International Journal of Solids and Structures 42 (2005) 1537–1545 www.elsevier.

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Stiffness of a curved beam subjected to axial load and large displacements
´ Carlos Gonzalez *, Javier LLorca
Department of Materials Science, Polytechnic University of Madrid, E.T.S. de Ingenieros de Caminos, 28040 Madrid, Spain Received 29 April 2004; received in revised form 20 August 2004 Available online 13 October 2004

Abstract The deformation of an inextensible, curved elastic beam subjected to axial load is studied using the Bernouilli–Euler hypothesis and including the effect of large displacements. The axial displacement of the beam was expressed as a function of the axial load in terms of two incomplete elliptic integrals and contained a singularity as the beam was fully straightened. The nature of the singularity was determined and the load–axial displacement curves were accurately fitted to a rational expression with the same type of singularity, which provides an analytical expression for the evolution of the beam stiffness during deformation. Another analytical expression (although implicit) was obtained in the case of extensible beams, where the elongation due to normal stresses cannot be neglected. These results are relevant to the simulation of the elastic deformation of non-woven felts. Ó 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Elasticity; Beam theory; Composites; Non-woven fabrics

1. Introduction Non-woven fabrics are a cost-effective type of low density felts in view of the easy and high speeds of their manufacture, which greatly exceed those attainable by knitting and weaving machines. Non-woven felts and sheets made up of polyethylene fibers have found many applications in the construction and packaging industries and protective apparel against corrosive liquids and harmful particles (E.I. DuPont de Nemours Inc., 2004; DSM, 2004). Moreover, the structure of polyethylene fiber felts leads to an outstanding tear resistance and energy absorption capability, and they perform exceptionally well to protect against

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Corresponding author. Tel.: +34 913 365 375; fax: +34 915 437 845. ´ E-mail addresses: cgonzalez@mater.upm.es (C. Gonzalez), jllorca@mater.upm.es (J. LLorca).

0020-7683/$ - see front matter Ó 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2004.08.018

Many models have been developed in the past (mainly in the paper community) to account for the influence of the above parameters but they always assumed that the fibers behave as elastic Bernouilli–Euler or Timoshenko beams within the framework of the small displacements theory (Cox. no analytical solution is available in the literature for the stiffness of a curved beam subjected to axial load including the effect of large displacements. 2002). fragments of exploding bombs.1538 ´ C. The positions of a given . while variables without this subindex refer to the deformed configuration. 1962. and this study aims at covering this gap. etc. Van den Akker. 2001). Perkins. 2. undeformed beam. where the initial and the deformed configurations are shown for the curved beam subjected to an axial load P along the horizontal axis. Scanning electron micrograph of a polyethylene felt showing the network of curved fibers which make up the structure. 1. 2.) and on the stiffness of the curved fibers. Gonzalez. and various results of the deformation of elastic cantilevers expressed in terms of elliptic integrals can be found in Frisch-Fay (1962). Problem formulation The problem under consideration belongs to a class of elastic beam problems which are known to be integrable and is depicted schematically in Fig. the low initial modulus of the polyethylene felts is controlled by the stiffness of the folded fibers which is significantly lower than that of straight ones and varies in several orders of magnitude during deformation as a result of the shape change.. fiber orientation. This provides a very flexible structure under in-plane ´ deformation as the fibers are progressively straightened (Chocron et al. 2000. The initial stiffness depends obviously on the characteristics of the fiber network (felt density. While this is a good approximation for paper and other felts made up of straight fibers. Subscript 0 in any magnitude stands for the initial. The initial beam length is 2l0 and increases to 2l during deformation. 1). 1952. LLorca / International Journal of Solids and Structures 42 (2005) 1537–1545 Fig. However. The microstructure of the felt is made up of a network of curved fibers linked to each other (Fig. number of bonds per unit area. mechanical or chemical mechanisms to induce bonds at filament crossover points. crushing) and made of non-linear materials can be found in Lee (2002) and Teng and Wierzbicki (2003) and references therein. shear. J. providing a self-sustaining structure. The elastic deformation of a cantilever beam including the effect of large displacements was first addressed by Bisshopp and Drucker (1945) for the particular case of a concentrated load perpendicular to the beam axis. Numerical solutions for the deformation of beams subjected to different loads (bending. Ostoja-Starzewski and Stahl. Polyethylene felts are manufactured by depositing the short fibers into a mat which is consolidated by thermal.

which is given by dh 1 M 1 P ½yðlÞ À yðsފ ¼ À ¼ À ds R0 EI R0 EI ð1Þ according to the Bernouilli–Euler hypothesis. y0) and (x. Gonzalez. The bending moment. can be computed once the horizontal displacement of the beam end. the curvature can be expressed as sffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi dh 1 2P ¼ ðcos h À cos hl Þ À ð4Þ ds R2 EI 0 . and this is the objective of the mathematical analysis. respectively. is expressed as a function of the applied load. y). which changes continuously during deformation. 2. The initial curvature of the beam is constant and equal to 1/R0 and the beam is progressively straightened under the action of the external load P. (1). The total beam curvature at this section can be computed by adding to the initial curvature 1/R0 the contribution due to the bending moment. section of the beam in the initial and in the deformed configuration are identified. M. leading to the minus sign in Eq. The bending moment straightens the beam and reduces the curvature. by the curvilinear coordinates s0 and s along the beam or by the corresponding pairs of cartesian coordinates (x0. LLorca / International Journal of Solids and Structures 42 (2005) 1537–1545 1539 θl0 R0 δh 2 θl s0 s x y P Fig. J. It is assumed that the beam material behaves as a linear elastic solid characterized by its elastic modulus E. dh = 2x(l) À 2x0(l0). Differentiating this equation with respect to s and taking into account that dy=ds ¼ sin h leads to d2 h P dy P ¼ sin h ¼ ds2 EI ds EI and this differential equation can be integrated as !2 1 dh P cos h þ C ¼À 2 ds EI ð2Þ ð3Þ in which C is an integration constant (which depends on P) that can be easily obtained by considering that the radius of curvature should be constant and equal to R0 when P = 0 and that the bending moment at s = l is zero and thus the curvature induced by bending should also be zero. If h(l) = hl. where I is the moment of inertia of the beam section. The axial stiffness of the beam. and that the effect of shear deformation can be neglected.´ C. Diagram showing the initial and deformed beam configurations. at a distance s from the beam center can be expressed as M = P[y(l) À y(s)].

