of the element normal is given in Element Library (p. 411)
for each particular shell element. The extraction procedure outlined for solid elements is used
coupled with the information on the normal direction to compute the rotation matrix [Rn].
Beam Elements. The nodal rotation increments from {u} are averaged to determine the average
rotation of the element. The updated average element rotation and then the rotation matrix [Rn] is
computed using Rankin and Brogan( (p. 924)). In special cases where the average rotation of the
element computed in the above way differs significantly from the average rotation of the element
computed from nodal translations, the quality of the results will be degraded.
Link Elements. The updated transformation [Tn] is computed directly from the updated coordinates.
Generalized Mass Element (MASS21). The nodal rotation increment from {u} is used to update the
element rotation which then yields the rotation matrix [Rn].

3.3.4. Deformational Displacements

The displacement field can be decomposed into a rigid body translation, a rigid body rotation, and a
component which causes strains:
(3.42)
= " +
where:

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Structures with Geometric Nonlinearities

{ur} = rigid body motion
{ud} = deformational displacements which cause strains
{ud} contains both translational as well as rotational DOF.
The translational component of the deformational displacement can be extracted from the displacement
field by

(3.43)

where:

= translational component of the deformational displacement

[Rn] = current element rotation matrix
{xv} = original element coordinates in the global coordinate system
{u} = element displacement vector in global coordinates
{ud} is in the global coordinate system.
For elements with rotational DOFs, the rotational components of the deformational displacement must
be computed. The rotational components are extracted by essentially subtracting the nodal rotations
{u} from the element rotation given by {ur}. In terms of the pseudovectors this operation is performed
as follows for each node:
1. Compute a transformation matrix from the nodal pseudovector {n} yielding [Tn].
2. Compute the relative rotation [Td] between [Rn] and [Tn]:

(3.44)

This relative rotation contains the rotational deformations of that node as shown in Figure 3.4: Definition of Deformational Rotations (p. 39).
3. Extract the nodal rotational deformations {ud} from [Td].
Because of the definition of the pseudovector, the deformational rotations extracted in step 3 are limited
to less than 30, since 2sin( /2) no longer approximates itself above 30. This limitation only applies
to the rotational distortion (i.e., bending) within a single element.

38

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Large Rotation
Figure 3.4: Definition of Deformational Rotations

Y
[Rn ]
[Td ]
[T n ]
X
3.3.5. Updating Rotations
Once the transformation [T] and deformational displacements {ud} are determined, the element matrices
Equation 3.38 (p. 36) and restoring force Equation 3.39 (p. 36) can be determined. The solution of the
system of equations yields a displacement increment {u}. The nodal rotations at the element level are
updated with the rotational components of {u}. The global rotations (in the output and on the results
file) are not updated with the pseudovector approach, but are simply added to the previous rotation
in {un-1}.

3.3.6. Applicable Input

The large-rotation computations in those elements which support it are activated by the large-deformation key (NLGEOM,ON). Stress stiffening is also be included and contributes to the tangent stiffness
matrix (which may be required for structures weak in bending resistance).

3.3.7. Applicable Output

Stresses (output as S) are engineering stresses in the rotated element coordinate system (the element
coordinate system follows the material as it rotates). Strains (output as EPEL, EPPL, etc.) are engineering
strains, also in the rotated element coordinate system. This applies to element types that do not have
large-strain capability. For element types that have large-strain capability, see Large Strain (p. 29).

3.3.8. Consistent Tangent Stiffness Matrix and Finite Rotation

It has been found in many situations that the use of consistent tangent stiffness in a nonlinear analysis
can speed up the rate of convergence greatly. It normally results in a quadratic rate of convergence. A
consistent tangent stiffness matrix is derived from the discretized finite element equilibrium equations
without the introduction of various approximations. The terminology of finite rotation in the context
of geometrical nonlinearity implies that rotations can be arbitrarily large and can be updated accurately.
A consistent tangent stiffness accounting for finite rotations derived by Nour-Omid and
Rankin( (p. 930)) for beam/shell elements is used. The technology of consistent tangent matrix and
finite rotation makes the buckling and postbuckling analysis a relatively easy task. The theory of finite
rotation representation and update has been described in Large Rotation (p. 35) using a pseudovector

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Structures with Geometric Nonlinearities

representation. The following will outline the derivations of a consistent tangent stiffness matrix used
for the corotational approach.
The nonlinear static finite element equations solved can be characterized by at the element level by:

"

(3.45)

where:
N = number of total elements
(

= element internal force vector in the element coordinate system, generally see Equation 3.46 (p. 40)

