You are on page 1of 199

Claudio Gianini

Computer Aided Structural

Guidelines in the automatic calculation of structures

Published by CG CAE Sagl
Via Lavizzari 10
6850 Mendrisio – Switzerland


The presence on the market of more and more user friendly structural analysis software takes to the fact that a
Finite Element code user is not always prepared to dress the stress engineer clothes. Facing this situation from a
cultural point of view is not certainly easy, above all when economic interests are present and therefore the ven-
dors tend to highlight the simplicity of using a modern program and to hide the possible dangers and the sources of
possible errors.
Everyone will agree with the fact that knowing the use of CAD software for technical drawing, i. e. knowing the
way to generate graphical entities, will not make the user a designer; in the same way the knowledge, supported by
modern structural codes, in building a finite element model will not make anyone a structural engineer.
The idea of this book borns from here. These pages want to be a guide in order to give the instruments to the us-
er that, for any reason, has to face the automatic structural calculation.
Obviously the book just touches the surface of a problem which is very big and complex (many references to
important aspects are not treated, such as instability, modal analysis and, last but not least, non linear analysis).
Nevertheless I hope that this job will contribute, even if as a minimal part, to fill up the voids present in the “clas-
sical texts” that prefer to deal with the theory despite of the practical aspects.

Claudio Gianini
Maranello, 22nd January 2003


The knowledge of the structural components behaviour under certain load conditions is a fundamental tool for
the Designer job. To acquire this information, during the designing phase, once it was necessary to use almost
only some specific handbooks, primarily based on empiric and/or experimental formulas. As a consequence the
construction of a sample that had to undergo a test, before the use for which the part was designed, was an una-
voidable step.
Recently general purpose calculation codes have been created, very powerful tools able to satisfy the raising
need of the information necessary for the products improvement, above all in those fields, such as Formula 1,
where the technological progress represents an unquestionable key to be successful.
The “virtual prototyping” has considerably decreased the necessity to test actual samples, shortening the times
needed to obtain the final product.
Therefore the mastery of the modeling techniques of the structure behaviour is a fundamental key to obtain reli-
able results, on which the Designer can base his choices. This book is intended to transmit those knowledges
which are generally acquired through practical experience and which too often are not included in the innumera-
ble texts that deal with the Finite Element Method.

Rory Byrne
Ferrari Formula 1 Chief Designer
Maranello, 22nd January 2003

.......................................................................................................... 16 2.................................................................................................................................7.......2 Considerations on riveted joints ......................................................................................................................................................... 22 2............................................................ 36 Boundary conditions modeling .... 56 4..........4 Thermal loads .................................................................................................................. 13 1................................................................................................................................... 32 2...........................................................................................................4....5 Zero-dimensional elements ............................... 34 2................................6 Plane strain.............................................................................. 27 2. 33 2....................................................................................................................................... 50 4.................................................... 7 Some notes in linear elastic structural analysis ...1 Introduction........................................................................................ 34 2...............................5 Plane stress....................................5 One-dimensional elements .....................................................................2......................................7.............................. 7 1.........................................................................................................................................................................3 Modal Analysis.............................................4 Modeling with shell elements ................................................................................................ 40 3........ 34 2............................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 10 1....... 49 CHAPTER 4...........................................................................1 Considerations on welded joints ...........7.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................7....................................................................................................... 40 3..............3 Strain-displacement equations .............................................................................................................3 Discontinues junctions ..............................................................................................................................................................7........................................................................................................6 Non-structural elements ........................................... Bottom and Middle ......................................................... 7 1............................ iv CONTENTS CHAPTER 1....1 Geometric symmetry and load symmetry .............................. 32 2......................4....................................................................... 31 2......... 7 1......3 2D elements and shell elements ................... 42 3............4 Indefinite equilibrium equations .................................................................................................................................... 52 4................... 54 4.........................................................3 The reference coordinates system ..................................................................................... 70 4.............................................2 Plane strain ........5...... 14 CHAPTER 2..................................................2 The stress-strain relationships ...4....................... 36 3....................................................... 35 2..................................1 Introduction........................ 32 2...................................................................1 Introduction......................................................................................................... 16 Structures modeling using Finite Elements ............................................................................................................................................................................... 47 3......................................... 72 .....6 One-dimensional elements ............................... 36 3..................................................7 General considerations .................................................................................... 12 1........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................7.............................................................................................................4..... 17 2................................................ 35 CHAPTER 3..............5 Solid elements .................................................................................................................................................................... 60 4.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................5.................4 3D elements ..................................................................... 38 3.......................................................................................................................2.......................................................................................................................................................... 34 2...........5........................................................................................................................................7 Axisymmetric stress ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................2 Intersections among elements lying on different planes .........3 Load conditions.........................................................4 Shell elements ...... 50 4......................................................... 54 4..2 Constraint conditions ...............................6 Non-structural elements ....................................................................................................................................................................................3 Modeling with 3D elements ....................................1 General ........................... 29 2......4 Remarks .............................................................................................................................................................................. 35 2................................... 36 3.........................................................................................................4.................................................1 Introduction................ 50 Interpreting the results .......4 Continuous junctions ......................................5....................2 Modeling with 2D elements .................................................................................................................................................................1 Plane stress ....... 40 3............2................................................................................................................ 69 4...................................................................................................................................3 Axisymmetric stress...........2 Averaged and non averaged contours ...............4...................2 One-dimensional elements.................................................5 Symmetry and antisymmetry ..............................1 Top................................................................... 16 2......................................................................................................................................... 17 2........................................................................3 Considerations on bolted joints ...........................................2 Geometric symmetries and load antisymmetries....................................................................... 50 4................4........ 9 1................................................................................................................... 20 2................................

.......................... 109 5...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................1 Introduction........................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................1 Applied loads and reaction forces .............................................. 163 7................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 82 5....................................2.....................................2...................................................................................................................... 162 7...................... 81 Errors in Finite Element calculation ................................................................................. 119 6................................................................... 167 CHAPTER 8.......................................................................................3 Visual checks ..................................................................................................... 176 9................................................. 154 CHAPTER 7......................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 126 6......................... 119 6....................................................................................... 168 8................................................................................................................. 136 6............................ 181 APPENDIX A ........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 81 5........................................................................3 Submodelling ........................................................1 Introduction.........................4 When it is convenient to use a “hybrid” method .................3..................................... 182 A............................. 183 A........... 162 7............. 165 7..........................3..................................................................................................................3...................................................1 Continuous structure portions ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 170 8............................................................2.................................................................. 182 A.....................5 Preload in bolted connections ..........................................................3 When it is convenient to use numerical methods ...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................6 Conclusions ......................................................................................................................... 162 7.......... 176 9......................................................................................................................................... 165 7...................2 Numerical validation ............... 171 8............................................................................................................................................ 72 4....................................................................................3 Photoelasticity .........................2 User errors ..................2 Static verification ............................................................................................ 182 The solution of linear algebraic equation systems ............................................... 119 6................................1 Loads application without stress measurements ............................................................3 Bolts and screws . v 4.................................................... 185 A.......................................................... 171 8.......................................................... 100 5..............................................................................................................................................................................8 Reaction forces .. 119 Advanced modelling techniques ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 168 8................................................................................................................................................................................ 169 8...................................................2 Solution accuracy indices .............................................................................5 Comparison between direct and iterative methods ................................9 Some considerations on graphical post-processing ..........................4 Modelling errors ............................................................ 168 8................................................................................................. 189 Contents ............................................................... 189 The stiffness matrix for the plane stress 3 noded element ................................................2 Loads application without strain gauges measurements .........................1 The superelements .................... 81 5... 168 8....................5 Conclusions .........3 Discretization errors .. 175 CHAPTER 9.......................... 168 Resistance verifications ..............................................................................................................................................................................................2..............................1 Introduction...............................................................................................3 Experimental validation .........2................................................................... 163 7........... 176 9............... 188 APPENDIX B ..........................2................................................................................................................................. 162 Finite Element models validation methods .................. 176 General considerations on automatic structure calculation ......................3..................................................2 A practical example ..........................................3 Bolts and screws ...............4 Iterative methods.......................................................................................................................................................1 Introduction......................................................................................................... 81 5.....................5 Numerical errors ..............................................................2 Rivets........................................................................................................................ 120 6..........................3..7 Non structural elements .....................2 The equation system........................................ 165 7............................................................................................................................. 119 6................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 176 9.....................................3..........2 When it is convenient to use classical methods.............................................................3 Direct methods ............................................................................................. 182 A....................................................................................... 73 4.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 177 9...............................1 Introduction......4 Simulating interference fittings (shrinking-on) ................................2............................................................................... 76 CHAPTER 5.................... 175 8............................................................................................................................2 Substructuring .................................................................................................. 127 6....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................6 Pre-processing errors .................................................................1 A practical example ........................3... 162 7.2.........................................................................................................................................................................1 Continuous structure portions ............................................................................... 185 A........................3 Fatigue verification .........................................................................................................2 Rivets............................................. 117 CHAPTER 6................................................................................................

...3 Shape functions for a plane stress triangular element ................................................................................................................................................................................. 189 B.............2 The Finite Elements ............................................................................. vi B.................. 199 Contents .......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 194 REFERENCES ..................... 189 B................................................................................................5 A practical example ......1 Introduction..............................................................................4 The stiffness matric for the CST element ......... 191 B................................................................. 189 B........................................................................

in the three directions x. z of the mentioned coordinate system.1 Introduction In this first Chapter we will briefly recall the equations on which linear elastic structural analysis is based. E G is the tangential modulus: G  . that a small cube of material. Moreover we emphasize that when we will talk about a solid. There are some equations that relate the stresses developed in the body with the way in which the body itself is deformed. zx are the angular deformations between the edges of the cube (see figure 2). Let us suppose us to be positioned in a point belonging to a body subjected to certain loads. a structure.1) E σ zz  ν  (σ xx  σ yy ) ε zz  E τ xy 1 ε xy    γ xy 2G 2 τ yz 1 ε yz    γ yz (1. extracted in the neighbourhood of the point in discussion. This is done because we will frequently refer to them in the rest of this book. For the point un- der discussion we can write: σ xx  ν  (σ yy  σ zz ) ε xx  E σ yy  ν  (σ xx  σ zz ) ε yy  (1.  is the Poisson coefficient.1) 2G 2 τ 1 ε zx  zx   γ zx 2G 2 Where: E is the Young modulus. Our aim is not to obtain these relations (for this we send back to books that deal with structural mechanics). zz are the stresses orthogonal to the faces of the above mentioned cube. zz are the strains. but to group them as much as possible in order to have them straightforward on hand whenever needed. CHAPTER 1 Some notes in linear elastic structural analysis 1. yy. 1. xy. y. 2  (1  ) xx. sees due to the loads applied (see figure 1). yz. . xx. or a mechanical continuum we will implicitly take into account that these will be constituted by an homogeneous and isotropic material. yy.2 The stress-strain relationships Let xyz be an orthogonal Cartesian coordinate system with its origin in an arbitrary point in the space.

we remind in particular that the generic  lays on the face perpendicular to the axis indicated by the first index and it has the direction of the second index. moreover we remind that the shear stresses with inverted indexes have the same value (i. thus obtaining the relations which express the stress status with respect to the strain status.1) can be inverted. each time we will talk about stress-strain relations. 8 xy. Figure 1. xy = yx). zx are the shear stresses which lie on the cube faces. Figure 2. Normal strains in the xy plane. we will refer to these latter equa- tions. In the following.2) τ xy  G  γ xy τ yz  G  γ yz τ zx  G  γ zx Chapter 1 . Equations (1. yz. 1  ν   ε xx  ν  (ε yy  ε zz ) σ xx  2  G  1 2  ν 1  ν   ε yy  ν  (ε xx  ε zz ) σ yy  2  G  1 2  ν 1  ν   ε zz  ν  (ε yy  ε xx ) σ zz  2  G  1 2  ν (1.e. Shear strains in the xy plane.

2) can be written in matrix format: σ E ε (1. uz in the three orthogonal directions identified by a global Cartesian coordinate system xyz we can write: u x ε xx  x u y ε yy  (1. 9 Equations (1.4) y u ε zz  z z Chapter 1 . uy.3) where the terms have been ordered in the following way: σ xx  σ   yy  σ  σ   zz   τ xy   τ yz     τ zx   1 ν 2 ν 2ν  2  1  2  ν 1 2 ν 1 2 ν 0 0 0  2ν 1 ν 2ν   2 0 0 0  1 2 ν 1 2 ν 1 2 ν  E  G   2  ν 2 ν 2 1 ν 0 0 0  1 2 ν 1 2 ν 1 2 ν  0 0 0 1 0 0    0 0 0 0 1 0  0 0 1  0 0 0 ε xx  ε   yy  ε  ε   zz  γ xy   γ yz     γ xz  1.3 Strain-displacement equations If a point belonging to a structure undergoes a displacement u (due to the deformation caused by the load appli- cation and not due to a rigid body motion) defined by the components ux.

y and z we have: σ xx τ xy τ xz    fx  0 x y z σ yy τ yx τ yz    fy  0 (1.4) give the strain status as a function of the displacement of the point where the analysis is being carried out. inertial forces) defined by its components f x. fy. stresses) Let f be a volume force (i.4) (or (1. we explain its form by writing equations (1. deformations. is in equilibrium with volume forces (see figure 3). while equations (1.5) in the extended form:    x 0 0    ε xx   0 0 ε   y   yy     u   ε zz   0 0  x z   u       y (1. By writing transla- tional equilibrium equations in the three directions x.7) y x z σ zz τ zy τ zx    fz  0 z y x Chapter 1 .6) γ xy   0  u   γ yz   y x   z       γ zx   0 z y       z 0 x  We recall by the way that equations (1. fz in the chosen coordinate system.3) give the tensional status once the strains are known.e. non linear effects are neglected). Therefore some relations are missing.4 Indefinite equilibrium equations Constitutives equations and strain-displacement relations are not enough to solve an elastic problem: equations (1.4) can be written using matricial notation in the following way: ε D u (1.6)) are only valid under the hypothesis of small strains (i. 10 u y u x γ xy   x y u z u y γ yz   (1. that can be recorded by moving between two parallel faces of a small cube ex- tracted in the neighbourhoods of point P. in particular some equations that relate the origin (forces that load the structure) to the effect (displacement.e. weight.4) y z u u γ zx  x  z z x Equations (1. the variation of the stress. 1.5) or (1.5) where [D] is the derivative operator.

volume forces are not present.8):  σ      xx   0 0 0   x y z  σ yy  f   σ    x 0    0 0    zz   f y   0  y x z  τ xy           τ  f z  0 0 0  x   τ  zy  z y  zx  Summarising.3) ε D u (1. for clarity. In the figure. Chapter 1 . by writing in the extended form equations (1. Stresses acting on the faces of a small cube extracted from the neighbourhood of point P. 11 In matrix notation equations (1.8) z σ zz σ zz  dz z yx xy xx yy τ zy τ zy  dz τ xz z τ xz  dx xz yz x τ xz τ yz τ zx  dz τ yz  dy z τ xy y τ xy  dx x τ yx σ xx τ yx  dy σ yy σ xx  dx y σ yy  dy x y zy zx zz x y Figure 3.7) will be: DT σ f  0 (1.8) And. we have a system constituted by three matricial equations: σ E ε (1.5) DT  σ f  0 (1.

1. and the 6 stress compo- nents. as a conse- quence equations (1. This system can be solved.3) and by 9 linear partial differential equations (1.5 and 1. In the xy plane a point can be subjected to a displacement defined by the two components ux ed uy.3). but it presents a lot of analytical difficulties.8) describe the generic elastic problem for an arbitrary 3D structure.9) E τ xy γ xy  G By inverting equations (1.5 Plane stress Equations (1. the 6 strain components. Nevertheless in many technical cases one has to deal with plane stress. A stress status can be defined as planar (if the structure is disposed on a generic xy plane) when: σ zz  τ yz  τ xz  0 Therefore equations (1.5) and (1.8). 12 This system is constituted by 6 algebraic equations (1. by using matricial notation: Chapter 1 . (1.6) become: u x ε xx  x u y ε yy  y u x u y γ xy   y x And.10) The “ps” index indicate that we are talking about a plane stress status.1) become: σ xx  ν  σ yy ε xx  E σ yy  ν  σ xx ε yy  (1.9) and by using matricial notation we have: σ xx    1 ν 0  ε xx    E   σ yy    ν 1 0   ε yy  τ  1  ν  1 ν   2  xy  0 0  γ xy  2      E   ps ps ps (1. also the unknowns are 15: the 3 displacement components.

A force acting in the xy plane is defined by the two components f x ed fy.11) A similar discussion is valid for the forces. in the usual matricial notation:    σ   x 0 y    f x  xx   σ  0 0     yy    τ  f y   y x   xy  D    f  0 ps T ps ps (1. A strain status can be assumed to be plane (if the structure is disposed on the xy plane) when: ε zz  γ yz  γ xz  0 Therefore equations (1. 13    0 ε xx   x       u x  ε yy    0   γ   y  u y   xy       y x    D u  ps ps ps (1.12) For the plane stress status we have 3 constitutive equations. the 3 strain components and the 3 stress components.7) become: σ xx τ xy   fx  0 x y σ yy τ yx   fy  0 y x And. negligible) in technics can occur to deal with plane strain. 1.2) become: Chapter 1 . The amount of the unknowns is considerably reduced with respect to the general 3D case. Equations (1.6 Plane strain Beside the plane stress status (which is present when a structure has two dimensions that are predominant on the third. 3 strain-displacement relations and 2 indefinite equilibrium equations: the unknowns are the 2 displacement components.

14 1  ν   ε xx  ν  ε yy σ xx  2  G  1 2  ν 1  ν   ε yy  ν  ε xx σ yy  2  G  1 2  ν (1.12) are still valid:   D u  ps ps ps (1. These conditions make this stress status similar to plane stress or plane strain: in fact a point belonging to an axial symmetry plane can move.let x be the axis coincident with the radial direction . equations (1.16) 1. In a cylindrical coordinate system where: .17) 1  ν   ε zz  ν  (ε yy  ε xx ) σ zz  2  G  1 2  ν τ xy  G  γ xy Chapter 1 .7 Axisymmetric stress Axisymmetric stress status occurs in those bodies that present an axial symmetry.let y be the axis coincident with the axial direction .let z be the axis coincident with the hoop direction the stress strain relations assume the following form 1  ν   ε xx  ν  (ε yy  ε zz ) σ xx  2  G  1 2  ν 1  ν   ε yy  ν  (ε xx  ε zz ) σ yy  2  G  1 2  ν (1. rotating disks.15) D    f  0 ps T ps ps (1. only in the plane which it belongs to. Concerning strain-displacement equations and indefinite equilibrium relations.13) ν  (ε yy  ε xx ) σ zz  2  G  1 2  ν τ xy  G  γ xy And.e. using matricial notation:  1 ν 2 ν   2 0 σ xx  1 2 ν 1 2 ν σ   2 ν 1 ν  ε xx   yy   2 0      G   1 2 ν 1 2 ν   ε yy  σ zz   2 ν 2 ν    τ xy   1 2 ν 0 γ xy  1 2 ν  1  0 0   E   ps ps ps (1. hubs in general). both in their geometry and in the forces that loads them (i.11) and (1.14) This time the “sp” index defines a plane strain status. pressure vessels. due to forces application.

With respect to plane strain and plane stress. 15 Note. strain-displacement relations are somewhat modified and assume the following forms: u ε xx  x x u y ε yy  y u ε zz  x x u u y γ xy  x  y x And.12) remain valid: Da T σ a  f a  0 (1. that we did not use the classical notation r.20) Chapter 1 .19) On the other hand concerning indefinite equilibrium relations. this has been done because calculation codes do not make any distinction. It is under the user responsibility to be aware of the fact that he is using the axisymmetric hypothesis (see also Chapter 2). z which is in general applied for cylindrical co- ordinate systems. equations (1.18) The “a” index indicates that we are referring to an axisymmetric stress status. using matricial notation:    x 0 ε xx    ε   0   yy   y  u x    1   u y  ε xx   0   γ xy   x       y x  ε a  Da u a  (1. . Using matricial notation:  1 ν 2 ν 2ν   2 0 σ xx  1 2 ν 1 2 ν 1 2 ν ε xx  σ   2 ν 1 ν 2ν     yy   2 0 ε yy     G   1 2 ν 1 2 ν 1 2 ν   ε  σ xx   2 ν 2 ν 1 ν  zz   τ xy   1 2 ν 2 0 γ    1 2 ν 1 2 ν  xy   1  0 0 0 σa  E a ε a  (1. by the way.

the analytical solution presents difficulties that are practically insurmountable. From what we said. as we already said. are known as Finite Elements. at least for plane stress. briefly indicated here below:  choice of the element type to be used. By following this approach. having solved the equations. stresses. depending on the element characteristics) of the displacements of predefined points (known as grids) of the element itself. is the displacements field of the grids: all the other quantities (i. For example Solid Mechanics Theory gives us the analytical solution for the behaviour of beams subjected to loads. Nevertheless we know that the De Saint Venant relations are valid under at least one restrictive hypothesis: the beam has to be a one-dimensional body. depending on the structure geometry and on the phenomenon to be investigated  division of the structure in an “adequate” elements number  applications of the boundary conditions (constraints and loads)  solution of the equations . the only result obtained from a FEM code. and on the use that Finite Element Method makes of them). being so. bounded to peculiar cases. that connect all the elements in which the structure has been divided. which can give an interpretation of the reality itself. extending arbitrarily the validity of this model over its intrinsic lim- its. in order to analyse a generic structure by means of the Finite Element Method. However frequently this method is abused. So. it is clear that from the knowledge of the displacement components of the grids. in other words the aim is to get the prob- lem back to simplified and well known schemes. located at the internal of an generic element.8)). etc.e.1 Introduction Each time a model is constructed an abstraction from reality is created. in which the domain is discretised. but in engineering practical cases this result is satisfactory.3) and (1. the two transversal dimensions have to be negligible with respect to the axial one. the problem has been discretised and the solution is certainly an approximation of the reality. Finite Element Method (FEM) is based on the “displacement method”. depend- ing on how the grids of the element itself move in the space (in Appendix B it is possible to find out further details about Shape Functions. which is treated in Solid Mechanics Theory in order to solve over constrained structures. In order to proceed it is nec- essary to introduce a further approximation which imposes that the displacement of a point. avoiding to arrive to unaffordable calculation results. a part from particular cases that. that could experience in a reduced way the limitations posed by too restrictive hypothesis. a simplification that gives good and valid results in many technical cases. by dividing the original domain of interest. it is necessary to follow some points. i. parabolic. it is possible to identify the strain status and thus the stress status of the structure. thus violating the hypothesis under which the model was originally built. It is clear that the ideal method would be the one that could solve in analytical form the mixed system of alge- braic and partial differential equations shown in Chapter 1 (see equations (1.e. which is surely bigger and with a geometry more articulated. limited in the space and with a simple shape: in this way.) are derived from here. in an adequate number of simple subdomains for which the solution is known . it is possible to achieve the solution of the original problem by “reassembling” the partial results opportunely. strains. So here is the idea to develop a method that could solve the system at least in a given domain. The mentioned subdomains. These relations are known as Shape Functions. In spite of this. make vane the effort to gain a general approach. CHAPTER 2 Structures modeling using Finite Elements 2. is a function (linear. it has been necessary to develop a general validity method. Nevertheless even solving the elastic problem in a single element is not as simple. and from what reported in Chapter 1. And this represents just a model of the reality. In order to go over this and other boundaries. bilinear. etc. and they are equations that govern the displacements of all the points belonging to an element.

some conditions exist where problems can be taken back to more simple cases without loosing results precision and accuracy. Here we reported the equivalent Von Mises stress. thus not allowing to obtain good results. because it needs a good knowledge from the stress engineer. By this assumption it is clear that to model a structure using plane stress elements it is necessary that the forces that load it lay in the same plane where the structure is disposed. less calculation times. An example of plane stress is the case of cylindrical gears. results interpretation is the most critical phase. of sheets. are only instruments that can handle and manage lots of data. Neverthe- less.7. In order to have yz and xz = 0 the thin structure under analysis must not be loaded by shear forces normal to its surface. as we will see in Chapter 5. where the thickness is small with respect to the other dimensions Figure 1 illustrates a 3D CAD model of a gear that satisfy the hypothesis of plane stress. which are in different measures user dependent. Only the engineering judgment of the user can validate the results obtained by a calculation. in the sense that the equations that govern them are those of § 1. zoomed in the region of the engaged tooth. generating poor quality results. for example.2 Modeling with 2D elements Obviously the best element is the one able to represent any stress and strain status in its generality. erroneous applications of boundary conditions. In fact it has always to be kept in mind that computers. In this paragraph we will deal with the construction of plane model. Due to this fact special purpose elements have been created. represents a critical task and can in- validate all the others. inadequate material description. or the shear stresses. as seen in Chapter 1. obviously only if the simplification is valid. In fact we know that we are dealing with a plane stress status. 2. 1.2. It is always recommended to use planar models. However it must be clear that if we ask the plotting for the stress component in the direction normal to the surface of the gear (zz).5.1 Plane stress As we said in § 1. Chapter 2 . 17  results interpretation Each one of these phases. For example a mesh with bad “numerical quality” will surely give to the equations solver algorithm some diffi- culties. figure 2 shows the cor- responding finite element model.) Last but not least. a plane stress status is present when σ zz  τ yz  τ xz  0 In order to have zz = 0 the thickness (that is in the z direction) must be “small” with respect to the other dimen- sions of the structure. Furthermore a “perfect” model can be solved by a not robust solution algorithm. smallest files dimensions. In general using a simplification implies fewer difficulties in model building (which means less possibility to make mistakes). but it is clearly possible to plot any component of the stress tensor or the maximum and minimum principal stresses. equations and numbers. This is the case. Moreover the not perfect knowledge of the physics at the base of the problem can lead to the construction of a poor model (mistakes in choosing the ele- ment type. and all the codes implemented on them.6 and 1.5. we will obtain a uniform contour with the color band full of zeros. 2. Finally figure 3 represents the contour for the Equivalent Von Mises stress. etc.

Calculation results. number of teeth = 36. Note how the loaded tooth has been divided into smaller elements with respect to the rest of the gear. We will explain the reason of this in a further Chapter.Cylindrical gear. module = 3. In this case the equivalent Von Mises stress has been represented (maximum value is equal to 101 MPa).2 mm. Plane stress finite element model for the gear shown in figure 1. Chapter 2 .2 mm Figure 2. Thickness = 3mm. Figure 3. pitch diameter = 115. 18 Figure 1.

Moreover. clearly an erroneous positioning will give an error message from the solver algorithm. while figure 6 shows zz stress contour. Figure 4 shows the brick element model. In this way we can compare the results obtained by the more sophisticated model. this model reproduce the gear geometry in a more realistic manner. as the planar model does not have a physical thickness. Figure 4. which represent an error absolutely acceptable in practically all the technical cases. building a plane stress model implies to “tell” the code that the element in use is a plane stress element (generally this operation is done in the graphical pre-processor). also this information must be transmitted to the code. This fact confirms the validity of the results given by the plane stress model. 19 In order to perform a comparison we will also build a model using solid elements (valid for 3D structures mod- eling). yz or xz). we will get back later on the potentiality offered by graphical pre-processing software. an impossible operation when using a plane stress model. Figure 5 illustrates the Von Mises equivalent stress contour for the 3D model. Remarks  From a practical point of view. The differences in the results furnished by the two models are less than 2%. in order to try to get the zz stress variation. Chapter 2 . Note that the zz stress is surely negligible with respect to the other stresses. attention must be paid because many software need that the element lay in one of the three planes of the global co- ordinates system (xy. but “heavier” exactly for this reason. Finite solid elements model for the gear shown in figure 1. Along the thickness 3 elements have been put. with the ones obtained by the pla- nar model In order to construct the 3D model we “extrude” the 2D elements orthogonally to the plane where they lay.

 The planar model is smaller (454 KB for the input file. if the gear of figure 1 had a thickness of 15 mm in- stead of 3 mm it would be possible to think about a planes strain status. zz stress (max value equal to 4. likewise calculation times are lower. simplifications are welcome in order to reduce error possibility. it was pos- sible to avoid the modeling of all the teeth. Chapter 2 . We will come back in Chapter 5 on the importance of mesh density. This is a further valid simplification.2 Plane strain Plane strain is the dual case of plane stress. 10660 KB for the results file). building the model only for the two or three teeth nearby the loaded one. For example. giving good results and at the same time reducing the equations number. Figure 6.2.  The mesh has been refined around the loaded tooth. this fact allows to catch adequately strain and stress gradients. 1819 KB for the results file) with respect to his 3D “brother” (1952 KB for the input file.  Looking at gear geometry in its globality and keeping in mind how this kind of member works. Even if in our days the computers calculation power and disks and memory capacity do not represent a limit anymore. 20 Figure 5.Equivalent Von Mises stress (max value equal to 103 MPa).18 MPa). 2. As we said in Chapter 1 strain status is planar when ε zz  γ yz  γ xz  0 In this case in order to have zz = 0 it is necessary that the dimension normal to the plane where the structure lays is predominant with respect to the others.

Chapter 2 .6. while at the external fibers the stress is equal to 32. As an example for plane strain we will calculate the stress status that arises at the internal of a long cylinder with a significant thickness.7 MPa (with an error around 2%). a  . d is the generic diameter. in a axial section far from flanges or edges which alterate the load path. model built with plane strain elements. is: ti = 83 MPa te = 33 MPa These are the analytical values to be compared with numerical calculations. Figure 8 illustrates the hoop stress contour.13). in order to have yz = xz = 0 it is necessary that the structure is loaded only by forces that lay in the same plane which the structure belongs to. Note that in this case the tensor component zz is not equal to zero. Di Let De = 200 mm. The value recorded at the internal fibers is equal to 84.9 MPa (with an error lower than 0.5%). when it un- dergoes a pressure p: p = 50 MPa Using the Lamé formulas. Figure 7. Di is the internal diameter. Figure 7 shows the finite element. With these values the hoop stress. Finite plane strain elements model for a generic axial section of a cylinder with “big” thickness. due to the transversal contraction coefficient (or Poisson’s ratio) as shown by equations (1. Figure 9 shows that the stress in the direction parallel to cylinder axis (zz) is not equal to zero. Di = 100 mm. The equations that govern the plane strain status are the ones reported in § 1. at the internal fibers (d = 100) and at the ex- ternal fibers (d = 200). the stress in the hoop direction (t) is given by: 2  De    1 σt  p  d  a 2 1 De where De is the external diameter. 21 Similarly to what we said about plane stress. Also in this case the errors generated by the simplification are very small and can be generally tolerated in prac- tical engineering. for an axial section of the cylinder.

e.3 Axisymmetric stress Among all the cases that can be reduced to planar behaviour. the case here reported could be good to this purpose. are still valid. as we will show in the next paragraph. forces per thickness units have to be applied. Hoop stress contour due to an internal pressure p = 50 MPa (max value is equal to 84.4 MPa). i. Axial stress contour (zz) due to an internal pressure p = 50 MPa (max value is equal to 11. models built using axisymmetric elements are the most interesting ones. 22 Figure 8.  In opposition to plane stress. the pure plane stress status does not exist in the reality: as small as it can be. Figure 9.2. 2. in this kind of Chapter 2 . seen for plane stress status. The first reason of this is because they are not based on a simplification of a more complex phenomenon (i.e. as these have to be normalized to the thickness. zz will never be exactly zero. about the plane where ele- ments are disposed. Generally the software adopt a unitary thickness. Remarks  Also in this case building a plane strain model implies to indicate to the calculation code the type of ele- ment that is being used. but put their basis on the exploitation of the axial symmetry. it is therefore necessary to pay attention when loads are applied. as we saw for the gear). in this case no information about the thickness (which should be theoretically infinite) has to be indicated to the code.7 MPa).  This particular case could be solved with the same efficiency by using axisymmetric elements. It would be good practice to implement a model for which the analytical solution is known in order to understand how the program in use deals with this type of ele- ment. Moreover same warnings.

hubs. an hemispherical cap.7. Figure 11 illustrates the hoop stress contour (that in this case is. shafts.2. if we were interested in knowing the stresses that arise in the region of a transition between the cylinder barrel and. Generally commercial codes needs that the model lays in a particular plane (as for plane stress and plane strain). obviously. Figure 10 shows the axisymmetric model for the cylinder defined by De = 200 mm and Di = 100 mm. Axisymmetric model for the cylinder with pressure inside.2. the symmetry axis is in general one of the global coordinates system axis. Figure 10. each hoop section is equal to each other. In order to introduce axisymmetric elements we build with them a model that reproduces the same problem posed in § 2. the plane strain model would be absolutely inadequate. Nevertheless. both from the geometrical point of view and from the strains and stresses point of view. normal to the plane where the model lays). as it is immediately understandable. As it can be noted. due to the fact that load components normal to the plane where the model lays are not allowed. Furthermore only the portion of the structure located in the positive half plane is modeled. the results are practically coincident with those obtained with plane strain elements (with dif- ferences around 1%). which can represent this geometric condition. rotating disks. The second reason is that many cases exist in technics where one has to face axisymmetric problems: pressure vessels and tubes. Moreover in tubes and pressure vessels there is also an axial stress generated by the internal pressure and that the 2D model cannot represent. 23 structure. Chapter 2 . On the other side the axisymmetric approach. for example. Equations that govern the elastic problem for an axisymmetric stress status are the one reported in § 1. is surely the best way to catch the so called “border effects”.

Hoop stress contour (maximum value is equal to 85. Here an hemispherical cap has been added. Figure 13. thus obtaining a true pressure vessel. Chapter 2 . Axisymmetric model for the cylinder. Hoop stress contour. Far from the borders the values are coincident with the ones obtained from the model without the cap and from the plane strain model (maximum value is equal to 86. 24 Figure 11.5 MPa).2 MPa). Figure 12.

while they sub- stantially change in correspondence of the cap. Another example of axisymmetric structure is represented by a thin ring that undergoes a uniform distribution of hoop moments m. as shown in figure 15. It is possible to observe how far from the region where the hemispherical cap exists the values are practically coincident with the ones previously obtained. 25 In order to show both these facts we add to the mode represented in figure 10 an hemispherical cap. This kind of condition is present for example in flanges mutually con- nected by means of bolts: both the preload itself due to the tightening torque and the subsequent load conditions (let us think again to pressure vessels) generate a distribution of hoop moments (even if not exactly uniform. the lonely component of the internal forces not equal to zero is the bending moment M f. which can be calculated as follows: π  2  M f  m  R  senθ  dθ 0 where R is the average radius. Chapter 2 . shows the axial stress contour. In figure 13 the hoop stress contour is represented. Axial stress contour (maximum value is equal to 50. due to the ax- ial symmetry. Figure 14. hence ob- taining the model of figure 12. Once again the stress status for this kind of structure can be deter- mined by a model built with axisymmetric elements. The figure 14.5 MPa). finally. Ring loaded by hoop moments m uniformly distributed. due to the discontinuity caused by the bolts pitch). Let us see: if we cut the ring of figure 15 along a diametral plane we can note (see figure 16) that. The internal pressure is still equal to 50 MPa. Figure 15.

Completing the calculations we obtain: Mf  m R Now the stress value can be calculated in the same way as for bending of straight beams. as explained in the text.5 mm. Furthermore stress distribution is similar to the one that can be obtained from the classical bending case. Chapter 2 . The equation that gives the maximum stress is: mR h σ  I 2 where I = 16667 mm4 is the section moment of inertia.Hoop stress contour. Given the ring section as illustrated in figure 17. we have R = 512. Moreover let be m = 1000 Nmm/mm. Figure 17. Diametral section for a ring. very close to the analytical value. Completing the calculations we obtain:  = 307 MPa Figure 18. FE model gives a value of 306. Mf are the internal forces components that equilibrate the hoop distribution of moments m.6 MPa. 26 Figure 16.

this means that in each point of the structure (generally in the grids) the stress tensor is “full”.  Attention must be paid in the way loads are applied.2. on the other one he has to manage a huge amount of data. even when the thicknesses are low. when structures automatic calculation was at the beginning.4. 27 Figure 19. a case that. while other codes ask the loads already taking into account the 2R factor.2. As it can be noted a very good agreement exists between the results given by the two methodologies. In fact some codes need as an input the total load and then they take into account the circumferential length. and the valid equations will be the ones illustrated in § 1. instead of building a shell element model which will be equally valid. machining) are difficult to be mod- eled by means of finite elements. Equivalent Von Mises stress contour given by an axisymmetric model built for a threaded connection. 2. obtained by a finite element calculation. In fact this strongly depends on the chosen commercial software. The simplification due to having neglected the an- gle of the threads is not so important to make vane the result quality. This fact allows a very detailed knowledge of the stress status in the overall structure. in order to build an axisymmetric finite element model it is necessary to pay attention to which plane the code in use will identify as the plane of axial symmetry. Finally we illustrate. Obviously complex geometry 3D structures (obtained by casting. it is good practice to build a model to be compared with a case whose solution is known. Remarks  As we already said. can be simplified and studied by means of axisymmetric finite elements: figure 19 shows the contour for the equivalent Von Mises stress for the model of a M18 threaded connection. Today all this has been superseded and the instruments at our disposal are so refined that sometimes it is more convenient to build a solid mesh. It is similar to play with bricks of construction games. Clearly with 3D models one has to deal always with a multiaxial stress status.3 Modeling with 3D elements As we said in § 2. the best element is the one able to solve the elastic problem in its generality. Time ago. each component is non-zero. moulding. building a model with solid elements was very unusual. 1.e.3 and 1. even if it does not present a strong axial symmetry. if some doubts still remain. as a pure example. Chapter 2 . Figure 18 shows the contour of the stress normal to the diametral plane. both because its construction was long and because calculation times were huge due to poor computer power at disposal. in this way no approximations will be introduced for plane stress or strain. i. if from one side the stress engineer is now freed from the annoying operation of constructing the input file. In order to do so it is first of all necessary that the element could “follow” the geometry of the actual structure in a way as much as possible close to the reality. It is therefore necessary to carefully study the documentation that comes with the software and. And.

28 Just because the geometry of the structure to be analyzed can be respected almost completely (a part some ap- proximation that we will see in Charter 5) no particular tricks have to be adopted when one has to build a model by means of solid elements. Figure 22. Steering rod for a lift truck axle. The piece (here is shown cut along its symmetry plane) is obtained by molding. In what follows we will show some figures illustrating solid finite element models for structures obtained by casting. The piece is obtained by sand casting. Gearbox group for lift truck. Figure 20. Anti-roll bar support for a tram vehicle. Figure 21. Chapter 2 . molding or machining. Molding.

