You are on page 1of 30


Fundamentals of Finite Introduction and History

Element Analysis
FEA Concept

Bar Element and Beam Element

Di Su Application of FEA
Research assistant professor
Bridge & Structure Laboratory Discussion of Some Key Problems
Department of Civil Engineering
The University of Tokyo
2010 Asia-
Asia-Pacific Summer School in Smart Structures Technology
July 27, 2010

Introduction and History FEA & Structure

 About this short course Design

 Fundamentals of finite element analysis

 No a textbook of FEA, no tensor, no Galerkin method… Structure
 Only focus in Civil Engineering
 Realized by Matlab, Abaqus and Ansys

 Try to study FEA by

Maintenance Finite Element
 Mathematical principle + Analysis modeling + Software application Demolish Method

 Try to use FEA by

 Software + Practical problem + Self development

3 4
FEA & Structure Beijing National Stadium
 Beijing National Stadium (40,000 tons)  Mode shape

5 6
From Herzog and de Meuron, Arup, CAG.

Beijing National Stadium Beijing National Stadium

 Failure verification  Truss column design

7 8
From Herzog and de Meuron, Arup, CAG. From Herzog and de Meuron, Arup, CAG.
Beijing National Stadium Beijing National Stadium
 Construction process  Construction process

9 10
From Herzog and de Meuron, Arup, CAG. From Herzog and de Meuron, Arup, CAG.

Finite Element Method Defined Discretized approximation

 Complexities in the geometry, properties and in the boundary
Rayleigh-Ritz principle
conditions that are seen in most real-world problems usually • Approximation in the whole
means that an exact solution cannot be obtained or obtained in domain
• Higher-order continuous
a reasonable amount of time. function
• Fewer base functions
 Engineers are content to obtain approximate solutions that can
be readily obtained in a reasonable time frame, and with
reasonable effort. The FEM is one such approximate solution Another method
technique. • Pieces function
approximation in sub-domain
• Linear or polynomial function
 The FEM is a numerical procedure for obtaining approximate Describe one complex • More base functions
solutions to many of the problems encountered in engineering function
Basic idea of FEM

11 12
Finite Element Method Definition The concept of “FINITE”
 The continuum has an infinite number of degrees-of-freedom
(DOF), while the discretized model has a finite number of
DOF. This is the origin of the name, finite element method. FINITE

 The number of equations is usually rather large for most real-

world applications of the FEM, and requires the computational Finite Number Finite Accuracy
power of the digital computer. The FEM has little practical There is only finite The accuracy of your
number of elements
value if the digital computer were not available. in your analysis
analysis is finite. Even
for very fine model, it
model, not infinite.
is not accurate
 Solution of FEM gives the approximate behavior of the
continuum or system.

13 14

History of FEM History of FEM

 It is difficult to document the exact origin of the FEM, because the basic
Engineering Mathematics concepts have evolved over a period of 150 or more years. The first book
on the FEM by Zienkiewicz and Chung was published in 1967.
Finite difference
Trial function method
Variational Method of Weighted Richardson 1910
Liebman 1918
 Most commercial FEM software packages originated in the 1970s and
method Residuals
Rayleigh 1870
Southwell 1946
Similar structure Ritz 1909
Gauss 1795
Galerkin 1915
replacement Biezeno-Koch 1923
Hrenikoff 1941
Mchenry 1943  The FEM is one of the most important developments in computational
Newmark 1949 Continuous trial
function methods to occur in the 20th century. Advances in and ready availability of
Direct continuum Courant 1943
Variable finite computers and software has brought the FEM within reach of engineers
Prager-Synge 1947 difference method
Argyris 1955
Zienkiewicz 1964 Varga 1962 working in small industries, and even students.
Turner et al. 1956

Present Finite
Element Method
First coined by Clough 1960
FEA Concept FEA Concept
 Example1: One dimension problem

Try to solve this problem?

17 18

FEA Concept FEA Concept

 Use uA, uB, uC as unknowns

19 20
FEA Concept FEA Concept
Let’s derive more More general form


Load matrix Inner force

• The equilibrium for each node has turned into the relationship of each component.
The equilibrium equation for whole structure, not for each component
• This component description is generalized and standard; i.e. ELEMENT.
21 • In this example, it is Bar Element. 22

General description of 1D bar element Application of bar element

Nodal displacement

External force

Inner force


Equilibrium equation

 Could you solve this three-link structure problem using

Stiffness matrix the bar element you just learned?