[Tn]T = transform matrix transferring the local internal force vector into the global coordinate
system

= applied load vector at the element level in the global coordinate system

(3.46)

Hereafter, we shall focus on the derivation of the consistent tangent matrix at the element level without
introducing an approximation. The consistent tangent matrix is obtained by differentiating Equation 3.45 (p. 40) with respect to displacement variables {ue}:

;;

(3.47)

It can be seen that Part I is the main tangent matrix Equation 3.38 (p. 36) and Part II is the stress stiffening matrix (Equation 3.34 (p. 34), Equation 3.61 (p. 45) or Equation 3.64 (p. 45)). Part III is another
part of the stress stiffening matrix (see Nour-Omid and Rankin( (p. 930))) traditionally neglected in

the past. However, many numerical experiments have shown that Part III of

is essential to the

is unsymmetric; when this occurs, a procedure

of symmetrizing

is invoked.

As Part III of the consistent tangent matrix utilizes the internal force vector

40

not be so large as to dominate the main tangent matrix

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Stress Stiffening
(Part I). This can normally be guaranteed if the realistic material and geometry are used, that is, the
element is not used as a rigid link and the actual thicknesses are input.
It is also noted that the consistent tangent matrix Equation 3.47 (p. 40) is very suitable for use with the
arc-length solution method.

3.4. Stress Stiffening

3.4.1. Overview and Usage
Stress stiffening (also called geometric stiffening, incremental stiffening, initial stress stiffening, or differential stiffening by other authors) is the stiffening (or weakening) of a structure due to its stress state.
This stiffening effect normally needs to be considered for thin structures with bending stiffness very
small compared to axial stiffness, such as cables, thin beams, and shells and couples the in-plane and
transverse displacements. This effect also augments the regular nonlinear stiffness matrix produced by
large-strain or large-deflection effects (NLGEOM,ON). The effect of stress stiffening is accounted for by
generating and then using an additional stiffness matrix, hereinafter called the stress stiffness matrix.
The stress stiffness matrix is added to the regular stiffness matrix in order to give the total stiffness.
Stress stiffening may be used for static (ANTYPE,STATIC) or transient (ANTYPE,TRANS) analyses. Working
with the stress stiffness matrix is the pressure load stiffness, discussed in Pressure Load Stiffness (p. 46).
The stress stiffness matrix is computed based on the stress state of the previous equilibrium iteration.
Thus, to generate a valid stress-stiffened problem, at least two iterations are normally required, with
the first iteration being used to determine the stress state that will be used to generate the stress
stiffness matrix of the second iteration. If this additional stiffness affects the stresses, more iterations
need to be done to obtain a converged solution.
In some linear analyses, the static (or initial) stress state may be large enough that the additional stiffness
effects must be included for accuracy. Modal (ANTYPE,MODAL) and substructure (ANTYPE,SUBSTR)
analyses are linear analyses for which the prestressing effects can be requested to be included
(PSTRES,ON command). Note that in these cases the stress stiffness matrix is constant, so that the
stresses computed in the analysis are assumed small compared to the prestress stress.
If membrane stresses should become compressive rather than tensile, then terms in the stress stiffness
matrix may cancel the positive terms in the regular stiffness matrix and therefore yield a nonpositivedefinite total stiffness matrix, which indicates the onset of buckling. If this happens, it is indicated with
the message: Large negative pivot value ___, at node ___ may be because buckling load has been exceeded.
It must be noted that a stress stiffened model with insufficient boundary conditions to prevent rigid
body motion may yield the same message.
The linear buckling load can be calculated directly by adding an unknown multiplier of the stress stiffness
matrix to the regular stiffness matrix and performing an eigenvalue buckling problem (ANTYPE,BUCKLE)
to calculate the value of the unknown multiplier. This is discussed in more detail in Buckling Analysis (p. 792).

3.4.2. Theory
The strain-displacement equations for the general motion of a differential length fiber are derived below.
Two different results have been obtained and these are both discussed below. Consider the motion of
a differential fiber, originally at dS, and then at ds after deformation.