Casting. Lift truck axle (plates cut and welded together). Engine casings for tram motor bogie. Figure 25. because they are used to model three dimensional structures but they are only able to represent plane stress Chapter 2 .4 Modeling with shell elements In a very simple way we could say that shell elements are a sort of hybrid elements between 2D and 3D ele- ments. 2. Figure 24. 29 Figure 23. Hub and upright for a lift truck wheel group.

neglecting the shear action. attention must be paid to the intersections of the various surfaces. bolted and weld- ed together. wings. Generally speaking. we will come back to this point in Chapter 5. from what we said in § 2. riveted. Chapter 2 . low calculation times and low model construction times. loaded by shear and bending. Also beam structures could be modeled with shell elements (let us think to the geometry of some complex sec- tion shapes). to build the surfaces (preferably in correspondence of the mid-plane of the sheets where the should be created) where to create the elements. the bending status is present.2. the body shell shown in figure 27 is constituted by extruded beams and panels. in order to be sure that the result- ing elements are effectively connected where they should be. extracting those surfaces that best suit structural analysis. For example the bogie shown in figure 26 is a box structure obtained by means of weld- ed plates. because generally the designer produces the geometrical model in order to build the member and therefore all the sheets will have their correct thickness. The fields where it is necessary to use shell elements are various: aircraft (fuselages. Just to find an analogy with the De Saint Venant beam. Beside the membrane status. na- val (hulls). the only possible for 2D elements. It is necessary. Figure 26. but not only). it is similar to calculate the normal stress due to the bending moment. A substantial difference with respect to 2D elements lies in the fact that shell elements can be clearly disposed along any plane arbitrarily ori- ented in the space. Railway motor bogie. space modules). as we will see in the next para- graph. looking at the types of structures they represent. The structure is obtained by steel plates cut and welded together. constructing a shell element model does not present any particular problem if a modern interactive and graphical system is used. 30 conditions. as a consequence of this no limitations exist for the directions of the forces that can load them. Figures from 26 to 28 show some examples of structures for which modeling by means of shell elements is the right choice seeking for results quality. rolling stock (bogie frames. the shell element is not able to calculate the xz and yz shears (if we assume that z is the axis normal to the element plane) that arise from shear forces acting orthogonally to the element plane. if a 3D CAD file is available things are a little bit more complicated. On the other hand. even if generally in these cases one-dimensional elements are used. body shells). In order to build the finite element model it is consequently necessary another phase: the one needed to prepare the geometry. Regardless this. however. shell elements models have inside also some connection systems. From a practical point of view. if a CAD geometry is not available. It is therefore necessary to spend a few words on these kinds of connection. Therefore. structures that are classically modeled with shell elements are the ones with small thickness (a typical example are aircraft structures. automotive (body panels).

Only during the result interpretation procedure the presence of the weldings has to be taken into account. can not restore the material continuity in the joint: the loads pass from one plate to the other through the beads. 2. Under this hypothesis the load path from one part of the structure to the other is very smooth and the joint by itself can be considered as “monolithic”.5. 1.e. Bead welding.1 Considerations on welded joints Concerning seam welding it is common practice to neglect. Central car body shell for a tramway vehicle. The various plates are considered as they would be continuous and the model is built in this very simple way. This is not the situation where to discuss which of the two systems presented above is the best.9 can be adopted. Figure 28. The only at- tention needed is during the safety factors calculation. that is. For the calculation of this joints it is generally good practice to refer to some normatives (i. during the modeling phase. it is possi- ble to recreate a very good material continuity. when considering the allowable stress value that the material can give: the welding process. which can be obtained by “preparing” (with chamfers) the edges to be joined. UNI CNR 10011) Chapter 2 . the geometry of which is very difficult to be controlled. while for aluminum alloys the knock down factor can be equal to 0.4. 2. its presence. Generally for weldable steels a knock down factor equal to 0. here we will just give some general indications on how to proceed with calculations. in fact. 31 Figure 27. This kind of joint is in general very reliable. Lift truck frame (only a half is represented here): welded steel plates. The allowable stress value is not the same as for the unaltered material. given that the welding execution is perfect. 2) bead welding. because each one presents advantages and disadvantages. has thermally altered the material in the neighborhoods of the weldings. Aluminum extruded beams and panels bolted and riveted together. on the other side. but it should be de- termined with some tests. Generally two distinct cases exist: 1) seam welding.

We emphasize that mix- Chapter 2 . sometimes this procedure is adopted voluntarily to avoid.3 Considerations on bolted joints Clearly also bolted joints represent a system where the loads are transferred from one part of the structure to the other in a discontinuous way. To be mentioned a part is the spot welding. 2. in the models both the preload and the friction are neglected. pins. reinforcing ribs and whatever has two dimensions negligible with respect to the third one if the model- ing by more specialized elements is too expensive in terms of “price/performance” ratio (obviously here by price we mean calculation and modeling time and we relate performance with results quality). Moreover a riveted joint can be disassembled. Nevertheless frequently is the stress engineer that has to indicate to the designer where and how many spots should be considered. this kind of elements is progressively disappearing. rivets and bolts. is strongly dependent on this. The axial load that arise from the tightening torque makes possible to transfer the loads between the two parts by means of friction (if the preload is big enough) instead of a pure shear load acting on the bolts themselves (as it happens for rivets). if necessary. thus allowing parts substitution. also a beam structure presents some aspects that one-dimensional elements can not catch. due to their one-dimensional nature. such as stress concentrations that can arise in a “node” where two or more beams converge. tension or compression). a shell element model can highlight some effects that beam elements can not represent adequately. 32 that usually give a criterion based on the forces that act in the joint. bolts are generally preloaded. and therefore the stress status. Therefore it is not possible. as a first approximation. it is possible that the stress engineer is asked to determine how many and which kind of rivets are to be used. to build a model with the rivets already in their final location. from a certain point of view. because they can be used in conjunction with other more refined types. 2. be- cause the load path. at a first try. leaving to the post-processing phase the calculation of the forces that pass through the connection.5 One-dimensional elements One-dimensional elements are typically used to model structures constituted by beams and rods. Today. Generally.e. where the large employment of aluminum alloys makes very difficult the use of welded joints in order to prevent material degradation. due to the load action. for example. a shear defor- mation of the bolts. In fact. how many points are needed to transmit the design loads. leaving also in this case to the post-processing phase these details calcula- tions. sometimes. Also in this case it is possible to proceed as we indicated in the previous para- graph and to neglect the presence of the joints. In this manner it is possible to check that the forces in each spot are effectively the ones foreseen. however. as we will see in Chapter 6) where the parts are mutually connected in the way determined as above indicated. a part some particular cases where the objective of the analysis is the bolted connection itself (as we will see in Chapter 6). which will make it impossible to unscrew them. for example with beam elements it is possible to model spot welding joints. The procedure can be obviously implemented on a computer and therefore au- tomated.4. taking into account the magnitude of the loads that pass through the joint. that . the forces to be used in the criterion proposed by the normative. In Chapter 4 we will see this aspect in deeper details. element by element.2 Considerations on riveted joints Riveting is a connection system very often used in aerospace. neglecting the presence of the joint) and by extracting the forces in the ele- ments in the neighborhoods of the connection: known the allowable of the single spot it is then possible to calcu- late. with respect to rivets. 2. It would be clearly a good thing to build a subsequent model (at least using the “submodelling” technique. where the term “rod” indicates that the element is able only to transfer axial loads (i. When one has to deal with this kind of joint it would be a good thing to join the involved parts trying to respect as much as possible the actual distribution of the connection points. in these cases it is possible to proceed by building the model as if it is “continuous” (i.4.e. The finite element model in this case is necessary because it makes possible to extract. Nevertheless these elements are very useful also today. mainly due to the modern and automated modeling and calculation systems. We will see in Chapter 5 how. Similarly to what we said about spot welding. specially in the mechanical environment. such as bricks and shells.

From a structural point of view. Lift truck stub axle model. inserting these elements in a model implies a “manipulation”. on the global stiffness matrix (see Appendix B) for all the degrees of freedom related to the grids involved in the MPC definition. bolt head and nut have been taken into account. 33 ing different element types in a unique model can cause some problems and it is therefore necessary to pay atten- tion in doing so. Just as an example. Symmetry (see Chapter 3) has been exploited.6 Non-structural elements With “non-structural” we mean all those elements that do not have their own stiffness and that the commercial codes put at disposal for various purposes: constraints and loads application. this is not a “clean” thing. The steering pin has been modeled with beam elements. 2. Nevertheless Chapter 2 . for example. it is also pos- sible to evaluate if a bending moment arises due to external loads. connection of different parts are just examples. modeling a bolt with beam elements allows to know very quickly the values of the internal forces in the bolt itself. Head and nut are consti- tuted by 3D elements in order to better represent the contact between the parts. for ex- ample. Finally it must be said that just the simplicity of one-dimensional elements is the key of their strength. the value of the pre- load has been correctly applied and how much the axial force has increased due to load application. In (b) the equivalent Von Mises stress contour is shown on the deformed structure (amplification factor = 30). Plates connected by one bolt (a). The bolt shank has been modeled with beam elements. the bolt shank has been modeled with a unique beam element: in this way it is possible to know immediately if. connected to the body of the stub (solid elements) by means of a “spider” made of MPC elements. because the nature of the structure is being altered. Regardless the “refinements” used in this model. If the bolt shank was modeled with beam ele- ments the same operations would be longer and they would not give better results. in general becoming stiffer. as we will see in Chapter 5. Figure 30. when a perimeter load tends to separate the plates. Figure 29. figure 29 shows the model of two plates connected together by bolt and nut. operated by the solution algorithm. These elements are also known as MPC (Multi Point Constraints). In this case the plates have been modeled using bricks and both bolt preload and contact between plates.

Frequently MPC are used to connect beam elements to other parts of the model. as we will frequently see in what follows. an element type has been superseded by a simi- lar one with a better formulation. MPC can be used. any calculation code has its own way to deal with MPC: it is therefore necessary to study the documentation that comes with the chosen software and the construction of a few test cases is mandatory. in the neighborhoods of the grids involved in the MPC definition. from modeling to results interpretation. This fact makes the element excessively stiff and finally less accurate with respect to the 4 grids quadrangular Chapter 2 . The best source of this knowledge is surely based on the experience gained in calculating similar structures. has to be modeled with one-dimensional elements one foresees only axial loads in the members (i. Not having a precise idea on how the structure could behave can easily bring to errors. as in some kinds of section these are not coincident (see Chapter 5). These el- ements are more difficult to be used because they have to be oriented in the space in order to correctly locate the resisting sections (particularly the moments of inertia). Clearly the choice must be guided by the effects that have to be investigated by the analysis and by the ratio price/performance the stress engineer decide to accept.7 General considerations Commercial calculation codes have inside them huge elements libraries. it could worth checking if the code in use has in its library a beam element that can handle different geometries for the two edges. as a first approximation. if also bending moments are foreseen. Moreover. should always be kept in mind. this because the 3 grids triangle is a constant strain (and therefore constant stress) element (see also Appendix B). both structural and non-structural. as shown for the structure illustrated in figure 30. below reported. In many situations different element types can model the same structural effects. if not. Therefore some general rules. then it is convenient to use rod elements. can give an impression at least of the stresses order of magnitude. instead of beam elements. one has to give in and has to generate elements that can model the tapering in a discrete manner. then the use of beam elements is mandatory. In many cases the choice of the best element for a certain situation is not as just obvious. 2. 34 the convenience in using MPC is so big that their use is tolerated.7.3 2D elements and shell elements Generally speaking elements with quadrangular shapes are preferred with respect to triangular ones (see Chapter 5). as we saw for the gear example. its cost (which is related to the number of degrees of freedom of its grids) and its accuracy.7. mainly if mistakes have been done in the overall analysis process. the behaviour of an element for which one has not good expertise (mainly when the user is new to a specific code). traction or compression). in other words the knowledge of the load path is crucial in the selection of the appropriate element. bolts or spot welding. On the other hand. In this frame it is fundamental to have a clear idea on the structure behaviour even before building and analyzing the model. by means of small models. for example. It is worth to emphasize that. frequently in this way one can discover that. some hand calculations. should be carefully evaluated. but the results produced by any code. to model rivets.e. 2. without any doubts. If the beam that has to be modeled is tapered. This approach allows a better and faster under- standing of the limitations and the capabilities of the tested element.7. It would be good practice to read the Release Notes each time that the software producer sends a new version of the code. whenever one has to face “numerical” elements.2 One-dimensional elements If in a structure that. the old one is still in the library only for backward compatibility. 2. Moreover many codes can take into account different locations for the geometric center of mass and the shear cen- ter. 2. The criterion that guides the choice on a specific element takes into account its “capability” (for example a certain type could not support anisotropic material properties).1 General It is always necessary to check. in order to correctly understand the behaviour of these ele- ments.

angles between adjacent edges should be as much as possible close to 90°. for example in mesh transitions. mainly for the membrane stress. in the sense that the most generally used forms are already available. Many commercial codes have in their libraries some MPC al- ready “prepared”. In this way it is possible to introduce in the model discrete masses and moments of inertia. except if one has to deal with a structure (for example a casting piece) where significant thickness variations are present among the parts: in these cases one can choose between using a “mixed” modeling (with all the consequent dangers. even if it would be possible to “jump” them. As for 2D elements case. If this type of element has to be used.6 Non-structural elements MPC are generally built by writing some mathematical relations among the degrees of freedom belonging to the grids involved in the definition of the MPC itself. in those cases. To be carefully used is the linear tetrahedron element (4 grids) because. for modal analysis.7. clearly this condition can only be present in very particular cases. not to “jump” any of these grids in order to prevent element stiffness increase. Excessively distorted (“skewed”) elements should in any case to be avoided. that allow to mutually connect two degrees of freedom using a stiffness value defined by the user. Generally for single curvature structures (i. 2. the strain and stress fields are constant inside them and it is therefore excessively stiff and insensitive to stress gradients. 2. Each time that an MPC has to be inserted in a model it would be good practice to check if the form to be used comes already “prepared”. It is therefore necessary to check that the grids involved are perfectly coincident.e. a part from ex- ceptional cases.7. thus limiting the possi- bility to make mistakes. in this case it is better to use this latter one instead of writing all the equations. Chapter 2 . Triangular elements should be used only for geometrical or topological reasons. 35 element.7.5 Zero-dimensional elements With zero-dimensional elements we mean those elements that. as we will see in Chapter 5) and using solid elements also for thin walls. In parabolic elements (i. These elements are lumped masses. Also out-of-plane distortion (known as “warping”) should be as low as possible (obviously this consideration is only valid for shell elements). again it would be good practice. Also the ratio between the shortest and the longest edges (known as “aspect ratio”) should be as close as possible to unit.e. for example in order to manage mesh transitions with linear element types: attention must be paid in these cases because by removing a grid the element becomes stiffer and the risk to modify the load path is higher. and in any case far from high stress gradient regions. Another zero-dimensional element is represented by springs. 2. which can be related to any degree of freedom of any grid in the model. cylinders) the parabolic shell element give higher quality results with respect to the linear one. those with a grid at edges center) the central grid should be as much as possible lo- cated at half length of the edge itself and in any case never over one third of the distance.e. whereas for double curvature structures (as for example a sphere) the linear element is best suitable. they present stiffness and mass values. if parabolic elements are used (10 grids tetrahedral elements are today probably the only valid choice in order to obtain automatically and rapidly meshes on complex geometries) the intermediate grid should be located as much as possible near the edge center. These two conditions tell us that the behaviour of the element is better when the element tends to be a perfect square. such as the element that bounds all the involved grids to follow a rigid body motion (and therefore known as “rigid element”). where the actual mass distribution is not so important.4 3D elements Even if usually hexahedral elements are thought in order to behave in a satisfactory way also when they are used as shell elements (for example when they are used to model thin walled structures) it would be better not to use them in this manner. i. it is necessary that all the edges have their central grid. even if they do not have physical dimensions. while in all the other situations some compromises have to be accepted. If the grids that own the degrees of freedom involved in this connection are not coincident some numerical problems can arise. as its triangular 2D “brother”.

Boundary conditions

3.1 Introduction

Once the finite element model has been built it is necessary to apply to it the appropriate constraints and load
conditions; boundary conditions indicate the calculation program the points where external forces are applied and
where these are reacted.
Constraints application is in general more critical than loads application: in fact a non correctly constrained
model can make it impossible to solve the equation system. It is necessary, as we will see in a moment, to apply a
constraint distribution in a way that the structure is not labile, i.e. all possible rigid body motions are prevented,
both for the complete model and for any part of it with respect to the others (internal mechanism elimination).
Moreover all the various element types we discussed in Chapter 2 have at their grids different degrees of free-
dom (d.o.f.): for example the 3D brick element has only the 3 translational d.o.f., while the shell element has 6
d.o.f., having also the 3 rotational ones. Therefore, strictly speaking, in a brick elements model it would be neces-
sary to constrain all the rotational d.o.f.; nevertheless many commercial codes automatically impose the suitable
constraints when they “read” that certain grids belong only to elements with no stiffness in some d.o.f. We will
come back to this aspect also in Chapter 5.

3.2 Constraint conditions

We said that a correct application of constraint conditions should first of all assure that the structure is not un-
derconstrained: this means that any kind of mechanism has to be avoided, otherwise the resulting stiffness matrix
will be non positive defined and therefore the problem is numerically irresolvable. A quite classic example is con-
stituted by solid element models. If for instance all the grids of an edge are constrained in the six degrees of free-
dom one can be convinced to have clamped his model; but this is not true because, as we said before, solid ele-
ments do not have rotational stiffness at their grids and therefore they are not able to react to concentrated mo-
ments. The actual result is a cylindrical hinge, with a consequent underconstrained condition. Generally this kind
of error is not very dangerous because calculation codes, if they do not stop due to the numerical error they found,
give some warning messages to alert that arbitrary stiffness have been added in order to make the matrix positive
defined and to proceed in the solution of the matrix equation. It will be under the user responsibility to understand
what has caused the problem.
This fact should help to understand that finite element models have to be always constrained; it does not matter
if we apply a balanced system of forces, because the calculation program does not have the possibility to“know”
this condition, until the equations system has been solved. It is exactly the application of a self balanced distribu-
tion of forces and moments that could be a way to verify quality results, checking that on the constrained grids the
reactions are zero.
Another error can be caused by a not valid extension of the De Saint Venant theory on one-dimensional bodies;
let’s take the beam shown in figure 1 end let’s load it with a traction force F = 1000 N.
Solid Mechanics tell us that the stress in the vertical direction, dealing with a monoaxial stress status, should be
zero in all the points of the beam. Nevertheless, if we look at figure 2, we can notice that, in the neighbourhood of
the constraints, this value is far from being zero, while if we move to the other end we can observe that effectively
the vertical stress tend to become zero. So, what happened? In this case the constraints that have been applied to
the grids of the edge prevent the transversal contraction and therefore tend to stress the beam in the way shown in
figure 2. In fact, if we take the same model and, with a suitable constraint condition, we allow all the grids of the
edge to be free to move in the vertical direction (at least one of them has to be constrained also in this direction in
order to avoid an underconstrained condition!) we obtain the vertical stress contour of figure 3. Now, as it can be


seen, a part from some numerical “dirt”, the vertical stresses are zero. It must be highlighted that, from a practical
point of view, the correct case is the first one, because in technics it is very difficult to obtain the second con-
straints distribution, while a welded joint, for example, is well represented by the first condition.
Clearly with a beam element model this effect can not be seen.
All we said should highlight that, a part the risk of introducing underconstrained conditions in the model, paying
attention in constraints application means also to think about the effects that they can have on the structure, on its
deformations and on its stresses, even if generally in discontinuity points (i.e. constrained and loaded regions) the
results given by the finite element model should be carefully evaluated and interpreted.
It is clear that not only it is mandatory to apply constraint conditions that are formally correct, but it is also nec-
essary to be sure that what we are modelling is “physical”; if for example a member is constrained by means of
bolts, the constraint modelling should let free the rotational d.o.f. parallel to the bolt axis.

Figure 1. This beam is made of steel. At one end it is clamped, while at the other tip it is free.

Figure 2. Vertical stress contour: maximum value is equal to 29.3 MPa, which means a 30% of the longitudinal stress (100
MPa). For this model 2D plane stress elements have been used.

Moreover sometimes, for big parts and big pitches between one bolt and the other, it is necessary to free also the
other two rotational components, because under this hypothesis the moment reacted by bolt heads are negligible
with respect to shear and axial forces acting on the bolts themselves.

Chapter 3


Figure 3. Vertical stress contour when the constraint distribution has been modified. Now the vertical stress value along all
the domain is practically null Its order of magnitude is 10-12.

It must be said that generally calculation codes can give, on demand, the reaction forces values in the con-
strained d.o.f.; this information is very precious, both for joints calculation (as we mentioned in Chapter 2) and to
check the correctness of load application: in fact commercial codes generally give also the resultant vector of the
reaction forces which, together with the resultant vector of the applied loads, makes this check possible. If the two
resultants are different (a part, clearly, from small numerical differences) it means that some forces or moments
have been “lost” during the solution, due to numerical errors; we will come back to this aspect in Chapter 7, when
we will discuss about models validation methods.
The last aspect we just mention is about unilateral constraints: a typical example is constituted by simple sup-
ports. Unfortunately a “simple” way to create unilateral constraints does not exist; in fact general constraints act on
the d.o.f. in such a way to make it “non active”, while a unilateral constraint should maintain a certain d.o.f. “ac-
tive” in one direction and “non active” in the opposite direction. This approach requires iterative techniques, which
are based on non linear calculations.

3.3 Load conditions

Load conditions are the dual case of constraint conditions; in fact where displacements are known (i.e. con-
strained grids) the reaction forces are unknown (i.e. reaction forces), while where forces are known (i.e. loaded
grids) the displacements are unknown.
It is practically impossible to generate numerical errors when applying load conditions, in opposition to what
can happen with constraint conditions. The only mistakes that can be done are the conceptual ones; for example, as
for constraints, applying a concentrated moment to grids belonging to solid elements is wrong (and must not be
taken for granted that the code in use will produce a warning message), as we already discussed above.
Another example that apparently gives some unexpected results is the application of a force divided by the
number of grids on the edge where the load has to be applied. Let’s take once again the beam shown in figure 1
and let’s load it by an axial force F = 1000 N. Let’s discretize the vertical edge in four elements (and therefore five
grids); the first thing that one may think is to apply to each grid a force f = 200 N. Figure 4 shows the deformed
shape of the beam in the region where the load has been applied following this approach; it can be noted that the
grids at the vertices deform more than the others belonging to the same vertical edge. This is due to the fact that in
the vertices there is only one element to react the applied force f, while in the other location two elements are pre-
sent. In order to avoid this problem, to the vertex grids half the force (with respect to the other “internal” grids)
should be applied, taking into account that the total force F is still equal to 1000 N. In this case we will have:

3 central grids = 250 N each
2 vertex grids = 125 N each

The total is 250 x 3 + 125 x 2 = 1000 N.

Chapter 3

For this case the most common mistake is made when using shell elements. Longitudinal displacement contour. It is therefore necessary to use the best possibilities that the finite element method offers. this is done by selecting element faces. Moreover also the stress distribution is altered in these zones. One can say that this error is more “esthetical” than substantial. when the normals of the elements involved in the pressure load are not oriented homo- geneously. Chapter 3 . As above discusses that load conditions are the dual case of constraint conditions. 39 Figure 4. Now the deformed shape appears congruent to what can be foreseen. cannot establish in which direction the material is present (while it can perform this operation easily when it deals with solid elements). Figure 5 shows the deformed shape of the beam when the new nodal load distribution has been applied. this can be true in part. however for loads an exten- sion exists. having to manage an element that does not have a “physical” thickness. instead of grids when applying forces and moments. Longitudinal displacement contour. but frequently it is necessary to know with good accuracy the value of the displacement in a given point of a certain structure. Figure 5. in order to decide which will be the positive value for the pressure load the software “looks” at the normal orientation. taking care also of these details. In fact very often it is necessary to apply pressure loads. The deformed shape looks “strange” for a pure axial load. also in a region where the loads are applied. In fact the calculation code. It is the calculation code that automatically converts this information and recalculates the suitable forces to be applied to the grids.

this is still true.1 Geometric symmetry and load symmetry Let us consider the steel beam shown in figure 6. for any reason. A couple of warnings have to be highlighted: in order to “see” the thermal effects on the structure it is necessary that in the material description the thermal expansion coefficient is not null. In order both to check the correctness of the results obtained with the “half” model and to show the advantages (in terms of CPU times and dimensions of temporary files) that come from taking advantage of the symmetry we will construct also the complete model and we will calculate it. gives a temperature contour to be applied to a structural model. Nevertheless. as we will see in what follows. If the temperature distribution is the result of a thermal analysis performed by the same code used for structural analysis. perhaps just because this is the most common method. Generally commercial codes re- quire that the temperature value is assigned to the grids.4 Thermal loads A situation may occur when temperature distribution has to be applied in order to evaluate the stress that arises in the structure due to the thermal loads. due both to the nature of the beam (which is not slender) and to the lightening holes (which will give a stress status very difficult to be evaluated): these facts make the beam not suit- able to be calculated by the De Saint Venant theory. or finally considering only the geometric symmetry while the deformed shapes. from the other they bound them to accurately check the input data and the output results). The presence of symmetry planes is certainly the first thing to look for in order to simplify the structure to be analysed.5. Moreover. knows that any suitable trick that can reduce the number of the unknowns is welcome. then the temperature values to be assigned to the grids can be directly read in and immediately applied. are not symmetric. Chapter 3 . Nevertheless it is certainly possible that the described analysis. applying thermal loads can be very useful in some particular cases. per- formed by a thermal specialist. as we will see in what follows. graphical pre-processors can usually manage easily this kind of input. even if today more and more frequently numerical methods are adopted (which. which is the one with respect to no thermal expansions are present. No conceptual problems exist for this kind of load. it is often abused. for the same reasons the model has to be built by solid ele- ments.5 Symmetry and antisymmetry Anyone who has faced structural manual calculations. The beam is clamped at both ends and it is loaded by two forc- es F = 6000 N acting along the z axis and applied to the two supports welded on the top flange. 3. in order to prevent all those approximations that would be intro- duced when following the classical methods. A finite element analysis has to be performed on this structure. it is very simple to introduce it into a model. Clearly if the temperature distribution is complex it could be boring to click one by one all the grids involved. giving the suitable cards for the input file. for example imposing symmetries that do not exist or that exist in the geometry but not in the loads to be applied. in opposition to forces. which are far away from the aim of this book. 40 3. sometimes it is more convenient to write a program that can perform automatically this task. Obviously the model must be the same. if from one side they free stress engineers from the pure calculation tedious job. even because temperature is a scalar quantity. moments and pressure. building mathematical models that are as much as possible compact makes the management of all the structural analysis process easier. 3. In this case certainly both a geometric symmetry and a load symmetry exist and it is therefore allowed to study only one half of the structure. We are not talking about heat fluxes and their consequent thermal state. moreover calculation codes require a reference temperature.

we report the information related to the complete model.511 min.222 min.877 min.569 MB Time for post-processing: 0. This means that. Steel beam. It is therefore clear that. Figure 9 shows the contour of the Von Mises equivalent stress given by the complete model. even if the Chapter 3 . similar respectively to figure 7 and 8. in figure 10 and 11. even if in the second case the equations number is a bit more than a half with respect to the complete model. it will be necessary to constraint all the translations in y direction and all the rotations around x and z axes of all the grids that lay on the symmetry plane. 2. Temporary files for post-processing: 0. Here below we report some data given by the calculation code:  Complete model Number of equations: 14994 Time for solution: 6. Figures 7 and 8 show respectively the contour of the displacement component in the z direction (amplification factor = 500) and the contour of the Von Mises equivalent stress. no rotational components parallel to the symmetry plane are allowable. once this has been sectioned with a plane coincident with the symmetry plane.933 MB Time for post-processing: 0. that in this case it is a plane parallel to the global xz plane. in our case. Once the model has been built it is necessary to establish which are the constraints to be applied to the grids that belong to the symmetry plane. where model dimensions do not affect calculation times related to in-core or out-of-core procedure: times and disk spaces are more than a half. has the possibility to solve the system entirely in memory (in-core solution).944 MB Note that the time necessary to the solution in the second case is much lower (about 4 times) than the time need- ed by the first case. 41 Figure 6. A deeper comparison shows the perfect agreement of the results obtained by the two models.887 MB  Half model Number of equations: 7536 Time for solution: 1. Temporary files for post-processing: 1.375 min. using a very small quantity of disk space. this is due to the fact that the code. A further comparison can be done on post-processing. no displacement components normal to the symmetry plane are allowable. having to solve a smaller number of degrees of freedom. Temporary files for solution: 0. Even from a first comparison it is possible to observe a perfect agreement between the two cases. in order to avoid that the comparison might be influenced by different “visual dimensions” of the two models. Nevertheless. Temporary files for solution: 40. The following rules are applicable: 1.

2 Geometric symmetries and load antisymmetries It can frequently happen that. which can be solved modelling only half of the beam. Equivalent Von Mises stress for the symmetric half model. 42 “symmetric model” cannot allow for an in-core solution. instead of being loaded by two forces pointing upwards. Chapter 3 .5. 3. Nevertheless. reducing the degrees of freedom by symmetry exploita- tion is always convenient. If for example the beam of figure 6. would be loaded by two forces with the same absolute values but opposite sign (still with their direction parallel to z axis). Figure 9. Displacement in z direction for the symmetric half model. we would be in presence of an antisymmetric problem. in the particular case of antisymmetric loads. Figure 8. Equivalent Von Mises stress for the complete model. it is not possible to model only half of the structure because no symmetry in load conditions exists. Figure 7. even if we face a geometric symmetry. Finally we just mention the results files dimensions (for example displacements and stresses). which are obvi- ously smaller for the half model. it is still possible to exploit the advantages coming from the study of half of the structure.

In our case this means to constraint all the translations in x and z directions and the rotations around y axis for the grids laying on the antisymmetry plane. Displacement in z direction for the antisymmetric half model (for load condition 1). Figure 12. Chapter 3 . 43 Figure 10. no displacement components parallel to the antisymmetry plane are allowable. To impose the antisymmetric constraints to the grids laying on the antisymmetry plane the two following rules have to applied: 1. in other words here we constraint the degrees of freedom that in the first case were free and vice versa. 2. Figure 11. We just observe that this is dual case of the symmetry one. The model has been “cut” along the symmetry plane in order to allow an easier visual comparison. Displacement in z direction for the complete model. Also in this case the visualization has been requested on the “cut” model. Equivalent Von Mises stress for the complete model. no rotational components normal to the antisymmetry plane are allowable.

we will compare first a half (figures 17 and 18) of the complete model with figures 12 and 13 and then the other half. it is now necessary to apply two load conditions. for example multiplying them by a constant (in this case equal to –1) In figure 12 and 13 we report the z direction displacement (amplifying factor = 1000) and the equivalent Von Mises stress in the case of the force pointing upwards. Chapter 3 . it will be therefore necessary to apply one load condition with the force pointing upwards and another one with the force pointing downwards. With respect to the previous case. we will use the complete model. Moreover. opportunely rotated to simplify the comparison (figures 19 and 20). in order to correctly evaluate the results obtained by a half model. Also in this case. Figure 16 illustrates the equivalent Von Mises stress contour for the complete structure. which allow to manipulate the results. however.Equivalent Von Mises stress for the antisymmetric half model (for load condition 1). Equivalent Von Mises stress for the antisymmetric half model (for load condition 2). while figure 14 and 15 show the information relative to the load condition with the force pointing downwards. similarly to what we have done previously. 44 Figure 13. with figures 14 and 15. Displacements in z direction for the antisymmetric half model (for load condition 2) Figure 15. Alternatively it would be possible to exploit the possibilities offered by modern post-processors. Figure 14. because strains and stresses situations are different for the two halves of the beam.

Figure 18.  Complete model Number of equations: 14994 Time for solution: 6. Temporary files for solution: 40. Figure 17.222 min. a part from some small differences on the upper and lower limits of the displacements range. About the complete model we will have the same situation we had for the symmetric case: in fact what has changed is only the load vector. Equivalent Von Mises stress for the complete model. which from a numerical point of view does not have any influence on the system solution. Also for this case we report some data relative to the solution. “cut” along the antisymmetry plane. the results are identical. We observe that.933 MB Chapter 3 . 45 Figure 16. Equivalent Von Mises stress for the complete model “cut” along the antisymmetry plane. Displacement in z direction for the complete model.

to simplify the comparison with figure 15. With respect to figure 18. Temporary files for solution: 0. the suitable point of view has been selected by rotating the model.887 MB Figure 19. to simplify the comparison with figure 14. Equivalent Von Mises stress for the complete model. in the antisymmetric case the equations are fewer because the conditions constraint two translational degrees of freedom.877 min. moreover we notice that the disk space used by temporary files for this phase is the same used for the complete model: this fact can be explained if we Chapter 3 . while the symmetry conditions constraint only one translational degree of freedom. for the same reason the time needed for post-processing has increased. With respect to figure 17. 3. after having “cut” the model. Figure 20. being these latter ones al- ways constrained. Some considerations are necessary: 1. the time necessary to the solution is slightly longer than the time needed to solve the symmetric model: this is due to the fact that it has been necessary to solve two load conditions in- stead of just one. Temporary files for post-processing: 1. however the substitution of the load vector (essentially constituted by a matrix multiplication for each load condition) needs a time negligible with respect to the time needed to invert the stiffness matrix and this is more true as the model increases its dimensions. a consequence of this is that it is always convenient to exploit the symmetry. Displacements in z direction for the complete model. the equations number for the antisymmetric half model is slightly lower with respect to the symmetric one: this is due to the fact that the grids belonging to brick elements do not have rotational stiffness and therefore the corresponding degrees of freedom are automatically constrained by the code.875 MB Time for post-processing: 0. even if the equations number is lower. 2. 46 Time for post-processing: 0. after having “cut” the model. Temporary files for post-processing: 1.887 MB  Half model Number of equations: 7458 Time for solution: 1.944 min. thus.489 min. the suitable point of view has been selected by rotating the model. mainly for big structures.

Figure 21. let us suppose not to have performed this analysis. We want to calculate the first ten modes by modelling only half of the beam and by applying the corresponding symmetry constraints. but it has only one load condi- tion. Therefore the exploitation of symmetries is even more interesting when compared to strains and stresses calculation.3 Modal Analysis Given the number of degrees of freedom for a certain structure generally the determination of resonance fre- quencies is more time consuming with respect to static analysis.29 Hz). while the 5th is equal to the 8th of the complete model.30 Hz). because proceeding without caution it is possible to “lose” some frequencies. A similar discussion can be applied for the 6th (401. Figure 22. 5th modal shape of the beam (401. Now. 6th modal shape of the beam (401. 47 take in mind that the complete model has a number of elements which is double.21 Hz) frequencies (see figures 22 and 23). Table 1 reports the resonance frequencies for the first ten modal shapes for the complete beam. Chapter 3 . the first ten resonance frequencies. If one does not proceed carefully it is possible to accept these results as good. Table 3 shows the first five modes for the antisymmetric half model. 3. while in reality three modal shapes have not been found. It can be observed that with half a model only the first four frequencies are right. this means that the symmetry constraints “hide” some of the system frequencies. this hypothesis is confirmed by a visual check on figure 21. Nevertheless it is necessary to pay more attention.30 Hz) and the 7th (528. which will be used to illustrate more clearly where er- ror sources can exist when using symmetric models. therefore half a model with antisymmetric constraints should be able to find it.5. In this case we will start by studying the complete model. In this frame we can say that the 5th mode of the complete beam (401. as we will see in what follows. Moreo- ver a more accurate analysis tells us that this mode is antisymmetric. We want to determine. Table 2 shows the results of this analysis. again for the beam of figure 6. which shows the deformed shape of the mode under discussion.29 Hz) is not symmetric.

1103E+02 9 7.3607E+02 7 5. Modes Frequencies (Hz) 1 2.0352E+02 2 2.5274E+02 4 3.9304E+02 10 8.0130E+02 7 5.0352E+02 2 2.2821E+02 8 5.2821E+02 4 6. 48 Figure 23.5530E+02 Table 3 Chapter 3 .5274E+02 4 3.21 Hz).2462E+02 Table 2 Modes Frequencies (Hz) 1 4.2038E+02 3 2.3441E+02 6 5.0221E+02 5 5.0129E+02 6 4.8780E+02 Table 1 Modes Frequencies (Hz) 1 2.8780E+02 8 7.3441E+02 9 5.0130E+02 3 5.0453E+02 5 6.0221E+02 5 4.3607E+02 10 5.0129E+02 2 4.2038E+02 3 2. 7th modal shape of the beam (528.

if one prefers not to use the methods here de- scribed. where the beam element that models the bolt lays on the symmetry plane). generally current calculation codes can perform this task automatically.949 = 23. extracting the maximum advantage coming from this geometric condition. the total of calculation time to ob- tain the solution of the two half models is shorter than the time needed to solve the complete model. We emphasize that.459 + 10.  the more and more frequent use of automatic mesh generators induce the user to just push a button to ob- tain the mesh. the 2nd with the 6th. while with the complete model we calculated only 10. such as insta- bility calculation. also this one could be ex- ploited. thus arriving to build four models. Chapter 3 . thickness for shells) have to be assigned (see figure 29. 49 It can be noted that the 1st frequency is coincident with the 5th of the entire beam. without considering the fact that the algorithm does not “realise” that symmetries may exist.  attention must be paid also to elements and loads that lay at the intersection of two symmetry planes.573 + 18. 3.144 min. we have calculated 15 resonance frequencies of the beam. it is then necessary to su- perimpose the two results (possibly using the post-processor capabilities).5. in these situations. giving the final solution to the original problem. finally we remind that the analysis on the two half models determined the evaluation of 15 modes instead of the 10 found with the complete model.571 = 37.  if the structure is symmetric but the forces that load it are neither symmetric nor antisymmetric then it is always possible to divide them in a symmetric part and in an antisymmetric one.909 min. it would be a good practice to mesh only a part of the model and then to “mirror” the elements us- ing the symmetry plane.4 Remarks As the beam presents also a symmetry with respect to a plane parallel to the yz plane. Chapter 2. in this latter case. this can lead to the generation of a non symmetric mesh. even if very simplified.408 MB We notice that. Temporary files: 12. Here below we report a brief comparison on calculation times and disk space usage:  Complete model Solution time: 45.  a similar discussion can be done for forces and moments acting in the symmetry planes: they have to be divided by two.  frequently symmetries are not so obvious and it is useful to spend some time to look for them: in some cases the solution of a problem can be given by linear superposition of the results coming from the sym- metric and antisymmetric models.946 MB  Symmetric half model + antisymmetric half model Solution time: 18. need the same level of attention in constraining the models when symmetries are exploited. it would worth to build a complete model. when calcu- lating modal shapes. and to study the results in order to understand if the problem is symmetric or not. it must be kept in mind that it is necessary to consider all the possible combinations of sym- metries and antisymmetries. It is necessary to highlight that also other types of analysis based on the eigenvectors extraction. while no significant differences exist on disk space usage. the 3rd with the 7th.  attention must be paid in those models where beam or shell elements lay in the symmetry plane: to those elements half of the actual properties (both geometric and inertial for beams. Temporary files: 23. which in most of the cases gives non symmetric results (while actually they should be). by proceeding in this way. and nevertheless this possibility would give big advantages. In any case the following considerations are always valid:  when there is no certainty of being in presence of a symmetry.

which illustrate the longitudinal stress contour for the clas- sic beam (modeled with plane stress elements) clamped to one end and loaded by a shear force to the other end. comparing what is plotted by the post-processor and what is written in the ASCII file directly by the solver. let us analyze them. the maximum stress value. to build the model in a Cartesian orthogonal coordinates system and to ask the displacement compo- nents expressed in a cylindrical system previously defined. This. CHAPTER 4 Interpreting the results 4.1 Introduction Since a few years the analysis of the results coming from a finite element calculation has been based on special purpose graphical software. because it is exactly from the nodal displacements that strains and stress are evaluated). because the post- processor has to read the results from an “unknown” file format (it would be better to say that the results file for- mat is known only because the developer of the solver has released it) and also because it can operate on the re- sults themselves (for example by transferring the data from one coordinates system to another). If the numbers are the same it is possible to say that the graphical program just reads in the results without performing any operation on them. the post-processor developer is not the same as the solution algorithm developer. Today this should not be necessary anymore because the graphical software. which are the only actual result of finite element calculation. one can use a pre-processor software to construct the model and a different soft- ware to post-process the results). can perform these operations on the data they read in. for example.e. We emphasize once again that it is important not only to study both the documentation that comes with the cal- culation code and the post-processing software. knowing the stress status in a certain zone was a time consuming process. It possible. Nevertheless. it is not surprising if the stress value calculated for an arbitrary node is different for all the elements that share that particular node (we highlight that this is obviously not true for displacements. Some calculation codes express the displacements. as the stress status inside each element is obtained by means of the shape functions (see also Appendix B) in an approximate way. Most of these graphical software can also give the precise value of a certain quantity by simply click- ing with the mouse on a grid or in an element. etc. but also to perform some tests in reading the results. that generally are the ones used also to build the model. it was necessary to locate the region in the model where this stress was. is done in order to make simpler the reading of the printouts we mentioned above. It is clear that as much the model is “good” as less the differences in the values will be. as we will see in Chapter 7. as we said. known as post-processors. even if this is not mandatory (i. in a coordinates system that can also be different from the one where the nodal coordinates are defined. from this matter potential problems can occur. in most cases. thus simplifying the interpretation of the results. 4. .2 Averaged and non averaged contours An important aspect concerns the results plotting that can be done averaging them to the nodes or not. In any case the quantities that it is possible to plot are innumerable: displacements and stresses. Comparing figures 1 and 2. In this way. for example. strains and reac- tion forces. traditionally. Today the graphic support is a formidable aid: by means of colored contours it is possible to have immediately a visual sensation on how the stresses are “running” through the structure. Generally in a finite element model any node belongs to more than one element. once this was found. Post processing software are generally able to plot the results in both averaged and non averaged formats. This graphical approach considerably simplifies the classical job which was basi- cally a deep search in a printout (on the paper) in order to find. it is possible to look at the differences present between averaged results (figure 1) and non averaged ones (figure 2).