23 24
FEM Solution process FEM Solution process
 Solve the linear equations

Element 1 Element 2 Element 3  Derived other parameters

Nodal force

Assembly Boundary condition

Very standard, very simple solution, right?

25 26
Stiffness matrix

Analysis modeling process FEM Solution

Step 1: Discretization Step 2: Stiffness matrix for Step 3: Assembly Step 4: Solution (nodal disp.)
each element Step5: Other parameters (strain,
stress, et al.)

Complex structure

Simple element

1D model 2D model 3D model

27 28
Element type in FEM software Bar Element and Beam Element
 Abaqus  Let’s discuss the process more generally.

 It will be very difficult to derive the stiffness matrix of

element by the mechanical equations in most cases. In
this section two general methods will be introduced to
obtain the basic equation for bar element and beam
 Ansys element.
 Principle of virtual work
 Principle of minimum potential energy

29 30

Bar Element Bar Element

Example 3: 1D problem

 Basic equation of 1D problem

 Equilibrium equation or (c1 is constant)

 The basic parameters in x axis How to solve?

 Geometric equation 1.Direct solution: 3 unknowns
 Displacement: u(x)
for 3 equations
 Strain: εx(x) 2.Indirect solution: Trial
 Physical equation
 Stress: σx(x) function?

 Boundary condition
31 32
Principle of virtual work Principle of virtual work
 Principle of virtual work for a deformable body

 If δU is virtual strain energy, and δW is the virtual work by

external force
 For this equilibrium system

 If a small disturbance happens,

Virtual displacement  External virtual work is equal to internal virtual strain
but still remains equilibrium
energy when equilibrated forces and stresses undergo
unrelated but consistent displacements and strains.
 Principle of virtual work based on the virtual displacement

When a rigid body that is in equilibrium is subject to virtual compatible

displacements, the total virtual work of all external forces is zero.
--Johann (Jean) Bernoulli (1667-1748) and Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782)
33 34

Application of principle of virtual work Application of principle of virtual work

 Assume the displacement field as  From the principle of virtual work

(Trial function, c is unknown)
 The strain, virtual displacement, and virtual strain is
 Final solution

 The virtual work and virtual strain energy

35 36
Principle of minimum potential energy Application of principle of minimum potential energy

 It asserts that a structure or body shall deform or displace

to a position that minimizes the total potential energy.
 Assume the displacement field as u(x)
 Potential energy  Again,
(U is the strain energy, W is the external work)

 For bar element

 Potential energy

 The true displacement field should satisfy  From the minimum value

37 38

Bar element Bar element in local coordinate system

 Description of one element
 Geometrics and node description
 Displacement field (Trial function)
 Geometrics and node description
 Strain field
 Nodal displacement
 Stress field
 Nodal force
 Potential energy
 Displacement field
 Assume the linear function
 Obtain the stiffness equation of element by principle of
 From the nodal displacement
virtual work or principle of minimum potential energy


Shape function Nodal

39 matrix 40
Bar element in local coordinate system Bar element in local coordinate system

 Strain field  Potential energy


 Stress field

41 42

Bar element in local coordinate system Bar element in global coordinate system
 Local coordinate system

 Global coordinate system

Stiffness matrix of element

Nodal force vector

 Stiffness equation of bar element

Transformation matrix

43 44
Bar element in global coordinate system Bar element in space
 Potential energy

 Transformation matrix

 Stiffness equation for global coordinate system

 Stiffness equation for bar element in space

45 46

Bar Element in MATLAB Bar Element in MATLAB

MATLAB program for 1D bar element MATLAB program for 2D bar element

 Bar1D2Node _Stiffness(E,A,L)  Bar2D2Node _Stiffness(E,A,x1,y1,x2,y2,alpha)