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Structures with Geometric Nonlinearities

Figure 3.5: General Motion of a Fiber

{u + du}
dS
ds
{u}
Y

X
One end moves {u}, and the other end moves {u + du}, as shown in Figure 3.5: General Motion of a
Fiber (p. 42). The motion of one end with the rigid body translation removed is {u + du} - {u} = {du}.
{du} may be expanded as

(3.48)

where u is the displacement parallel to the original orientation of the fiber. This is shown in Figure 3.6: Motion of a Fiber with Rigid Body Motion Removed (p. 43). Note that X, Y, and Z represent global Cartesian
axes, and x, y, and z represent axes based on the original orientation of the fiber. By the Pythagorean
theorem,
=

(3.49)

The stretch, , is given by dividing ds by the original length dS:

=

42

= +

"

"

"

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(3.50)

Stress Stiffening
Figure 3.6: Motion of a Fiber with Rigid Body Motion Removed

dv
dw

du

x
y

dS

{du}

ds

= +

(3.51)

=

+ + +

(3.52)

The binominal theorem states that:

+

= +

(3.53)

when A2 < 1. One should be aware that using a limited number of terms of this series may restrict its
applicability to small rotations and small strains. If the first two terms of the series in Equation 3.53 (p. 43)
are used to expand Equation 3.52 (p. 43),
= +

+ +

(3.54)

The resultant strain (same as extension since strains are assumed to be small) is then
= =

+ +

(3.55)

If, more accurately, the first three terms of Equation 3.53 (p. 43) are used and displacement derivatives
of the third order and above are dropped, Equation 3.53 (p. 43) reduces to:

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43

+
= +

(3.56)

The resultant strain is:

= =

" "

(3.57)

For most 2-D and 3-D elements, Equation 3.55 (p. 43) is more convenient to use as no account of the
loaded direction has to be considered. The error associated with this is small as the strains were assumed
to be small. For 1-D structures, and some 2-D elements, Equation 3.57 (p. 44) is used for its greater accuracy and causes no difficulty in its implementation.

3.4.3. Implementation
The stress-stiffness matrices are derived based on Equation 3.34 (p. 34), but using the nonlinear straindisplacement relationships given in Equation 3.55 (p. 43) or Equation 3.57 (p. 44) (Cook( (p. 921))).
For a spar, the stress-stiffness matrix is given as:

[ ]=

(3.58)

The stress stiffness matrix for a 2-D beam is given in Equation 3.59 (p. 44), which is the same as reported
by Przemieniecki( (p. 922)). All beam and straight pipe elements use the same type of matrix. Forces
used by straight pipe elements are based on not only the effect of axial stress with pipe wall, but also
internal and external pressures on the "end-caps" of each element. This force is sometimes referred to
as effective tension.

()

where:
F = force in member
L = length of member

44

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(3.59)

Stress Stiffening
The stress stiffness matrix for 2-D and 3-D solid elements is generated by the use of numerical integration.
A 3-D solid element (SOLID185) is used here as an example:

(3.60)

where the matrices shown in Equation 3.60 (p. 45) have been reordered so that first all x-direction DOF
are given, then y, and then z. [So] is an 8 by 8 matrix given by:

! = !

(3.61)

The matrices used by this equation are:

(3.62)

where x, xy etc. are stress based on the displacements of the previous iteration, and,

(3.63)

where Ni represents the ith shape function. This is the stress stiffness matrix for small strain analyses.
For large-strain elements in a large-strain analysis (NLGEOM,ON), the stress stiffening contribution is
computed using the actual strain-displacement relationship (Equation 3.6 (p. 31)).
One further case requires some explanation: axisymmetric structures with nonaxisymmetric deformations.
As any stiffening effects may only be axisymmetric, only axisymmetric cases are used for the prestress
case. Axisymmetric cases are defined as (input as MODE on MODE command) = 0. Then, any subsequent load steps with any value of (including 0 itself ) uses that same stress state, until another,
more recent, = 0 case is available. Also, torsional stresses are not incorporated into any stress stiffening
effects.
Specializing this to SHELL61 (Axisymmetric-Harmonic Structural Shell), only two stresses are used for
prestressing: s, , the meridional and hoop stresses, respectively. The element stress stiffness matrix
is:

(3.64)
=

= 6

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(3.65)

45

Structures with Geometric Nonlinearities

where [As] is defined below and [N] is defined by the element shape functions. [As] is an operator
matrix and its terms are:

(3.66)

where:

=
>

The three columns of the [As] matrix refer to u, v, and w motions, respectively. As suggested by the
definition for [Sm], the first two rows of [As] relate to s and the second two rows relate to . The first
row of [As] is for motion normal to the shell varying in the s direction and the second row is for hoop
motions varying in the s direction. Similarly, the third row is for normal motions varying in the hoop
direction. Thus Equation 3.57 (p. 44), rather than Equation 3.55 (p. 43), is the type of nonlinear straindisplacement expression that has been used to develop Equation 3.66 (p. 46).