In the averaged case the value obtained by clicking will be unique. Longitudinal stress contour (averaged at the nodes). It is not possible to tell which of the two ways is the best because both of them present some advantages and some disadvantages. For example the non averaged plot allows to evaluate immediately the mesh quality: in fact the more evident the stress contour discontinuities are the worse the quality mesh is. at the extrados and at the intrados respectively. The second aspect concerns the flow of the isostress lines at the boundary of two colours: in the averaged case these lines have a continuous flow and no steps can be noticed among the elements. while in the other case the number of the results obtained will be equal to the number of the ele- ments that share the clicked node. Figure 2. thus indicating that some re- finement should be taken into account (as we will see in Chapter 7). Figure 1. while in the non averaged case the isostress lines appear discontinuous and present some steps among adjacent elements. A test that will always be worth to do consists in calculating the averaged value by hand. Longitudinal stress contour (not averaged at the nodes). 51 The first relevant thing is that on the coloured band the maximum and minimum values are coincident in the two cases: this tells us that the maximum and the minimum stresses are certainly located in nodes that belong to one element only. Nevertheless on the other hand an averaged plot for our simple example will allow us. Moreover if the post processor in use allows the user to click on the nodes to query for the results it is useful to do it in order to retrieve the values calculated by the program. and then verifying their correspondence with the averaged value cal- culated by the post processor. by clicking on the neutral axis nodes. And to these two points two nodes that belong to a single element correspond. to establish that in these locations Chapter 4 . from the way the beam is loaded and constrained we know that this is true: maximum and minimum values are located in the clamped section. starting from the non averaged data.

Nevertheless for the second case an irregularity can be well ob- served. starting from the stress tensor. still considering the beam clamped and loaded by a shear force. a cancellation of an element and its subsequent recreation) the element located in the discontinuity re- gion has a different orientation with respect to all the others. i. Figure 3 shows the non averaged contour in the x direction of the global reference system. a non averaged plot gives four values that are almost identical in their magnitude. two positive and two negative. is the plotted value the average of the Von Mises stresses or is the Von Mises stress calculated from the averaged tensorial values? We will leave the readers’ willingness the answer to this question. But how is the concept of the average applied? In other words. Nevertheless the same thing can be said also for stress or internal forces. 52 the longitudinal stress is equal to zero. for example generally the stresses for shell elements are calculated in the element reference system. because at the boundary nodes the thicker part will tend to lower the stress value of the thinner part. as in this example the two directions are coin- cident. the post processor has read in the value from the solver and then recalculated it. As we said in § 4. the type of elements with the model has been built. In this simple case it is very easy to understand what happened: for some reason (maybe due to some manual modifications to the mesh. In the first case. The last aspect concerns the behaviour of the post processor with respect to the derived quantities: for example the equivalent Von Mises stress is generally calculated by the finite element program. thus producing a correct plotting regardless the element orientation. while figure 4 reports the stress in the y direction of the element reference system (local). in the second case the post processor has simply reported what it has read from the solver. Clearly each time in a model a thickness variation is present in shell elements (but this is true also for plane stress elements) it is necessary to avoid averaged results. thus somehow hiding the null stress. when the same quantity is plot- ted in two different reference systems. the post pro- cessor. Chapter 4 . Let us have a look to what can happen. Non averaged longitudinal stress evaluated in the global reference system. while for brick elements these are evaluated in the global reference system. Therefore when using a post processing software attention to these details must be paid. Figure 3. The data here reported are the same as those presented in figure 2. but it can also be evaluated by post processing software. before the analysis is started. in which coordinates system the nodal displacements have to be calculated. thus hiding some possible structural integrity problems. as the quantity has been plotted in the global reference system. more evident than what can be expected from a non averaged contour.3 The reference coordinates system The choice of the reference system with respect to which the results have to be plotted is crucial and it depends on various factors: the finite element code in use. without performing any other operation. a strong discontinuity.e. as we expect from Solid Mechanics theory. the two plottings should be equivalent.1 generally finite element codes give the user the possibility to choose. 4.

an averaged plot would have “masked” this problem. The discontinuity is less evident. Once again. It is clear that the results of figure 4 are not valid and it would be even possible that one does not realise this er- ror in a more complex case. due to the “forced” continuity. Chapter 4 . It can also happen that the calculation code and the post processor have a different definition of the element ref- erence system. that the x axis for the solver has a big angle with respect to the same axis defined in the post processor. even for the same type of element. if an averaged contour is requested. This fact is very dangerous and it can induce errors. as it can be seen look- ing at figure 5. It may happen. Averaged stress plotted in the local reference system. mainly as for highly distorted elements. Non averaged longitudinal stress evaluated in the global reference system. figure 6 clearly shows this aspect (in Chapter 5 we will deal again with the im- portance of element shape). where the anomalous element could be deeply inserted in other correct elements. 53 Figure 4. This phenomenon is hidden. Figure 5.

4.3 we highlighted two aspects. As we said in Chapter 2. Figures 9 and 10 contain the longitudinal stresses for the bottom and top faces respectively. these differences are more evident when the elements are highly distorted. built with shell ele- ments. related to graphical post processing. Taking into account this fact we can say that the bottom faces are the ones that lie on top of the 3D model while the bottom faces are those that lie underneath. 54 Figure 6. As an example.4 Shell elements 4. as shown in figure 7. Bottom and Middle In § 4. 4. but this property is just numerical. it is possible to plot the stresses at the extrados and intrados of a plate simply supported at its ends and loaded by a uniform pressure of 1 MPa. once that the post processor has plotted the quantity for one face. once that the top and bottom faces have been located. This has been done to explain the reason why in this case the element normals are directed downwards: in fact generally pre processor software orient the normals in the direc- tion where they “find” material. nevertheless they do not have a “physical” thickness. Solid Mechanics gives ± 833 MPa for the stress in the plate axis direction. For this reason it is necessary to define which are the bottom and the top of the element: this is generally done by the code using the element reference system.1 Top.2 and 4. figure 8 illustrates the finite element model. arbitrarily oriented in the space. obviously compression in the upper part (bottom) and traction in the lower part (top). that can be loaded also in bending. Figure 7. shell elements are basically 2D elements. It is worth to high- light that. together with the CAD geometry of the plate. this because the mesh has been built on the top face of the 3D solid CAD model. Different conditions used by the post processor and the finite element solver to define a local coordinate system can induce errors in plotting the results. using a model built with planar elements due to its simplicity. The plate is simply supported at the short edges and is loaded with 1 MPa uniform pressure. it is not possible to visualise the other Chapter 4 .

An averaged contour. as seen in § 4. The ele- ment normal (z axis) is oriented downwards. the stress is compressive and its value is -842 MPa. as the plate is loaded by forces which do not have any component parallel to the plate plane. FE model superimposed over the CAD model. Unlike to what happens with different orientations. there is also the risk to build an element up side down. the membrane behaviour does not Chapter 4 . thus making its localisation difficult. the membrane stress status can be visualised by plotting the stresses in elements mid plane (called middle surface). in the case of shell elements. as already seen. Stress contour (non averaged) in longitudinal direction.3. in this case it is not possible “to correct” the graphical representation by simply changing a different reference system. besides possible errors due to elements orientation. Moreover it is clear that. The upper surface has been used for the mesh construction. Figure 9. as it would be possible to do if the plate were modelled with brick elements. The discontinuity is evident: along the line of the nodes with a tensile stress equal to 827 MPa there is an up side down element which gives the correct value in magnitude but with an opposite sign. Beside the bending behaviour for shell elements also the membrane behaviour exists. because top and bottom are associated with the element and with its definition. In this case. as we saw in § 4.3. giving an irregularity between top and bottom and thus obtaining the results reported in figure 11 for top faces. As this is the upper face. 55 face by simply rotating the model thus changing the point of view. Figura 8. would have masked this effect.

we will study the results in the section in the middle of the beam length. if we were in presence of “big” defor- mations.4. It is possible to notice the discontinuity due to the presence of an up side down element. It is worth to emphasise that. even if the membrane ones will be the most relevant. the calculations should be non linear and in this case some membrane components would arise. The beam is clamped at one end and loaded at the other end by a vertical shear force F = 10000 N. Figure 10. 4.2 Intersections among elements lying on different planes Let us study another simple example considering the double T beam reported in figure 12 using its finite shell element model. the web will only see membrane stresses. 56 exist and the plate works in pure bending. As the force lies in the web plane. calculating their values in the locations illustrated in fig- ure 13. while the two flanges will see both the membrane and bending stresses. In order to avoid dealing with local rising effects due to the discontinuity caused by the constraints. This is the lower face and therefore the stress is positive (traction). Chapter 4 . in the same figure also the dimensions of the beam section are reported. Non averaged stresses in longitudinal direction. Figure 11. We will begin using the Solid Mechanics relations and then we will use the finite element model. Non averaged stresses in longitudinal direction. Let us start with the stresses due to the bending effect. Its value is 842 MPa.

The beam has a length L = 500 mm. 57 M fmez h A σA    161. Chapter 4 . Points where the stresses are calculated.1 MPa I 2 being: L M fmezz  F   2500000Nmm 2 I  772366 mm4 h A  100 mm h B  94 mm Figure 12. Figure 13.8 MPa I 2 M h σ B  σ C  fmez  B  152. Shell elements lie in the middle planes of web and flanges.

In both cases the error is very small. We notice that while in the theoretical case B and C have the same value because the distance from the neutral axis is the same in both conditions. Chapter 4 . then. as the bending components are not present. which is small but neverthe- less not negligible. as shown in figure 16. This effect is more evident as the thickness of the elements bigger becomes. the stress for top. In this simple case it is easy to understand that the correct value to be used is the one given by the flange elements. bottom and middle is the same.3 MPa. in the case of the upper flange. Therefore. by clicking with the mouse on a non averaged plot) it can be noticed that in the ele- ments of the flange close to the intersection with the web the same stress as B is recorded.5  97 mm . Figure 14. But why is the value higher? Looking at the numerical results (i. the web has not an height equal to 100  2  3  94 mm but equal to 100  2 1. This happens because in point C of the model the stress. as the averaged value is higher. in the finite element model there is a difference. even if in a model built with shells the thickness should not be to big due to their nature. Longitudinal stress in the middle section of the beam: top faces. Therefore the model “catches” in the web a stress calculated as: M fmez 97 σ CFEM    156. while figure 15 reports the same information but for the bottom faces.9 MPa I 2 with an error still around 1% with respect to the theoretical value. 58 In figure 14 the longitudinal stress contour is reported for the top faces that. averaged. the responsible for this must be the element belonging to the web. is the value to be compared with A. around 1÷2%. takes into account also the contribute of the element belonging to the web which intersects the flange. while sometimes in more complex models it could be more difficult. it is possible to see that in this element the stress is 155. looking at figure 16. The last consideration concerns the distinction between top and bottom for web elements. in this example. but aligned with what has been found for the other points far from the intersection with the web. We remind that shell el- ement models are generally built meshing the middle surfaces of the structures. we said that the web works exclusively in a membrane status and therefore.e. in fact. to be compared with B and C.

Longitudinal stress in the middle section of the beam: bottom faces. we will analyse the section in the middle of the beam length. In order. As an example. and b = 3 mm the thickness of the web. for the web and flange elements. substituting the actual value for S* and b. for this reason we could analyse an arbitrary section. An enlarged portion of the model is reported in order to illustrate the stress values. Moreover we know that the  in the flanges are not equal to zero and that they can be evaluated using the same relation above. 59 Figure 15. Figure 16. in the interface node. in the flanges and at 15 mm from the edge. the value for the shear stress is ±9.4 MPa Ib being S*  9132. as already discussed.4 MPa (the sign depends on which side of the web we are calculating the stress). Non averaged longitudinal stress in the middle section of the beam: bottom faces. to avoid any possible problem re- lated to the constraints effects. Chapter 4 . Solid Mechanics tell us that the maximum shear stress is located in the centre of gravity line and its value is giv- en by: F S* τ max    39. for the definition of which we send back to Solid Mechanics books. Let us now consider the stresses related to the shear effects. The shear force is constant along the beam axis.4 mm3 the static moment.

3 MPa. Our task is to construct a junction among the parts using rivets or other systems that can transmit the loads mainly by shear actions. thus leaving 10 mm from the edges of the plates. 60 In figure 17 the shear stress contour is reported for the middle section of the beam.3 Discontinues junctions In Chapter 2 we mentioned a few systems to join different parts of the same structure modeled with shell ele- ments. In the centre of gravity axis the value calculated by the model is -39. while in the flanges is ±9.2 MPa. as it can be noticed in figure 17. Both in the web and the flanges the agreement between theory and finite element model is very good 4.4. Chapter 4 . Let us suppose to use 5 rivets with a 10 mm diameter each. Let us consider the beam built with three plates joined together as shown in figure 18. We obtain the condition shown in figure 19. with a pitch among them equal to 20 mm. Following the classic approach it is necessary to make some assumptions on the number of the rivets and their diameter and then to check by calcula- tions the correctness of the hypotheses. Shear stress contour. in both location the values are practically coincident with the theoretical ones. As the junction line is exactly in the center of the beam. the structure is loaded by a shear force F = 12500 N (and a bending moment also arises). Figure 17. in this paragraph we will deal with this matter when the joining system is based on discrete points. the bending moment acting in this section is given by: L M f  F  12500 200  2500000Nmm 2 We know that the bending moment gives a “butterfly” force distribution (like stresses) and therefore on the riv- ets we will have a situation like the one illustrated in figure 20.

This value has to be compared with the allowable value for the rivet type that is in use.5 factor is due to the fact that the rivets. 61 Figure 18. Chapter 4 .5 N 2 The 0. with this geometric configuration. Figure 19. thus giving a component R3 = 2500 N. We can therefore write the two following equations in order to evacuate R1 and R2: M f  80 R1  40 R 2 R1  2  R 2 Solving the system we obtain R1 = 25000 N and R2 = 12500 N. The side with the two superimposed plates is clamped. work in double shear. In the end on the most loaded rivets we have a total force given by: 1 R  R12  R 32  12562. 5 holes with 10 mm diameter to connect the plates. The beam is built by assembling three plates. we now need to take into account also the shear contribu- tion. acting along the same line as F but on the opposite direction. These calculations were about the bending moment. The overlap- ping length is equal to 50 mm. As a first approximation we could think that the shear action is equally distributed among the five rivets.

Forces distribution on the rivets due to the bending moment. Figure 21. In figure 22 these elements are shown. A simplified finite element model. In this case we obtain the model shown in figure 21. with an increasing modelling complexity. where they are present) for unit length (also known as “flows”) in the ele- ments that share the junction line. We can follow different approaches. The thickness is 5 mm. The first one.e. Now we want to solve the problem using the Finite Element Method. consists in the construction of the model as if the junction were not present. when it is not possible to have a clear idea on the number and on the diameter of the rivets). while in table 1 the values of their flows are listed. 62 Figure 20. constant due to the starting geometry. In order to obtain from the model the value of the forces that act on the rivets it is necessary to ask the calcula- tion code the forces (and the moments. very good for a pre-dimensioning calculation (i. Chapter 4 . A line of nodes lies along the rivet line.

40E+02 0.00 0.40E+02 0.00 0.00 0.41E-05 -4.02E+03 9.68E-06 1. is not much different from the one we obtained manually. avoiding the construction of a finite element model for each one.00 0.28E-06 -1. which in this case lies between element 205 and 206.00 206 -5.00 0. with an R3 = 3700 N.51E+01 0.27E-06 1. The procedure described above is very quick and it allows to evaluate different junction solutions. Also the element reference system is shown here because generally the flows are expressed in this system.50E+01 0. that has to be divided into two to take into account the double shear.00 0. Therefore the most loaded rivet by the shear force is the central one.00 202 9. 63 Figure 22.00 0.51E-05 7.51E+01 0.00 0. such as dif- ferent pitches among the rivets.41E-05 4.32E+03 3.00 0.38E+02 1.00 0.00 0. in order to find those compo- nents it is necessary to look at the third column of table 1 (FXY). Chapter 4 .00 0.00 205 5.70E+02 0. As we can see the values are not the same for each element.00 0.00 0.00 0.52E-05 -7.00 203 1. This should not be surprising. unlike what we initially supposed.00 0.00 208 -1. Elements that share the junction line.46E+02 1.00 210 -2.70E+02 0.21E-06 -1.00 0.00 0.02E+03 9.46E+02 1. We have ten elements in the model.00 0.00 0.85E+02 0.00 0.00 0.00 Table 1 This value. Therefore the force in the y di- rection that is owned by element 201 is equal to 13200 N.00 207 -1. while the one for element 202 is 10200 N.00 0.85E+02 0.00 0.00 0.00 0. in fact if we think of the behaviour of shear stresses (let us think of the previous example) in a rectangular section: the maximum of them is on the neutral bending axis. As we supposed that the rivets pitch is 20 mm we can say that on the first rivet we have a total force given by the sum of the two indicated above: R1  13200  10200  23400 N MEMBRANE FORCES BENDING MOMENTS TRANSVERSE SHEAR ELEMENT ID FX FY FXY MX MY MXY QX QY 201 2.75E-06 -1.50E+01 0. Nevertheless the most important data are the forces generated by the shear action.00 0.00 0. which is much higher than the value of 2500 N previously cal- culated by hand.19E-06 1.00 0.00 204 1.00 0.00 0. A similar procedure can be applied to the second rivet.00 0.00 0.00 0.31E+02 1.32E+03 3.00 0.00 0.00 209 -9.31E+02 1.00 0.00 0.38E+02 1.00 0. and this means that each element is 10 mm long.00 0.

00 224 203 5. In our example. Figure 23. If the mesh is structured in a suitable way (i.00 0. while in table 2 the values of their nodal forces are listed.00 0. which has its x axis oriented as the plate axis: therefore the force.00 230 209 -1.14E+04 4.14E+04 4.58E+03 0. 64 A last note is on the out-of-plane shear forces and the bending moments: they are all null because the plate is loaded in its plane. this can be a hard job.00 0.09E+03 0. The force generated by the shear action on the central rivet is to be looked for in the second column of table 2 (direction 2.00 0.57E+03 0. Moreover if the nodes are more numer- ous in number than the rivets.e.00 0. especially if the junctions in the model are in great quantity.29E+03 5.00 0.09E+03 0.37E+04 -6.00 0.00 228 207 -7. the nodes are 11 while the rivets are 5.89E+02 0. The nodes are placed exactly were the rivets are supposed to be.00 0.29E+03 5.00 0. clearly in this case a node must correspond to each rivet and it is therefore necessary to move some of them by hand.00 0. We emphasize that also these values have to be divided by two because also in this case the rivets work in dou- ble shear. This means that the two parts of the structures have to be connected only through 5 nodes.65E+02 -1.75E+03 0.00 0.89E+02 0.00 0.00 0.01E+03 -3. these latter are expressed in the global coordinate sys- tem. R1  11400  13700  25100 N This value. it is simple to move nodes without distorting the elements too much) it is sometimes convenient to ask the code the printout of the nodal forces instead of the flows.00 0.58E+03 0. We obtain R3 = 3500 N. it is necessary to disconnect some nodes.00 228 208 -5.01E+03 -3.00 0. is aligned with what we have calculated until now. made to this purpose.00 Table 2 Chapter 4 .00 0.00 0.00 0.00 224 204 7.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 226 205 -9. y axis) in node 226 as the sum of the contributes of elements 205 and 206. due to the bending moment. slightly higher than the theoretical one.75E+03 0.00 0. in order to correctly reproduce the load path.00 0.00 0. We obtain.00 0.00 230 210 -1. acting on the first rivet is given by the sum of the contributions of elements 201 and 202 which share node 222.00 0.00 0.00 226 206 9.37E+04 -6.00 0. Figure 23 shows the nodes involved by the junction.57E+03 0.65E+02 -1.00 0. POINT-ID ELEMENT-ID T1 T2 T3 R1 R2 R3 222 201 1.00 222 202 1.00 0.

With the third model. while in table 3 the information on them are listed. We want to reproduce in a more exact way the structure shown in figure 18 by building the model with all the three plates. Chapter 4 . with the geometric and elastic characteristics of the rivets. 65 Figure 24. still similar to what calculated before with the other models (we highlight that in this case it is not necessary to divide the listed values into two because this kind of modelling already takes into account the double shear). in order to know the forces that load each rivet. clearly the nodes must be where the rivets are. also in this case aligned with the values found before. The central rivet is loaded by a force equal to 1470 N. limited to the shear values on the two local planes. The first rivet is loaded by a force equal to 12700 N. more sophisticated than the ones seen up to this point. This is much more complicated with respect to the previous ones. as shown in figure 24. Numbering of beam elements simulating the rivets. in a similar way of what we have done with the flows for the shells. In this case. it is necessary to ask the code to printout the internal action of the beam elements simulating the rivets. Figure 25 illustrates the beam elements on their own. that we are going to build the dou- ble shear is implicitly considered due to the morphology of the model itself. The connection among the plates is modelled by beam elements. Figure 25. Shell + beam finite element model.

for the load due to bending. even if generally for this type of calculation the first model is the one more often used.27E+04 Table 3 Remarks  Hand calculation gave a value. Nevertheless this is the model that gives the most pre- cise results.03E+03 1.e.  The first model is very “versatile” and it allows different quick evaluations on the number and on the pitch of the rivets when the design is at the beginning.36E+03 5.  Note that the construction of a very sophisticated model (i.27E+04 602 1.93E+03 604 1. using the first model (the continuous one) and extracting the flows in the junction interface elements as we already have done before. 27 and 28. Even if they have similar contours and similar values. As a last matter let us see what happens if we load the plate of figure 18 with a bending moment orthogonal to the one used before.  Mainly at the plates stresses level the three models present some differences.  Here we have studied the example of a riveted connection.27E+04 603 -1. PLANE 1 PLANE 2 601 -1.03E+03 -1.36E+03 -5. We will start from the loads on the rivets.03E+03 -1. nevertheless the hypothesis assumed for the shear action was not conservative. especially in the stress distribution in the plates. The results in this kind of analysis are perfectly reliable.  The third model is definitely more advanced and it requires not only the position of the fasteners but also their dimension and the material they are built with. An even more detailed model would have previewed also the modelling of the holes in the plates but it would have introduced complexity without improving the result quality. very close to the ones obtained by nu- merical models.72E-03 607 -1. as we will see in Chapter 9. Table 4 lists the internal forces values. but the various procedures and methods shown above can be easily extended also to spot welding or bolt junctions. 66 ID. due to the way they are loaded. the three plates are subjected only to membrane stresses and therefore there are no differences between top. In this case there are big differences between the models based on a single meshed surface and the one that represents the actual geometry better. using brick elements for plates and rivets. even in this simple case the construction of a finite element model can be convenient. But the discontinuity present in the other two models cannot be considered as real: the stress in that region has to be evaluated in another way. Chapter 4 . where the longitudinal stress contours in the middle surface are reported (by the way it must be noticed that.72E-03 606 1.47E+03 -7.27E+04 610 1.93E+03 609 -1.  The second model is a little bit more detailed.47E+03 7. as it can be seen from figure 26.36E+03 5. but on the other hand it requires knowing at least the precise position of the junction elements.93E+03 605 -1. nevertheless the complexity of such a model is justified only for the analysis of particu- larly critical junction.03E+03 1. bottom or middle surfaces). the first case present a more evident continuity (a part the non averaged plot) with respect to the other two. we note that now we need to look at the bending moments column because it is by bending that the stresses pass from one part of the continuous model to the other. the differences are in the allowable forces of the single connecting elements that have to be compared with the forces extracted from the finite element models. Moreover a stronger effort in model construction is necessary. nevertheless in the junction area this is obviously not possible due to the physical discontinuity introduced by the junction.93E+03 608 1. Thus. mainly for big structures where junction modelling would be very onerous (as an example let us think of aircraft fuselages).36E+03 -5. contact among the various parts) makes it possible a precise evaluation of the stresses in the plates and in the holes region.

No discontinuities are present. Figure 27. Locally stress values are not reliable. The discontinuity is due to having “forced”the forces pass through some nodes (rivets).5 mm (distance between the middle surfaces of the 2 plates) Figure 26. and this is not surprising. The value that belongs to each rivet is given by: MY  2  L Elem R  5200 N h Riv being: MY = 1950 Nmm/mm (unit length bending moment) LElem = 10 mm (element length) hRiv = 7. Chapter 4 . Non averaged longitudinal stress for the first model. Non averaged longitudinal stress for the second model. 67 It can be immediately noted (MY column) that the values are almost constant along the connection line.

00 0.75E+03 605 1.00 0.28 -0.22 -1949.79E+02 7.27 -1950.90 0.79E+02 7.00 0.27 -1950.68 202 0.94 0.00 -6.10 -7.28 0.90 208 0.27 -30.08 -1951.51E+03 610 -4.00 0.75E+03 608 -2.78E+03 607 -2.00 -3.00 0.51E+03 603 2.00 -5. It must be noticed that the values of the banded scale are not very different from the ones of figure 26 and 27.00 -5.61 73.00 -6. Table 5 lists the in- ternal forces values in those elements.94 -0.73E+02 7.84 -51.05 -7.37 -1948.08 -7.91 207 0.00 0.64 203 0.08 -1951.79E+02 7.96 10. ID.00 0. at least for this load condition.10 -7. Also in this case the discontinuity is due to having “forced” the loads pass through some nodes and some beam elements (rivets).37 -1948.96 -10.05 -7.11 -18.51E+03 Table 5 Chapter 4 .34 -83.64 210 0.00 0.61 -73.02 -0.00 0.73E+02 7.00 0.51E+03 602 4.00 -7.90 205 0.02 -7.73E+02 7.02 -7.00 0.22 -1949.88 209 0.64 -1949.08 -7.00 0.00 0.75E+03 609 -4.79E+02 7.11 -18.80E-04 7.00 0.00 0. 68 MEMBRANE FORCES BENDING MOMENTS TRANSVERSE SHEAR ELEMENT ID FX FY FXY MX MY MXY QX QY 201 0.68 Table 4 Figure 28.80E-04 7. Non averaged longitudinal stress for the third model.00 -1.00 0.34 83.00 0.27 30. thus indicating that.64 -1949.00 -3.58 0.78E+03 606 1.00 -7.84 51.91 206 0.88 204 0.00 -1.00 0. Locally stress values are not reliable. less sophisticated models are able to precisely get the stress values in the region far from the riveted con- nection.73E+02 7.90 -0. limited to shear components.75E+03 604 2.58 -0.00 0.00 0.02 0. PLANE 1 PLANE 2 601 4. Let us look at the values given by the model with the rivets modelled using beam elements.

both for the rivet dimension (which appears less loaded than what actually is) and for an incorrect stress evaluation. mainly because the two 2.4. as it can be seen from figure 30. while the remaining part (the coupled plates) has also a big membrane component. Chapter 4 . we realise that the first part of the structure (i. For seam welding the approach is to take into account. the fact that the mechanical proper- ties of the material around the weldings are knocked down due to the local thermal effects. If on the other hand we look at the more sophisticated model and we think that the bending moment “flows” from the single plate to the coupled ones through the rivets by shear action. 4. during results analysis. for bead welding. we know that for it only bending is present. as reported for example in the Italian UNI CNR 10011 normative. Also the displacement of the free end of the structure is very different in the two cases (the con- tinuous model is softer. seam welding or bead welding) are generally not modelled. In other words in those regions the allowable stress for the material is lowered in calculating safety factors. while the membrane components do not exist. It is then clear that for this load condition using a continuous model can give erroneous results and lead to wrong de- sign choices. In order to check this.e. much higher than the value extracted from the simple model.. On the other hand. In order to evaluate the requested inputs for the calculations of the joint generally the flows in the involved shell elements are used. Membrane component (middle surface tension) for the longitudinal stress of the continuous model: as we expected only bending is present. the single plate) is loaded by pure bending.4 Continuous junctions As we said in Chapter 2 continuous connection (i. having in mind the continuous model. one can plot the longitudi- nal stress for the middle surface. 69 Now the maximum value on a rivet is equal to 7780 N. We also point out the different ways the two models deform (the deformed shapes illustrated in figure 29 and 30 have been obtained imposing the same scale factor) Figure 29. The free end displacement is around 10 mm. as it is shown in figure 29.e. it is necessary to use more sophisticated calculation criteria. But there is another difference: in fact.5mm thick coupled plates have a distance of 5 mm between them and therefore they have a bigger inertia with respect to a single 5 mm thick plate).

bottom and middle surfaces. top. Nevertheless it is not rare that some customers ask for models completely built by brick elements. because this is used by auto- matic volume meshing algorithms. it is even better to ask for an averaged plot. as we will see in Chapter 7. 4. it is possible to note that it is not necessary to have different plots in order to obtain the stress values in points A. even if in our days this would not be a real problem. Membrane component (middle surface stress) for the longitudinal stress of the sophisticated model: the two 2.5 mm thick plates do not work only in bending as on the other hand the first part does. Clearly this simplicity is paid with a bigger com- plexity in building the model. even if this approach requires more modelling time if compared with the use of 10 nodes tetra- hedral elements. It is not possible to make mistakes by asking nodal averaged or non averaged plottings. as the stress discontinuity would not have any physical sense. The hexahedral 8 node brick element is loosing its predominance with respect to the 10 nodes tetrahedral element. About result interpretation there is not much to say: generally calculations codes give the stress tensor expressed in the global coordinate system instead of the elemental one (which can be interpreted with some difficulty. We will see in Chapter 5 the reasons for these choices.5 Solid elements As it was already probably clear from what we said in Chapter 2. Chapter 4 . especially in the case of solid elements where it is not possible to be in error about reference systems. different thickness. while fig- ure 32 illustrates the longitudinal stress contour for the central part of the beam (as we have done for the shell model). 70 Figure 30. Moreover we highlight that no uncertainty exists in the evaluation of the stress in point C. In figure 31 the finite element model is shown. B and C (see also figure 13). As an example we build the double T beam model using brick elements in order to show how results interpreta- tion is easier if compared with the shell element model. The free end displacement is around 4 mm. due to the possible distortions that the element can have in the 3D space). models built using solid elements present less conceptual problems with respect to their “younger brothers”. Nevertheless non averaged stress contours still remain a good help in evaluating mesh quality.

71 Figure 31. Figure 32. Double T beam modeled with brick solid elements. Averaged longitudinal stress contour. boundary conditions and load conditions are the same used for the shell model shown in figure 12. Also in this case the agreement with theoretical values is very good. With just one plot it is possible to know the stresses in al the points of the central section. Geometry. Chapter 4 .

It is worth to say that the only stress component that beam elements are able to represent is the  directed along the beam axis and therefore due only to axial forces and bending moments.) necessary to completely define the beam element stiffness matrix.2 for shear stress). even if they are involved in an MPC. Chapter 4 .e.4. 4. Shear stress contour for web (A) and flanges (B). can also calculate the shear stresses distributions and plot them. as it has been done for figure 17. torsional constant. strongly related to the section shape. the only information that can be extracted from them is relative to the forces (and moments) that they can transfer through the nodes involved. etc.6 One-dimensional elements Also for one-dimensional elements there is not much to say. Therefore they are very easy to handle during results interpre- tation. have to be calculated by hand following the Solid Mechanics equations. The last matter is clearly not applicable to rod elements because. starting from shear forces and torques (as we saw. flexural inertias. Generally calculation codes give also the stress value in some predefined points of the section. for brick elements the stresses are expressed in the global reference system. due to their nature. as we will see in the next paragraph. as the web and flanges are orthogonal one to each other. moreover. Some calculation codes have special pre/post-processors that are able.7 Non structural elements As this kind of elements is non structural. some of them. it is necessary to plot  stresses twice because. 72 Figure 33. as they are limited to the only axial force. for example. can only withstand axial loads and have a constant  along the whole section. in the nodes where both structural and MPC elements are present. as we said above. 4. Or. the stress results are not reliable because the structure is highly altered due to the intrinsic stiffness of MPC elements. Figure 33 reports the shear stress contour for the web (A) and the flanges (B). thus avoiding hand calculations. In most cases the graphic capabilities of the post- processor are limited to the plotting of the internal forces diagrams. in § 4. it is clearly possible to ask the solver to calculate the reaction forces in the constrained nodes. In the shell model this does not happen because it is sufficient to ask the stress plotting in the element reference system. It is worth to keep in mind that generally. area. shear centers. The shear stresses. with respect to the shell model. We highlight that in this case. to evaluate all the quantities (i. also the internal force diagrams are very simple. as they are often used to constrain the models. also their  are mutually orthogonal. once the geometry of the section has been drawn.

15E+04 -5. as the models can be constrained both with MPC elements (and in this case the output will be a list of forces in the constrained node) and with beam elements (and in this case the output will be the internal forces of the beam elements simulating the fasteners).49E+01 0.16E-10 7.00E+03 6.63E+01 0. can react to the bending moment that arises due to the contact pressures distribution under the head. calculated by the two models. First of all we will start with MPC elements that constrain the nodes belonging to the annular areas (i. On the contrary big differences can be noted in the longitudinal components (1450 N vs. through its head.45E+03 -5. Chapter 4 .37E+05 15782 1.e. the master nodes in the definition of these MPCs are located in the centre of the holes on the plane where the brackets lies and they can be constrained in different ways: 1. case 1 takes into account the fact that the bolt. In tables 6 and 7. Figure 34 shows a reversed T bracket constrained by two M10 bolts and loaded upwards by a force F = 10000 N.00E+00 15782 -1. In these regions.00E+00 Table 7 As it can be seen no big differences exist between the values of the forces. The conclusion could then be that the model calculates a high moment mainly because of the presence of an MPC element which locally modifies the load path.80E-10 -9.4.99E+03 6. only the translational degrees of freedom (plus the rotation around axis 1 in order to avoid lability).18E-10 -7. there is a considerable agreement with hand calcula- tions. 73 which introduce peaks that do not have any actual sense. unless we have very high contact pressures. respectively for case 1 and 2. 2.00 -1. reaction forces given by the finite element model are listed.49E+01 0.00 0.8 Reaction forces The evaluation of reaction forces is generally interesting for concentrated constraints (i. as these cannot have a big arm (due to the fact that the head is small) actually the bending moment cannot be too high. Now the question is about which of the two con- straint conditions is the most correct. such as bolts and rivets. all the degrees of freedom except the rotation around axis 2 (see the reference system in figure 34). a single node con- straint).00 0.15E+04 -5. T1 T2 T3 R1 R2 R3 15781 -1.3.33E-10 9. T1 T2 T3 R1 R2 R3 15781 1. Therefore it could be that case 2 is the most correct constraint condition.63E+01 0. moreover. detailed analysis is requested. Clearly a simple hand calculation tells us that on each constrained point a force of 5000 N will be present.e.37E+05 Table 6 POINT ID. the spot-face) to act as a rigid body.00 1.01E+03 3.00E+03 1. 4. in the axis 2 direction. 11500 N) and in the bending moment around axis 3 (which is the moment that arises under the head of the bolt). The approach is similar to what we discussed in § 4. as the bolts are symmetrically disposed with respect to the line along which the force is acting. as we will see in Chapter 9. due to the simplicity of this case. We will analyse various constraints configurations in order to understand the differences among the possibili- ties. POINT ID. which corresponds to the axis for tightening torque are constrained. that in this case is ob- viously equal to zero because the corresponding rotation is free.45E+03 -4.