 Calculate the stiffness matrix k(2×2)  Calculate the stiffness matrix k(4×4)
 Bar1D2Node _Assembly(KK,k,i,j)  Bar2D2Node _Assembly(KK,k,i,j)
 Assemble the stiffness matrix  Assemble the stiffness matrix
 Bar1D2Node _Stress(k,u,A)  Bar2D2Node _Stress(E,x1,y1,x2,y2,alpha,u)
 Calculate the stress of element  Calculate the stress of element
 Bar1D2Node_Force(k,u)  Bar2D2Node_Force(E,A,x1,y1,x2,y2,alpha,u)
 Calculate the nodal force vector  Calculate the nodal force vector

All the codes can be downloaded in 47 48
Application of bar element Application of bar element
 Example 4: Four-bar truss structure  Stiffness matrix for each element

49 50

Application of bar element Bar Element and Beam Element

 Assemble to whole stiffness equation  Results

 Boundary conditions
Compare with the results from MATLAB, ANSYS and ABAQUS

51 52
MATLAB Program ANSYS Program

53 54

ABAQUS Program Beam element

 Example 5: Simple beam under uniform load

 Long beam assumption

The basic parameters
 Strain: εx
 Stress: σx

55 56
Basic equation of beam element Basic equation of beam element
 Equilibrium equation  Choose deflection v as the fundamental unknown
Equilibrium in y

Equilibrium in x

 Geometric equation


 Boundary conditions

 Physical equation

57 58

Beam element Beam element in plane in local coordinate system

 Description of one element

 Geometrics and node description
 Displacement field (Trial function)
 Strain field  Geometrics and node description
 Stress field  Nodal displacement
 Potential energy  Nodal force
 Displacement field
 Assume the polynomial function
 Obtain the stiffness equation of element by principle of
virtual work or principle of minimum potential energy  From the nodal displacement

Shape function matrix

59 60
Beam element in plane in local coordinate system Beam element in plane in local coordinate system

 Strain field  Strain energy

Stiffness matrix of element

Strain-displacement matrix

 External work
 Stress field
Nodal force vector
Stress-displacement matrix
61 62
 Stiffness equation

General beam element in local coordinate system Equivalent nodal force

 How to obtain the nodal force?

 Bending beam + axial deformation

Nodal displacement

Nodal force

Stiffness equation of beam element

Equivalent nodal force

Uniform load
Different BC

63 64
Equivalent nodal force Equivalent nodal force
 Displacement field

Shape function

 External work

 Equivalent nodal force

No relationship with BC, it is a universal expression for uniform load. 65 66

Application of beam element Application of beam element

 Example 6: Cantilever-continuous beam

 Modeling using 2 beam elements

How to obtain structural responses?

67 68
Application of beam element Plane beam element in global coordinate system

 Need coordinate transfer


No need to solve the differential equations or partial

69 70
differential equations, just linear equations

Beam element in space Beam element in space

 Local coordinate system  Stiffness matrix for beam element in space (local
coordinate system)

 For u1 and u2 , the same with bar element

 For θx1 and θx2, similar with bar element

 For v1, v2, θz1 and θz2, the same with pure bending beam

 For w1, w2, θy1 and θy2, similar as above equation

71 72
Coordinate transfer in space Beam Element in MATLAB
 Transfer to global coordinate system MATLAB program for 1D beam element

 Calculate the stiffness matrix k(4×4)
 Beam1D2Node _Assembly(KK,k,i,j)
 Assemble the stiffness matrix
 Beam1D2Node_ Strain(x,L,y)
 Calculate the geometric matrix B(1×4)
 Beam1D2Node _Stress(E,B,u)
 Calculate the stress of element
 Calculate the deflection of element
73 74

Beam Element in MATLAB Application of beam element

MATLAB program for 2D beam element  Example 7: One frame structure

 Calculate the stiffness matrix k(6×6)
 Assemble the stiffness matrix
 Calculate the nodal force of element

75 76
Application of beam element Application of beam element
 For element 1, stiffness matrix is

 Modeling using 3 beam elements

 For element 2 and 3,

77 78

Application of beam element Application of beam element

 Transfer matrix for element 2 and 3  After considering the BC,

 Stiffness matrix for element 2 and 3 in global coordinate

 Final solution

 Assemble the whole stiffness matrix

79 80
MATLAB Program ANSYS Program

81 82

Discretization for continuum elements Application of FEM

 General-purpose FEM software packages are available at
reasonable cost, and can be readily executed on
microcomputers, including workstations and PCs.