3.4.4. Pressure Load Stiffness

Quite often concentrated forces are treated numerically by equivalent pressure over a known area. This
is especially common in the context of a linear static analysis. However, it is possible that different
buckling loads may be predicted from seemingly equivalent pressure and force loads in an eigenvalue
buckling analysis. The difference can be attributed to the fact that pressure is considered as a follower
load. The force on the surface depends on the prescribed pressure magnitude and also on the surface
orientation. Concentrated loads are not considered as follower loads. The follower effects is a preload
stiffness and plays a significant role in nonlinear and eigenvalue buckling analysis. The follower effects
manifest in the form of a load stiffness matrix in addition to the normal stress stiffening effects. As
with any numerical analysis, it is recommended to use the type of loading which best models the inservice component.
The effect of change of direction and/or area of an applied pressure is responsible for the pressure load
stiffness matrix ([Spr]) (see section 6.5.2 of Bonet and Wood( (p. 934))). It is used either for a largedeflection analysis (NLGEOM,ON), for an eigenvalue buckling analysis, or for a modal, linear transient,
or harmonic analysis that has prestressing flagged (PSTRES,ON command).
The need of [Spr] is most dramatically seen when modelling the collapse of a ring due to external
pressure using eigenvalue buckling. The expected answer is:
" =

(3.67)

where:

46

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Spin Softening
Pcr = critical buckling load
E = Young's modulus
I = moment of inertia
R = radius of the ring
C = 3.0
This value of C = 3.0 is achieved when using [Spr], but when it is missing, C = 4.0, a 33% error.
For eigenvalue buckling analyses, all elements with pressure load stiffness capability use that capability.
Otherwise, its use is controlled by KEY3 on the SOLCONTROL command.
[Spr] is derived as an unsymmetric matrix. Symmetricizing is done, unless the command NROPT,UNSYM
is used. Processing unsymmetric matrices takes more running time and storage, but may be more
convergent.

3.4.5. Applicable Input

In a nonlinear analysis (ANTYPE,STATIC or ANTYPE,TRANS), the stress stiffness contribution is activated
and then added to the stiffness matrix. When not using large deformations (NLGEOM,OFF), the rotations
are presumed to be small and the additional stiffness induced by the stress state is included. When
using large deformations (NLGEOM,ON), the stress stiffness augments the tangent matrix, affecting the
rate of convergence but not the final converged solution.
The stress stiffness contribution in the prestressed analysis is activated by the prestress flag (PSTRES,ON)
and directs the preceding analysis to save the stress state.

3.4.6. Applicable Output

In a small deflection/small strain analysis (NLGEOM,OFF), the 2-D and 3-D elements compute their
strains using Equation 3.55 (p. 43). The strains (output as EPEL, EPPL, etc.) therefore include the higher

order terms (e.g. in the strain computation. Also, nodal and reaction loads (output quantities
F and M) will reflect the stress stiffness contribution, so that moment and force equilibrium include the
higher order (small rotation) effects.

3.5. Spin Softening

The vibration of a spinning body will cause relative circumferential motions, which will change the direction of the centrifugal load which, in turn, will tend to destabilize the structure. As a small deflection
analysis cannot directly account for changes in geometry, the effect can be accounted for by an adjustment of the stiffness matrix, called spin softening. When large deformations are active (NLGEOM,ON),
or pres-stress effects are active (PSTRES,ON), the spin softening contribution is automatically included
as an additional contribution to the tangent matrix (Equation 3.32 (p. 34)).
Consider a simple spring-mass system, with the spring oriented radially with respect to the axis of rotation, as shown in Figure 3.7: Spinning Spring-Mass System (p. 48). Equilibrium of the spring and centrifugal forces on the mass using small deflection logic requires:
= "!

(3.68)

where:

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47

Structures with Geometric Nonlinearities

u = radial displacement of the mass from the rest position
r = radial rest position of the mass with respect to the axis of rotation
s = angular velocity of rotation
Figure 3.7: Spinning Spring-Mass System

K
M
r

However, to account for large-deflection effects, Equation 3.68 (p. 47) must be expanded to:
=

(3.69)

Rearranging terms,
"

= "

(3.70)

Defining:
=

(3.71)

and
=

(3.72)

Equation 3.70 (p. 48) becomes simply,

=

(3.73)

is the stiffness needed in a small deflection solution to account for large-deflection effects. is the
same as that derived from small deflection logic. This decrease in the effective stiffness matrix is called
spin (or centrifugal) softening. See also Carnegie( (p. 926)) for additional development.
Extension of Equation 3.71 (p. 48) into three dimensions is illustrated for a single noded element here:
=

(3.74)

with
+

where:

48

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(3.75)

Spin Softening
x, y, z = x, y, and z components of the angular velocity (input with OMEGA or CMOMEGA
command)
It can be seen from Equation 3.74 (p. 48)and Equation 3.75 (p. 48) that if there are more than one nonzero component of angular velocity of rotation, the stiffness matrix may become unsymmetric. For example, for a diagonal mass matrix with a different mass in each direction, the
symmetric with the expression in Equation 3.74 (p. 48) expanded as:

matrix becomes non-

= +

(3.76)

\$\$

= \$\$ +

\$\$

(3.77)

= +

(3.78)

= +

(3.79)

= +

(3.80)

= +

(3.81)

= +

(3.82)

= +

(3.83)

= +

(3.84)

where:
Kxx, Kyy, Kzz = x, y, and z components of stiffness matrix as computed by the element
Kxy, Kyx, Kxz, Kzx, Kyz, Kzy = off-diagonal components of stiffness matrix as computed by the
element

= GH HGHH GK
HG K H HG

Mxx, Myy, Mzz = x, y, and z components of mass matrix

From Equation 3.76 (p. 49) thru Equation 3.84 (p. 49), it may be seen that there are spin softening effects
only in the plane of rotation, not normal to the plane of rotation. Using the example of a modal analysis,
Equation 3.71 (p. 48) can be combined with Equation 15.49 (p. 779) to give:

(3.85)

or

(3.86)

where:
= the natural circular frequencies of the rotating body.
If stress stiffening is added to Equation 3.86 (p. 49), the resulting equation is:

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49

Structures with Geometric Nonlinearities

(3.87)

Stress stiffening is normally applied whenever spin softening is activated, even though they are independent theoretically. The modal analysis of a thin fan blade is shown in Figure 3.8: Effects of Spin
Softening and Stress Stiffening (p. 50).
Figure 3.8: Effects of Spin Softening and Stress Stiffening

100

A = No Stress Stiffening, No Spin Softening

B = Stress Stiffening, No Spin Softening
C = No Stress Stiffening, Spin Softening
D = Stress Stiffening, Spin Softening

90
80
70
60

50

40

30

D
A

20

10
0

40

80 120 160 200 240 280 320 360 400

Angular Velocity of Rotation ( s ) (Radians / Sec)

3.6. General Element Formulations

Element formulations developed in this section are applicable for general finite strain deformation.
Naturally, they are applicable to small deformations, small deformation with large rotations, and stress
stiffening as particular cases. The formulations are based on the principle of virtual work. Minimal assumptions are used in arriving at the slope of nonlinear force-displacement relationship, i.e., the element
tangent stiffness. Hence, they are also called consistent formulations. These formulations have been
implemented in PLANE182, PLANE183, SOLID185, and SOLID186. SOLID187, SOLID272, SOLID273, SOL-

50

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General Element Formulations

ID285, SOLSH190, LINK180, SHELL181, BEAM188, BEAM189, SHELL208, SHELL209, REINF264, REINF265,
SHELL281, PIPE288, PIPE289, and ELBOW290 are further specializations of the general theory.
In this section, the convention of index notation will be used. For example, repeated subscripts imply
summation on the possible range of the subscript, usually the space dimension, so that ii = 11 + 22
+ 33, where 1, 2, and 3 refer to the three coordinate axes x1, x2, and x3, otherwise called x, y, and z.

3.6.1. Fundamental Equations

General finite strain deformation has the following characteristics:
Geometry changes during deformation. The deformed domain at a particular time is generally different
from the undeformed domain and the domain at any other time.
Strain is no longer infinitesimal so that a large-strain definition has to be employed.
Cauchy stress cannot be updated simply by adding its increment. It has to be updated by a particular algorithm in order to take into account the finite deformation.
Incremental analysis is necessary to simulate the nonlinear behaviors.
The updated Lagrangian method is applied to simulate geometric nonlinearities (accessed with
NLGEOM,ON). Assuming all variables, such as coordinates xi, displacements ui, strains ij, stresses ij,
velocities vi, volume V and other material variables have been solved for and are known at time t; one
solves for a set of linearized simultaneous equations having displacements (and hydrostatic pressures
in the mixed u-P formulation) as primary unknowns to obtain the solution at time t + t. These simultaneous equations are derived from the element formulations which are based on the principle of virtual work:

(3.88)

where:
ij = Cauchy stress component

+. .+ .

ui = displacement
xi = current coordinate

V = volume of deformed body

S = surface of deformed body on which tractions are prescribed
The internal virtual work can be indicated by:

(3.89)

where:
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51