48E+00 -1.56E+04 7.61E-09 5. It should be therefore necessary.00E+03 0 Table 9 As it can be noticed in case 2 the bending moment at B end (which correspond to the constrained node) is null because the associated rotation is free. but certainly its value is not the one that can be determined with the MPCs used by themselves.67E-03 -7. MOMENT-END B SHEAR ELEMENT AXIAL TORQUE ID. T bracket constrained with two M10 bolts.86E+00 1.86E+00 -3.43E+04 -7.43E+04 7. Nevertheless we have to highlight one more aspect: we said that the bracket is taken in its position on a plane by means of two bolts.51E+03 1.67E-03 7. MOMENT-END A BEND. MOMENT-END B SHEAR ELEMENT AXIAL TORQUE ID. MOMENT-END A BEND.86E+00 3.56E+04 -7. If we look at the displacement component in direction 2 plotted on the deformed structure (see figure 35) we realise that. in order to reproduce the constraint conditions in the best way.48E+00 -2.13E+03 1.48E+00 1. BEND. 74 Figure 34. except considering compenetrations.00E+03 0 9273 3. we should approach the problem as a non linear one using gap elements or contact surfaces. Tables 8 and 9 list the internal forces values in beam elements respectively for cases 1 and 2.51E+04 7. FORCE PLANE 1 PLANE 2 PLANE 1 PLANE 2 PLANE 1 PLANE 2 9272 3.05E-09 5. Then we try to repeat cases 1 and 2 by substituting the MPC element by a beam element (with the geometrical characteristics of the bolt) plus an MPC element to simulate the bolthead. to be precise.51E+04 -7. unlike what happens in the model.51E+03 1.00E+03 0 9273 -3.38E-09 5.48E+00 2. nevertheless generally for bolts calculation this is not done) Chapter 4 .58E-09 5.00E+03 0 Table 8 BEND. FORCE PLANE 1 PLANE 2 PLANE 1 PLANE 2 PLANE 1 PLANE 2 9272 3. to constrain in direction 2 also the nodes of the two edges of the bracket (actually.86E+00 -1. At this point it is evident that the bending moment should be considered. Nevertheless at end A (bolthead side) the bending moment is almost the same in both conditions and in any case it is an order of magnitude lower than case 1 but with the MPC directly constrained to ground. the two edges cannot move downwards.13E+03 1.


Table 10 lists, only for case 1 as we have already established the need to deal also with the bending moment
arising under the bolthead, the internal forces for the model with the MPC and beam elements; edges nodes are
constrained in their translation along direction 2.
The first thing that we notice is that the axial load is considerably higher than the value of 5000 N found until
now also with hand calculations. This phenomenon is based on the prying action, a sort of “lever arm effect”
which overloads the bolt. In order to explain this phenomenon let us look at figure 36; we can write the following

Fv  R 
R  a  b  Fv  a

Solving the system we obtain:

F a  b
Fv   
2  b 

It can be clearly seen that, in order to be Fv  F/2, b must be a lot much bigger than a to make the ratio in the
brackets close to unity.
This calculation scheme is very simplified and it supposes that R is exactly applied on the edges. In reality the
line action of R can vary relatively to the bracket stiffness, thus making a hand calculation difficult.
Nevertheless besides the increasing in the axial load on the bolt the bending moment under the bolthead is low-
er. At this point it becomes difficult to establish which type of model is the most suitable: certainly taking into ac-
count that the structures can not compenetrate each other is more adherent to reality, but some more complex cases
may occur where it is not possible to follow the simple approach shown above and where it is therefore necessary
to solve a contact problem.


9272 1.26E+04 1.63E+01 4.57E-05 1.63E+01 1.26E+03 1.07E-09 1.14E+04 0

9273 -1.26E+04 1.37E+00 -4.57E-05 1.37E+00 -1.26E+03 8.47E-10 1.14E+04 0

Table 10

Then we must remember that generally bolts are preloaded by a tightening torque. Therefore the axial force that
the model calculates does not totally go into the overload of the bolt, due to the “gasket effect” (see also Chapter
6). Then, in order to achieve results that are above any suspicious, it is necessary to end up in non linear analysis,
taking into consideration contacts between planes, contacts between bolt heads and brackets, preloads that are ap-
plied to the bolts.

Chapter 4


Figure 35. Displacement contour for the component along direction 2 (vertical) for the model with beam elements simulating
the bolts. Even if for a few hundredths the edges move downwards, while this is not possible unless a compenetration of the
bodies takes place.

Figure 36. Fv is the force on the bolt. Only the forces on one side of the bracket have been reported. Opposite side, due to
symmetry, presents an identical situation.

Nevertheless for “day by day” models the adopted scheme with beam elements simulating the bolts plus the
MPCs for the bolt heads is more than adequate in most of fasteners calculations. Clearly the “gasket effect” has to
be taken into due consideration in order to have realistic values for the total axial load on the bolt; a calculation
example, both manual and by finite element model, is discussed in § 6.5.

4.9 Some considerations on graphical post-processing

Up to this moment in this Chapter we have used almost exclusively the numerical data given by the calculation
program: even when we plotted the stresses we always used, by mouse clicking, the nodal values that the solver
put at our disposal. Clearly the first visual impact has its importance in having immediately a first feeling of the
stress distribution in a given structure.
A particular plotting method allows the user to analyse the “force lines” inside the piece under examination; this
system, that almost all the modern post processor have, considerably simplifies the identification of the load paths.

Chapter 4


Figure 37. Plate with a hole loaded by a tensile axial load.

Let us consider as an example the bar with a hole, shown in figure 37 by its finite plane stress element model,
loaded by an axial force (in this case the value of the force is not important, because we are only interested in a
qualitative analysis).
We know that the hole creates a stress increase and locally the stress is not anymore simply monoaxial. If we
represent, by means of arrows with their color and their length proportional to the intensity, let us say, the maxi-
mum principal stress we obtain the plot illustrated in figure 38. As it can be noticed the load path changes where
the hole is and the stress rises. In figure 39 the maximum principal stress contour is shown for the plate being
loaded by both a bending moment and a shear force.

Figure 38. "Arrow contour" for the principal maximum stress for the axial force condition.

With this kind of representation generally the post-processors are able to give, by mouse clicking, not only the
value of the plotted quantity but also the cosine directors in an arbitrary point, in order to have the directions also
numerically; by knowing the direction of the maximum principal stress it is possible to foresee in which direction a
fatigue crack could start and grow, as we will see in Chapter 8.
Clearly this kind of contour can be only applied to vectorial or tensorial quantities.

Chapter 4

As we said. L the tube length. a scale factor equal to 50 amplifies the deformed shape. G the tangential elastic modulus for the material with which the tube is built (see Chapter 1). We want to calculate the entity of the rotation of a tube end when the tube is loaded by a torquing couple. Now let us see an example where graphical post-processing can lead to errors. but the deformed shape is absolutely not real and it has not any justifica- tion from the structural point of view. In this case we are not interested in the values and their comparison with the theoretical analysis. we are not interested in the numerical values. Figure 40 shows the contour for the displacement in the circumferential direction of a cylindrical reference sys- tem having its origin on the cylinder axis. Chapter 4 . "Arrow contour" for the maximum principal stress for the bending condition. Hand calculation does not present any kind of difficulty and Solid Mechanics gives us the following equation for the quantity we are looking for: Mt L θ GJp being: Mt the applied torquing moment. we simply want to study the plotting produced by a graphical post-processor when it has to deal with a similar situation. Figure 40. Jp the polar inertia for the tube. 78 Figure 39. "Funnel" opening effect for a circular tube loaded by a torquing couple.

79 It is neither a matter of mesh density nor a problem of a wrong element type (we will see these aspects and their influence on result quality in Chapter 5). as it can move only along the tangent due to what we have just said above. besides static plots. How can figure 40 be then justified? The reason is simpler than what we may think and it is based on the fact that the calculation was linear: in this hypothesis the deformed shape and the unde- formed one are coincident. For an element whose stiffness matrix is [K] (see Appendix B) the strain energy is given by:  u  K  u 1 E T 2 being {u} the nodal displacements vector of the given element. as it is supposed to be. is proportional to the length of the tube. in a small deformation hypothesis. was tabulated element by element while at present days the visual effect can be a great help for the structural designer in order to rapidly find the regions where some modifications are needed. Obviously this effect is more and more evident as we move from the constrained side to the side where the torque is applied. nevertheless it is necessary to pay attention because in less simple cas- es we could assume a deformation contour for valid even if this has nothing to do with a real condition. With a finer mesh or a more coarse one or using solid elements instead of shells we would obtain the same results from a qualitative point of view. the post-processor. this will be clear looking at figure 41. and therefore the tangential displacement. it is therefore possible to calculate the strain energy Chapter 4 . In our example. i. when it has to plot the deformed shape of a model. they are so pretty that one may not believe they could be wrong. as we have only the circumferential displacement component. but looking at the numerical values we would find that this is null. animation plots are available. Moreover from figure 40 we could say that also a radial displacement component is present. each node. As the word may suggests.e. mainly at present time when. Once the finite element model has been solved all the displacements of all the nodes in the structure are known. will lie on a circumference with a bigger radius. adds to all the node coordinates the corresponding displacement components and then it redraws the elements on the new coordinates obtained in this way. In the past also this quantity. the displacements are so small that they do not modify in a sensitive way the geom- etry of the structure. This is certainly an “esthetical” problem. A useful instrument is constituted by the strain energy plotting. as it was for stress- es. for example in order to stiffen a given structure. clearly this energy is also equal to the work of the external forces. Figure 41. strain energy is the elastic energy that a given piece can store due to the deformation it undergoes because of the forces that load it. because the  rotation. The circumference where the nodes lie after the displacement. has a bigger ra- dius that the original one. this is the reason why the tube deforms like a funnel. In our case this “linearization” implies that the tangent and the corresponding arc are the same thing.

strain energy den- sity is a better index for the evaluation of the zones where modifications have to be done. Frequently used is the strain energy density.e. is constant all over the element. in the case of more complex structures. strain energy is clearly a scalar quantity and. Therefore a strain energy plot makes it possible to see which are the regions that “work” more than others. Figure 42 shows an example for the total strain energy while figure 43 illustrates the strain energy density for the plate with a hole loaded by a bending moment and a shear force. the two figures give the same information. Figure 42. Chapter 4 . where thickness variation is possible. substantially through this information it is possible to establish where to add material in order to reduce deformations and stresses and where it is possible to lighten the structure. the energy stored for unit volume. Total strain energy. Therefore an averaged plot tends to smooth big differences among the elements. Last but not least. Strain energy density. It is worth to underline that the sum of the strain energies of the elements has to equal the strain energy calculated as the product of the global stiffness matrix and the nodal displacements vector. 80 of each single element. i. As here the thickness is constant all over the plate. due to the way it is calculated. Figure 43.

A classical example is the use of the “modified” I. in other words if the input is affected by errors it is not possible to expect a correct output. is the one based on the unit system that has to be used: calculation codes should all be “unitless”. Let us see the reason for that. Going 1 kg  m down to base units we would have ( 1 N  ): s2 . It some- times happens that the user makes a mistake in typing some numbers. the numbers are “scaled” by a certain factor. of temperatures. still related to a numerical input. because the total mass (that the code calculates as the product of density multiplied by the total volume) gives a correct value. CHAPTER 5 Errors in Finite Element calculation 5. Nevertheless some classical cases do exist. related to the fact that it is necessary to input some numbers in the model. but attention must be paid to the types of analysis that have to be conduced on a given model. masses (kilograms). meaning that the user should be responsible in using a coherent unit system. Nevertheless these numbers are greatly influenced by the way the model is built and by the numerical quality with which the equations generated by the model are solved. The errors that can affect a numerical analysis are different: starting from errors due to the user (i. It is clear that the “trash in-trash out” principle is valid. Very often “hybrid” systems are used in order to manage easily the model geometry. Nevertheless if the same model has to be used for dynamic analysis (without thinking of complicated things let us just take into ac- count a natural frequencies analysis) we are going to obtain incorrect results (i.) is used. In the next paragraphs of this Chapter we will deal with all these kinds of errors. and material density is input in kilograms on millimeters to cube.S. as for pressures. If for example the International System (I. system we would have that the dimensions of K and M would be respectively [N/m] e [kg]. Apparently all works well. an incorrect material description) or errors introduced by the software used for the model construction and arriving to errors implicit in the method (we remember that FEM approximates the solution) or numerical errors. other quantities involved are forces (Newtons). time (seconds). where millimetres are used instead of meters. by means of simple examples.S. Still thinking of modal analysis. but the linear dimensions have to be input in meters and this could be sometimes (mainly in a mechanical environment) uncom- fortable when “small” numbers are used (let us think of the nodal coordinates). etc. it is impossible to make errors. the equation that gives the vibration frequency of a mass-spring system having M and K for the mass value and the spring stiffness respectively is: K ω M Using the I. 5.S. it is possible to input wrong values of forces/pressures.1 Introduction Up to now we have seen how to “handle” a finite element model and how to manage the results that it produces. A more conceptual mistake. wherever possible. in fact today it is usual to work with graphical systems and the “keyboard inputs” are quite a few. as an example it is possible to type an incor- rect value of the Young’s modulus for the material used for the structure under analysis. For static analysis generally there are no problems: Young’s modulus is expressed in MPa.e.e. highlighting all the dangers.2 User errors This kind of error is probably the most difficult to deal with because it has its basis on the peculiarity of each person and it is therefore not predictable.

milli-mega Pascal: it is too easy to indicate kPa.S. constraints. Another “keyboard input” error is the erroneous input of the thickness to be assigned to shell or plane stress el- ements. the density in tons on millimetres to cube). the loads that come from masses and from acceler- ations) such as weight and centrifugal forces. let us see the reason for this. We highlight that here. Very often it is possible to see some pictures where stresses are expressed in mMPa (that is. with “discretization” we mean the way a structure is approximated: therefore we are thinking of the element type and the number of elements that we decide to use when we build the model of a given structure. We well know that a bar loaded by an axial force F undergoes a deformation  given by: ΔL ε L Chapter 5 . It must be said that generally finite ele- ment modelling tends to overestimate the effective value of the structure stiffness. the finer is the discretization the more accurate the results will be. The user can now choose among different ho- mogeneous unit systems. kilo-Pascal!). and this because a method to avoid the above illustrated error is to express the forces in mN (milli-Newton). Clearly the user can also make some “mouse input” errors in assigning forces. also in these cases the main checking consists in a very careful analysis of the model. in order to avoid these errors the only way is to check the model carefully. this is more and more true as the mesh is more and more coarse. This fact means that the stress values are underestimated.e.e.3 Discretization errors Discretization error is intrinsic to FEM. many new com- mercial codes have introduced inside them the use of a unit system. pres- sures to the wrong nodes or elements. thermal loads. the corresponding accelerations have to be expressed in millimetres over square second instead of meters over square second. these codes have not yet taken the complete control over the user. 5. To “reorder” the things it is sufficient to express the masses in tons (i. it is possible to “force” them in using the numbers that each one prefers. In order to try avoiding this kind of errors (that could be very serious) by the non export user. a part some tricks that we will see in Chapter 7. Infact:  kg  m   1   kg 1000mm   1          mm  1   s   mm       2 K s2 ω   M t  1000kg s    In this case we have to remember that the total mass is expressed in tons instead of kilograms. Moreover if the model is subjected to inertial loads. 82  kg  m   1   s 2    m  1  ω K       M kg s    On the contrary. Fortunately for the more expert ones. the dimensions of K are [N/mm] and therefore:  kg  m   1   kg 1000mm   1   s 2    mm      mm  ω K        s2     10 10  1  M kg kg s    It is evident that the calculated frequency is incorrect with respect to the actual one (in particular it is lower than the effective one). The number of elements is qualitatively referred to as “mesh density”. We said (and more details can be found in Appendix B) that FEM gives an approximate solution. using the modified I. (i. thus leaving to the user responsibility the cor- rectness of the choice. even in static analysis.

With these values we obtain: K = 51. As a consequence we will also ob- tain ’ <  and. Solid Mechanics tell us that the theoretical value of the quantity we are looking for is given by the follow- ing equation: 3 E  J K L3 being: E the Young’s modulus (equal to 206000 MPa for our numerical example) J the flexural inertia (equal to 83. as shown in figure 2. if K is the stiffness of the considered bar. as we al- ready said. and therefore on the stress. We want to calculate the flexural stiffness of the bar shown in figure 1. As F remains unchanged. This bar is made of steel. Finite element model for the beam of figure 1: it is constructed by a unique plane stress element. we also know that σ  ε  E . The error on the stiffness. Figure 1. 83 being L the initial lenght of the bar.33 mm4 from the data reported in figure 1) L the length of the beam (equal to 100 mm). we will have a value L’ < L. let us build the finite element model of the beam using just a 4 noded plane stress element. At one end it is clamped.5 N/mm By exaggerating the concept of a very coarse mesh. we can write: F  K  ΔL Let us suppose now that the finite element model gives us a value for the stiffness K’ which is bigger than the actual one: K’ > K. tends to be lower as much as the mesh is fine. Chapter 5 . Moreover. in the end. while at the other end it is free. Figure 2. ’ < . Let us illustrate this with an example.

The mesh of this model. This happens because the chosen element type has a bilinear shape function and it is not able to represent curved deformed shapes. As we said. The result given by this model is: K = 68. in this case is an exageration of the behaviour of a particular element type. Figure 4. running the risk to make this kind of mistake that will lead to an important underestimation of the actu- al stress status. Moreover the deformed shape is completely different from the ex- pected one. it is possible to fall into an excessive sim- plification. nevertheless sometimes. vs the value of 600 obtained analytically. we use a finer mesh. still for the bar shown in figure 1. is a little bit finer than the one of figure 2. If we now suppose that on the free end a shear force F = 100 N is applied. even if it has a correct behaviour with respect to stress gradients: in fact. as illus- trated in figure 4.3 N/mm With a 32% positive error. The absolute maximum value is 300 MPa. having to deal with bending. espe- cially when an attempt is made to reduce the dimensions of the model.6 N/mm Chapter 5 . instead of using a unique linear 4 noded element. It is possible to note that the error on the stress is equal to 50% of the actual value. Let us the see what happens if. The value of the stiffness calculated with this model is now: K = 51. the stresses at the intrados and at the extrados have the same absolute values but opposite signs. Note that the deformed shape is not the one expected for a beam loaded by a bending moment. 84 Figure 3. Longitudinal stress contour given by the model shown in figure 2. the value of the stress in the longitu- dinal direction is given by: F L h σ   600 MPa J 2 Figure 3 shows the stress contour calculated by the finite element model.

even if well filleted. Let us now study a less “exaggerated” case.5 MPa A1 F σ2   208. known as K t.3 MPa A2 However we know that the section variation. for the calculated value. only if no plasticisation is present. but the convergence to the “real” value is asymptotic. is simply calculated in the following way: σ eff  σ 2  K t  302. by a certain factor. 85 which is practically identical to the theoretical one. Stress Concentration Factors. for the two sections A1 = 400 mm2 and A2 = 360 mm2: F σ1   187. Let us consider the bar shown in figure 6. that is generally evaluated by some tests (or in our days using the FEM).e. Figure 5.e. we want to know the stress distribution in the bar when an axial force F = 75000 N is applied. Hand calculation gives us. Chapter 5 . and let us compare the results obtained in the two cases. With the model of figure 4 both the stress distribution and the deformed shape are close to the actual behaviour (values of 570 MPa vs the theoretical values of 600 MPa). the mesh of which is reported in figure 7. we can extract the value for this kind of geometry and this type of loading: Kt = 1. Let us now analyse the plate using a finite element model. i. as it can be verified by building a series of models where the latest is finer than the previous one. which gives a stress increment.45 Now the effective stress in the region where the notch is.1 MPa It must be pointed out that what we said above is valid only if in no region the material yielding value is reached. generates a stress concentrations. Figure 5 shows the longitudinal stress contour. As an example from Peterson’s book. An even finer mesh (i. As it can be noted now the error on the stress is around 5%. with 4 elements along the short side) will give even better results.

we obtain for the stress a value equal to 288. Finite element mesh for the plate shown in figure 6. as the one shown in figure 9. If now we build a model with a coarser mesh for the plate. From figure 8. in good agreement with theoretical calculation. mainly considering that the Kt has been determined experimentally.6 MPa.6 MPa. Maximum stress is 302. which illustrates the stress contour for the notched region. Plate with filleted section variation. Chapter 5 . as it can be seen from figure 10.6 MPa. Figure 7. 86 Figure 6. Figure 8. we obtain a value equal to 302.

Clearly. Fine model Nodes: 1133 Elements: 1060 Coarse model Nodes: 652 Elements: 713 Figure 10. in general having fewer nodes implies having less calculation times and less use of hardware resources. on the other side they generally have the advantage of being faster in modelling with respect to brick elements) even when the ratio between transversal/longitudinal dimensions and thickness of the object under examination is lower than the classical 10. Anyway we can say that. The last consideration is about the differences in terms of node and element numbers between the two models. a further coarsing of the mesh would give even worse results.6 MPa. Nevertheless the element choice is not always as immediate and it can be guided by different needings. far from these regions the mesh can be coarser. Maximum stress is 288. Mesh for the plate of figure 6. From an error practically null we have passed to an error around a 5%. by the geometry of the structure. even constrained. in general assumed as the minimum limit under which brick ele- Chapter 5 . when we have stress gradients. but despite result reliability. Now we have less nodes and less elements. For the plate of figure 6 the choice of the plane stress element has been suggested. even if these values are generally toler- ated in engineering practice. Let us now deal with the aspect relative to the kind of element to be used. as we already said. all of them being in contrast each other: for example results accuracy does not agree with the needing to obtain the solution in a short time. This is one of the reasons because often some structures are modelled using shell elements (we recall that shell elements should lye in the middle surface of the structure being analysed and that they are not able to represent the stresses normal to their face. 87 Figure 9. it is worth to have a fine mesh in order to catch ade- quately stress variations. In fact both the two meshes shown in fig- ures 7 and 9 present this characteristique.

We start considering two beams. while beam B has a thickness of 1. the first step for a more detailed calculation. For each of these structures we will build two finite element models: the first one will be built using shell elements. the sur- face identified by the average diameter). Beam A has a thickness of 4 mm. It is clear that this way to procede can be allowed only if the obtained results are used as a preliminary analysis. while beam B will be defined as “thick”. beam A and beam B. Figure 11. and only carefully taking into account the ap- proximation that has been introduced. having an annular section as shown in figure 11. disposed on the middle surface (i.e. we can define beam A as “thin”.1) G θ being: E G 2  1  ν  E = 206000 MPa  = 0. In order to highlight the differences that can be faced using different kinds of element to model the same struc- ture we will use some simple examples.5 m: although both have the same average di- ameter (50 mm) the first one can be defined as “thin” and the second is defined as “thick”. 88 ments should be used. In order to evalu- ate the differences among the behaviour of the models and between the numerical values and the theoretical ones we calculate the polar moment of inertia of the beams using the well known equation: Mt  L JP  (5. while for the second model we will use brick elements.3 L = 100 mm Mt = 100 Nmm Chapter 5 .

Figure 13 shows the displacement contour. from equation (5. Figure 13. Now. Beam A We have: JPAtheor = 392720 mm4 Figure 12 contains the finite shell element model.080E-7 rad.1). Finite shell element mesh for beam A. which will be our reference. 89 In the finite element models that we are going to build for the two beams the circumferences will be approxi- mated with 36 edges polygons (this condition guarantees that between the extension of each edge and the follow- ing edge there will be a maximum of 10°). Displacement contour for the beam A shell element model. in order to simulate a torquing moment tangential forces have been applied to an end of the beam. Searching into the numerical results file we obtain that the value of the rotation of the free end is  = 3. we will use a CAD system. Figure 12. while on the other end the nodes have been constrained to the round. and therefore to calculate the theoretical polar moment of inertia. we can calculate the polar moment of inertia given by this model: JPAShell = 394025 mm4 Chapter 5 .

Here we find that the brick model gives a result which is closer to the theoretical one. Therefore the polar moment of inertia given by this model is: JPABrick = 393514 mm4 Some considerations are needed. anyway both of them give a value which is higher than the theoretical one. In figure 15. Finite brick element mesh for beam A. From the results file we obtain  = 3. Here we find once again what we already said at the beginning of the paragraph: the stiffness of the structure is generally overestimated. as we have done before. Looking at the values of the rotations obtained by the two models it is already possible to understand that the shell model has higher torsional stiffness with respect to the brick model. Figure 14 contains the brick finite element model. we represent the displacement contour. 90 Figure 14.084E-7 rad. Displacement contour for the beam A brick element model. in order to simulate the torque the same tangential forces used for the previous model have been applied. at the opposite side the nodes have been con- strained to the ground. In the same way. Figure 15. even if the difference is so small that the errors in the two cases are practically identi- cal: Chapter 5 .

due to the bigger “job”.620E-8 rad. while figure 18 illustrates the displacement contour.2 % It can be objected that so small errors are in general tolerated from the engineering point of view. now (“thick” section) the percentage error using shell elements is much big- ger. The rotation of the free end is  = 7. Therefore the polar moment of inertia given by this model is: JPBShell = 1684615 mm4 Figure 17 shows the brick element model for beam B. both from the compu- tational and from model preparation points of view. In figure 16 the contour displacement is shown. Unlike what happened for beam A. boundary conditions (applied forces and constraints) are the same used for beam A. required by brick elements. Displacement contour for the beam B shell element model. while the brick element model gives a value identical to the previous case: e%Shell = 6. Chapter 5 . this is un- doubtedly true in this simple case that constitute our example. The polar moment of inertia has then the following value: JPBBrick = 1592647 mm4 Figure 16. 91 e%Shell = 0. because it is identical to figure 12 (only the thickness changes).2 % In this case (“thin” section) it makes no difference preferring either one type of element or the other one: how- ever it is convenient to use shell elements for this kind of structures.3% e%Brick = 0. From the results file we obtain that the rotation of the free end is  = 7. but is also true that this kind of structures are not analysed by using numerical methods.0% e%Brick = 0. Beam B Using the same approach as for beam A we have: JPBtheor = 1588880 mm4 We do not report the figure for the shell model of beam B.204E-8 rad.

Moreover we should remember that the onely result obtained by a finite element analysis is the displacements field of the nodes in the structure.e. Anyway. using for parts that are not under detailed stress analysis “poor” element types that are still able to reproduce the correct stiffness of the parts themselves. all the rest (deformation status and stress status) is being calculated starting from here through a post processing and it is affected by bigger errors: therefore even if the difference on the dis- placements is minimal. once that the need of using 3D elements has been established. with shape functions described by at least a second order polynomial equations) the choice can fall on the 8 noded brick element or on the 4 noded tetrahedral element. in fact if we suppose to neglect higher order elements (i. Let us see what happens if we build the model of beam B using tetrahe- Chapter 5 . Finite brick element mesh for beam B. Figure 18. and by modelling the regions of interest with elements that are more adequate for those parts. Displacement contour for the beam B brick element model. thus giving the actual load path. the most suitable one. among the various types at our disposal. it is also necessary to find. This is one of the reasons why often submodelling is utilised (see Chapter 6). 92 Figure 17. but il could also generate stresses that are far from being true. This is more true as more complex is the geometry of the object: in fact a given model can even reproduce the whole stiffness correctly and therefore it can give results that describe adequately the actual displacement field of the structure. the error on stresses calculation can be non neglectable. Generally the commercial pre-preocessor in our days create the mesh in the given volume starting from a surface mesh and using tetrahedral element types.

a value very close to what it was obtained by the 8 noded brick elements model.e 10 noded tetrahedral elements and 6 noded triangular elements). obtaining the 10 noded mesh is straightforward. As an example we build the beam B model using parabolic tetrahedral elements (i. Chapter 5 . to this purpose we will take advantage of the surface mesh of the model shown in figure 17 and fi- nally we will execute the same calculation done before. The polar moment of inertia in fact is: JPBTetra = 1733710 mm4 with a percentage error equal to: e%Tetra = 9.1 % In this case. It must be said that the same thing happens in the plane case if we use a mesh constructed by triangular elements instead of quadrilateral ones. If in fact we go back to the example of figure 6 and we divide the quadrilateral ele- ments of the mesh shown in figure 7 into triangular elements. Even from this value we can realise that this model is stiffer than the one we built using brick elements. despite a considerable increment in the number of degrees of freedom. even if we chose to use solid elements due to the high thickness value with respect to the average diameter of the beam. with an error equal to 9% with respect to the theoretical value. Thus having already the 4 noded tetrahedral mesh. This phe- nomenon (both for 4 noded tetrahedral elements and 3 noded triangular elements) is related to the numerical nature of these elements: both the types have linear shape functions (see also Appendix B) that lead to a strain status which is constant on the whole element. Tetrahedral element mesh for beam B. From the results file we obtain that the rotation is  = 7. In figure 22 we report the stress contour: now the maximum stress value has passed to 274. in order to adequately catch the stress gradients it is therefore necessary to use a big number of elements. while in figure 20 the displacement contour is shown. a bigger error than the one obtained with a coarser mesh of quadrilateral elements. The value of the rotation that we obtain for the free end is  = 7. in order to have the same number of nodes (and therefore the same number of equations). The results are in these cases more accurate.9 MPa. 10 nodes per element). 93 dral elements. we obtained a result that is even worse than the one obtained by the shell element model. we obtain the mesh illustrated in figure 21. Figure 23 shows the displacement contour. this can be generally done inside the graphical pre-processors asking the program to change the order of the polynomial shape functions of the elements. Figure 19.e. In figure 19 the so obtained model is reported. Alternatively it is possible to consider the use of an element type the shape functions of which are constituted by a higher order polynomial equations (i.703E-8 rad.0E-8 rad.

9 MPa. The nodes number is the same used for the mesh of figure 17. Figure 22. 94 Figure 20. Stress contour for the model of figure 21. Figure 21 Triangular finite element model for the plate shown in figure 6. The maximum stress is now equal to 274. Displacement contour for the linear tetrahedral elements model of beam B. Chapter 5 .

Let us now see another example. 95 Figure 23. Now we want to check these numbers by means of a finite element model using beam elements and assigning to them the inertial properties of the C section. From the analysis of the numerical results file (we do not report fig- ures because they would be meaningless) we can note that there is a perfect agreement with theoretical values. This is not surprising because the beam element is based on the De Saint Venant theory. while at the other a force F = 1200 N is applied. C section beam. We want to determine the  stress in the beam axis direction.1 MPa I xx 2 Figure 24. Chapter 5 . Displacement contour for the parabolic tetrahedral elements model of beam B.55 MPa I xx 2 FL h  clamp    65. The beam is clamped at one end. for which we consider the C section beam shown in figure 24. thus loading the beam by shear and bending. both at the middle section and and the clamped sec- tion. Given the geometrical and inertial characteristics of the beam (see figure 24) Solid Mechanics give us the following values: L F  middle  2  h  32.

Stress contour in y direction for the shell element model. In figure 25 we report the stress contour along y direction. 96 Now we build a model using shell elements. besides being subjected to shear and bending. Figure 25. now it shows the typical bending behaviour. that in this case is at the external of the section and on the side of the web at a distance d given by the following relationship: h 2  t  b2 d  11.74mm 4  I xx Figure 27 illustrates the deformed shape of the beam in this new condition. In order to avoid this effect it is sufficient to apply the force F in the point corresponding to the shear centre. It is possibile to note how the beam is also subjected to a torquing moment (scale factor = 80). Deformed shape of the beam. the same cannot be said for the clamped section. undergoes also to torque. Figure 26. Chapter 5 . while in the middle section the results are practically coincident with theoretical values. Moreover from the deformed shape (see figure 26) it can be noted the well known phenomenon to which thin section beams are subjected when no symmetry exist with respect to the line along which the force acts: if the shear force is not applied in the so called “shear centre” (or torsional centre) the beam. Figure 28 reports the stress contour in y direction: a part from small differences the results are coinci- dent with the theoretical values.

Stress contour in the y direction Nevertheless in carpentry construction generally the various beams are interconnected (by means of rivets. a model built with beam elements “filters” this effect. bolts or weldings) in such a way that it is not possible to let the forces pass through the shear centres of the beams them- selves. in this section we have an axial force equal to 300 kN and a bending moment equal to 120000 kNmm. In our last example we want to calculate the beam reported in figure 29. 97 Figure 27. Figure 28. thus making necessary an accurate results interpretation at the end of the finite ele- ment calculation. as the section height h would be negligeable with respect to the curvature radius r0 of the barycentric fibre) the maximum stress in the section is given by: F  r0 h F σ    216.67 MPa I yy 2 A Chapter 5 . Deformed shape for the beam when the force F is applied at the shear centre (scale factor = 120).e. loaded at one end by a force F = 300000 N and clamped at the other. The most stressed section is the one that has the biggest distance from the F force line application. If we suppose to consider the beam as straight (i. Therefore in general these beams are subjected to the phenomenon shown above.

If we now want to execute a numerical calculation we could naively think that using a beam finite element mod- el would be the correct approach in order to catch this important effect: nothing is farther from truth. is a shift of the neu- tral axis: in other words the fibres that are not stressed do not lie anymore on the barycentric axis. High curvature beam. this gives a dif- ferent stress distribution in the section and a consequent alteration of the maximum and minimum values. Moreover posing r = re = 500 mm we obtain the stress value at the beam extrados:   = -154 MPa. Being re  ri rn   391.5 mm re ln ri and imposing r = ri = 300 mm we obtain the value of the hoop (tangential) stress at the beam intrados:  = 257 MPa. The difference between the two cases (straight beam and curved beam) is so big that no comments are needed. However the value of h is comparable with the r0 one and therefore it is not allowed to consider the beam as straight. is given by the following equation: F  r0 r r F σ  n  A  r0  rn  r A where rn is the radius that indicates the neutral axis with respect to the curvature centre and r is the generic coordi- nate where the stress is calculated. And it is dangerous. 98 Figure 29. that can be obtained by the second order theory for the high curvature beams. Chapter 5 . In the most loaded section the value of the stress in the tangential direction. One of the effects that can be observed in high curvature beams when they are bent.

From the result file we then retrieve the displacement that the point where the force is applied sees in the direction of the force itself: uz = 2. due to the high value of the thick- ness (even if we could have used plane strain elements) and we execute the same calculation. that in this case is: u z = 2.48 mm. the results that we obtain (and also in this case we do not include any figures relat- ed to the beam elements model) are perfectly coincident with the values obtained manually using the theory valid for straight beams.5 mm. shown by the C section beam example. more realistically. We now build. a part from special implementations. While through shell elements and brick elements models it is possi- ble to take into account actual constraints . In- deed their utility is considerable and not under discussion in many cases. as we saw. using constant strain elements will lead to results that are affected by an error that could also be not neglectable.8%. and this implies the assumption of more or less restrictive or more or less valid hypotheses related to the phenomenon to be analysed. Figure 30 reports the stress contour in z direction (which in the most stressed section corresponds to the tangen- tial direction). they are based on the theory valid for straight axis beams. Chapter 5 . Figure 30. In this paragraph we tried to highlight one of the typical aspects of the Finite Element Method: each time that a numerical structural analysis has to be carried out a mathematical model is created. while local effects are less important. that in other circumstances would bring closer to the “exact” results. By comparing these data with the theoretical values we can conclude that the brick element model is adequate to catch the effect of the neutral axis shifting. thus allowing to catch some effects such as the “induced” torsion. We can therefore assert that. such as modal analyses. 99 It is sufficient to make a test. moreover. where the stiff- ness and mass values are fundamental. A further consideration concerns the displacement of the force application point. Here we just wanted to point out the attention that must be paid when a calculation has to be simplified maybe thinking of reducing the structure to an “equivalent beams” series: many important effects that influence the actual stress and strain status might be lost. thus leading to completely erroneous results.load and geometrical conditions. Stress contour in z direction. All we said does not mean at all that beam elements should be avoided from numerical structural analyses. beams are monodimensional elements lying on the barycentric axis of the beam they are simulating. the error on maximum stress is equal to 19%. or the neutral axis shifting seen in the last example. while the error made on displacement using the beam model is equal to 0. Moreover. with beam elements this is not possible due to their mathematical formulation: as we already said (see Chapter 2). a model of the beam using brick elements. A mesh refinement. At this point some observations are needed. in this case would be useless. thus indicating that the stiffness given by the beam model is very close to the actual value.

This happens more often than we may think. we are facing the problem of coincident but distinct nodes. 100 5. where the el- ements are drawn with their sides shrunk to the centroid of the elements themselves. for example.4 Modelling errors By modelling errors we mean those errors related to model generation. especially when a manual adjustement on a mesh automatically generated is done (i. Some of them could be related to the software that is being used or to user distraction while others are conceptual errors. Also in this case a free edges plotting avoids this error. Let us take the model of figure 24 and let us voluntarily delete an element. This error is danger- ous. it is not possible to see the “detachment”. However before reaching this point it would be a good procedure to check the potential presence of du- plicated nodes. Sometimes it may happen. as a “hole” in the mesh does not generate any error message because the absence of an element generally does not introduce any lability in the structure: the solver will carry on with the solution and the results will be incor- rect. will find that the structure has some lability and will give an error message. it is not straightforward that the mesher will create the same mesh on the two domains. on the other hand. this can happen. Wireframe visualisation of the finite element model for the beam shown in figure 24. being the edges or the faces distinct.e. when the two parts (that can be related to two surfaces or two facing volumes) are meshed separately: if the geom- etry. thus breaking the continuity that the user wanted to maintain. Another instrument that helps finding elements that are possibly missing is the “shrunk” plotting. In some lucky cases it is possible to notice this problem because. does not share the common edge (in the case of surfaces) or the common face (in the case of volumes) of the two parts (i. In this way also in a wireframe representation holes can be found more easily. Chapter 5 . Figure 31. without a specific check. two coincident but distinct edg- es or faces exist) the mesher will create distinct nodes at the interface. The “detachments” of two parts of a same model belong to the first category. on which the meshing algorithm is working to create the elements. element sides that are free (not shared by other elements). It is possible to note how in the wireframe vis- ualisation the absence of the element is completely invisible. Figure from 31 to 33 show the different representation methods. to execute some detailed modifications) to delete an element without being aware of this. Unfortunately this problem takes place very often and. A shaded representation can highlight in a clearer way the presence of a hole in the model.e. during the solution of the equations system.e. Moreover there is also the possibility to plot the so called “free edges”. mainly when big models have to be managed and therefore it is necessary to use the “wireframe” visualisation instead of the “shaded” one in order to handle the model more easi- ly. The code. in this way it is possible to have an immediate visual impact in order to understand if the free edges present are the wanted ones or if. generally the pre-processors have some algorithms that execute the check for double nodes inside a user defined tolerance. i.

Shaded visualisation. As an example. Combining various visualisation techniques it is possible to achieve a suggestive representation of the model. Figure 33. Chapter 5 . in figure 34 we report a picture obtained by shrinking and shading a solid finite element model. 101 Figure 32. Wireframe with shrink visualisation.

It would be generally a good rule to use only one kind of element for a given structure. beam elements for bolts. thus risking to give unreliable results. and three rotational. different element types are used. (for example shell and brick) some problems can arise.o. while bricks have only the three translational d. the brick element). due to their geometry. This beam will be modelled in five different ways: the first one is a model made entirely by brick elements. while the fifth model will be an incorrect approach. the following three will represent some possible ways (each with its advantages and disadvantages) to model the con- nection. as beam elements.): shell elements have three translational d. cannot be modelled as plates (thus using shell elements) but they must be built with brick elements. To this purpose we will use. Nevertheless often this procedure is not applicable (indeed it is sometimes exactly what it is wanted. However as we already said. inside a model. We will just mention briefly the other cases.o. in other words these latter ones have null rotational stiffness at their nodes.f.f.o. 102 Figure 34. but this could lead to the creation of a huge model that it would be difficult to handle. as an example. Shaded and shrink visualisation. Clearly in this kind of situations it would be possible to model the whole structure with the “finest” element (i.f.o. rivets and generally for those bodies that are mainly monodimensional pieces. When a node belongs to elements with different d. We will mainly focus our attention on the connection between shell and brick elements because this is the one that the user is tempted to implement the most and because it is the one that could give the more dangerous errors if not correctly used. Chapter 5 .f.. So the compromise is to use the adequate element for each part of the structure: shell elements for plates.e. brick elements for complex parts. the model of a beam clamped at one end and loaded in bending and in shear by a force F applied to the other end (see figure 35). A conceptual modelling error can be made when. each element has at its nodes a different number of degrees of freedom (d. as we will see in Chapter 6) due to the morphology related to the problem itself: let us think of a structure constituted mainly by metal sheets reinforced in some re- gions by means of mechanical parts (such as stiffeners) that.