 The FEM can be coupled to CAD programs to facilitate solid

modeling and mesh generation.

 Many FEM software packages feature GUI interfaces, auto-

meshers, and sophisticated postprocessors and graphics to
speed the analysis and make pre and post-processing more
The real power of Finite Element method is that it successfully
solved the continuum problem.
83 84
Commercially available general FEM software Information Available from Various Types of FEM Analysis

Year Software Company Website  Static analysis  Heat transfer analysis

1965 ASKA (PERMAS) IKOSS GmbH, (INTES),Germany
STRUDL MCAUTO, USA • Deflection »Temperature
MacNeal-Schwendler Corp., USA
CEGB, UK (restructured in 1990)
• Stresses » Heat fluxes
SAMCEF Univer. of Liege, Belgium • Strains
1969 ASAS Atkins Res.&Devel., UK
• Forces » Thermal gradients
MARC MARC Anal. Corp., USA
PAFEC PAFEC Ltd, UK now SER Systems • Energies » Heat flow from
1970 ANSYS Swanson Anal. Syst., USA convection faces
NISEE, Univ. of California, Berkeley, USA
Mech. Res. Inc., USA
 Dynamic analysis
TITUS (SYSTUS) CITRA, France; ESI Group • Frequencies
1972 DIANA TNO, The Netherlands  Fluid analysis
WECAN Westinghouse R&D, USA • Deflection (mode
1973 GIFTS CASA/GIFTS Inc., USA shape) » Pressures
CASTEM CEA, France HomePage.html • Stresses » Gas temperatures
FEAP NISEE, Univ. of California, Berkeley, USA
1976 NISA Eng. Mech. Res. Corp., USA • Strains
1978 DYNA2D, DYNA3D Livermore Softw. Tech. Corp., USA • Forces » Convection coefficients
1979 ABAQUS Hibbit, Karlsson & Sorensen, Inc., USA
1980 LUSAS FEA Ltd., UK • Energies » Velocities
1982 COSMOS/M Structural Res. & Anal. Corp., USA
1984 ALGOR Algor Inc., USA

Example FEM Application Areas Variety of FEM Solutions is Wide and Growing Wider

 Automotive industry  The FEM has been applied to a richly diverse array of scientific
• Static analyses • Aerospace industry
and technological problems.
• Modal analyses » Static analyses
• Transient dynamics » Modal analyses  The next few slides present some examples of the FEM applied
• Heat transfer » Aerodynamics to a variety of real-world design and analysis problems.
• Mechanisms » Transient dynamics
• Fracture mechanics » Heat transfer
• Metal forming » Fracture mechanics
• Crashworthiness
» Creep and plasticity analyses
• Architectural
» Composite materials
» Soil mechanics
» Aeroelasticity
» Rock mechanics
» Metal forming
» Hydraulics
» Crashworthiness
» Fracture mechanics
» Hydroelasticity
89 90

Several examples Sever examples

 Joint expansion of aerospace structure  Lung cancer analysis

91 92
From Mr. M., Chingthaka and Dr. Pellegrino, S. @Caltech From Jaesung Eom. et al @ Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Several examples Several examples
 Balloon inflation  Heat transfer analysis

From Mr. Hida@ the University of Tokyo 94

From Mr. XW. Deng @Caltech

Several example Classification of Solid-Mechanics Problems

Analysis of solids
 Electromagnetic analysis
Static Dynamics
Elementary Advanced

Behavior of Solids Stress Stiffening

Large Displacement
Linear Nonlinear
Classification of solids

Skeletal Systems Plates and Shells Solid Blocks

1D Elements 2D Elements 3D Elements
Trusses Plane Stress Brick Elements
Cables Plane Strain Tetrahedral Elements
Pipes Axisymmetric General Elements
Plate Bending
From Mr. Mizutani@ the University of Tokyo Shells with flat elements
95 96
Shells with curved elements
Application of FEM Application of FEM
 Example 8: Elastic-plastic analysis  Example 9: Multibody system

97 98

How can the FEM Help the Design Engineer? How can the FEM Help the Design Organization?