103 Figure 35. Figure 36. The clamp has been obtained by constraining all the nodes of one face. it is reasonable to think that these will the “correct” results. while in figure 37 the stress contour in the beam axis direction (x axis) is reported. Z direction displacement contour. Clamped beam loaded in bending and shear. as this modelling does not present any sort of problems from the numerical point of view. Chapter 5 . Figure 36 shows the displacement contour in the z direction. Infact. a) Beam modelled with only brick elements We will use the results given by this model as a term of comparison with the following cases.

by Solid Mechanics relationships: FL  clamp   y  72 MPa I F L  middle   y  36 MPa 2I 1 F  L3  end    0. there were a cylindrical hinge (this fact is very similar to what we said in Chpater 3 about constraint conditions for solid element models). Stress contour in x direction.solution I When a hybrid solution is adopted.017 mm 3 EI being: E = 206000 MPa the Young’s modulus I = 3. it is necessary to adopt some precautions: infact. These values are confirmed. 104 Figure 37. for what we said before. Chapter 5 . b) Beam modelled with brick/shell . Beam modelled with brick and shell elements. connected to the bricks. Figure 38. as brick elements do not have the rotational d.. in other words it would be as if along the shell side. connecting shell elements only to the intermediate line of nodes (see figure 38) on bricks will lead to a rotational lability around the y axis. within a certain tolerance generally allowed in structural numerical analysis (and we have to take into account that the mesh is not particularly refined).f.o. The bending moment would not pass from one part to the other while the shear force would be correctly “transmitted”.3333 mm4 the section moment of inertia L = 12 mm the beam length F = 20 N the force loading the beam y = 1 mm the distance of the most stressed fibre from the centre of gravity.

once again. au- tomatically constrain the d. at the interface will not be constrained to ground. Chapter 5 .f. instead of loading the part of the beam modelled by bricks (see the following point e)). to pay attention and to understand how the finite element code in use deals with these problems. with no stiffness to the ground: in this case the lability is avoided because the bend- ing moment will be reacted by the constraints. In figure 40 and 41 are reported respectively the contours of the displacement in z direction and the stress. Figure 40. 105 As we already said some calculation codes.o. Solution I – X direction stress contour for brick elements. when they are assembling the elements and they find a lability. Figure 41. Dummy “T” flange used to guarantee the bending moment continuity between shells and bricks. along the x direction. The first solution to be adopted in order to avoid these problems is to model a dummy flange with shell ele- ments. Figura 39.f. thus creating a sort of “T” as the one shown in figure 39. Solution I – Z direction displacement contour. it is possible to transmit the bending moment as a couple of forces directed along the x axis. taking care to avoid that the rotational d. just for brick elements.o. It is therefore necessary. In this way.

only for brick elements. This solution gives a better agreement in terms of stiffness with the model made entirely by brick elements. c) Beam modelled with brick/shell . far away from interface nodes.solution II The second solution consists in connecting the nodes of the shells to the nodes of the bricks using MPC type el- ements (see figure 42). but they apply to the involved nodes certain mathematical relations. Figure 43. Chapter 5 . each of them towards any other): therefore the con- traction (or the expansion) in z direction is not permitted. is the master node in the definition of the MPC element. Figure 42. are reported. belonging to the shell element. in fact they have not their own specific stiffness. while nodes 1 and 11 (see figure 42).e.e. Nevertheless from a first comparison it is evident that no considerable differences are present: in terms of displacements the shell/brick model is slightly less stiff. In other words node 6 (see figure 42). which in reality is not present. Solution II – Z direction displacement contour. As we already said in Chapter 2. MPC ele- ments do not allow the involved nodes to move relatively (i. following the rules of a rigid body mo- tion. in the connection region the results are not reliable. A consideration must be done: if in solution I we have to face the uncertainity related to the flange stiffness (i. to its thickness). in other words a stiffness. As they are rigid. are the slave nodes: these latter ones substantial- ly are bound to move in relation to how the master node moves and rotates. has been introduced. while from the stress point of view the results are practically coincident with the ones obtained with solution I and therefore in the same way totally unreliable in the interface region. belonging to brick elements. This in some cases is not acceptable. Also in this case the bending moment is transmitted by a couple of forces (in x direction) that arise in nodes 1 and 11 (and in the corresponding vertices on the other side). MPCs are not structural elements. in this case using MPC elements gives a different kind of problem. Shell elements and MPC elements. as it can be noticed looking at the figures. 106 Clearly the results obtained with this solution can be affected by the thickness that is assigned to the shell ele- ments that model the flange. while from the stress point of view the agreement is good. In figure 43 and 44 the contours of z direction dis- placement and of the x direction stress.

of any other arbitrary node.o. Solution III – Stress contour in x direction. Solution II – Stress contour in x direction. 107 Figure 44. In this way it is possible to have that nodes 1. can constrain any arbitrary d. Chapter 5 .f. Figure 46. 6 and 11 can move relatively (i. each of them towards any other) and the at same time can transmit the bending moment as a couple of forces in x direction. d) Beam modelled with brick/shell . Figure 45. of any arbitrary node to the d. Solution III – Z direction displacement contour.e.solution III The last proposed solution consists in using more advance MPC elements: these elements.o. In figure 45 and 46 the contours of the z direction displacement and of the stress in x direction are respectively reported. still based on mathe- matical relationships. similarly to what we obtained with solution II.f.

The model of the situation with the lability cannot be reproduced because it cannot be solved. however. because at the interface a rotational constrained around y axis exists. In this case it is quite easy to realise that there is an error. a part from what we said about the contraction in z direction that in this simple case it is not possible to no- tice. the bending moment is reacted by the constraints. thus allowing to model any kind of internal constraints: simple supports. if attention is not paid the risk is to accept for valid some modelling solutions while they are in reality com- pletely wrong and source of erroneous results. In other situations. As beam elements have six d. hinges. Nevertheless beam elements. In fact. The interface between beam and brick elements is in general present when it is necessary to simulate connection pieces.o. Figure 47 and 48 show the z direction displacement contour and the x direction stress contour for the wrong so- lution. have one more peculiarity with respect to shell elements: for them it is in fact possible to arbitrarily cancel one or more stiffness at their nodes. to their nodes. we report the results related to a solution that con- straints the rotations of the nodes belonging to shell elements. Wrong solution – Stress contour in x direction.f. e) Beam modelled with brick/shell . It can be immediately noticed.wrong solution In order to better highlight the problem we are dealing with. because the elements are just a few and the problem presents a simple analytical solution. 108 Comparing these figures with the corresponding ones for solution II it is possibile to see that no difference ex- ists. thus loading the beam less than what in reality happens.. infact the lability is present when even one of the equations that govern the problem is a linear combination of one ore more of the others: in numerical terms this leads to the impossibility to invert the stiffness matrix. Wrong solution – Z direction displacement contour. Chapter 5 . etc. when it is not so easy to understand the load path. we are facing a problem similar to the one described above. such as bolts or rivets. even just looking at the qualitative deformed shape. due to their wide use in frames modelling. that we are facing erro- neous results. Figure 48. Figure 47.

the ASCII input file still exists but it is created directly by the software. while the latter has to judge the structural integrity of a given object. Let us start with some history. but it can also create problems from the numerical point of view. It is therefore very difficult to assert that a certain finite element code makes errors. had to built a representation of the model “on the paper”: substantially he had do draw a scaled version of the nodes (with their coordinates) and the elements in the model. studying the object to be analysed. Nevertheless there is a numerical error that can be induced by the use. Therefore. bolt. Moreover as beam elements have only one physical dimension. it is also true that also their weakness is in this. writing elements connectivities. even if it is not straightforward that the code will give an error mes- sage: plane stress elements (2D).e. however. in order to connect them to holes edges it is nec- essary to use some tricks: for example a “spider”of MPC elements can be constructed in order to connect the ob- ject (i. realised to constructive purposes. Videoterminals have eliminated the use of perforated cards. 5. from the beam ele- ments nodes that have to be connected to brick elements. having doubts. the structural engineer. they will be hardly able to totally satisfy the most exigent. thanks to graphical programs). even if in order to realise it he uses solid modelling with all the related advantages. When automatic structures calculation was at the beginning. even if the writer thinks. rivet.5 Numerical errors Numerical errors can be greatly related to the user. Once this job was finished it was necessary to report in an appropriate file all the information (node numbering and their locations. of interactive and graphical pre-processing programs. Chapter 2). In fact the user can certainly impose some parameters to be respected. perhaps anachronistically. but the software is based on algorithms that. each medal has its reverse. is facilitated. like the pre-processing phase. that that procedure is very formative for anyone who wants to be involved in automatic structure calculation. If it is true that the great advantage of an automatic mesher consists in the fact that they are able to create the mesh automatically and rapidly. It has then to be pointed out that 3D design has heavily entered our industrial environment. anyone who has tried to write an input file in the way described above certainly does not regret those days. without requiring the user to number nodes. for example. We are clearly talking about days when electronic designers could not even dream of the calculation power that has been reached today by modern calculators and therefore models were necessarily simplified and their dimen- sions were small. More recent times have seen the birth of graphic programs to generate the mesh interactively first and automati- cally later on: today these last ones have become a sort of “add-on” modules for solid modelling programs. It is the dream of the stress engineer that becomes true! Now he can devote himself to the creation of bigger models and he can concentrate on results (the interpreta- tion of which. It must be said that in general modern linear solvers give similar results when they have to deal with a “correct” model. Last but not least we highlight that it is obviously wrong to mix element types with different characteristics in terms of phenomena that is possible to study. as we saw in Chapter 4. 109 To model a beam/brick interface it is therefore sufficient to cancel the three rotational d. concerning mesh quality. in spite of this. etc. taking care to avoid any kind of lability. in fact let us think of erroneous constraint conditions that lead to lability: this is a numerical error.o. he would eliminate all those parts (features) that would render the finite element model uselessly complicated (in some cases the neces- sary modifications are so relevant that it is more convenient to start from scratch and to rebuild the model). pin) to the edge of the hole (see figure 30. in our days irrenounceable. However the design- er has different requirements with respect to stress engineer: the first one has to produce a constructive 2D draw- ing. can not be mixed and interfaced with brick or shell elements (3D). while the unprepared user. even if the physical body is the same in the two cases. despite of how much “intelligent” they can be. Chapter 5 . the model could not be the same (a part from rare cases) because the designer will have to model all those parts necessary to the object construction. elements connectivity) re- quired by the calculation code to build the numerical model of the structure. In fact automatic meshers. it is well known. but the code can not be considered responsible for this mistake. Proceed- ing in this way not only makes solution times longer because of a bigger engage of hardware resources. even those that the structural engineer would not insert due to their low rele- vance from the resistance point of view. structural engineer. thus in part helping in the creation of the input file.f. would directly pass to the meshing phase without any modification. Then if a stress engineer had to handle a 3D model. typing in their coordinates. thus influencing result quality. However.

Since the degrees of freedom of such an element are 8 the matrix will be a 8x8 and “the manu- al” calculation of its eigenvalues presents several difficulties. the equation to be solved is the following (considering as null the structural damp- ing): M u K u  0 (5. 110 when they have to “follow” a complex geometry.2) where [K] is the global stiffness matrix of the structure.02   y    2       It presents the solution x = 104 e y = 100.2) is clearly still valid and [K] coincides with the stiffness matrix of the element. taking into account equation (5. the second method takes advantage on the finite element code itself.3). keeping other conditions firm. in other words a 1% variation of one term of the coef- ficient matrix produces a 100% change in the results! This matrix is definitely ill-conditioned and its conditioning number. an ill-conditioned [K] matrix is very “sen- sitive”.3) λ min The more C is close to unity the more the conditioning will be good. In other words: λ max C (5. It is possible to follow two approaches: the first one consists in demanding the calculation program to print on a file the matrix in order to then calculate the eigenvalues through appropriate software that can manage matrices. In fact if we want to determine the natural frequencies of a given structure. Let us consider the following matrix equation: 1  1  x   4   1 1. having defined this number as the ratio between the maximum and the minimum eigenvalues. in the sense that small changes in one or more of its coefficients create big variations in the results ob- tained with equation (5. built taking into account in an appropriate way all the ele- ments that model the structure itself. is: C = 202 Stiffness matrix eigenvalues and eigenvectors We now want to calculate the conditioning number of the stiffness matrix of the plane stress 4 noded element shown in figure 49. A method to estimate the “numerical quality” of an element consists in calculating the conditioning number of its stiffness matrix. For our aims in the following examples we will refer mainly to structures constituted by a unique element: equa- tion (5. Let us now consider a system very similar to the previous one:  1  1  x   4   1 1.2). The conditioning number for the stiffness matrix As we already said.4) Chapter 5 . finite element method assembles and resolves a matrix equation such as: F  Ku (5. tend to create locally some high distorted elements.01   y    2       The solution of this matrix equation is x = 204 e y = 200. whose pres- ence it would be better to avoid due to the problems we are going to show in what follows.

4). with 2 = . Moreover we can assert what follows: 1.5 mm and the thickness is equal to 1 mm. the squared natural frequencies will ex- actly be the eigenvalues of [K]. considering what we said at the previous point. Omitting mathematical operations that lead to the solution of differential equation (5. 111 where [M] is the mass matrix of the system. once modal analysis for the element of figure 49 has been carried out imposing to its nodes unitary lumped masses in order to have [M] = [I] (the density for the material that constitutes the element has to be posed equal to zero. 2. Perfectly squared plane element Now that we have the proper instruments we can finally procede in the calculation of the eigenvectors of the stiffness matrix for the element shown in figure 49. if they are more than 3 it means that the element presents some instabilities. We obtain the values listed in table 1. in the sense that the nodal displacements are in such a way that the deformation field is null in the points inside the element where deformations are evaluated. Plane stress 4 noded element: the side of the element has a lenght of 6. for a free (not constrained) plane element (as the one of figure 49) 3 null eigenvalues will exist. each eigenvalue represents the double of the energy necessary to deform the element in the correspond- ing eigenvector (mode shape). Therefore. the following relation- ship is obtained: [ K ]  ω 2  [ M]  0 (5.5) where  are the natural frequencies of the structure expressed in radians per second. each one corresponding to a rigid body motion.5 will become similar to: [A]  λ  [I]  0 used for the calculation of the eigenvalues  of [A]. Figure 49. if they are less than 3 it means that one or more of the mode shapes that should be rigid body motions actually generate deformations. If we manage to have [M] as a unity matrix [I] equation 5. Chapter 5 . otherwise the mass matrix [M] will never be a unit matrix).

35E+04 2.58 E+05 82 = 8 2.96E+04 -3.35355    Carrying out the matrix product in equation (5.3) we will have (clearly for min the minimum not null value has been considered): Chapter 5 .67E+04 -5.35355    0.92E+04 -2.35355     0.67E+04 -5. The stiffness matrix [ K ] of the ele- ment (the printing of which in a file has been asked the calculation program) is the following: 9.35E+04 3.35E+04 3.67E+04 3.39E+04 1.82E+03 9.67E+04 9. the energy stored in one element for a given nodal imposed displacement vector {u} can be calculated by the following relationship:  u  K  u 1 E T (5.96E+04 -2.39E+04 -2.67E+04 -5. 112 Eigenvalues 1 = 1 2 1.94 E+05 Table 1 It is possible to observe as the first three eigenvalues are effectively null.35E+04 Having the eigenvalues and the corresponding eigenvectors it is possible to check affirmation 1) related to the energy deformation.67E+04 -3.82E+03 1. From equation (5.96E+04 -2.82E+03 -5.39E+04 2.35E+04 -3.35355  0.82E+03 1.96E+04 2.67E+04 9.92E+04 -3.82E+03 -5.67E+04 1.82E+03 -5.82E+03 1.87 E+04 62 = 6 1. whose eigenvector is:  0.96E+04 -5.39E+04 2.35355   0.92E+04 -5.67E+04 9.39E+04 -2.20 E-11 42 = 4 6.82E+03 -5.6) and multiplying by 2 (see affirmation 1) we will have: 2  E8  2.67E+04 9.6) 2 Let us calculate as an example the nergy related to the eight mode shape.92E+04 -3.87 E+04 52 = 5 6.82E+03 2.58 E+05 72 = 7 1.67E+04 -5.35E+04 3.67E+04 -5.35355  0.18 E-12 32 = 3 2. We can finally calculate the conditioning number for matrix [K] of this element.96E+04 -2.92E+04 -3.39E+04 -3.82E+03 1.67E+04 -5.35355     0.67E+04 -5.92E+04 3.939E  05 This value is practically identical to the one listed in table 1 for 82.82E+03 9.39E+04 2.39E+04 3.35355 u 8      0.35E+04 -2.96E+04 3.00 E-20 2 = 2 2 8.82E+03 -5.67E+04 1.92E+04 2.82E+03 -2.82E+03 1.35E+04 -3.67E+04 9.82E+03 -5.92E+04 3.96E+04 2.82E+03 -5.

but the element still behaves in a good way concerning the rigid body motions (three eigenvalues are still null).41 E-11 32 = 3 2.3) we obtain: λ8 C  5. Eigenvalues 12 = 1 1. The eigenvalues of this element matrix are the ones listed in table 3.3 λ4 Slightly distorted plane element Let us now calculate the conditioning number for the matrix of the element shown in figure 50 following the approach described above. Chapter 5 .5 λ4 The small distortion has lead to a worsening in matrix conditioning. The eigenvalues are listed in table 2. The element of figure 49 has been slightly distorted. 113 λ8 C  4.00 E-20 2 = 2 2 1.12 E+05 Table 2 From equation (5.63 E+04 5 = 5 2 8. Strongly distorted plane element Starting from the element of figure 50 we obtain the element shown in figure 51 by moving the right top node towards the bottom left one.49 E+05 7 = 7 2 1.62 E+05 8 = 8 2 3.36 E+04 62 = 6 1.22 E-11 4 = 4 2 5. Figure 50.

The presence of such an element inside a given mesh does not create any particular problem and it can therefore be tolerated. Eigenvalues 12 = 1 1. Chapter 5 .85 E+05 8 = 8 2 3. The distortion of the element has been intentionally brought to unacceptable levels: now two consecutive sides form an angle close to 180°.83 E-11 32 = 3 3. Unacceptably distorted plane element In figure 52 we report the geometry of an element whose distortion is excessive.33 E+05 72 = 7 1.18 E-11 42 = 4 3. Now the element of figure 49 is highly distorted. 114 Figure 51.4 λ4 As it can be noticed the conditioning number grows as the distortion increases.00 E-20 2 = 2 2 1.92 E+04 62 = 6 1. The eigenvalues of its stiffness matrix are listed in table 4.69 E+05 Table 3 The conditioning number is now: λ8 C  11.24 E+04 52 = 5 8. Figure 52.

of the top left node and applying a downward vertical force to the bottom left node (see figure 53) we would expect to see this last one moving in the direction of the force. but mainly because the minimum eigenvalue decreases.f. in other situations.o. Chapter 5 . Constraints and load conditions for the analysis of the element shown in figure 52. however.00 E-20 32 = 3 2.18 E+05 72 = 7 2.20 E+02 52 = 5 8. In fact if we now execute a static analysis constraining the two translational d.o. the element tends to show some instability forms.00 E-20 22 = 2 1. It could be thought that in an extreme case this eigenvalue will tend to zero. thus taking the null eigenvalues to 4: for what we previously said.21 E+05 82 = 8 4. 115 Eigenvalues 12 = 1 1. Figure 53. It is evident that this situation has no physical meaning and that therefore the distortion has generated unacceptable results. constraining the horizontal translational d. as it can be deduced from figure 54 where the contour of the vertical displacement component is reported. it could not be so easy to understand that the solution has to be discarded. λ8 C  1882 λ4 The use of elements with so distorted a geometry is to be absolutely avoided due to the numerical problems that they can give.14 E+05 Table 4 The matrix conditioning number grows a lot not only because the maximum eigenvalue increases.f of the bottom left node.57 E+04 62 = 6 1.30 E-11 42 = 4 2. On the contrary what happens is exactly the opposite.

83 E+05 82 = 8 4. as expected. listed in table 5.45 E+04 52 = 5 1. besides distorting following the illustrated modalities. as we saw in § 5. divided into two triangles. where the individuation of not valid ele- ments becomes more difficult and where the deformations can assume different characters: in fact a shell element. Clearly the ei- genvalues that have to be calculated in this case.00 E-20 4 = 4 2 8. In this paragraph we have illustrated the problems that can rise when the geometry of a plane element assumes excessively distorted configurations. although triangular ele- ments are in general to be avoided due to their insufficient characteristics. are not anymore those of a single element. Vertical displacement component contour given by the boundary conditions reported in figure 52.e. In figure 55 we report the same element as the one shown in figure 52. but they are the ones related to the matrix obtained assembling the two triangular elements. thus generating ill-conditioned stiffness matrices. 116 Figure 54. Now the loaded node moves in the same direction as the ap- plied force. The presence of distorted elements “inserted” in elements of good quality generally does not influence the glob- al validity of the results. can also have its nodes not lying on a plane.09 E+05 62 = 6 1. although it can hide some potential local problems.00 E-20 32 = 3 1.0116 mm upwards. In a similar condition it is convenient to split the original element into two triangles. as an example. However distorted elements usually have a higher stiffness (i. Clearly analogous things can be said for three-dimensional structures. they are more rigid) and therefore they “absorb” a greater percentage of load with re- Chapter 5 .4 λ4 Figure 56 shows the displacement contour in the vertical direction for this last model when the same constraints and load conditions previously described are applied.59 E+05 Table 5 The conditioning number is now: λ8 C  5. Eigenvalues 1 = 1 2 1.49 E+05 7 = 7 2 3. Unlike what ex- pected the loaded node moves 0.3.00 E-20 22 = 2 1.

Now the vertical displacement component contour is closer to reality. The instruments offered in order to obtain the mesh are many. during the post-processing. Finally it must be said that pre-processors contain inside them some appropriate instruments in order to check and to correct the excessively “ugly” elements. The possibilities to correct some potential “dis- liked” elements. generally pre-processing codes are realised by differ- ent Companies other than the ones that realise the solvers and this. as an exam- ple. The check on multiple nodes and elements represents a very powerful instrument for quality. following some criteria and some parameters that can be set by the user. a part from some exceptions. if on one side pushes to specialisation. high stressed regions appear. Figure 56. but it is a decisive aid in maintaining the mesh inside the desired quality levels.e. no commercial finite element program exists that writes the card for the definition of the beam element in the Chapter 5 . 117 spect to the not distorted surrounding elements: this fact gives a visual impact. It is therefore to the experience of the structural engineer to establish if these points actu- ally present the calculated stress status or if this is due to the presence of elements with an insufficient quality. thus contributing to increase a possible confusion. On the experience of the writer. moreover the possibilities of- fered by graphics allow a very effective visual check of the mesh. 5. following a series of criteria and parameters defined by the user it is certainly not a guarantee to obtain correct results. on the other side can be source of errors. although the default values are generally a good mix valid for the majority of calculation codes. Element of figure 52 split into two triangles. as we have seen.6 Pre-processing errors During years graphical programs for the finite element model construction have become more and more power- ful and sophisticated. Figure 55. It must not be forgotten that. Moreover very often these programs are able to interface with more than one calculation code. from the numerical point of view. i.

however it is not so comprehensible for the user who. but also to verify that it is able to write the input file in the correct way. has to carry out at least “spiny translations”. Chapter 5 . It is therefore a good practice not only to check if the pre-processor in use can support the types of elements that have to be used by the chosen calculation code. And this means that deep nvestigations are needed each time something new is going to be experimented or each time a new release of one or both codes have to be used. 118 same way used by any other code. This fact is comprehensible if we look at it from the point of view of the one who realises the codes and tends to defend his investments. having often to work together with others that maybe have chosen a different code.

Having in this case to deal with just one degree of freedom. and the consequent number of degrees of freedom. even if they are not faced on a day by day basis. 6. On the contrary other methodologies are suitable to solve some particular problems that. has made some of the modeling techniques described in the following paragraphs almost obsolete. where the mesh has to be adequately fine (see Chapter 5). that con- stituted the system to be solved could not be too high. Therefore the number of equations. both from the calculation point of view and the data storage capability.2.1) where {F} is the vector of the forces acting on the structure. {u} is the vector of the displacements (unknown) of predefined points of the structure and [K] is the so called “global stiffness matrix”. it was necessary to have an instrument that could solve big systems of linear alge- braic equations. the opposite end is free to translate only along the direction of the axis spring.e. in order to be practically used. k represents the force with which the spring reacts to the imposition of a unit displacement. A frequent practice was then to use a trick in order to have reliable results in the regions of interest. that in matrix form has the following aspect: F  Ku (6. through some relation- ships and interpolations that here is not the case to recall.1 The superelements FEM has theoretical origins that can be found at the beginning of 1900. sometimes they give serious worries.2 Substructuring As it will be better explained in Appendix B. however it was immediately clear that. Let us explain this concept with a simple example: let the given structure be a spring with an elastic constant k constrained at one end.1) becomes a simple algebraic equation: F  K u and the stiffness of the structure is exactly k. Finally it must be pointed out that if a structure has n degrees of freedom the global stiffness matrix is an nxn square matrix. still maintaining the whole dimensions of [K] under the calculator capabilities. both from the computational point of view and from the memory side. in this case equation (6. But first computers had very low capabilities. the Finite Element Method (FEM) builds. if u = 1 (unit displacement) we obtain that F = K. an algebraic equations system. We should keep in mind that [K] is a symmetric matrix and therefore K ij = Kji. However some situations where they can be profitably used still exist. we now spend a few words on it. CHAPTER 6 Advanced modelling techniques 6. meaning with forces and displacement also moments and rotations (we then talk about generalized forces and displacements). 6.1 Introduction The continuous improvement of calculators more and more powerful. . The generic term Kij is the force that rise in correspondence to the j degree of freedom when to the i degree of freedom a unit displacement is applied. i.

2 A practical example The structure that we are going to analyse is the support reported in figure 1. as the beam element is geometrically constituted by a segment coincident with the simulated beam axis.e. this is connected. we can use at the maximum 2000 nodes to model the whole struc- ture. thanks to the increasing availability of more and more powerful and at the same time cheap computers. located in its horizontal plate. by two forces acting down- wards along the vertical direction. and to proceed with the calculation. let us say. and that it could be easily divided into two parts.2. the metal sheet is constituted by shell elements. in what follows we will show how it is possible to calculate this matrix in the hypothesis that the calculation code in use is not able to perform automati- cally the necessary operations. Moreover. i.e. As an example let us consider to have at our disposal a calculator that can solve at the maximum a 12000 order system (i. as an example. Chapter 6 . each of them approximatively constituted by 1500 nodes. is welded to a very stiff structure. we will also show the differences in the results if one of the two parts of the struc- ture is neglected. along its vertical plate. in terms of displacement in vertical direction and of equivalent Von Mises stress only for the support. as shown in figure 5. for each of these blocks a finite element model is built in such a way that the nodes at the boundaries (lines or surfaces) are coincident with the nodes at the boundaries of the adjacent blocks. because it is possible to easily ana- lyse a structure with 1000000 degrees of freedom even on a Personal Computer. 6. In our days. as we said. With these hypothesis we can not solve the whole problem but we can separately manage the two groups if we take into account the fact that the two superelements are mutually connected through those 20 nodes. 12000 degrees of freedom). two Companies (that might be using two different calculation codes) are analysing two parts of a same structure that have to be mutually interfaced: in order to separately and correctly check the two subsystems it is then sufficient to mutually exchange the stiffness matrices condensed at the interfacing points. we can impose to the nodes lying along its vertical sides some constraints that clamp them to ground (see figure 2). in order to connect these elements to the holes edges it is neces- sary to introduce some “spider” made out by MPC (see Chapter 2). 20 nodes are present. As the metal sheet. as we said above. Figures 3 and 4 show the results obtained from the finite element analysis of the complete structure. due to the small value of its thick- ness with respect to its other dimensions. Let us now suppose we ignore everything about the metal sheet (neither the dimensions nor the material) be- cause this is designed by others and anyway we have to execute the structural analysis of the support. for each block a “con- densed” (or reduced) stiffness matrix is then evaluated at the interfacing nodes. 120 The trick consists in dividing the complete structure that has to be analysed into an appropriate number of sub- systems. this means that. this problem is not as big as it was only a few years ago. this matrix represent the elastic behaviour (at the nodes to which it has been reduced) of the related substructure (this method is also known as “superelement technique”). this sheet is welded along its vertical sides to a very stiff structure. with the sgeometrical and inertial properties of the bolts sections. have been used. to a metal sheet through three bolts. while for the bolts beam elements. if we are using elements with 6 degrees of freedom per node (such as shell elements or beam elements). In this frame. constraining to ground the interfacing points of the group of interest (this would lead to a sit- uation where in those nodes a theoretical infinite stiffness would exist). The support is loaded in correspondence of the two holes. Nevertheless the superelement technique can be profitably used when. let us then suppose that a satisfactory mesh gives 3000 nodes with no further possibilities to be coarsed (in order to still maintain a good accuracy level in the results). along a line where. Gigure 2 shows the finite element model of the complete structure. the support is modeled with brick elements. The only thing that can be done under these hypothesis is to clamp to ground the three nodes at the end of the bolts.

Z direction displacement contour for the support + metal sheet (minimum value = -4. Finite element model for the complete structure. (mesh is hidden). Finite element model for the support (mesh is hidden). 121 Figure 1. Chapter 6 .46 mm). Figure 3. Figure 2.


Figure 4. Equivalent Von Mises stress contour for the support + metal sheet (maximum value = 116 MPa).

Figure 5. The support with the indication of the nodes clamped to ground.

Figures 6 and 7 are analogous respectively to figures 3 and 4 and they report the results of the calculation per-
formed on the support clamped to ground.
From a comparison of the figures it is evident that, although in terms of stresses the differences are negligeable
(about 2.3% more for the first solution), from the deformation point of view the differences are much bigger: the
displacement in z direction is 5.88 times the one recorded for the support clamped to ground.
Therefore neglecting the effective constraint condition of a given structure can lead to errors in the evaluation of
stresses (that are generally underestimated because less deformations imply less stresses) and of deformations.
Both these errors can generate problems, due to failure risks and possible interferences with parts near the one un-
der examination.

Chapter 6


Figure 6. Z direction displacement contour for the support clamped to ground (minimum value = -0.76 mm).

Figure 7. Equivalent Von Mises stress contour for the support clamped to ground (maximum value = 113 MPa).

Let us see then what has to be done in order to get the actual constraint conditions at the interface between the
metal sheet and the support, supposing to have the information relative to the geometry and to the material that
constitute the sheet.
The metal sheet finite element model has to be built, considering also the MPC “spiders” that would connect the
bolts to the holes edges if we should study the complete model (see figure 8).
In order to get the reduced stiffness matrix to the three interfacing points it is sufficient to consecutively impose
unit displacements to each of the 6 x 3 = 18 degrees of freedom (d.o.f.) while all the others are constrained to
ground. In other words:
 all the 6 d.o.f. of nodes II and III have to be constrained;
 all the 6 d.o.f. of node I have to be constrained; except x translation;
 a unit displacement has to be applied to node I, x direction;
 the calculation is executed and the reaction forces on all the 18 d.o.f. have to be read and stored: these
data, due to the considerations done before on the stiffness matrix, represent the first column (or the
first row due to the symmetry) of the matrix itself;
 in order to get the second column constraint conditions have to be changed on node I: all the d.o.f. are
constrained except the y translation; a unit displacement is then applied to node I, y direction; calcula-
tion is executed and reaction forces on all the 18 d.o.f. are read and stored.
Once all the 6 unit displacements (we remember that we are talking about generalised displacements) have been
applied to node I, the same procedure has to be carried out for nodes II and III.
It is important to respect the order in which the displacement are applied and the reaction forces are stored; in
other words it is necessary to maintain the order in which the d.o.f. have been numbered: if for example node I en-
gages the first 6 d.o.f. (x, y, z translation first and X, Y, Z rotations then), node II the d.o.f. from 7 to 12 and node

Chapter 6


three the remaining d.o.f., we will have that the seventh d.o.f. will be the x translation of node II,. The twelveth
d.o.f. will be the Z rotation of node II and so on.

Figure 8. Finite element mesh for the metal sheet. MPC spiders are visible; at their centre the stiffness matrix is determined.

In order to make things easier it is sufficient to build the symbolic matrix equation of the problem we are facing;
in our case we will have:

 FIx  K1,1 ... K1, 4 ... K1,7 ... K1,10 ... ... K1,18   x I 
 ...   ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...   ... 
    
 FIX   K 4, 4 ... K 4,7 ... K 4,10 ... ... K 4,18   X I 
     
 ...   ... ... ... ... ... ... ...   ... 
 FIIx   K 7,7 ... K 7,10 ... ... K 7,18   x II 
   
 ...   ... ... ... ... ...   ... 
 FIIX   SYM K10,10 ... ... K10,18   X II 
     
 ...   ... ... ...   ... 
 ...   ...

...   ... 
    
FIIIZ   K18,18  Z III 

where the roman number is referred to the node while x, y, z, X, Y, Z are the d.o.f. of each node.
For example in order to calculate the first column of [K] we will have to impose x I = 1 while the other d.o.f.
have null displacements:

 FIx  K1,1 ... K1, 4 ... K1,7 ... K1,10 ... ... K1,18   1 
 ...   ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...  ...
    
 FIX   K 4, 4 ... K 4,7 ... K 4,10 ... ... K 4,18   0 
     
 ...   ... ... ... ... ... ... ...  ...
 FIIx   K 7,7 ... K 7,10 ... ... K 7,18   0 
   
 ...   ... ... ... ... ...  ...
 FIIX   SYM K10,10 ... ... K10,18   0 
     
 ...   ... ... ...  ...
 ...   ...

...  ...
    
FIIIZ   K18,18   0 

Chapter 6

to do so it is sufficient to constrain to ground the three nodes of the support. substituting to the constraints in the three interfacing nodes the stiffness matrix of the metal sheet ob- tained using the described procedure.1 Once all the necessary calculations are executed all the [K] elements are known. On the contrary many operations have been necessary to obtain the matrix. nevertheless this does not constitute a problem because usually commercial codes require. a part from marginal differences between the complete structure and this last case.. are involved besides the calculated stiffness data. to the same results given by the structure considered in its wholeness. the calculation code. with their appropriate sign.1 FIX  K 4.1 FIy  K 2.1 . besides the support stiffness matrix condensed to the interfacing nodes (the calculation of which can be performed following the method discussed above). in the sense that Kij will not be exactly equal to Kji. It has to be noticed that the input of stiffness matrices inside a given finite element model does not re- quire the user to perform any particular operation: in fact it is sufficient to indicate the program the nodes numbers and which d. in order to analyse the metal sheet it is not sufficient to have only the stiffness matrix of the support because the information on the loads on the support are missing.f. FIIIZ  K 18. Figure 9 and 10 are analogous respectively to figure 3 and 4 and they show the calculation results obtained on the support. Notes The introduction of the stiffness matrix in the support calculation has led. unlike to what happened to the support.1 FIz  K 3. Generally due to numerical round-off and to finite element mesh asymmetries the obtained matrix will not be “perfectly” symmetric. will take into due consideration the further information that in this way are given to it.1 FIIx  K 7 . We then underline that the metal sheet was not loaded in any point. but with two more advantages: in fact it has reduced the number of degrees of freedom of the problem. substantially due to the round-off errors mentioned above. to execute the calculation and to store the reac- tion forces in these points.o. once the nodes and the relative degrees of freedom involved have been specified to the program. turning the problem upside-down. however we remember that the great part fo commercial codes allow the extraction of the stiffness matrix in an automatic way. allowing at the same time to engage the calculation resources less. In this hypothesis it is necessary to give also the forces that pass through these nodes. both in terms of time needed and in terms of disk space used for temporary files and for results storage.. in order to imput an external stiffness matrix. that only the upper or lower triangle is typed in. FIIX  K 10. 125 Carrying out the matricial product we obtain: FIx  K 1. Chapter 6 .1 FIY  K 5. during the assembly of the global stiffness matrix. these eighteen values. represent the forces to be applied to the corresponding nodes of the metal sheet. It is immediately evident that. therefore.. introducing the stiffness matrix of the metal sheet is an equivalent way to study the complete structure.1 FIZ  K 6. as we saw..1 .

not rare at all in any industrial environment. but the method can be easily generalized and extended to more complicated cases. we will report. although computational capacity of modern computers. From what we have exposed above it is possibile to realise that. As it was already said.3 Submodelling Generally in a finite element analysis it would be a good practice to perform various calculation iterations on a same structure in order to establish which is the best mesh density to obtain reliable results and at the same time maintaining calculation times as low as possible considering the hardware resources at our disposal. together with the simplicity in generating and managing considerably big models given by current pre- processing software. In this paragraph we will show the submodelling technique by means of a simple example. would not be manageable. Chapter 6 . Figure 10. where the beneficial effects that can be obtained with this system are more evident. 126 Figure 9. where more than one Company are involved in the same project. nevertheless in some cases it is useful to employ some tricks to solve those models that. Z direction displacement contour for the support + stiffness matrix (minimum value = -4. 6. makes almost useless the division of the whole structure in sub-groups. to a purely demonstrative purpose. the need to reduce the calculation resources engagement is in our days less felt than be- fore. Equivalent Von Mises stress contour for the support + stiffness matrix (maximum value = 116 MPa). substructuring can still be used profitably in the case.45 mm). also an example taken from industrial practice where the submodelling has been used profitably. despite the modern hardware power.

it is loaded by a tensile force F = 3500 N along its axis: We want to execute a structural analysis a plane stress finite element model. Number of nodes: 111 Taking into account the stress concentration factor due to the presence of the hole (K t = 2. Figure 12.1 A practical example Let us consider the plate shown in figure 11. due to the double symmetry only a quarter of the plate is modeled (see Chapter 3). Coarse mesh for a quarter of the plate. Steel plate with a hole in the middle: thickness is 1 mm. E.3 ratio) theoretical cal- culations for the maximum stress in the y direction give: 3500 σ yy   2. as it can be found from R. Peterson – Stress Concentration Factors for a hole diameter/ length = 15/50 = 0. Figure 11.35  235 MPa 1 50  15 Chapter 6 .35. Incidentally we notice that the calculation code used for this example requires the elements lying in the yz plane of the global reference sys- tem. a coarse mesh of the plate is reported in figure 12. Once the calculation has been performed the obtained contour for the stress in y direction is reported in figures 13 e 14.3. 127 6.

As it will be better explained in Appendix B. This is due. with an error equal to about 17%. It is possible to notice how this is decisively finer that the one used for the analysis of the whole plate: despite this fact the nodes (and therefore the number of degrees of freedom and as consequence the number of equations) are fewer than the previous case. as we also saw in Chapter 5. It is now necessary to make sure that this submodel takes into account. Y direction stress contour. the remaining part of the plate. in its boundary conditions. From a comparison with the results shown in figures 13 and 14 it can be noticed that the finite element model underestimates the actual value of maximum stress. Let us then imagine to extract form the original structure the region reported in figure 15 and to generate on it the mesh shown in figure 16. shape functions Chapter 6 . The problem is solved knowing the “shape functions” of the element in use. and to execute the calculation only for this area. therefore using the results obtained in the first phase of the calculation. However it would be possible to refine the mesh only in one region. foreseeing a better agreement between the new numerical results and the theoretical calculations. obvi- ously taking into account somehow the remaining part of the structure. Y direction stress contour: zoomed view of the hole region (maximum value = 196 MPa). 128 Figure 13. It is possible to do so just imposing at the boundary the same displacements that it “saw” in the previous model. We immediately have to face a problem: the submodel has. Figure 14. mainly to a too coarse mesh. along all its boundary. for example the one which presents the points with the highest stress level found with the first step. a higher number of nodes with respect to the coarse model and it is therefore necessary to assign to the “exceeding” nodes a displacement value that has to be the same as the corresponding points undergone in the coarse model. Therefore to have a better accuracy in the results the next step would be to regenerate the mesh on the whole plate imposing a higher density and then to execute the analysis once again.

We said that the displacement of P is given as a function of the displacement of the vertices (nodes).3) where y and z are the coordinates of P in the global reference system and bi (i = 1. 129 are polynomial equations that give the displacement components of any point inside the element as a function of the displacement of the nodes that define the element itself. Figure 16. we will just say that for this example we used a code based on the H type formulation and that the elements have bi- linear shape functions (4 noded quadrilateral elements). while in the P type formulation they can reach order nine.8) are some constants that have to be determined in the way described in the following. we can therefore write: u1y = b1 + b2y1 + b3z1 + b4z1y1 u2y = b1 + b2y2 + b3z2 + b4z2y2 u3y = b1 + b2y3 + b3z3 + b4z3y3 u4y = b1 + b2y4 + b3z4 + b4z4y4 u1z = b5 + b6y1 + b7z1 + b8z1y1 u2z = b5 + b6y2 + b7z2 + b8z2y2 u3z = b5 + b6y3 + b7z3 + b8z3y3 u4z = b5 + b6y4 + b7z4 + b8z4y4 Chapter 6 . Figure 15. Finer mesh for the “extracted” region.. The boundary that divides the coarse model from the submodel is represented in red. Number of nodes: 45. . related to the number of nodes that define the element. Therefore the displacement components of an arbitrary point P belonging to a generic element are expressed by the following relationships (see also figure 17): uy(P) = b1 + b2y + b3z + b4zy (6. Generally. in the H type formulation of the Finite Element Method.2) uz(P) = b5 + b6y + b7z + b8zy (6. 2. the maximum order of the polynomial equa- tions is two.. This is not the seat where to discuss about which of the two formulations is better than the other.

4)  u1z  0 0 0 0 1 y1 z1 z1 y1  b 5    u 2 z  0 0 0 0 1 y2 z2 z 2 y 2  b 6        u 3 z  0 0 0 0 1 y3 z3 z 3 y 3  b 7    u  0 0 z 4 y 4  b 8   4z   0 0 1 y4 z4 Figure 17. 3. Coming back to our example. for each of the nodes of the previous point the displacement components have to be calculated using shape functions.e. the coarse one) has been built already thinking of taking ad- vantage in a further step of submodelling and therefore the boundary has such a shape that it does not cross the elements but it lies on their sides. once the bi constants of each element are known. for each of these elements the constants vector {b} has to be calculated following the indicated procedure. 4 noded quadrilateral plane element. 4) the nodal coordinates and with ujy. zj (j = 1.e. 2. ujz the displacement components of the nodes themselves. 4. in this way some nodes of the submodel are coincident with the ones of the coarse model. If we suppose to know ujy. ujz we can also calculate the 8 constants bi through the following matricial equation:  u1y  1 y1 z1 z1 y1 0 0 0 0   b1  u  1 y  2y   2 z2 z2 y2 0 0 0 0  b 2  u 3 y  1 y 3 z3 z3 y3 0 0 0 0  b 3        u 4 y  1 y 4 z4 z4 y4 0 0 0 0  b 4      (6. the coordinates of the nodes that lie on the boundary have to be located and it has to be established to which elements of the coarse model they belong to. it is necessary to proceed in the following way: 1. are crossed by the dividing bound a- ry) have to be located. thus simplifying the following calculation of points dis- placements. Chapter 6 .  each side of the elements in the coarse mesh that lie on the boundary has been divided exactly into two halves in order to furtherly simplify the “manual” management of the considered example. It is worth doing some considerations:  in our example the original model (i. these values have to be applied to the nodes of the submodel and the calculation has to be executed.. the elements in the corse model that lie on the submodel boundary (i. For what we previously said. for these elements the displacement components for the 4 nodes have to be extracted (from the results file). 6. 130 having indicated with yj. in the submodel. 5.. we can retrieve the displacement of any point placed inside the element itself.

Figure 18.0 9.4780E-03 0. Coarse mesh element together with the coordinates of the submodel node N.9251E-03 -5. and the element of the coarse model to which it belongs.2) and (6. b6 = -0. By repeating the same procedure for all the other nodes we are able to retrieve all the boundary conditions of the submodel and we can therefore execute the calculation with a finer mesh generated only in the region of interest.0000E+00 Nodo 3 167.0084777 mm uz(N) = -0. b4 = 1.589 220. b7 = -0.000216.6742779.000237. thus avoiding any possible calculation errors that might be introduced in manual operations and therefore allowing to apply the method on more complex structures. Solving equation (6.003202.0318E-04 Table 1 In what follows we will show step by step how to retrieve the displacement components for node N of the sub- model shown in figure 16. using boundaries with articulated shapes and with big differences in mesh densities between the coarse model and the submodel.0 8.25 223.875 215.3).005E-06 Then. while in table 1 the coordinates of the element nodes and the related displace- ment components are listed.125 7. b5 = 0. Chapter 6 .0000E+00 Nodo 27 167. b8 = 1.000279 mm These are therefore the displacement components that have to be assigned to node N of the submodel mesh.829E-05.5777E-04 Nodo 24 162. 131 We emphasize that these simplifications do not compromise the general validity of this method.1857E-03 -4. recalling equations (6. together with its coordinates. NODES Y z uy uz Nodo 2 162.498 7.4) in order to obtain vector {b} we will have: b1 = 0. we obtain: uy(N) = 0.0837E-03 0. b2 = -0. figure 18 illustrates this node.0508918.003794.25 215. in fact modern commercial software are able to automatically handle the procedure indicated by previous points from 1 to 6. b3 = -0.

also the maximum stress value has risen: now the percentage error is around 8. 132 Figure 19 reports the contour for the stress in y direction of the submodel. while in the last case the odal displacements field is the one that comes from a finer mesh and therefore it is affected by smaller discretisation error. Figure 19. automatically by the software by simply drawing on the coarse model the boundary of the submodel. However it is necessary to notice that the last model has 389 nodes which give. Y direction stress contour for the submodel (maximum value = 215 MPa). Nevertheless it is necessary to spend a few more words on this subject. as we already said above.8%. 728 degrees of freedom. It is immediately clear how in this simple case it is not worth using submodelling. however what has been said up to this point is clearly sufficient to illustrates the advantages of the submodelling technique. 80 degrees of freedom) on the same computer the engaged time was 0.413 minutes were necessary. thus obtaining for example the model shown in figures 20 and 21. This better agreement with theoretical results with respect to what we obtained with the submodel is not surpris- ing. from a comparison with figure 14 re- sults it is immediately clear that the behaviour is practically the same: some peaks have been “smoothed”. although the operations required to retrieve the boundary conditions of the submod- el can be carried out. considering constraint condi- tions. By executing the analysis of this model we obtain the results reported in figures 22 and 23. Notes If despite the mesh refinement the error is considered to be still too high we could think of starting again from the original mesh and dividing the elements sides on the boundary into three parts instead of two. In fact the determination of the boundary conditions to be assigned to the submodel was based on the nodal displacements field od the coarse model. giving a 3. To solve this problem 1.5%. Chapter 6 . while for the submodel (45 nodes. thus obtaining an even finer mesh. in order to obtain similar results we should have refined the mesh on the whole model (a part from considering mesh transitions) and not only in the hole region. If we had not used the submodel.092 minutes to which the time need- ed to solve the coarse model (0. thus in- dicating that model sensibility to stress gradients has been improved.109 minutes) has to be added. Now the percentage error has furtherly decreased.

Complete model with a finer mesh with respect to figure 12. 133 Figure 20. Figure 21. Figure 22. Zoomed view of the hole region for the mesh of figure 20. Number of nodes: 389. Y direction stress contour for the model shown in figure 20. Chapter 6 . Now the mesh density is the same as the one used for the submodel (see figure 16).

for shells and 3 d. It is however necessary to be careful (as we saw in Chapter 5) when mutually connecting dif- ferent element types (which have at their nodes a different number of degrees of freedom: typically 6 d. when we have to deal with big models and the regions of interest (i. Chapter 6 . 134 Figure 23. for bricks). Zoomed view of the hole region (maximum value = 226 MPa). of a pressure vessel that is globally modeled with shell elements. it is then possible to realize the regions that connect the barrel to the bottom with brick type elements (as shown in figure 24) in order to better catch the stress status generated by the border effects and to evaluate the stress distribution through the thickness. Figure 24.2). moreover. Nevertheless as the times required to the solution and the disk space used by temporary files are not proportion- al to the number of degrees of freedom of the problem to be solved (see also Appendix A). in terms of CPU times and from the hardware engagement point of view. Let us think. Y direction stress contour. as an example. submodelling does not allow an easy interfacing be- tween two different calculation codes.o. We now briefly mention a further aspect of submodelling which consists in modeling those parts of a given structure which we are not interested in with less “refined”elements and on the contrary to model with more so- phisticated elements the regions considered as critical. the results at the interface are not reli- able.o. Angular portion for a hybrid (shells + bricks) finite element model. which would be impossible if we exclusively used shell elements. because the connection has to be done through the displacements field of the boundary and this might lead to a huge quantity of data that could be hardly managed.f.f. With respect to the substructuring technique (see § 6.e. the ones to be submodelled) are not too many. the submodelling tech- nique can be profitably used. as it always happens in these cases.

while through the construction of a submodel it has been possible to achieve satisfactory result quite rapidly a. 135 Finally in figures 25. Figure 27. Chapter 6 . b):middle section (the bolt is not represented). The extracted region is the one with the most loaded bolt. From this model boundary conditions have been extracted and then ap- plied to the submodel shown in figure 27. 26 and 27 we report an example where the submodelling technique has been used to smart- ly solve a complex problem. b): rear view (engine vane connec- tion side). as some non linearities (due to contacts among the various parts) were present. a):front view. A portion of the model shown in figure 25. solving the complete model would have presented many difficulties. Finite element model for an engine nacelle inlet (civil aircraft). We are talking about the connection between two parts of an engine nacelle for a civil aircraft: the connection is obtained by means of preloaded bolts with an interposed spacer. a): complete submodel. Figure 25. Submodel to study the flange connection. Figure 26.

using elements that can manage orthotropic material type (i. To avoid this effect it is possible to proceed in two ways: 1. for example the code used in this example has the possibility to manage two dimensional elements with orthotropic characteristiques. figure 29 shows the mesh of the flywheel and of the part of the shaft involved by the interference fitting (noticethat the code used for this example requires the elements lying in the yz plane). Therefore. if we do not have at our disposal a program that handles orthotropic elements. without requiring the use of gap elements. However in order to evaluate the stress status generated by a forced coupling (such as shrinking-on) it is possi- ble to use a classic linear-elastic solver and to simulate the interference fitting imposing to the shaft a thermal ex- pansion corresponding to the given interference and without using contact surfaces or gap elements. shafts and hubs are here considered as “glued” together. Chapter 6 .025 mm. which lead to a maximum interference i = 0. a part from an exception that will be discussed later. while typically to solve the problem of a contact between two parts using the finite element method it is necessary to use the so called “gap elements” that give the solution through some iterative techniques. thus having the possibility to assign the material all the steel characteristics and a linear thermal expansion coefficient equal to zero in the direction where expansion has to be avoided. Here the fitting between a shaft and a flywheel is represented. The important thing is that the couple T- gives the desired interference i. based on non linear calculations.025 mm be the maximum interference of the fitting. we will also have an axial component of expansion. which are more difficult to be used both in terms of modelling and managing. Modern and more sophisticated calculation codes have introduced the possibility to handle contacts through elements surfaces. In order to obtain an expansion equal to i we would have to impose to the shaft a temperature given by the following equation: i T α d where d is the nominal diameter of the coupling and  the linear thermal expansion coefficient. Figure 28. for which an arbi- trary and comfortable value can be chosen: in fact we are not interested in the thermal problem as the imposition of T is just a trick. Nevertheless. Let us suppose to calculate the pressure that rises at the interface between the two elements shown in figure 28 when they are fitted together. In the following we will discuss some practical examples and whenever possible we will compare the results ob- tained by the numerical method with those obtained by theoretical relationships. In order to guarantee a stable coupling some toler- ances are needed. 136 6. Taking advantage of the axial symmetry we decide to model the structure with axisymmetric elements (see Chapter 2).e. while the 3D element library uses only isotropic materials. by doing so. 2. even if in reality this will not be present.4 Simulating interference fittings (shrinking-on) Generally in order to evaluate the stress status inside two parts joined by an interference fitting Solid Mechanics relationships are used. in the sense that at their interface they share common nodes. Let i = 0. that presents different properties along three mutually orthogonal directions). it is possible to react the axial expansion with an appropriate compressive force.

The axisymmetric finite element model: the green part is the shaft. By assuming  = 0. which at the interface between the two parts represents the contact pressure) and in figure 31 (hoop stress).66 °C By introducing this value in the finite element model we obtain the stress status the contour of which is repre- sented in figure 30 (radial stress. Also in this case looking in the numerical results file we can find that the maxi- mum value is 43. Chapter 6 . in a following example. Radial stress contour (y direction) for the flywheel (zoomed view of the shrinking-on area). Figure 30.8 MPa. while we will show the second one.8 MPa. while the axial stress is null. while the red mesh is the flywheel. 137 For this case we choose the first way. Figure 31. less trivial. Hoop stress contour (x direction).00001 °C-1 we have: T = 41. Looking at the numeri- cal results file we can find that the value at the interface with the shaft is equal to -42. Figure 29.

5 MPa Chapter 6 . d By substituting we will obtain: p a2  1     1 p  S  ε θF   2  ν E E a  1  Here we have done the hypothesis that the two parts are built with the same material. We then know that: d F   F  d d S   S  d being d the nominal value of the shrinking-on (see figure 28) and  the deformations in the circumeferential (hoop) direction (see Chapter 1). The interference is given by: i  d F  d S having indicated with dF the flywheel hole diameter and with dS the shaft diameter. 138 Let us now proceed with the comparison with theoretical results. At this point. It is first of all necessary to determine the rela- tionship that relates contact pressure to interference. we finally retrieve: p = 42. Therefore we will have: i  d   F   S  Moreover:  σ θ  ν  σ a  σ r   1 εθ  E The following relationships are also to be used:  Shaft:  S   p  rS   p  aS  0  Flywheel: a2  1 σ θF  p  σ rF   p σ aF  0 a2  1 D being a  . but it is possible to gener- alize by using the appropriate value of E for the two bodies. we obtain a linear equation that relates the contact pressure to the in- terference between two parts constituted by the same material: E  i a 2 1 p  d 2a2 Posing E = 206000 MPa for steel and being a = 10. by substituting in the interference I rela- tionship and by performing the calculations.

e. Let us consider as an example a locomotive wheel (represented in figure 32) that is forced on its axle with a maximum interference i = 0.86 MPa σr  0 d = d = 60 mm σ θ  43. The value of the temperature T to be assigned to the nodes of the shaft is given by: Chapter 6 . The nominal diameter of the shrinking-on fitting with the axle is 215 mm. we can cal- culate the hoop and the radial stresses (being null the axial stress) for the flywheel: 2 D   1 σ θ  p   2 d a 1 2 D   1 σ r  p   2 d a 1 where d is the generic diameter. Nevertheless rarely in engineering practice it is possible to deal with bodies that have a constant thickness in the radial direction (i. Figure 32.3 MPa σ r   p   42.23 mm. 139 Once the pressure is known. while the rolling diameter is 1250 mm. bodies for which the ratio D/d is constant along their axis). because the D/d ratio is not constant anymore. Section view for a locomotive wheel. through the relationships used for “thick” cylinders (Lamé equations). In this case the contact pressure of the shrinking-on coupling will not be constant along the axis but it will be higher where the wheel is stiffer. In order to eliminate the axial thermal expansion also in this case we will use orthotropic axisymmetric ele- ments. Let us then proceed with the finite element calculation. In particular we will have: d = D = 600 mm σ θ  0. in figure 33 the model of the wheel is shown. The analytical calculation of the stress status will therefore present some difficulties.5 MPa As it can be noticed the agreement between the results obtained by the two methods is impressive and therefore in these cases it can be useless to create a finite element model.

It has been obtained by an automatic mesher starting from the boundaries. Figure 33. asking the program to increase the number of the elements in the region of the interface with the axle.00001 °C-1. The axisymmetric finite element mesh for the wheel reported in figure 32. as we already said. but it would be necessary to take into account the different stiffness (and therefore the different deformations) of each “slice” and this implies the writing of some complex congruence equations. In this case an analytical calculation. but it becomes higher as the D/d ratio increases. Chapter 6 . The high density regions far away from the shrinking-on are due to the presence of small fillets with respect to the general dimensions of the model. Radial stress (y direction) for the wheel shown in figure 32 (minimum = -94MPa). Figures 34 e 35 show respectively the stresses in the radial and in the hoop directions. 140 i T  106. would be quite complex: it would be possible to think of dividing the wheel into some “slices”. As we already previously mentioned it can be noticed that the contact pressure is not constant along the axis. Figure 34. each of them with its own D/d value. and to then deter- mine for each “slice” contact pressure and stress status through the equations sees in the previous example.98 C α d having chosen once again  = 0.

In this case the highest values are where the D/d ratio is the lowest (maximum = 200 MPa). in which a tubular element is forced with a maximum interference i = 0. Chapter 6 . while it is quite easy to take it into account in a finite element model. b) hidden mesh model representation. Hoop stress (x direction) for the wheel shown in figure 32. between the axle and the wheel. the effect due to the centrifugal force that.08 mm. besides a modification in the stress values. An alternative approach would be to divide the wheel. Let us consider the support for a locomotive gear motor (shown in figure 36 through its finite element mesh). Gear motor support. in this case no criteria exist. also in this case it necessary to write some complex congruence equations. Figure 36. It is worth to emphasize that both the solutions proposed above imply certain discretizations that generate only an approximation of the solution without leading to the exact result. into some concentrical rings. a part from the stress engineer experience. instead of cutting it into “slices”. 141 Figure 35. the error made can be decreased by increasing the number of the “slices” (or of the rings) while the analytical complexity will increase as by following either one method or the other will give a system whose equations are not independent. Moreover it has to be highlighted that in this example we have neglected. the introduction of this other parameter in the analytical equations would furtherly complicate things. gives a decrease in the contact pressure that has to be taken into account to avoid possible slidings. a) finite element mesh. for simplicity reasons. each with a thickness given by the average between the intrados and extrados thicknesses of each ring.The shrinking-on diameter is 140 mm while the internal diameter of the tubolar element is 105 mm. With the third example we want to illustrate a case where the analytical approach would force to a drastic sim- plification of the problem. that will make the transmission of the motor torque impossible. to choose among all the possible methods that can be followed.

6) the terms have opposite signs because the thermal expansion is. while the effect of N is a compressive deformation. constituted by principal stresses and strains due to the axial symmetry. Neglecting the mathematical operations that lead to the solution of the system constituted by equations (6. in any arbitrary point of the tubular element.6) we obtain the following expressions for T and N: i E  Ai T N ν  1 d  α d  1  ν  Chapter 6 .6) E A It must be noticed that in equation (6. by con- vention. as we already mentioned above it is not possible to use 3D orthotropic type elements. since for the tubular element only the thermal expansion and the axial compression exist. Let us then see how to proceed. we will have (A = section of the tubolar element): N σ r  σθ  0 σa   A Therefore: 1  N  i     ν    α  T  d (6. 142 Due to the calculation code in use. Therefore in order to react the axial thermal expansion it is necessary to apply a compressive force N which has to create a shortening of the tubular element equal to the thermal expansion. i T  57. in this case the constitutive equations of the thermo-elastic problem are the following:  σ r  ν  σ θ  σ a   α  T 1 εr  E ε θ   σ θ  ν  σ r  σ a   α  T 1 E ε a   σ a  ν  σ θ  σ r   α  T 1 E We then have: i  εθ d And. positive when it is tractive.14 C α d because the subsequent compression given by N (which is still to be evaluated) gives a further radial deformation. In conclusion T and N values are not independent one another. Stress status and strain status given by T and N are.5) and (6. However it is not possible to assign a temperature to the nodes of the tubular element.5) E  A   A second relationship between T and N can be obtained by imposing a null axial deformation: 1  N εa      αT  0 (6. but their combined effect has to generate a global radial expansion equal to i. thus giving a bigger interference than what is actually needed.

With the fourth example we will deal with a specific problem that occured during the design phase of a tram motor bogie. Figure 38. Zoomed view of the shrinking-on region. constituted by two couples of cages (which house the traction motors) mutually connected by a cen- tral box-type beam. which has to simulate in an adequate way the shrinking-on phenomenon. Equivalent Von Mises stress generated by a forced coupling of a tubular element in the support housing. as shown in figure 39. the stress states gen- erated by the load conditions for which the object has been designed have to be superimposed to the stresses given by the shrinking-on. Figures 37 and 38 show the equivalent Von Mises stress contour generated by the force coupling between the support and the tubular element. 143 from which we can retrieve the numerical values to be inserted in the finite element model. the analytical difficulties are practically unsurmountable if we do not use some simplifications that could allow to find a “number” on which it is however not possible to give a judgment of correctness. Obviously in this case. Figure 37. as in the great part of the situations. The upper and lower cages (see figure 40) are connected together by Chapter 6 . when we have to deal with a body with a complex geometry (no axial symmetry. The solution of the problem by implementing a threedimensional finite element model. As we have seen. becomes then indispensable for a correct evaluation of the stress status. non constant D/d ratios).

It is therefore clear that before starting to face this kind of calculation it is necessary to establish the value of the forces involved. during normal service. which can become worse due to dynamic effects. an excessive wear due to continu- ous impacts between the interfacing surfaces. in fact in order to avoid. the pressure has to stretch the pin and to enlarge the hole in the cage). The problem we are dealing with is about the determination of the interference to be assigned to the coupling between the pins and the cages. Hexaggerating in the interference value to guarantee this condition without inquiring deeply in this phenomenon could be counter-productive because some resistance problems could rise also from a static point of view.e. Figure 39. Let us suppose that the preload acting on the bolts is sufficient to avoid the separation between the upper and lower cages (this problem does not directly involve the subject we are discussing and therefore we will accept this hypothesis). 144 bolt connections and by four pins. in this case on the pins only shear forces will act. Finite element model of the upper and lower cages. it is necessary to be sure that these present in each load condition and in each point of their mutual contact a negative value for the pressure (i. Chapter 6 . these pins are there to react the shear forces that would tend to make the cages sliding one over the other. located at the four vertices of the cages themselves. Figure 40. in this phase the pins have been simulated with beam type elements having the geometrical and inertial properties of the pins themselves. The values of these forces have been calculated using the complete finite element model (see figure 39) subjected to the normal service load conditions. Tram motor bogie frame.

where the thickness between the tangent to the hole and the edge of the cage is minimum (see figure 42). we will suppose that T will act in a direction which is normal to the above mentioned thickness and with the direction shown in figure 43. Chapter 6 .e. to face our problem. As the calculation code used does not have gap elements for contact problems. Before proceeding with the description of the model and of the calculation method it is worth to do some con- siderations: 1. a submodel has been constructed (see figure 41) using 2D plane strain elements (see Chapter 2) due to the high value of the thickness (35 mm) in the region involved in the shrinking-on with respect to the pin dimensions (diameter equal to 40 mm).00001 1/°C in the two directions belonging to the plane and null in the direction of the pin axis (normal to the plane). All the previously listed points are pejorative of the actual situation and therefore they are conservative. the interference phenomenon will be simulated using one of the methods described previously. between the contact surfaces of the upper and lower cages and that actually tends to absorb part of the shear action and therefore to make the pins work less. 145 Results post-processing of this first calculation phase gave the maximum value of the shear force acting on the pins: T = 85000 N Then. Poisson coefficient for the steel in all the three directions. i. it does not matter to know on which of the four pins the T value is present because we will suppose that T will act on the pin the position of which is most critical for the cage. Figure 41. thanks to the preload of the bolts. 2. in particular the pin has been modeled with plane strain elements and with a material with orthotropic characteristics: elastic modulus. linear thermal expansion coefficient equal to 0. 3. Plane strain finite element submodel of the pin and of a portion of the cage. The portion of the cage has been modeled with plane strain elements and an isotropic material with steel properties. we then emphasize that we are not taking into account the friction that rises.

in order to correctly simulate the interaction mechanism pin-cage it has been necessary to connect the elements that constitute the pin to those that form the cage by means of beam type elements radially disposed. Direction and sense of the shear force T. 146 Figure 42. The triangles in the nodes of the vertical left edge represent the constraint conditions (the horizontal translation is prevented). This has been done because it is now necessary to establish if there is the possibility of a separation between the parts forced together by the shrinking-on and it is not therefore possible. Constraint conditions bind the cage portion to ground along the left vertical side (see figure 44) Due to the presence of the shear force T the problem does not present any axial symmetry as it does not either from the geometrical point of view. as shown in figure 45. Minimum thickness of the cage. Figure 43. to consider the pin and the cage as if they were “glued” together. Figure 44. Therefore. Chapter 6 . the inertial properties of these beams are such that they avoid to substantially alter the stiffness of the parts involved. Cage mesh. as we have done in the previous examples.

Chapter 6 . thus re- producing in an adequate way the interaction phenomenon existing between the two parts that constitute the coupling. because the critical part is the cage and not the pin. θ  50C αd being d = 40 mm the pin diameter and  the linear thermal expansion coefficient. A zoomed view of a model region. even only one beam is subjected to a tensile force it will be necessary to go to the next point. if. Typically the calculation iterations will be as follows:  imposition of a starting value for the interference to which a temperature  to be imposed to the pin nodes corresponds.  incrementing the value of the interference to which a new temperature  to be assigned to the pin nodes will correspond. this fact does not substantially affect the calculation results.  checking of the stress status in beam elements: if for all of them the axial forces are compressive the cycle is finished and therefore it will be necessary to check the stress status inside the cage. The introduction of these beam elements has the effect to reduce the pin diameter. having kept the hole diameter equal to 40 mm and considering that the beams have a lenght of 0. In what follows we will report the calculation iterations. Once the iterations are finished it will be necessary to establish the coupling definition according to the ISO sys- tem and to check once again the edge cases of minimum and maximum interference.5 mm. This trick has a double aim: 1. it allows the transmission of the forces between the pin and the cage only in the radial direction. acting in the tangential direction. it facilitates the checking of the calculation iterations that will be necessary: in fact the separation between the pin and the cage is present when just one of the beam elements has a tensile axial force instead of a compressive one. as we said right above.02 mm. Moreover constraint conditions at the ends of these beam elements are such that each of them represents a sim- ple support constraint. as shown in figure 43.  calculation execution. 1) Initial condition (phase 1): i i = 0. 147 Figure 45. 2. on the other hand. as we will see here below.  T force application. in fact. the diameter of the pin has to be necessarily equal to 39 mm. between the pin and the cage. In red we can see the beam elements that connect the cage elements to the pin elements. In other words we can say that in this way we have introduced a sort of simplified gap elements and that the necessary iterations to achieve convergence are performed “manually” with a series of linear calculation.

thus supposing to bring it to the double of its initial value. far away from the allowable limit equal to 370 MPa. Figure 47. as expected it is possible to notice an in- crease in the stress status value on the side where T force pushes. The beam elements inside the indicated angular sector are the ones that undergo a traction status. Proceeding in the calculation with the above reported interference value and with T = 85000 N we find that ten beam elements undergo a tensile axial force (those beams are shown in figure 47). where the beams elements undergoing a tensile status are located. Figure 48 shows the equivalent Von Mises stress contour for the cage. Figure 46. Equivalent Von Mises stress contour given by the shrinking-on effect by itself for phase 1. while on the opposite side a corresponding de- crese is present.e. Chapter 6 . T = 0) in order to just check if the stress status generated by the forced coupling could be unacceptable for the material that constitute the cage. It is therefore necessary to increase the interference value. Figure 46 shows the equivalent Von Mises stress contour for the cage. it can be noticed that the maximum value is 106 MPa. 148 Before starting the calculation for these conditions an inquiry on the shrinking-on effect by itself has been done (i.

expressed in terms of equivalent Von Mises stress. 2) Second phase: i i = 0. We underline that also now the maximum value (213 MPa) is still far away from the allowable limit.   100 C d Also in this case before proceeding with the complete calculation we execute an analysis for the stress status given by the shrinking-on effect on its own. 149 Figure 48. The results. are shown in figure 49 for the cage. Chapter 6 . Figure 49.04 mm. Equivalent Von Mises stress given by shrinking-on effect plus the shear action T for phase 1. Equivalent Von Mises stress contour given by the shrinking-on effect by itself for phase 2.

Also in this case. The maximum value is now equal to 205 MPa and brings the reserve factor to: 370 η  1.032 mm.ssh being sis the lower deviation of the shaft (to be determined) e ssh the upper deviation of the hole (equal to the foun- damental tolerance as we are using a hole-basis system).49 247 In order to furtherly decrease the stress values we execute another step of the iteration. Once the complete calculation has been performed it is possible to notice that any of the beams undergoes a ten- sile force and therefore. once the calculation considering also the force T has been performed. for a 40 mm diameter hole. ast we said above. we find that none of the beam elements undergoes a traction force.025 mm. Therefore we have: Chapter 6 .   80 C d Figure 51 shows the equivalent Von Mises stress contour given by the shrinking-on effect on its own: the maxi- mum value has decreased with respect to the previous condition.80 205 It is now necessary to determine the coupling ISO identification that can guarantee a minimum interference big- ger or at least equal to 0. equal to 0. Equivalent Von Mises stress given by shrinking-on effect plus the shear action T for phase 2. We adopt the hole-basis system and we establish an IT7 machining quality. With these data we get a value for the foundamental tolerance. the maximum value is equal to 247 MPa. Figure 50 shows the equivalent Von Mises stress contour for the cage. therefore an interference value as the one adopted satisfies the require- ments. The minimum interference i min is given by the following equation: imin = sis . using an interference value intermediate between the two previously adopted: 3) Final phase: i i = 0. thus giving a reserve factor (see Chapter 8) equal to: 370 η  1. Figure 52 reports the equivalent Von Mises stress contour for the cage. with such a forced coupling it is not possible to have a separation be- tween the pin and the cage when the T force is applied. sufficiently far from the allowable value. giving 170 MPa.032 mm. 150 Figure 50.

given by the sum of the lower deviation and the foundamental tolerance. Equivalent Von Mises stress given by shrinking-on effect plus the shear action T for phase 3.016 = 0. Assuming again a higher machining quality (IT5) with respect to the hole. the fundamental tolerance for the shaft is 0.048 mm to which the lower deviation of the shaft in position “t” casually corresponds. the maximum interference is therefore: imax = 0.076 mm As this value is surely too high we repeat the calculations for a higher machining quality for the hole (IT6). Figure 52. Equivalent Von Mises stress status given by the shrinking-on effect by its own for phase 3. 151 sis = ssh + imin = 0.057 mm Figure 51. Therefore the maximum interference is now: imax = 0. us- ing a higher quality machining (IT6) with respect to the hole the fundamental tolerance for the shaft is 0. The value of the maximum interference is equal to the upper deviation of the shaft.011 mm.016 mm.011 = 0.048 + 0.060 and it corresponds to the “u” position for the shaft. The value of the lower deviation closest to this is 0.059 mm This value is considerably lower than the one determined previously. Chapter 6 . In this case we have: sis = ssh + imin = 0.060 + 0.

We have: σ max  277 MPa σ min  108 MPa    min  aver  max  84. Chapter 6 . 152 At this point it is necessary to check if the stresses in the cage are under the allowable value in the case the cou- pling takes place with the maximum interference.059 mm. the maximum recorded value is 348 MPa. with a reserve factor equal to: 370 η  1. i.5C αd Figure 53 shows the equivalent Von Mises stress contour given by the shrinking-on effect by its own. θ  147. given by the shrinking-on effect plus the shear force T). we decide to keep the last calculated coupling. nevertheless by recalling the conservative hypothesis we have introduced into the calculation model and considering that increasing furtherly the machining quality to reduce the maximum in- terference value will lead to problems in the production phase. defining the cycle through tha maximum and minimum principal stresses. between the pin and the cage. The reserve factor that we can retrieve is therefore: 286 η  1. 4) Checking phase: i i = 0.06 348 We now execute also a fatigue analysis in the case of the maximum interference coupling. which is very close to the allowable limit.28  aver ratio we obtain that the fatigue allowable stress is equal to 286 MPa.e. from the K   3. The max- imum value is equal to 314 MPa Figure 54 illustrates the complete stress status (i. and in this situation we should not talk about “margins of safety”.5 MPa 2  max By tracing the Goodman-Smith diagram for the considered material (see figure 57). The values of the maximum and minimum principal stresses can be retrieved from figure 55 and 56 re- spectively. 40 H6/t5.03 277 We notice that both the reserve factors (static and fatigue) are slightly over unity. as we will see in detail in Chpater 8 (the cycle is clearly determined between the stress status due only to the fitting effect and the stress status given by the fitting plus the force T).e.

Equivalent Von Mises stress given by shrinking-on effect plus the shear action T for phase 4. Equivalent Von Mises stress status given by the shrinking-on effect by its own for phase 4. 153 Figure 53. Further indications on both static and fatigue checks will be illustrated in Chapter 8. Figure 54. Figure 55. this is casually coincident to the value adopted for phase 3. as we already said. Chapter 6 . In conclusion we emphasize that it is not necessary to execute the calculation for the minimum interference val- ue because. Minimum principal stress contour for the shrinking-on effect by its own (phase 4).

a further complication is in the fact that. 154 Figure 56. despite our best intentions. 6. moreover the hypothesis that bolt preload has a uniform distribution around the border of the vessel is assumed. if we do not have at out disposal such a program. Figure 57. due to pre- load. Nevertheless. In our ex- ample we will model bolts with beam elements whose inertial and geometrical properties are obviously the ones of the bolt section. thus loading the bolts with a bending moment that has to be taken into account. Nevertheless.5 Preload in bolted connections When we have to evaluate by “hand methods” the structural integrity of the bolts involved in a flange connec- tion it is necessary to know various parameters in order to adequately model the phenomenon known as “gasket effect”. In what follows we will show how to deal with preload problem for a pressure vessel. following one of the methods described in the previous paragraph: in other words it is sufficient “to cool” the given element with the amount necessary to get the assigned preload. it is possible to preload the desired ele- ments through a “thermal” approach. a first approximation calculation cannot take into account (or it can do it only in a simplified way) the stiffness of the flanges that. the flanges tend to become curved. it has not an infinite value. Maximum principal stress contour for the shrinking-on effect plus shear action T (phase 4). Then we know that: Chapter 6 . although it is generally much higher than the gasket one. Some modern commercial codes have in their library some particular elements that can take into account the preload. but the procedure can be extended to any case where preloaded elements are present. Goodman-Smith diagram for the material with which the cages are built. while actually it is not. The reported values are expressed in MPa.

we will have L < 0.7) L EA where L is the bolt length.18032 and V < 130000 N. in fact we remember that V is related to many pa- rameters (friction between threads and under the bolt-head. In order to check these relationships it is sufficient to perform two tests: 1.7) and (6. in this case the bolt. being unable to shorten. we have: T = . for which a convenient value can be chosen (for example  = 0.8) being  the linear thermal expansion coefficient.gasket height hg = 10 mm Chapter 6 . we constrain to ground one end of it leaving the other end free and to all the nodes we impose the calculated T. However the actual situation is an intermediate condition between 1) and 2). In the majority of the cases it is possible to achieve in two steps a value for V which is very close to the desired one: it is sufficient to execute the calculation using the T evaluated in the way shown above. in the sense that the constraints at bolt ends cannot be “perfect”. Nevertheless having the very precise value for V in the calculation model has not any practical engineering meaning. if the spring stiffness tends to an L infinite value we will come back to case 2). etc.gasket external diameter deg = 120 mm .01 1/°C).18032 if L = 70 mm) and a null internal force V (we remember that a uniform temper- ature distribution applied to a statically determined structure does not generate any stress). 155 ΔL V ε  (6.internal diameter di = 100 mm . E is the Young modulus of the material with which the bolt is built.8) we obtain: V ΔT  EAα If for example we want to apply a preload V = 130000 N in an M20 bolt (A = 245 mm 2) with a Young modu- lus equal to 206000 MPa. we create a model of the bolt with beam elements. we will obtain a shortening of the bolt propor- tional to L (L = 0. it is not possible to generalize an approach that could allow to obtain the correct T at the first attempt. Moreover: ΔL  ΔT  L  α (6. In order to realise this fact let us take model 1) and let us apply to the free end a spring with a stiffness of the same magnitude order of the bolt stiffness EA ( K bullone  ). 2. As this situation is given by the boundary condition of the bolt. A is its resisting section and finally V is the preload to be imposed to the bolt. to extract the value V’ < V and to apply a new T given by: V ΔT'  ΔT  V' Having done these evaluations let us now consider a pressure vessel with the following characteristics: . but they will undergo non null displacements (let us think of flange bending and gasket deformation) that they cannot be in any case equal to L. By combining equations (6. to the same model we constrain also the other end (thus obtaining a statically indeterminate structure).0. Hexaggerating. and T is the temperature difference to be applied in order to obtain the L elongation. leaving other conditions unchanged. errors in the dynamometric key with which the tighten- ing is performed.) which give a scatter in V values.gasket internal diameter dig = 110 mm . has to carry the load: the value of the axial internal force is exactly V.2576 °C (the “-” sign is due to the fact that we want to shorten the bolt).