• The FEM offers many important advantages to the design engineer: • Simulation using the FEM also offers important business advantages to
the design organization:
• Easily applied to complex, irregular-shaped objects composed of
several different materials and having complex boundary conditions. • Reduced testing and redesign costs thereby shortening the product
development time.
• Applicable to steady-state, time dependent and eigenvalue • Identify issues in designs before tooling is committed.
• Refine components before dependencies to other components
• Applicable to linear and nonlinear problems. prohibit changes.

• One method can solve a wide variety of problems, including • Optimize performance before prototyping.
problems in solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, chemical reactions,
electromagnetics, biomechanics, heat transfer and acoustics, to name • Discover design problems before litigation.
a few.
• Allow more time for designers to use engineering judgment, and less
99 time “turning the crank.” 100
Discussion of Some Key Problems Advantages of the Finite Element Method

 Can readily handle complex geometry:

 Advantage and disadvantage • The heart and power of the FEM.
 Sources of Error in the FEM  Can handle complex analysis types:
• Vibration
 Stiffening and lower bound
• Transients
 High-order element • Nonlinear
 H-method vs p-method • Heat transfer
 General software vs specific software • Fluids
 Future Trends in the FEM and Simulation  Can handle complex loading:
• Node-based loading (point loads).
• Element-based loading (pressure, thermal, inertial forces).
• Time or frequency dependent loading.
 Can handle complex restraints:
• Indeterminate structures can be analyzed.
101 102

Advantages of the Finite Element Method Disadvantages of the Finite Element Method

 Can handle bodies comprised of nonhomogeneous materials:  A specific numerical result is obtained for a specific problem. A
• Every element in the model could be assigned a different set general closed-form solution, which would permit one to examine
of material properties. system response to changes in various parameters, is not produced.
 Can handle bodies comprised of nonisotropic materials:
• Orthotropic  The FEM is applied to an approximation of the mathematical model
• Anisotropic of a system (the source of so-called inherited errors.)
 Special material effects are handled:
• Temperature dependent properties.  Experience and judgment are needed in order to construct a good
finite element model.
• Plasticity
• Creep
 A powerful computer and reliable FEM software are essential.
• Swelling
 Special geometric effects can be modeled:
 Input and output data may be large and tedious to prepare and
• Large displacements. interpret.
• Large rotations.
103 104
• Contact (gap) condition.
Disadvantages of the Finite Element Method Sources of Error in the FEM
 Numerical problems: The three main sources of error in a typical FEM solution are
• Computers only carry a finite number of significant digits. discretization errors, formulation errors and numerical errors.
• Round off and error accumulation.
• Can help the situation by not attaching stiff (small) elements Discretization error results from transforming the physical system
to flexible (large) elements. (continuum) into a finite element model, and can be related to
 Susceptible to user-introduced modeling errors: modeling the boundary shape, the boundary conditions, etc.
• Poor choice of element types.
• Distorted elements.
• Geometry not adequately modeled.
 Certain effects not automatically included:
• Buckling
• Large deflections and rotations.
• Material nonlinearities .
• Other nonlinearities.
105 106

Sources of Error in the FEM Sources of Error in the FEM

 Formulation error results from the use of elements that don't precisely describe the Numerical error occurs as a result of numerical
behavior of the physical problem.
 Elements which are used to model physical problems for which they are not suited are calculation procedures, and includes truncation errors and
sometimes referred to as ill-conditioned or mathematically unsuitable elements. round off errors.
 For example a particular finite element might be formulated on the assumption that
displacements vary in a linear manner over the domain. Such an element will produce
no formulation error when it is used to model a linearly varying physical problem (linear
varying displacement field in this example), but would create a significant formulation
Numerical error is therefore a problem mainly concerning
error if it used to represent a quadratic or cubic varying displacement field. the FEM vendors and developers.

The user can also contribute to the numerical accuracy,

for example, by specifying a physical quantity, say
Young’s modulus, E, to an inadequate number of decimal

107 108
Stiffening and lower bound High-order element
 The finite element method (FEM) provides a lower bound  Using a different set of shape functions of high-order polynomials will
in energy norm for the exact solution, i.e., the expect to reduce the computational effort and increase the accuracy
of the results. It can provide that an increase of polynomial degree is
approximation solution (displacement field) from FEM is combined with a proper mesh design.
smaller than actual case.