Schematic section of the bolt connection. Chapter 6 .9 . Moreover we will also check what will happen to the bolts when the vessel undergoes an internal pressure p = 10 MPa. The load given by the pressure will be introduced as an equivalent applied in the central node and distributed by some beam elements (see figure 59). As indi- cated in the Italian norm UNI CNR 10011 this preload generates a stress equal to 80% of 0. We want to check the bolt resistance when they are preloaded with an axial force equal to 137 kN each. As it can be noticed from figure 60 the flanges. the cover has not been completely modeled because here we are not interested in the vessel calculation but in the bolt analysis. while deforming. In G. The model has then been clamped to ground in correspondence of the cylindrical barrel at the base of the lower flange and with the appropriate symmetry constraints (see figure 59).flanges height hf = 30 mm . Niemann – Machine elements. The bolt is then connected to the vessel brick elements through some MPC “spiders” (see Chapter 2) in order to simulate the presence of the bolt-head on one side and the nut on the other (see figure 59). I the reported values correspond to an axial stress equal to 80% of y.bolt type and class: M20. Figure 60 illustrates the deformed shape of the model when only the preload V = 137 kN is applied (the first step executed to determine the correction coefficient is not reported: the actual value of V is equal to 138245 N). Figure 59 shows the finite element model.7.gasket area Ag = 1800 mm2 . As we already said the bolt is modeled with beam elements whose inertial and geometric characteristics are those of the bolt section. As the bolts are four we will take advantage of the double symmetry and we will build the model of just a quar- ter of the structure (see Chapter 3). thus much higher (172 kN). load the bolt with a bending moment.gasket material: copper (Eg = 120000 MPa) . Vol. As we expect a strong bending of the bolt due to flanges compliance we will apply the lowest value in order to have a higher margin. as we have anticipated. The value of the bending moment that can be extracted from the finite element model is M f = 110000 Nmm. 10.bolts working length L = 70 mm Figure 58 shows the vessel by a section taken in one of the bolt locations.bolts number: 4 . Figure 58. 156 .Rt = 700 MPa in an M20 bolt.

157 Figure 59. Deformed shape (amplification factor = 25) when only the preload is acting. Chapter 6 . Figure 60. Finite element model cut in the bolt location.

25 value suggested by the Italian normative UNI CNR 10011. for which the reserve factor would be: 1080 η  1. Deformed shape (amplification factor = 25) when both the preload V and the pressure p are acting. figure 61 shows the deformed shape of the model when combined action of both the bolt preload and the equivalent force F π  d i2 F  p  78540 N 4 (which represents the internal pressure p) are present. 158 Figure 61.axial force N = 140645 N .9. The value that can be directly retrieved from the results file is clearly the same as the one calculated above. It would be therefore necessary to decrease the initial preload or to choose a different class for the bolt such as 12. The corresponding stress in now  = 785 MPa. At this point it is necessary to evaluate what happens when the vessel is loaded with an internal pressure.bending moment Mf = 113954 Nmm It must be noticed that the internal forces have increased.15 785 which is under the 1.37 785 Chapter 6 . The maximum stress value in the bolt section can be retrieved by the following relationship: V 32  M f σ  A π  d3 We have  = 768 MPa. From the results file of this load condition we obtain: . The reserve factor with respect to yielding is given by: 900 η  1.

thus supposing that these are the meas- ured values: We have  = 0. as we saw. We will use for  the values determined from the finite element calculation. 64 Moreover: r δ  L (6. Looking at figure 64 we can write (F = 78540/4  20000 N): F = Fb + Fg = (Kb + Kg). as it has been carried out here. which is less than what we obtained with the numerical calculation. once L has been calculated. As  is not known. only the part that correspond to one bolt): EA N Kb   721000 L mm 1 Eg  Ag N Kg    5400000 4 hg mm With these values it is possible to draw the two lines with angular coefficients K b and -Kg (see figure 62). Notes It is clear that also the numerical calculation. a part from using experimental results.L from which. It is first of all necessary to draw the characteristic diagram of the bolt-gasket coupling. has some limitations that can be ex- ceeded only by taking into account all the non linearities of such a complex phenomenon: in fact at least two types of non linearities are present: 1) the contact between the gasket and the flanges and between bolt/nut and flanges. in agreement with the characteristic diagram reported in figure 64.9) r EJ π 4 being J   d the bending moment of inertia of the beam and d its diameter. generates a stress status which is not negligible. The only effect that we are taking into account in this phase is the pure preload.e. Once again nothing we can say about the increase in flanges bending. We will not proceed any further because our aim was to highlight the limitations that the classical method has if compared with the numerical method and how it is possible to manage this phenomenon in order to obtain more reliable results. In order to take into account this effect it is possible to proceed in the following way. 159 Now. We will have (for the gasket only one quarter is considered. Chapter 6 . From equations (6. From Solid Mechanics we know that the curvature radius of a bent beam is related to the bending moment M f by the following equation: 1 Mf  (6. is the rotation angle of the flanges (see figure 63).9) and (6. we will ex- ecute the bolts calculation following the classical procedure. this is done by knowing the preload V. i. the bolt and the gasket stiffnesses.10) where . it is possible to retrieve Fb: Fb = 2356 N. while nothing is known about bolt bending that actually. a portion of the resultant force will overload the bolts. small.10) we obtain Mf = 89000 Nmm.36°. with respect to the preload V. in order to better understand the advantages that come when using the Finite Element Method. we can think of using some empirical values measured from similar previous installations. while the remaining part will unload the gasket. The stress acting on the bolt section is  = 724 MPa. When the pressure p is acting.

Characteristic diagram of the bolt-gasket coupling. For type 1) non linearity it is possible to use gap elements (or contact surfaces if the code in use does support them). 160 2) the plastic behaviour of the gasket. Figure 63. Bolt bending due to flanges compliance. However this problem is related to type 2) non linearity: in fact one of the desired effects when applying the preload is to yield the gasket in order to obtain a better sealing. Figure 62. far away from the bolts. Incidentally we notice that by taking into account this phenomenon would have a positive influence because we would have a low- er flange bending and consequently a lower value of the stress in the bolts. stress values equal to about 700 N/mm 2 (see figure 65) for a material such as copper are well over their elastic limits and therefore. Nevertheless we know that between the bolt-head/nut and the flanges generally no separation will take place due to preload: there- fore the modelling of the contact in these regions will not give big advantages. Chapter 6 . thus indicating that in those zones the surfaces would tend to separate. On the contrary the double interface between the gasket and the flanges is very different: in fact. by introducing the elasto- plastic behaviour of the material into the model. a different stress distribution would be obtained. Looking at figure 65 it is possi- ble to notice that in some points the stress in positive. regardless of the preload. the gasket could be non compressed. by interposing them between the involved surfaces in order to manage contact phenomena. due to the non infinite stiff- ness of the flanges.

Chapter 6 . 161 Figure 64. Characteristic diagram: F is the load variation (for one bolt) due to pressure p. Figure 65. Z direction stress on the gasket.

we can think of a simple test using the nominal loads in order to check its resistance and the possible residual deformations after load removal or of the measurement of the strains through strain gauges techniques. without starting the solution process. we will group these methods under the nomenclature “experimental validation” 7. for example. due to the high power of the calculators. also a series of warnings. a part from a big confidence based on a great experience acquired on similar structures. but also their . Usually this datum is given split in to the three components of the global reference system and the moments are given referred to the origin of the same system. CHAPTER 7 Finite Element models validation methods 7. photoelasticity or others. in the same way that the actual structure would do in service conditions. besides the possible error indica- tion. some elements have “lost” their pressure load). Nevertheless all these speeches are useless if we do not have a good confidence that the model be- haves. assuming that the structural engineer has used all the instruments at his disposal in order to realize a “perfect” model. graphical pre-processors generally have some instruments that should avoid the presence of “poor” elements from the numerical point of view.e. write an ASCII file that contains. If the calculation code does not give an error message we can be satisfied because often it is easy to forget a constraint or to write a card in the wrong way (i. before start- ing the building of a structure a prototype of it is built in order to execute some structural tests. This was very useful when even the smallest models needed to run for hours and hours and it was therefore necessary to execute this check in order to avoid the wasting of calculation time for a trivial error. because it is easier to directly run the solution and to wait for the possible error message. at least within a certain range of tolerance.1 Introduction In the previous Chapters we saw the various aspects of a finite element calculation: from result interpretation to the way of avoiding mistakes that could lead to erroneous conclusions. to the centre of gravity position. Today. at least from the “syntax” point of view. frequently related to element quality.2. writing an MPC element). it is still necessary to evaluate somehow its reliability. very often information related to model mass.2 Numerical validation As we mentioned in Chapter 5. to the moments of inertia is reported in this file: all these data allow a cross-check if we have at our disposal the same information given by the pre-processor used to build the model or by the CAD system used to create the geometry on which the finite element model is based. this func- tion is less used. A part from the checks that the user has to perform before “running” the solution some other instruments exist that can give further information on the model quality after the solver has generated the results. the code can calculate not only the reaction forces. And this is usually done through the messages that the calculation code gives the user by printing them in an ASCII file. Usually the programs. is correct. up to the modelling of particular structural conditions. Generally. we will classify this information under the no- menclature “numerical validation”. Therefore we will assume that the model has un- dergone all the required checks and that is then ready to be passed to the solution algorithm. during the solution.1 Applied loads and reaction forces A fundamental information is the knowledge of the resultant of the applied loads. Anyway it must not be forgotten that the calculation algorithms generally have an option that allows the execu- tion of a simple check on the model. 7. because this allows to check the correctness of the forces that have been introduced: for example in the case of a pressure vessel the resultant has to be null (if it is not it means that. even if attention has been paid: if no errors are reported we can reasonably be sure that the model. Besides this. Therefore.

Let us go back to the example. the ill-conditioning of its stiffness matrix has led to numerical errors during the solution. modern graphical post-processors can give the information in a very immediate and synthet- ic way. is certainly useful. Chapter 7 . It is for example useful to plot the contour of any tensorial quantity (a stress or a strain component) and then to evaluate its discontinuity among the elements. 163 resultant. of two or more elements with big stiffness differ- ences.3. a situation that could lead to this problem is represented by the connection. 7. As we said in § 6. are reported. As an example.1) The solution of equation (7. a part from problems that require a deeper investigation. It is clear that. as for example two shells with thicknesses or material properties very different. In figures 1 and 2 the non averaged contours of the longitudinal stress for the two different mesh densities discussed in § 5. thus confirming that this kind of investigation helps in achieving reliable results. a clear symptom of a problem in the model. exactly as it does for external forces.5. if it is given. It can be noticed how in the case of a coarser mesh (figure 2) the discontinuities are more evident if compared with the finer mesh (figure 1). in a specified node. these values should have the same modulus and opposite signs with respect to the corresponding applied loading components. Another quality index is given by the ratio between the maximum and minimum values that the code finds in the stiffness matrix of the structure during the assembling phase. clearly without asking a nodal averaged plotting.2. It is clear that some “small” differences are tolerated and are gen- erally due to numerical questions. it is possible to establish if the mesh in the various regions of the model is adequate and therefore if it has generated a valid result or if it necessary to proceed with some refinements.3 we know that the best agreement with the theoretical (and experimental) results is given by the mesh in figure 1. in the same reference system. of the notched plate loaded by an axial tensile force. without reaching a visual check) created by the solver it would have been possible to see that the applied loads and the reaction forces could not maintain the structure in equilibrium.2 Solution accuracy indices Some codes give the user the possibility to check the numerical “goodness” of the solution by means of a quality index. such as round-offs.3. Some software indeed use a threshold value for this parameter in order to discriminate between a struc- ture having some internal labilities and another one that instead has no lability. if the differences are too relevant it is necessary to inquire in detail and to find the reason of the discrepancy.1) gives a vector {u} that is certainly affected by a numerical error and therefore we will have: Ku  F  δF At this point it is possible to calculate the error index through the following relationship: ε uT  δF uT  F The smaller  is the better the quality of the numerical result will be. 7. A check on this other index. On this basis. for the excessively distorted element of § 5. the higher this ratio is the easier it is to have numeri- cal errors. just looking at the ASCII file (i. from what we said in § 5.2 FEM assembles and solves the matricial equation: F  Ku (7.3 Visual checks As we already said. reported in § 5. using our experience.e.2.

Figure 3. However it is necessary to pay attention to the kind of element we are using. 164 Figure 1. in this case we are dealing with el- ements that have bilinear shape functions and that are therefore able to catch inside them strain gradients and then Chapter 7 . Figure 2. Non averaged longitudinal stress for the triangular elements mesh. Non averaged longitudinal stress for the coarse mesh. Non averaged longitudinal stress for the fine mesh.

the structure under test is subjected to loads action. pulleys and cables. For this last one the directions 1. If we execute the same non averaged plotting on the model built with triangular elements.2 Loads application without strain gauges measurements This case is similar to the previous one. 7. a representation of which is reported in figure 4) that are able to record the local strain that the structure undergoes during load application. this approach can be good for those pieces the failure of which does not implies serious dangers.3) is not anymore surprising. Chapter 7 . In the case of fatigue tests further checks are performed. 2 and 3 of the three branches are shown. some devices (generally monoaxial strain gauges and strain rosettes.1 Loads application without stress measurements For sure this is the simplest case. 7. where the discontinuity is so relevant that the poor result quality obtained (see § 5. or for those pieces similar to others that have already been calculated and tested. as we will see in the following. generally reproduced by oleodynamic pistons. because it is a methodology that presents various con- cepts. weights. the structure is then disassembled and subjected to dimensional checks in order to verify if permanent defor- mations are present after loads application. Figure 4. The only difference consists in applying. is certainly the best way check to the validity of a structural design. 165 stress gradients: this is why it is possible to observe a colour variation also inside a single elements and not only among all the elements. at least from a theo- retical point of view.3. We will not spend any word on the technical aspect od this technology. We obtain figure 3. in previously well defined po- sitions. such as radi- ographies (generally in welded joints) and liquid penetrant examinations.3 Experimental validation Experimentation on prototypes. any structural resistance problems.3. 7. we will assume that strain gauges and strain rosettes are applied to the structure in the correct way and that all the connection of their cables to the central unit are executed in the best possible way. No real time measurements are performed on strains or stresses. There are different levels of “laboratory” tests that it is possible to execute. A monoaxial strain gauge and a strain rosette. In this simple case the finite element model has been used just to check that there were not. we do not have a colour variation inside each single element because their shape functions are linear and therefore strain and stress fields are constant. Clearly we must respect as much as possible the actual conditions that the piece will undergo during the service for which it has been designed. to be done possibly “on desk”.

It is therefore useful to take advantage of the so called invariants. Therefore the measured quantity of such a meas- urement is a deformation. depending on the physical dispositions of the rosettes. It is clearly possible to go further and to calculate. first of all. as we can apply strain gauges and strain rosettes only on the surfaces of the pieces without the possibility to “embed” them in the structure. the equivalent Von Mises stress VM using the following relationship: Chapter 7 . the model can be validated by comparing the experimental data with the results given by the calculations. when the stress status is complex (however. so this is used when it is clear that in the application region the stress is monoaxial. This means that in each point we have three readings to be compared with the results given by the calculation model. once the strain  and the Young’s modulus E of the material that constitutes the structure are known. they are substantially con- stituted by three monoaxial strain gauges (called branches) mutually superimposed and angled. and this is uncomfortable because. knowing the transver- sal contraction coefficient  for the material used for the structure: E  ε I  ν  ε II  σI  1  ν2 E  ε II  ν  ε I  σ II  1  ν2 And finally:  ε  ε2 2 σI  E 1  1  ε1  ε 2 2  2  ε 3  ε1  ε 2    2 1  ν 2 1  ν      ε  ε2 2 σ II  E   1  1  ε1  ε 2 2  2  ε 3  ε1  ε 2    2  1  ν  2  1  ν   Thanks to the power of modern computers it is today possible to acquire in real time the strain gauges and strain rosettes readings and to calculate directly the principal stresses values. to locate the regions where strain gauges and strain ro- settes are to be applied. we remember that we will always have to deal with a planar stress status) it is necessary to use strain rosettes. for example. 166 In this case the finite element model is used. these regions will generally be the more stressed ones. generally disposed as shown in figure 4. once the tests have been performed and the data related to strain measurements have been recorded. In the case of a monoaxial strain gauge the measured deformation is the one along the direction of the strain gauge itself. by the generalized Hooke law: σ  εE On the other side. in second instance. in this condition the stress is calculated. these are tensorial quantities that do not change their value when expressed in different reference systems: principal strains and stresses are in- variants (in particular they are the eigenvalues of the strain and stress tensor respectively). The comparison between the analysis results and experimental data can be done both in stresses and strains. however it must be kept in mind that strain gauges measurements are based on the variation of the electrical re- sistance that an appropriate wire undergoes when it is deformed. it would be necessary to create some reference systems appropriately oriented in order to execute the check in the same conditions. For a strain rosette with its branches disposed as in figure 4 the two principal strains  ed  can be retrieved using the following equa- tions: 1  εI   ε1  ε 2  ε1  ε 2   2  ε 3  ε1  ε 2   2 2 2   ε II   ε1  ε 2  ε1  ε 2   2  ε 3  ε1  ε 2   1 2 2 2    From the stress-strain relationships (see Chapter 1) we can retrieve the principal stresses.

Once the experimental data and the numerical ones are correlated it is necessary to establish the margin of error that can be tolerated. We just briefly mention two other methodologies to measure strains of structures undergoing loads.3 Photoelasticity Stress measurement through photoelasticity is a quite well assessed system. because of the complexity of the instruments required to generate the data. unlike what happens with strain gauges measurements that give the stress values in discrete points of the structure. due to the fortuity with which the error is present. 7. Chapter 7 . Moreover. consists in the fact that it is possible to have the stress contour on the whole piece under examination. as it would be the plotting generated by the graphical post-processors for finite element models. The method can be applied both directly to the structure (and in this case it is necessary to cover it with an appropriate photoelastic material) and to physical models built to this purpose with the photoelastic material: the first case is known as “re- flection photoelasticity” while the second one is defined “transparency photoelasticity”. a suggestion is not to use the VM for the comparison because this is “synthetic” quantity that rises from the relation- ship of two invariants: if both of them are affected by an error it is possible that these compensate each other. mainly in terms of measuring points number. in the sense that they stop working in the correct way. The comparison with the calculation model can be done either on principal strains or on principal stresses. but it is mainly restricted to the re- search environment. sometimes resolvable only by start- ing from scratch and checking again all the cables one by one (and when we are talking about three hundred or more channels the job is neither easy nor quick). the situation becomes a true puzzle. be- cause there is no correspondence between the actual point of measurement and the one assumed. the system is very precise and it presents some advantages. this tolerance can be enlarged or restricted. during test execution. generally differences within a 10% are to be considered as normal and they indeed represent a very good agreement between practice and theory. able to split in to two a light beam) when subjected to forces. 167 σ VM  σ 2I  σ 2II  σ I  σ II In this way it is possible to check if. the method is based on the capability of some transparent materials (mainly plastic resins) to become bi-refracting (i. on writer experience.3. with a certain confidence. moreover. the model can be considered as validated and it can be therefore “extended”. The positive side of the photoelasticity. we know that the points where the loads or the constraints are applied are not well represented by finite element models: in these regions experi- mental measurements are certainly more reliable. and it can be used to monitor the structure during their whole servicing life. A part from these cases. in this case they have to be cancelled from the readings and from the following correlations.e. substantially the structure is subjected to a load that has to be variable (and this is a limit: no static loads are allowable). instead of strain gauges or strain rosettes. A subsequent elaboration of these da- ta can give the stress status of the structure. their validation is therefore more rapid. in any point of the structure (clearly among the ones where strain gauges and rosettes are applied) the yielding limit of the material is reached. one or more infrared videocameras record the thermal variations in the points under examination. if they are observed under a polarized light these materials present some coulored bands which express the stress status. assuming that all the things have been done well. thus allowing for example to discover the birth and the growing of fatigue cracks. Some situations can occur where a strain gauge or a strain rosette branch during the test starts to read unreason- able numbers. that this kind of technology is strongly oriented to laboratory tests. The first one forecasts. if no points exist where differences above 10% are not justifiable. The second one is a system based on a thermal technique. depending on the region where the strain gauge or the strain rosette are located. also to other load conditions that have not been tested. it can also happen that the con- nections of the various channels do not correspond to what has been planned (generally because of the distraction of the person in charge of the electrical connections)! In this case the numbers read have absolutely no sense. It is anyway evident. thus casually giving a correct value for the VM. the use of optical fibres glued on the piece to be tested. It is clear that.

Resistance verifications

8.1 Introduction

Once the model has been validated, at least from the numerical point of view (as we have seen in Charter 7), it is
necessary to proceed with the structure resistance verification.
Substantially for each load condition, for each critical point, for each connection and/or connecting member it is
necessary to evaluate the “safety factor” or its homologous “margin of safety”; we will see below that the differ-
ence between them is just a numerical one, while they substantially indicate the same thing: the capability, or the
incapability, of the structure to withstand the applied loads.
Generally the minimum values of these coefficients vary depending on the structural engineer experience, on the
type of structure being designed, on the level of uncertainity of the boundary conditions (i.e. loads known only ap-
proximatively or based on some imprecise estimations), on the uncertainity of the used materials behaviour; some-
times the minimum value is fixed by a Supply Specification.
Usually the safety factor () is calculated as the ratio between the allowable value and the stress applied to the
member under examination: in the case of structure portions this will generally be a ratio between stresses, while
for rivets, for example, it could be a ratio between forces. Anyway we can say that:


The safety margin (S.M.) is calculated in the following way:

S.M.  1

It is also clear the equation that relates  to S.M.:

S.M.    1

Traditionally in mechanical environments the safety factor is the most used one, while in aeronautic environ-
ments the most used is the safety margin.
As they are related by the seen equation, using either one or the other is completely indifferent, but it must be
clear which of them is used; in fact when we talk about  the discriminant limit is 1 while for S.M. the limit is 0.
How much is necessary to stay away from these limits depends on the factors seen above.
In both cases, anyway, when we are above the limits, the two coefficients indicate how big is the “reserve” that
the structure has in that point before reaching the collapse (which can be the yielding or the rupture).
In the following paragraphs we will discuss both static and fatigue verifications, starting from the assumption
that the data used are the ones given by a finite element calculation.

8.2 Static verification

8.2.1 Continuous structure portions
In structures constituted by homogeneous and isotropic material static verification today rarely represents a
problem, because of the use of resistance criteria consolidated and frequently validated by experimental tests.


The most used criterion is the one based on the equivalent Von Mises stress VM; this “number”, as we have
seen in Chapter 7, is a combination of principal stresses but it can also be obviously expressed as a function of all
the stress tensor components. We can therefore have the following two equations valid for the VM calculation:

σ VM  σ 2I  σ 2II  σ 2III  σ I  σ II  σ II  σ III  σ III  σ I

σ VM  σ 2xx  σ 2yy  σ 2zz  3 τ 2xy  3 τ 2yz  3 τ 2xz  σ xx  σ yy  σ yy  σ zz  σ zz  σ xx

Usually calculation codes can directly evacuate the VM, while in other cases are the post-processors that, start-
ing from the stress tensor, calculate theVM.
Anyway, once the VM is known, it is possible to calculate the safety factor (or margin) in all the points of the
structure. The VM will be the applied stress, while the allowable stress depends on the material used: generally the
material yielding limit is assumed, because residual deformations, due to plasticization of some regions, are not
allowed. Only in exceptional cases structure are designed to their ultimate strength (rupture) and mainly just to
evaluate the margin with respect to their catastrophic collapse; in this case the use of VM might not be indicated
because it could be excessively conservative. However in most cases this way is followed and safety factor (or
margin) are calculated with respect to material ultimate strength just using this value instead of the yielding one.
Rarely the Guest criterion is used because it is definitely more conservative than the Von Mises criterion; we
just mention it, as it is rarely used, and for this reason only a few calculation codes give the number based on it.
We will just say that also this criterion is based on an equivalent stress, calculated as a function of all the stress
tensor components.
Other criteria, such as the one based on principal strains, are mainly valid for brittle material, while more so-
phisticated combinations of the stress (or strain) tensor components are used for strength evaluation of some tech-
nologically advanced materials, such as composites materials with long and oriented fibres.
Whatever the adopted criteria will be, the coloured stress contour of the quantity (for example the VM) allows
to point out immediately the most stressed regions for a given condition of loads and constraints. And now we
generally have to establish if the maximum indicated value is true or not: this happens because often the maximum
value is in correspondence with a region where forces or constraints are applied, or in general in model discontinu-
ity zones. As we already said the stress values in these parts should be treated very carefully; in other words it is
necessary to understand if they have to be discarded because given by numerical spikes or not. And up to here it
could be even easy. Nevertheless often peaks are present also far away from these regions, and this fact induces to
think that the calculated values represent the actual stresses; however we do not have to forget what we have seen
in Chapter 5, when we discussed the problems related to poor quality elements (the presence of which has some-
times to be tolerated in order to respect other requirements, such as model dimensions, calculation times, hardware
resources) that could alter the results locally. A preventive hand calculation, even if approximated, is useful to give
at least an idea of the stress order of magnitude that we have to expect. Anyway it is still under the structural engi-
neer responsibility the evaluation of the safety factor (or margin).

8.2.2 Rivets
Once the minimum safety factor on continuous parts has been established, it is generally necessary to check also
all the connection members, such as rivets, bolts, weldings.
Rivets verification generally does not present any difficulty. Depending on the type, from the catalogue or from
the data given by the supplier, it is known the maximum value that the rivet can withstand in shear; this is the
compared with the applied load (see Chapter 4) in order to evaluate its safety factor.
It is however necessary to go further; in fact we have seen in Chapter 4 that often in the models these fasteners
are not considered; therefore also the structure regions involved in the connection are to be inquired. The holes
that house the rivets could ovalize, the sheets could tear or brake by pure shear. By basing on the forces that pass
through the rivets it is necessary to check that also the sheet have an adequate safety factor. For this kind of calcu-
lation we send back to the specific manuals.

Chapter 8


8.2.3 Bolts and screws
We have seen in Chapter 4 how to extract, for example, the reaction forces that load the bolts used to fix the T
support to the plane. Once these values are known it is necessary to establish if the screw can withstand the forces
or not. Let us see in detail, by using both the data listed in table 9 (i.e. without the prying action) and the ones
listed in table 10 of Chapter 4 and we will compare the obtained results.
In a connection of this type the bolt is generally tighten with a quite precise value of tightening torque, which
gives an axial load on its shank; at the same time the cylindrical part of the support, located between the bolt-head
and the plane, is compressed; as the corresponding annular surface has an area which is bigger than the bolt shank
section, it is clear that, being the material the same, the flange will be stiffer than the screw. The preload is gener-
ally not modeled, a part from particular cases where a deeper investigation is needed as we have seen in § 6.5, and
the gasket effect is taken into consideration in a subsequent verification phase, as described in the following.
Let us suppose that the tightening generates in the bolt a preload P = 12000 N. From table 9 in Chapter 4 we
know that the bolt is furtherly loaded by a force F = 5000 N; as a first approximation, without doing precise calcu-
lations as we discussed in § 6.5, by knowing that the flange is stiffer than the bolt, we can say that only a 30% (this
is an indicative value) of the external force F will overload the bolt, while the remaining 70% will unload the
flange (gasket effect). Therefore the bolt will be loaded by an overall axial force Fa = 13500 N. Then we have a
shear force T = 3500 N that has to be taken into account, except if the friction between the two coupled surfaces is
sufficient to transmit the shear; if we suppose we have a friction coefficient  = 0.15 (which is a reasonable value
for metallic surface with an average machining quality), the maximum tangential force that can be transmitted
would be:

Ft max  P  μ  1800 N

Therefore with this hypothesis the bolt also works by shear. It is then necessary to add the bending moment un-
der the bolt-head: Mf = 35000 Nmm. We will have:

Fa M f d
σ    528.4 MPa
A I 2
4 T
τ   49.4 MPa
3 A

being (we remember that the screw is an M10):

d = 10 mm
A = 78.54 mm2
I = 490.87 mm4

We now repeat the same calculations using the data listed in table 10 in Chapter 4, where we take into account
the prying action.
We have:

Mf = 12600 Nmm
T = 1260 N
F = 11800 N

Unlike what happened before, now the shear force could be transmitted by the coupling friction. Still assuming
an external load partition equal to 70/30 between flange and screw, the stress in the bolt is now:

Fa M f d
σ    326.2 MPa
A I 2

The results in the two cases are very different. Usually, in order to avoid the handling of a model with contacts,
the first approach is used and this is generally more conservative due to the high values of the moment under the

Chapter 8

8. The classical approach. Let the load be a fatigue axial force.3 Fatigue verification 8. The fatigue stress intensification factor Kf is used. Let us suppose that the material that constitutes this plate has an infinite life limit (evaluated on non-notched samples) for an alternate symmetric load (i. one that takes into account the bolt preload. together with two other factors.e. i. Figure 2 illustrates the diagram obtained from the data we have: K t  1. We notice that.85 (the higher the material mechanical properties are the higher q will be). based on hand calculations. 171 bolt-head that this method implies.45 K f  1  q  K t  1  1. Notched bar subjected to an axial force F pulsating from 0 N to 75000 N. Figure 1. until we have q < 1. We know (see Chapter 5) that the stress in the smallest section is 2 = 208 MPa. the fatigue stress intensification factor Kf is lower than Kt. In the case where the junction is particularly critical it is possible to consider the creation of a complete model.e.38 having assumed the notch sensitivity factor q = 0.1 Continuous structure portions As the discovery of the material fatigue phenomenon is quite recent still today some uncertainties are present in the calculation and in the determination of fatigue resistance of a given structure although built with an homoge- neous and isotropic material. if it was q = 0 (complete notch insensitiveness) we would have Kf = 1. i. already seen in Chapter 6. At worst.3. with cycles defined from zero to a peak equal to 75000 N. in the following to “knock- down” the experimental value FAa obtained with non notched samples: σ FAa  b 2  b 3 σ FA   149 MPa Kf Chapter 8 . the contact between the flanges.e. whose geometry is reported in figure 1. is based on the following procedure. in this case the phenomenon is completely represented and the extract- ed values are reliable. the contact between the bolt and the flange. Let us consider the notched bar. with cycles that change the stress from compressive to tensile) equal to: σ FAa  255 MPa In order to determine the allowable limit for our fatigue cycle and for the notched geometry it is necessary to draw the Goodman-Smith diagram (for the required operations we send back to Solid Mechanics texts).

The line K = 2 represents the ratio:  max K  aver As  max  2  aver we obtain exactly K = 2. This in a finite element calculation is not possible. We will therefore have: σ FAFEM  σ FAa  b 2  229 MPa With this value we obtain the Goodman-Smith diagram shown in figure 3 and we obtain: σ lim FEM  316 MPa Chapter 8 . σ lim 230 η   1. Figure 2. 172 having assumed for b2 (surface finishing factor) a value equal to 0. From the Goodman-Smith diagram we then retrieve σ lim  230 MPa . With this value we can finally evaluate the fatigue reserve factor for the given plate. the method is able to catch the actual stress distribution. Goodman-Smith diagram for the material used for the bar. because the geometrical ones are already represented by the model. because. Then let us see how we can proceed with the fatigue verification when the results are obtained from a finite element model.1 σ2 208 Therefore in the “classic” method the fatigue stress intensification factor is used to lower the stress allowable value.9. as we have seen. In order to draw it information about ultimate strength (Rt) and yielding (Sn) are needed. The area enclosed by the blue lines represents the field in which the stress cycles have to be contained in order to have a reserve factor greater or at least equal to 1.9 and for b 3 (dimensional factor) a value equal to 0. The only knock-down factor that we take into account is the one relative to surface finishing (b2).

Goodman-Smith diagram traced for FEM calculation. So how can we proceed when we have to deal with a complex stress status? The Gough-Pollard criterion shows how to do when we have both the  and the . Maximum stress is FEM = 302 MPa. the examined status re- mains essentially a monoaxial stress status. Finally we can calculate the fatigue reserve factor: σ lim FEM 316 η   1. Clearly Rt and Sn are the same as before. Nevertheless very rarely in engineering practice we have to deal with a simple stress status as the monoaxial case we have just seen.05 σ FEM 302 Figure 4. This tendency is quite general and it can be as- cribed to the fact that we are substantially neglecting the notch sensitivity q. and therefore with a lower notch sen- sitivity. This discrepancy is clearly increasing when using more ductile materials. In figure 4 we report the stress contour obtained by the finite element model (see also Chapter 5). thus indicating that this approach is more conservative. or better we are assuming q = 1. even if in the notch region we had other stress tensor components. 173 Figure 3. As it can be noticed the reserve factor value that we obtain with FEM is slightly lower with respect to the previ- ous case. as it generally happens Chapter 8 .

Therefore the proposed method consists in locating this “privileged” direction and in calculating. because we know that. for each point of the structure. directly with the lim obtained from the Goodman-Smith diagram In the case of the notched bar we obtain the following reserve factor (see figure 5 for the VM stress contour): σ lim FEM 316 η   1. this will have a certain direction with respect to an arbitrary reference system. besides a  and a . but if we have a situation where.e. An extremely simple method. in other words if we are facing a planar stress status where all the xx. We could extend the criterion.04 σ VM 304 In this case no big differences exist. it is clear that sometimes this approach could be excessively con- servative. VM.  All the minimum principal compressive stresses are projected in the max direction. However if we should face a stress status where the two principal stresses have opposite signs (for example a tensile and a compressive status along two orthogonal deirections). the maximum principal tensile stress and the minimum principal compressive stress and in creating the fatigue cycle with these values. through its Office de Recherches et d’Essais (ORE). yy e xy components are not null. Chapter 8 . consists in comparing the equivalent Von Mises stress. Practically the procedure is as follows. also to cases that are not strictly related to transmission shafts or axles. we do not know how to proceed anymore. as an example: σ I  100 MPa σ II   80 MPa The equivalent Von Mises stress is: σ VM  1002  802  8000  156 MPa while in reality we know that the value to be compared with lim obtained from the Goodman-Smith diagram should be I = 100. that sometimes could give decisively wrong results. 174 in transmission shafts: besides the  generated by bending moments we also have the  given by the torquing cou- ple. the fatigue resistance verification in that point appears difficult. being non conservative: if II had a positive sign we would obtain VM = 92 MPa. i. without projections on the direction orthogonal to the privileged one. in all the points. but it guarantees a very quick verification. where the stress status is planare by definition (an exception is constituted by pressure vessels. being in contact with the fluid. where at the internal surface. which has a very good agreement with experimental results. the stress status is three axial). because the VM is almost identical to the maximum principal stress in the region of interest. Let us consider. But it can even occur the opposite case. we also have another . we would be excessively conservative. has studied and released a method. a part from some particular conditions such as bodies in mutual contact. A conservative simplification consists in evaluating. it is therefore convenient to realize an appropriate calculation program that automatizes the procedure. the amplitude of the stress variation in order to find max and min with which we “enter” the Goodman-Smith diagram and finally in extract- ing the lim. the minimum pro- jected value is assumed as min. Fortunately this is anyway the most complex situa- tion we could deal with.  Among all the load conditions and for each point of the structure the maximum principal tensile stress is located. It is clear that when the stresses are the result of a finite element calculation and when the load conditions acting on the structure are many the job to be done in order to process these data as required by this method is enormous. The UIC (Union Internationale des Chemins de fer). the higher stress in a member is located on its surface. clearly in an orthogonal direction with respect to the first one. rigorously based on experimental tests: the fatigue cracks rise and propagate in a direction which is orthogonal to the maximum principal tensile stress. This stress is as- sumed as max.

when we do not have this information. Moreover it is possible to apply the criteria for cumulative damage calculation. What we have discussed up to now has a general validity. Chapter 8 . In this case it is necessary to have the Wohler diagram for the material from which the FAa. The calculation is performed as for the static case. using Fracture Mechanics meth- ods. i. a fatigue crack can grow up to the critical dimen- sion that leads to the collapse. in the sens that the Goodman-Smith diagram can be traced also with different values of FAa: for example it is possible to design a structure for a given number of cycles instead of infinite life. the fatigue safety factor does not present any problem. Finite element models are in these cases used to extract the value of the forces that pass through the connecting elements. in how much time. The drawing of the Goodman-Smith diagram still represent the basis on which the allowable stress has to be determinated considering the material and the type of the fatigue cycle. such the aerospace one. Also in this case finite element models are used to evaluate the forces that load the connecting members. Sometimes. but also min. corresponding to the desired number of cycles. Once these data are known. often some sophisticated methods are used for fatigue calculations.3 Bolts and screws Also for bolts the question is rapidly solved. where mass saving is foundamental.2 Rivets There is not much to say about rivets. It is clear that we are considering limit situations. as it is just neces- sary to compare allowable forces with applied forces. Equivalent Von Mises stress for the notched plate.3. this value is the one used to draw Goodman-Smith diagram. 8. The basic problem consists in knowing the fatigue allowable values for the fasteners.3. it is pos- sible to solve the problem by drawing the Goodman-Smith diagram (provided that we know the material that con- stitutes the rivet) and by calculating the stresses using Solid Mechanics relationships.e. in order to calculate the fatigue cycle. 175 Figure 5. the only differ- ence consists in the fact that now it is necessary to evaluate not only max. In this case it is allowed for some portions of the structure to have cracks that can even be quite big. In some environments. substantially after how many cycles. For example it is possible to establish. but also in these cases finite element models are an indispensable aid to know in an adequately precise way the stress status. as we have seen in Chapter 4. following the Miner method (for a description of this approach we send back to Solid Mechanics texts). 8. The maximum value is 304 MPa. can be retrieved.

as a first approximation. that is closer to the structure he has to deal with. 9. the structure natural frequency determination. it is possible to establish the level of reliability of the results that could be ob- tained. on one side there is someone who thinks that “everything” can be mod- elled and on the other hand there is someone else who thinks that the sophistication of FEM calculation is just a waste of time. the contact between bodies. structural engineer sensi- bility and experience are often the best councilmen to decide which way has to be followed. on the other hand. 9. the geometrical non linear forms). In fact this is more or less the percentage of linear elastic calculations required today in in- dustrial practice. due to his inexperience. a “simplified” calculation. the material plasticization phenomena. CHAPTER 9 General considerations on automatic structure calculation 9. by knowing all the methods followed by var- ious Authors and/or Researchers. on the contrary. although some of them have been just mentioned (for example the instability calculation. Clearly the “young” stress engineer will tend to follow the modelling approach because this is the one that ap- parently gives the best guarantees of success. we have seen that in many situations a finite element model is able to catch important phenomena where classical methods fail. Therefore having at our disposal these manuals and consulting them it is often a good practice to be pur- sued frequently. like many other things.3 When it is convenient to use numerical methods Finite element modelling is used when the geometry that has to be analysed cannot be taken back to documented and well known cases. moreover. could not give quick and at the same time reliable answers. Anyway it is still difficult to generalize and to decide which type of structures has to be modelled with finite el- ements and which one. in the sense that. Often the structural engineer has to “de- fend” his job against people that do not have the necessary knowledge to understand the advantages and the limita- tions related to finite element modelling. he will not have the necessary ability to locate straightforward which is the case. In any case it must be remembered that exactly the cases presented in the manuals are the ones that should be “replied” with finite element models. Probably. can be calculated by classical methodologies. even if the tendency is to go further. Sometimes it is the Technical Specification Supply itself requiring that the structural design . at least to have an idea of the stress order of magnitude. besides the experience. it is preferable to use classical methods. Nevertheless it is necessary not to exceed in the automatic calculations. both to gain experience and to test how the finite element solution algorithm works.1 Introduction In the previous Chapters we have seen different aspects related to automatic structure calculation. It must not be forgotten that. possibly also using manuals and formulas books.2 When it is convenient to use classical methods Often it is the knowledge of some structural design manuals contents that suggests if the piece under examina- tion has to be analysed using a classical calculation. among all the ones reported in manuals. allows to avoid some trivial mistakes. In the next paragraphs we will try to give some indications on when it is worth using automatic calculations and when. should always be done. in any case. wisdom stays in the middle of the two extremes. But this does not mean that in some cases a hand calculation. Sometimes this simple custom. at least from what is requested in the 90% of the situations. we should at this point be able to realize a valid structural design.

the allowable value for bearing is taken as 1. where modelling does not present any particular problem. Chapter 4. but this would have required that also the three metal sheets had been modelled with bricks ora tetrahedra. Once the value of the forces act- ing on the rivets and the holes is known it is possible to proceed to the checking of these elements by using classi- cal methods. We notice that. no problem for rivets. on the other hand it is not even possible to consider the idea to create models that perfectly reflect all the ge- ometry. for example. The relationship that gives the stress value related to this kind of loading condi- tion is: F  Bear   510 MPa d s being F  R12  R32  127002  10302  12742 N (from the model where the rivets are modelled with beam elements). Anyway. the consulting of charts. Nevertheless.5 times the yielding value for the material in use.e. that is calculated taking into account the rivet pitch and the direction of the applied forces (in this case we conservatively assume that the direction of F is coincident with the R one). a pen and a pocket calculator. the one that considers the presence of the hole. Chapter 4. s = 2. such as small holes.5) that keeping all the geometric details. classical methods require a series of calculations. Generally. while it would be possible to use a hybrid approach: the finite element model (in particular the most sophisticated among the three we have used in that situation) gave us the possibility to locate in an adequate way the load path through the structure. as we mentioned in the introduction of this Chapter. The first step that should be done when we have to deal with loaded holes is to check that the material will not upset due to the contact pressure: this effect leads to the “heading” (known as “Bearing”) of the hole with its con- sequent ovalization (see figure 1). A second possible failure mode (see figure 1) for a loaded hole is constituted by the tear of the “net” section (known as “Net Tension”). Chapter 9 . the introduction of corrective factors that absorb so much time (and per- haps just to obtain only approximated results) that the creation of finite element model results more convenient. similarly the modelling. by using solid ele- ments and contact surfaces. some situation exist. wisdom stays in the middle between two extremes. It is still clear. We could have modelled the rivets of the assembled plates of figure 18.5 mm. 9. chamfers and very small fillets. for this geometric situation. 177 must be done through the use of numerical methods. If from one side today it is not possible to deny any longer the utility of automatic structure calculation and to refuse FEM as a fundamental instrument for design- ing. when more precise data are not available. due both to the number of nodes and to the non linearity given by contact phenomena. as we will see in the next paragraph. because for them it is sufficient to know their allowable load. d = 10 mm. it is necessary not to exagerate and to avoid the temptation to “model anything that is modellable”. in other situations. going back to the example shown in figure 18. that finite element calcu- lation lead the result quality to a level of reliability that it would be impossible to achieve otherwise. that the junction is more critical in this failure mode than the hole bearing. but the solution of the resulting model could require unacceptable times with respect to the result of an immediate hand calculation. of bolts and rivets in their globality is useful only for research purposes or for particularly critical situations. Therefore let us see how to do it. i. Usually the allowable value is in these cases the yield stress of the material. We have: F σ NetTension   510 MPa p s being p = 10 mm the rivet pitch. We have already seen (§ 5.4 When it is convenient to use a “hybrid” method As we said. as we had the opportunity to widely illustrate in the previous Chapters. will lead to a model that is uselessly complicated and it can even give errors. while for the holes it is necessary to take some paper. thus leading the model to a non justifiable level of complication.

C – Shear Out. as for the example discussed in the text.V. In these calculations we have not taken into account any stress intensification factor that are in general intro- duced by holes. Here we have just reported an example on how it is possible to proceed with a hybrid calculation. Figure 1. where the finite element models have been used to correct the results given by an analytical equation. A – Bearing. Figure 2.3) loaded far away from the hole region. as we already said. as we will see in what follows. is the one that takes place when it is necessary to evaluate the structural strength of a bead welds. 178 A third failure mode (see figure 1) is the metal sheet rupture by shear (known as “Shear Out”). Chapter 9 . Folding press structure: the dimensions indicated by letters are D. B – Net Tension. However it has to be noticed that these holes are not “empty”. Let us see another example on a hybrid calculation method. The allowable value is in this case assumed equal to the yield stress divided by 3 . while the numerical dimen- sions are kept constant during the optimisation process. The possible failure modes of a lug. in the sense that they are passed through by a fastener that loads them: this situation is much more different from the one given by a bar with a hole (as the one reported in § 6. The correspond- ing shear stress is evalutated in the following way: F τ ShearOut   102 MPa 2  ls s being ls = 25 mm the dimension indicated in figure 1. (Design Variables). Generally these same criteria are applied to the holes in riveted sheets. Another situa- tion.

as shown in figure 3.1) is introduced in the minimization program as a constraint on the stress.V. Nevertheless.V. Figure 3. they require that the O. if we want to use less sophisticated codes (and therefore also cheap- er). P. Chapter 9 . the Design Variables (D.1) where:  FEM K  theor Equation (9.V. we will have that theor will be different from FEM. ob- tained numerically. the lower and upper limits of the D.e.. and all the other quan- tities involved are expressed by analytical relationships. because K can be known only in discrete points. these often have inside them some minimization algorithms for non linear functions (even with more than one variable) based on the Non Linear Programming criteria. K (9. also K is a function of the D.V. Therefore.3). it is now possible to evaluate a  = theor as a function of the D. which obviously represents the object of the minimization (which in the structural case is often the mass.). However it is possible to correct the value of the stress and to make it coincident with FEM through the following equation:    theor V. The itera- tion will follow the block diagram reported in figure 4.F. the structure of which is shown in figure 2.V.). However K is not con- stant as the geometry varies. The input of these code are the Objective Func- tion (O. to one that on the other side is based on analytical equation is a problem. and of any other quantity we are interested in (for example the maximum stress cannot assume an arbitrary value but it will have to be taken under a certain threshold with respect to the material in use). i. such as spread sheets. which are generally the linear dimensions that could vary within certain limits given by the designer or by the production technology. Many commercial finite element codes are today able to proceed in a structural optimisation process “almost” automatically.V. being of general purpose. 179 The aim is to optimize the design of a shoulder for an oleodynamic folding press. A limitation of these algorithms is that. analytically obtained by following the theory valid for high curvature beams (see § 5. exact for the simplified struc- ture. but it could also be stresses or deformations). joining a purely numerical instrument. such as a finite element code. In this way.F. for a given geometry and therefore for given values of the D.. it is sometimes possible to use some particular functions of general purpose calculation programs. The high curvature beam that simplifies the structure: C dimension is an adequate function of some of the D. Nevertheless it is possible to proceed by simplifying the structure and consider it as a high curvature beam. Therefore it is necessary to execute some iterations.

with its related K%.5 MPa..9934 (K% = 0. It is obvious that at least two cycles are necessary. obtained at each iteration step.0191 (K% = 5. also the following derivatives. The result obtained is a maximum stress very close to the allowa- ble value (max = 159. because at the first step it is not possible to evaluate K%.V. whose values that define the structure for the cycle input are the ones related to the original geometry. with modern pre-processing and interactive meshing programs.F. 180 Figure 4. It is worth doing an observation: the minimization program.80%) K4 = 0. Without entering the details of tedious calculations. were necessary. all = 160 MPa) and deformations that were under the allowable values given by the Technical Specification Supply. has to calculate.0805 K2 = 1. Block diagram for the iterations: Geometry is a function of the D.34%) In order to limit the error under acceptable values and to avoid the risk to iterate an excessive number of times. in order to obtain the minimum value of the O.: Chapter 9 . among the others. the maximum allowable value of K% is assumed equal to 1%.70%) K3 = 0. K1 = 1. were very quick to be obtained. It can be noticed that the process has quick con- vergence.9900 (K% = 2. in a more or less explicit way. only four finite element models that. K% is evaluated in the following way: K i1  K i ΔK%  100 Ki being Ki the value of K at the i-th step of the iteration. we will report the values of K.

is negligible. up to Numerical Analysis (see also Appendix A). As  is given by:    theor Vi  KVi  we will have:   theor Vi  KVi    KVi     theor Vi  Vi Vi Vi From the reported results it is possible to notice that K has been almost constant during the iteration and it is therefore allowed to assume: K Vi  0 Vi Finally. In fact we have often demonstrated that what a computer on which a finite element program is implemented does can be repeated also “by hand”. Moreover the value of K has been not only almost constant.5 Conclusions In order to say that we have a good knowledge in the Finite Element Method it is necessary to know much more than what we wrote up to here. indeed. 9. once K is known. as someone may think. the error done by the minimization program in the evaluation of the stress derivative with respect to the D. After all the conclusion that can be drawn is that Structural Design cannot be entrusted to people that do not have precise ideas about all the problems related to automatic calculation that involve various disciplines: from Solid Mechanics to FEM theory. Finally what appears clear is that the Finite Element Method is a very versatile and powerful instrument. in Appendix B.V. as it has been perhaps evident by reading the previous Chapters. Anyone who will have the willness to read that part will have clear in mind that behind a calculation pro- gram nothing really special exists. but also very close to unity. the steps necessary to the “mathematic construction” of one of the simplest elements that can be found in various code libraries have been reported beside a simple example that uses it.V. were involved in drafting activi- ty. until now. theoretical but mainly practical. that in- deed for this reason it requires from the user not only a very good sensitivity to structural matters but also a great knowledge. 181 σ Vi being Vi the D. thus indicating that the simplification introduced by the high curvature beam theory is not far from reality. Nevertheless from what we reported here it is clear that automatic structure calculation codes are not “black boxes” that generate huge quantities of numbers without any sense. Chapter 9 . without any big conceptual problems. Moreover it must not be forgotten a matter that is becoming more and more frequent: many software dedicated to CAD purposes have started to have inside them some meshing algorithms and sometimes even calculation algo- rithms with the attempt to bring back structural analysis to people who. FEM effectively generates a huge quantity of data and the elaborator is just an instrument suitable to manage these numbers and it cannot be the substitute of human capabilities in designing and in calculating the structures. in the possibilities and in the limitations it has. This fact is very worrisome because generally this kind of codes have not high quality levels and they would by themselves represent a problem also for the most prepared structural engineer.

1) in an anal- ogous form: F   K u  1 1 1 (A. the precision level is in general a function of various parameters mutu- ally related that can anyway resumed in the following assertion: model complexity mainly depends on the phe- nomenon that is being investigated. APPENDIX A The solution of linear algebraic equation systems A.1) where {F} is the vector of the active forces (known) and the reactive forces (unknown). assemble a linear system that in matricial form is generally written in the following way: F  Ku (A. FEM.1) it is possible to achieve the determination of all the unknowns. although we could have at our disposal very big hard disks where the software can write the necessary temporary files. through interpolations and relationships that we will not recall here but that we will see in Appendix B. beside the power increase of computers. Therefore. If we want to calculate only the displacements and to shift to a following solution step the calculation of the reaction forces we can write the system (A. unknown elsewhere) of the nodes that discretize the structure and [K] is the so called stiffness matrix (see Appendix B) whose terms are completely known when the geometry of the structure and the material with which it is built are known.2) is obtained by “simply” inverting matrix [K1]. mainly thanks to the power of modern modelling software and to the birth of automatic meshers.2) where the terms have the same meaning previously indicated but they are now referred to the subsystem obtained by reordering the terms in order to calculate only the displacements. It must be noticed that in the nodes where the displacements are known the reaction forces are unknown while where the forces that load the structure are known the displacements are unknown. in order to know the linear elastic behaviour of a structure.2 The equation system However before proceeding in this direction it is necessary to briefly describe how the system that has to be solved. solution times and required hard disk space grow exponentially with the number of algebraic equations of the system that FEM builds on the information given by the structural engineer. It can therefore occur. through the substructuring and submodelling techniques) that they can create problems during the solution phase. is constituted. {u} is the vector that con- tains the displacements (known in the constrained nodes. thus arriving to the following re- lationship: . The solution of equation (A. therefore by dividing into an adequate way the matricial equation (A. Here we will just compare two numerical solution techniques for linear system and we will see their advantages and their disadvantages. A. as we have seen in Chapter 6. to get to the creation of so huge models (despite the use of all the adequate systems to reduce their di- mensions. As it is known. it is necessary to optimize the software that numerically solves the equation system.1 Introduction When we have to face the numerical calculation of a structure using FEM it is necessary to establish the accura- cy of the model that we are going to build.

i. Nevertheless [K1]. it is then easy to imagine which kind of compli- cations we could face having to solve a matrix that can easily reach order 100000 (even with codes that run on PC!). for the aims we have here. 183 u   K  F  1 1 1 1 (A. we are not interested in the algorithm that gives this situation. As an example let be: 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 41 42 60 44 45 0 0 0 0 0 42 46 47 48 49 0 0 0 0 0 60 47 50 51 52 0 0 0 [K1] = 0 0 44 48 51 53 54 0 0 (A. has some characteristics that take it back to a more manageable form if compared to generic matrices:  it is symmetric and therefore only a half can be stored (upper or lower triangles) plus the elements on the principal diagonal.  it is “sparse”. Appendix A .2). in fact. for reasons that are strictly related to finite element modelling. This rearrangement allows to save storage disk space (because zeros are not saved) and to divide the new matrix into “blocks”.3) Anyone who knows just a bit matrix algebra certainly knows that inverting a matrix bigger than a 3x3 one pre- sents some difficulties from the point of view of pure calculations. thus facilitating the numerical solution.4) 0 0 0 45 49 52 54 55 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 20 21 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 21 28 29 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 29 35 We notice that. as we will see. both if we use direct methods and if we use iterative type techniques. thus coming to the construction of a “banded” matrix. Due to the “sparse” nature of [K1] it is convenient to reorder its elements in order to “pack” all the non zero terms around the principal diagonal.3 Direct methods By using these techniques it is possible to achieve the “exact” solution (a part from numerical errors) of the sys- tem (A.e. with some terms different from zero (be- sides the ones on the principal diagonal). we have supposed that [K 1] is already a band matrix. By using programs that can handle matrices (modern spread sheets are able to do so) it is immediate to get the inverse matrix of [K1] and therefore the solution of system (A. it is essentially constituted by null elements. A.2). for sake of simplicity.2). It is mainly this second property that facilitate the solution of equation (A.

00 0.06 -0. by maintaining the order with which the original matrix has been decomposed.00 0.00 0.01 1.20 0.01 1 -1 [K 3] = -0.00 0.87 1.20 0.14 0.02 0.72 -44.57 43.23 0.55 0.23 0.20 One can immediately realise that it is sufficient to reassemble the inverse submatrices. to obtain the complete inverse matrix.00 0.14 0.00 0.01 -0.01 -0.00 0.00 0.06 -0.00 0.02 0.4).16 -0.00 0. highlighted by the frames in equation (A.00 0.37 -0.55 0.23 43.00 0.00 0.58 0.00 0.00 0.24 -0. Therefore in our exam- ple the complete system solution requires a number of operations proportional to 10000.00 0. In fact if n is the order of the matrix (in this case is n = 10).01 -0.72 -44.23 -42. This operations presents considerable advantages from the computational point of view.29 [K11]-1 = -0.29 0.00 0.57 43.00 0.00 0.24 -0.00 0.00 0.23 0.37 -0.87 -0.57 -0.20 0.01 0.00 -0.29 0.00 0. Clearly also vector {u1} can be calculated from the submatrices by decomposing opportunely vector {F1}.00 0.05 -1.58 0.00 0.87 -0.01 0.01 1.00 -0.72 0.16 0.06 -1.57 -0.00 0.00 0.58 0.05 0.00 0.00 0.00 0. and by calculating the respective inverse matrices: [K11] = 1 2 2 11 41 42 60 44 45 42 46 47 48 49 [K12] = 60 47 50 51 52 44 48 51 53 54 45 49 52 54 55 20 21 22 [K13] = 21 28 29 22 29 35 1.06 -0.00 0.05 -1.06 -1.00 0.00 0.02 0.20 -0.37 -0.00 -0.87 1.00 0. while the number of oper- ations needed to solve the system through the decomposition in the three submatrices is proportional to: 24 + 54 + 34 = 722.00 -0.20 However it is possible to calculate [K1]-1 by considering the single submatrices that constitute [K 1].00 0.05 0.00 0.00 -0. Appendix A .00 0.72 0.06 -0.00 0.00 0.23 -0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.58 [K12]-1 = 0.00 0.00 0.23 43.29 0.00 0.00 -0.00 0. 184 1.37 -0.00 0.00 0. the system solution implies a number of numerical operations (with operation we mean a multiplication + an addiction) proportional to n4 if we use the Cramer method.23 -42.06 -0.01 -0.01 -0.00 0.00 0.00 [K1]-1 = 0.06 -0. It is therefore evident that the decomposition allows to save time and storage space with respect to managing the complete matrix.16 -0.02 0.00 0.00 -0.16 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.

Certainly direct solution offers more guaranties of a good outcome (obviously if we have mor- phologically correct finite element model: constraints and loads properly applied. even if all the operations are all performed in the correct manner. A. Matrix [H] is in general a function of matrix [K 1] of the system to be solved. Here we just wanted to mention to a possible method for direct solutions. but they apply other methods that allow to achieve the solution with an even lower number of operations (the gaussian elimination technique for example implies a number of operations proportional to n3).4 Iterative methods With these techniques it is possible to achieve an approximated solution. etc.  they are sensitive to the “conditioning” of the matrix (see also § 5. vector {g} is a function of vector {F1} and vector {u1}0 (first iteration) is arbitrarily chosen. in order not to risk to see voiding hours of calculation due to insufficient disk space for temporary files.  they may be much faster than direct methods. i. as we widely illustrated in the book) with respect to the iterative technique.5).2) the following relationship: u  1 i 1    H u1  g i where i represent the i-th iteration. Table 1 lists the data related to the mode. Anyone who decides to apply this type of technique to a system has to establish also which tolerance value has to be used.5 Comparison between direct and iterative methods Unfortunately no criteria exist that can indicate. finally the value of the error that is considered accepatable.  the solution convergence is not granted. “valid” element geometry. before starting the solution. in the sense that this will be in any case affected by an error. which is certainly not representative of all the situations that it is possible to deal with but it is still useful to understand how it is possible to choose a way instead of the other one. Theoretically the error can be as small as desired by simply increasing the number of the iterations. A. From a practical point of view these methods in general apply to system (A. due to the way the rod works. the model of the rod is reported in figure 2.  they decisively engage less computer memory and storage disk space than direct methods. On the other hand it must be said that if the model is big with respect to the calculation resources in use the choice must be the iterative solver. which is the best method to be used for a given model. the analysis has to be conducted for only one load condi- tion. In case we have to calculate the connecting rod shown in figure 1. We will just give some considerations on iterative methods:  they are very effective with high order systems and highly sparse matrices. 185 We emphasize that generally direct solvers do not use the Cramer rule to solve the blocks. We will not present any example in this case because it would be necessary a minimum of programming (even if we use some software able to manage matrices) and this is far beyond our objectives. Let us see a case. while in table 2 the information related to the two different solution methods is reported. Number of elements 1995 Number of nodes 1962 Number of equations 6457 Table 1 Appendix A .e. We initially assume that.

Finite element model for the rod of figure 1.582 Table 2 From a comparison it is possible to see how both from solution time and disk storage space it is convenient to use the iterative solver.779 Table 3 Now the iterative solver has been slower. this essentially means that we have a unique matrix [K1] and two vectors {F1}. we notice that the results differ starting from the second decimal digit of the full scales. Direct Solve Iterative Solver Solution time [s] 143 249 Temporary files [Mb] 22. Let us now suppose that the analysis is to be executed on two load conditions. As we have previously done we report in table 3 the data related to the two solution techniques. Figure 2. This occurs because the direct solver uses most of the time to “invert” the matrix. Figures 3 and 4 illustrate the equivalent Von Mises stress for the two solutions.775 6. Figure 1.0224 6. 186 Direct Solver Iterative Solver Solution time [s] 138 125 Temporary files [Mb] 21. while a negligible part is used to execute the matricial Appendix A . even if it has still used less storage disk space. CAD model of a connecting rod.

Appendix A .02 MPa). has to start the iterations from the beginning each time the load vector changes. 187   product K1 F .54 MPa). Equivalent Von Mises stress obtained by the iterative solver imposing a quite high value for the tolerance. Figure 3. the iterative solver. Equivalent Von Mises stress obtained by the iterative solver (maximum value = 142. Both the stress distribution and the stress values cannot be accepted as valid (maximum value = 19. Figure 4. on account of what we said. Nevertheless some cases may occur where the iterative solver is much quicker (even 10 times) than the direct one and therefore even with more than one load conditions its use is anyway convenient. It is obvious that this difference is more evident as higher is the number of load conditions. therefore solving two load conditions may require double time.06 MPa). On the other hand. Equivalent Von Mises stress obtained by the direct solver (maximum value = 142. therefore solving one load condition or two it does not substantially affect the total calculation 1 time. Figure 5.

a tolerance value that gives good results in short time: in this case it is convenient to use an iterative solver. we are constrained to use iterative methods it is necessary to look for a tolerance value as small as possible (but still trying to contain solution times) in order to limit the possibility of errors which are implicit in the method. due to model dimension. if not leading to non convergence.5) that can slower the convergence of iterative solvers. Appendix A . the problem is that generally big models are created by automatic mesh generators that exactly because of their nature tend to generate locally highly distorted elements. this kind of situations lead to an ill-conditioned matrix (see § 5. Nevertheless if we increase the tolerance value in order to reduce solution times we obtain the results of figure 5.  it can often occur to have to analyse some geometries that are very similar among them. it is clear that these values are totally unacceptable (we know this because we have also execut- ed the direct solution: in other situations it is under the stress engineer responsibility to judge the result validity). The problem is worsened by the fact that a given tolerance value which is good for one model may not be suitable to another one.6 Conclusions From what we said some considerations can be deduced:  it is preferable to use direct solvers whenever the solution times and the calculation resources at our dispos- al allow it. From figures 3 and 4 no appreciable differences appear between the two methods. in these situations it would be possible to establish. already from the first calculation phases.  when we have many load conditions for a given model it is convenient to use direct solvers.  if. A. 188 The last consideration is about result quality.

2 The Finite Elements As we mentioned in Chapter 2 finite elements are domains in the space (from 1 to 3 dimensional depending on the element type) inside which the solution of the elastic problem is approximated. [K] the so called global stiffness matrix of the structure itself. of the structure. is related to the geometry and to the material that constitutes the structure. of a given problem. {F} the vec- tor of the forces applied to some nodes (or even to all of them). B. In the following paragraphs we will see how the [Ke] matrix for a plane stress triangular 3 noded element can be determined. It is therefore on the stress engineer experience that the element “density” has to be established in order to achieve a correct result. In order to solve equation (B. as we said. The [K] matrix is built by the calculation code by assembling in an appropriate way the various matrices [K e] of the single elements into which the whole structure has been divided.3 Shape functions for a plane stress triangular element Shape functions are polynomial equations that describe the displacement field of any point inside the element as a function of the displacements that the element nodes undergo. the nodes. the FEM result of a linear elastic structural problem. from an engineering point of view.1) being {u} the vector of the displacements (unknown) of predefined points. materials.1 Introduction As we already said in Appendix A. the theoretical limit would be that an infinite number of finite element will guarantee the exact result. B.1) it is necessary to know the [K] matrix that. The polynomial degree depends on the node number (in fact beside the nodes at the vertices it is possible to have elements with nodes along its sides). . It is therefore clear that the smaller the elements that model the structure are (and hence as much they are nu- merous) the higher the solution accuracy will be. as it will be clearer in what follows. once the structure to be calculated has been defined (geometry. Let us consider a point P belonging to a triangular element (see figure 1). boundary conditions) is exactly the solution of the following matricial equation: u  K1 F (B. internal constraints. APPENDIX B The stiffness matrix for the plane stress 3 noded element B. The higher the polynomial degree the better the element behaviour will generally be.

Point P belonging to a plane stress triangular element.. In matricial form we can write: 1 x 1 y1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 x1 y1   1 x 2 y2 0 0 0 u nod    a 0 0 0 1 x2 y2  1 x 3 y3 0 0 0   0 0 0 1 x3 y 3  u nod  Na from which we retrieve: a  N1 u nod  Φu nod By writing the [] matrix in such a way to underline its rows we will have: Appendix B .2) we will have: u1x = a1 + a2x1 + a3y1 u1y = a4 + a5x1 + a6y1 u2x = a1 + a2x2 + a3y2 u2y = a4 + a5x2 + a6y2 u3x = a1 + a2x3 + a3y3 u3y = a4 + a5x3 + a6y3 where ujx and ujy (j = 1.. 190 Figure 1. yj are the node j coordinates. If we suppose to know the displacement components of the element nodes.. due to equations (B.6) are some constants to be determined in the following way..3) are the displacement components of the j node.. xj.2) uy(P) = a4 + a5x + a6y where x and y are the point P coordinates and ai (i = 1.3): ux(P) = a1 + a2x + a3y (B. For the given point P we can write (see also § 6.

3) Φ 4  Φ 5    Φ 6  By substituting equations (B. The external work necessary to move an end of spring with k stiffness (being the other end constrained) by the quantity x is: x 1 0  L e  k  x  dx   k  x 2 2 Appendix B . in or- der to adequately catch the deformation field in a structure modelled with this element it is necessary to use a great number of them. starting from a simple example. 191  Φ1  Φ   2 Φ  a  3   u nod (B. due to equations (B. we have: a 2   Φ2 u nod a 3   Φ3 u nod a 5   Φ5 u nod a 6   Φ6 u nod we can write: ε x  Φ 2 u nod ε y  Φ 6 u nod γ xy  Φ3  Φ5 u nod or.4 The stiffness matric for the CST element In order to retrieve the stiffness matrix for the CST element we will use an energy based method. Therefore. As.3). thus giving a higher sensitivity to stress gradients. Elements with polynomial that contain also quadratic forms (such as the 6 noded triangle) will see a deformation field which varies inside the element.2) in equations (1.11) (see Chapter 1) and by executing the derivatives we can ob- tain the strain tensor components: x = a2 y = a6 xy = a3 + a5 As ai are constant it is clear why this kind of element is called Constant Strain Triangle (CST). in a more compact form:  Φ2  ε  Φ 6   u nod B u nod (B.4) Φ 3  Φ 5  B.

4): L i   u nod  B  E  B u nod dV 1  T T T 2 V It is easy to realise that none of the terms under the integral depends on the integration domain and therefore the integral is executed only on the dV term. A = element area) we will have: V  u nod  K e  u nod  u nod  B  E  B u nod t  A 1 T 1 T T T 2 2 At this point the definition of [Ke] is immediate: K e   BT  ET  B t  A (B.10) (see Chapter 1): L i   ε  E  ε dV 1  T T 2 V Finally. the work of the external forces re- quired to impose the nodal displacements {unod} will be: L e   u nod  K e  u nod 1 T 2 while the internal forces work is given by the following relationship: L i   σ  ε dV 1  T 2 V Moreover. due to equation (1. We have: 1 10 10 0 0 0  0 0 0 1 10 10   1 20 10 0 0 0  [N] =   0 0 0 1 20 10 1 10 20 0 0 0    0 0 0 1 10 20 Appendix B . 192 In a similar way. due to equation (B. being [Ke] the matrix (still to be defined) of an element. moreover. due to the Virtual Work Principle. Being  dV  V  t  A (t = element thickness. it has to be Le = Li.5) In what follows we report the calculation of [Ke] for the element shown in figure 2.

872180468750E+04 -3. 193  3 0 1 0 1 0   0. we retrieve the following ma- trix: ROW 1 1.1 0 0.155874765625E+05 .155874765625E+05 ROW 3 -1.9 -38721.872180468750E+04 -1.9 115587.872180468750E+04 3.5). Appendix B .67 154309.543092812500E+05 7.000000000000E+00 1.814386718750E+04 -1.805 -115587 -115587 -38143.1 0 0 0 0.000000000000E+00 .8 -38721.8 38721. a part from a higher number of significant digits used by the software.1 0 0.1  Φ 2   0.1  0.1 0 0    0  0.814386718750E+04 .3 76865.1 0  By solving equation (B.872180468750E+04 -3.814386718750E+04 -3.805 0 -38721.814386718750E+04 ROW 2 7.67 -115587 -38721.686567187500E+04 1.872180468750E+04 .1 0 0 0  [B] =  Φ 6    0   0.872180468750E+04 .000000000000E+00 ROW 6 -3.000000000000E+00 .814386718750E+04 ROW 4 -3.1 0 0 0 0.872180468750E+04 -3.686567187500E+04 -1.1 0.805 -38143.9 76865.5 Let us now compare the results obtained by a commercial calculation code.000000000000E+00 3.9 -115587 38143. for example by using the matricial calculation capabilities of Microsofot EXCEL.872180468750E+04 .1 0  [N]-1 = [] =    0 3 0  1 0  1  0  0.1 0 0. we obtain: 154309.155874765625E+05 3.543092812500E+05 -3.1 Φ 3  Φ 5   0.8 -38721.8 -38721.805 0 -38143.872180468750E+04 -3.8 38721.000000000000E+00 3.8 -38721.1 0 0 0    0.000000000000E+00 3.872180468750E+04 -3.872180468750E+04 .872180468750E+04 3.000000000000E+00 ROW 5 -3.8 0 38721.155874765625E+05 -3.5 0 0 38143.814386718750E+04 1.8 0 38721.1 0 0 0 0.3 -38143.155874765625E+05 As it can be noticed.1 0 0.155874765625E+05 -3. To this purpose it is sufficient to set the input file in such a way to have the stiffness matrix printed for the same element. the agreement is perfect.87 0 0 115587.87 -38721.

The system to be solved is therefore constituted by 5 equations and 5 unknowns that. Plane stress triangular element: E = 206000 MPa.  = 0.33. t = 1 mm. to calculate the displacement of the end of beam loaded by a shear force. as we said many times. the degrees of freedom are 8 (the global matrix will then be a 8x8). for example. We have all the instruments to do it.5 A practical example At this point we are able to solve “by hand” a finite element model. mainly in the assembling phase of the global matrix. The model we want to solve is shown in figure 3. The first step consists in the determination of the stiffness matrix for element I and element II. We want. are the x and y displacement components of the not constrained nodes. The bar is 200 mm long and 50 mm high. A = 50 mm2. This operation does not present any difficulties because we have performed the same task in the previous paragraph. minus 3 constraints (2 for the hinge and 1 for the simple sup- port). B. The material is steel with E = 206000 MPa. their coordinates are listed. at least constituted by plane stress triangular elements. 194 Figure 2. The nodes with their numbering are indicated and. the model will be opportunely small in order to limit the possibilities to make mistakes. We just have to repeat the same procedure changing the nodal coordinates in order to obtain the two matrix reported here below: Appendix B . Figure 3.33.  = 0. in parenthesis. The beam is loaded by shear and bending. As we will use EXCEL just for matricial operations. thickness = 1 mm. It is constituted by 4 nodes and 2 CST elements.

45 -38721.80 0.36 -9680.87 -462349.80 -9680.00 -38721.67 472030.87 0.00 9680.67 -28896.87 y1 76865.36 -38143.67 472030.09 0.80 y3 -38721. 195 x1 y1 x2 y2 X4 y4 x1 183784.80 y3 -38721.90 76865.00 -154887.87 -38143.00 -154887.90 38143.87 -28896.00 0.45 x4 0.45 0.22 -38721.45 x4 -154887.00 38143.67 -28896.87 -38143. As in our example we are not interested in the reaction forces calculation.87 0.67 472030.45 0.87 0.00 -38721.67 472030.90 76865.87 -462349.80 -462349.36 Constrained global matrix We notice that now only the active degrees of freedom are present.09 76865.09 76865.87 183784.90 76865.87 183784.67 472030.00 462349. are the degrees of freedom associated with the two elements.67 -28896.87 -9680.22 -38143.80 76865.87 28896. 2 and 4.22 -38721.00 y4 38721. this is done because in this way the calculation of the reaction forces is quicker.87 -9680.87 -38721.00 0.00 -154887.67 0.80 -9680.22 0.80 0.00 -154887. We obtain the matrix reported below: x2 Y2 x3 y3 y4 x2 183784.22 -38721.00 38143.87 -462349.80 0.90 76865.90 x2 -28896.80 -462349. In fact element I owns nodes 1.80 154887. 3 and 4.45 0. Appendix B .87 183784. We obtain the following matrix: x1 y1 x2 y2 x3 y3 x4 y4 x1 183784.87 183784.00 472030.87 y1 76865.36 -38143.67 -38721.87 -9680.00 x4 -154887.00 76865.67 y2 -38721.00 0.00 -38721.00 0.00 472030.90 0.00 76865.22 -38143.87 -9680.22 -38143.45 Element II We notice that x1.36 -38143.67 y2 0.00 y4 -38143. Therefore the global matrix has to be reassembled taking into account the fact that in nodes 2 and 4 the contrib- utes of both elements are present.00 x3 -154887.87 -38721.87 -462349.00 -154887.67 -28896.00 x3 -154887.00 472030.80 0.36 -38143.80 -462349.09 76865. etc.87 28896.87 y2 -38721.45 y4 76865.67 0.90 -38143. while element II connects nodes 2.67 0.22 0.45 0.80 -462349.90 Element I x2 y2 x3 y3 x4 y4 x2 154887.36 -38143.00 462349.22 -38143. we will eliminate the rows and the columns corresponding to the constrained de- grees of freedom.45 38721.87 -462349.80 0.80 0.90 38143.80 y2 0.80 -154887.87 -38721.45 0.00 0.22 -38721.00 38721.87 0.00 -38721.87 -38143.36 -38143.36 Global matrix The third step is related to constraints imposition.80 y3 0. as the constraint makes the correspond- ing degree of freedom inactive.00 0.80 -462349. we will proceed in a different way and we will say that.67 -28896.00 9680.90 76865.00 -38721.22 -38721.87 -38721.22 -38143.87 -38143.09 0.09 76865. Generally commercial calculation codes partition the global matrix by separating the rows and the columns related to the constrained degrees of freedom.90 x2 -28896.80 -9680. y1.00 y4 -38143.45 472030.00 38721.09 76865.80 -9680.87 183784.80 -9680.80 0.09 0.00 x3 0.

00145 Table 1 It is immediate to realise that the results are perfectly coincident. y2. it is possible to retrieve the vector of the plane stress components. be- cause we know in which degrees of freedom the forces are applied: y2 e y3. {F} is the nodal load vector and {u} is the vector of the degrees of freedom x2. NODE ID.19603 y4 0.4.0 y4 0. starting from the displacement (see Chapter 1). including also the null components (i.19215 x3 0.0 y3 -1000.0 Load vector The fifth and last step is the solution of the metrical equation u  K1 F. up to the fifth decimal digit.00145 Nodal displacement vector Clearly the constrained degrees of freedom have a null displacement. In order to do so it is sufficient to reproduce the model of figure 3 and to solve it by using one of the most popular finite element software. where [K] is the constrained global matrix.00000 0.02448 y3 -0.0 x3 0. To this purpose it is first of all necessary to calculate the deformations.19603 4 0.e.02448 -0. x4). If we have done all the mathematical operation in the correct way and we have not made any mistakes in the use of the spread sheet the nodal displacement vector that we obtain is the one reported below: x2 -0.00000 0. multiplying vector {} by [E] matrix (see Chapter 1). this is reported below: Appendix B . Subsequently.02128 y2 -0.19215 3 0. 196 The fourth step is represented by the construction of the load vector.00000 2 -0.02128 -0. We can now verify if the results we obtained are in agreement with the ones generated by commercial codes. We can also go further and calculate the stress status to be then compared with the results obtained by the com- mercial code. In order to limit the operations we will execute the calculation only for element II. Table 1 lists the results obtained in this way. etc. clearly in this case {unod} is the vector that contains the nodal displacements related only to element II. X Y 1 0. by using equation B. The load vector is reported here be- low: x2 0.0 y2 -1000. Also here no problems are foreseen.

At this point it would also be possible to calculate the stress in x direction by using the classical Solid Mechan- ics relationship.4 MPa). The following vector for the components of the stresses inside element II is obtained. because element I is in compression while element II is in traction. Nevertheless we already know that the agreement would not be satisfactory. If we load the bar by a pure axial force instead of shear plus bending the agreement with the theory is good.0 y2 0.0 Load vector for the pure axial loading Figure 4. is not averaged (see Chapter 4). The model is completely inadequate to repre- sent a bending status.59 Plane stress components vector In figure 4 the results obtained by the commercial code are reported.38 y -8.we notice that in nodes 2 and 4 the av- eraged value would be null. x2 1000. Appendix B . because the implemented model is adequate for this kind of stress status. executed for the stress in the x direction. We notice that in order to calculate the new stress status it is not necessary to repeat all the operations. as we used CST elements. Moreover it is impossible to locate the neutral axis. Not averaged stress in the x direction (maximum value = 22. As it can be noticed the stress inside each element is constant.0 x3 1000. In fact the matrix has been already inverted. Also here the agreement is perfect. The plotting. related also to the element type we used. 197 x 22. It is sufficient to modify the load vector and to execute the matricial product again.0 y3 0.60 xy -5.0 y4 0. A part from the deformed shape (see also figure 3 in Chapter 5). for the problem we asked to ourselves (see Chapter 5). due to the inadequate mesh type.

Appendix B . 198 x 40. Result ac- curacy depends on the various aspects that we have tried to illustrate in the text and not on the mathematics on which the Finite Element Method is based.00 y 0.00 Stress component vector for the pure axial loading F 2000 This value is coincident with the theoretical one given by σ    40 MPa.00 xy 0. A 501 In this way we have demonstrated that what is behind a finite element calculation is not a “mistery”.

Peterson – Stress Concentration Factors – John Wiley & Sons. Young – Roark’s Formulas for Stress & Strain – McGraw-Hill. Indianapolis 1973  J. REFERENCES  R. New York 1974  W. New York  Michael Chun-Yung Niu – Airframe Structural Design – Conmilit Press LTD. Shigley. Mischke – Mechanical Engineering Design – McGraw-Hill. F. Bruhn – Analysis and Design of Flight Vehicle Structures – Jacobs Publishing. E. Hong Kong 1988 . C. R. E. C. New York 1975  E.