 This is simply explained like this. FEM uses a finite

number of DOF to describe the continuum which has an
infinite number of DOF. This will made the stiffness of 2 nodes, linear function
system increase (stiffening), therefore, displacement will
become small for the same external force.

3 nodes, quadratic function 4 nodes, cubic function

109 110

h-method vs p-method h-method vs p-method

 h-method  p-method
The basis functions for each finite element can be refined and the The finite element mesh can be refined and the minimal order of
diameter of the largest element, hmax, allowed to approach zero. This (polynomial) basis functions, pmin, allowed to approach infinity.
mode is called h-convergence and its computer implementation the This mode is called p-convergence and its computer implementation
h-version or h-method of the finite element method. the p-version or p-method of the finite element method.
Defined in Ivo Babuska , Barna Szabo, On the rates of convergence of the finite element method, International Journal for Numerical Defined in Ivo Babuska , Barna Szabo, On the rates of convergence of the finite element method, International Journal for Numerical
Methods in Engineering, 18(3):323-341, 2005. Methods in Engineering, 18(3):323-341, 2005.

111 112
h-method vs p-method h-method vs p-method
 Which method is better? No conclusion  Really? From p-version FEM software Stresscheck
 In the p-version of the finite element method the rate of
convergence cannot be slower than in the h-version.
 Numerical oscillation problem would happen for p-version of the
finite element method.
 For obvious practical reasons, finite element analyses should be
both efficient and reliable.

 My personal view
 For structural analysis, h-method is more popular. Two-order
element is a good application considering the efficiency and
Up to 8-order element???
 p-method seems to act against the original goal of FEM. From

113 114

General software vs specific software General software vs specific software

 My personal view:
 It is very important to make the FEM program by oneself
when studying the FEM.

 For normal use of FEA, general software is more

recommendable. The current software has been well-
developed and ready to handle all the problems

 Even for very specific problems, plenty of user-defined

subroutines can be used.

 Comparing with maintenance of one whole analysis

program, just to maintain one specific part of the program
will be more focused and efficient. 115 User Subroutine in ABAQUS 116
Future Trends in the FEM and Simulation Future Trends in the FEM and Simulation

 The FEM in particular, and simulation in general, are becoming  Enhanced multiphysics capabilities are coming:
integrated with the entire product development process (rather than  Coupling between numerous physical phenomena.
just another task in the product development process). » Ex: Fluid-structural interaction is the most common example.

 Increasing use of non-deterministic analysis and design methods:

 A broader range of people are using the FEM.  Statistical modeling of material properties, tolerances, and anticipated loads.
 Sensitivity analyses.
 Increased data sharing between analysis data sources (CAD, testing,
FEM software, ERM software.)  Faster and more powerful computer hardware. Massively parallel processing.
» Ex: ADVENTURE PROJECT @ the University of Tokyo.

 FEM software is becoming easier to use:  Decreasing reliance on testing.

 Improved GUIs, automeshers.
 FEM and simulation software available freely.
 Increased use of sophisticated shellscripts and wizards.
» Ex: OpenSees @ University of California, Berkeley .
» Ex: ADVENTURE PROJECT @ the University of Tokyo.
117 118

Suggested reference

 Chandrupatla, T. R. and Ashok D. Belegundu, 1997. Introduction to Finite Elements

in Engineering, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
 Kardestuncer, H., 1987. Finite Element Handbook, McGraw-Hill, New York.
 Segerlind, L. J., 1984. Applied Finite Element Analysis, John Wiley and Sons, New
Chandrupatla, Tirupathi R., 2002. Introduction to finite elements in engineering,
Prentice Hall, Third Edition.
R2. O. C. Zienkiewicz, R. L. Taylor and J. Z. Zhu, 2005. The Finite Element Method:
Its Basis and Fundamentals, Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann, Sixth Edition.
Pan Zeng, 2008. Fundamentals of Finite Element Analysis, Tsinghua University.