2. This equation is transformed after some mathematical manipulation to rffiffiffiffiffi& ' ! EI 2 2 xðlÞ ¼ m 1 þ 2 F ½hl =2 j Àm2 Š À 2 E½hl =2 j Àm2 Š P m m in which m2 ¼ 4PR2 0 EI À 4PR2 sin2 hl 0 2 ð6Þ ð7Þ and F[hl/2 j Àm2] and E[hl/2 j Àm2] stand. and the initial curvature. 1/R0. respectively. This integral equation can be solved numerically for each value of P to determine the corresponding angle hl at the beam end. Clearly Z l0 Z l0 ds  à l0 ¼ ds0 ¼ P 1 þ EX cos h 0 0 ð12Þ .1. dh ¼ 2xðlÞ À 2R0 sin hl0 (where hl0 = l0/R0) is expressed as rffiffiffiffiffi& ' ! EI 2 2 ð8Þ 1 þ 2 F ½hl =2 j Àm2 Š À 2 E½hl =2 j Àm2 Š À 2R0 sin hl0 dh ¼ 2m P m m and is a function of the applied load P. Inextensible beams If the total beam length remains constant and equal to l0 during deformation Z l0 Z hl dh ffi qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi l ¼ l0 ¼ ds ¼ 1 2P 0 0 2 À EI ðcos h À cos hl Þ R 0 ð9Þ according to Eq. Gonzalez. the bending stiffness EI. each section of the beams undergoes an axial deformation and its length is given by ! P ds ¼ 1 þ cos h ds0 ð11Þ EX where X stands for the area of the cross-section. 2. which is used to compute the horizontal beam displacement. The parameter hl in this equation depends on whether the beam length changes upon loading and it is determined below. Extensible beams When the beam elongation due to the normal stresses cannot be neglected. The axial beam displacement.1540 ´ C. LLorca / International Journal of Solids and Structures 42 (2005) 1537–1545 and the horizontal coordinate of the beam end is given by Z l Z hl cos hdh qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi xðlÞ ¼ cos h ds ¼ 1 2P 0 0 À EI ðcos h À cos hl Þ R2 0 ð5Þ as a function of hl. J. for the incomplete elliptic integrals of first and second kind. (4). 2. which leads to rffiffiffiffiffi EI l0 ¼ m F ½hl =2 j Àm2 Š P ð10Þ after some mathematical manipulation.

Gonzalez. As expected. hl =2 j Àm2 Š l0 ¼ m P ð1 þ P =EXÞ where n¼ 2P EX þ P ð13Þ ð14Þ and P[n. 3 for beams of equal initial length l0 = p/2 and radii of curvature R0 = 2. The solution of this integral equation provides the angle hl at the beam end that can be used to compute the corresponding horizontal beam displacement. Eq. provided by Eq. 3. LLorca / International Journal of Solids and Structures 42 (2005) 1537–1545 1541 and replacing ds by dh according to Eq. and 8. Inextensible beams The evolution of the applied P and the axial beam displacement. (10). (8) for an inextensible beam can be expressed in non-dimensional form using the functions b EIdmax P ¼ R3 0 and dmax ¼ 2l0 À 2R0 sin hl0 ð15Þ where dmax is the maximum axial displacement of the inextensible beam. (8) and (10) within the limit hl ! 0. 2002) and it is useful to obtain an accurate and simple analytical expression for the beam behavior. Results 3. and neglecting the fourth and higher order terms in hl led to (after a cumbersome mathematical manipulation) . which can be used as the basis for simulation of the elastic deformation of felts. and the result for inextensible beams is recovered. 3. These are plotted in Fig. the beam axial stiffness increases rapidly during deformation up to infinity as the beam is progressively extended along the loading axis. (4).´ C. dh. leads to rffiffiffiffiffi EI 1 P½n. (10) when E X/P ! 0. (8) becomes rffiffiffiffiffi& ' ! EI 2 2 2 2 1 þ 2 F ½hl =2 j Àm Š À 2 E½hl =2 j Àm Š dmax À dh ¼ 2l0 À 2m P m m ð18Þ Replacing l0 by the expression given in Eq. (10) becomes rffiffiffiffiffi EI hl þ Oðh3 Þ þ Á Á Á ð16Þ l0 ¼ m l P 2 after developing the incomplete elliptic integral of first kind in Taylor power series at hl ! 0..hl/2 j Àm2] is the incomplete elliptic integral of third kind.1. Neglecting the third and higher order terms in hl and after some mathematical transformations. J. it can be shown that hl !0 lim P ¼ EI 1 R 2 h2 0 l ð17Þ Similarly. Eq. This task requires the previous analysis of the singularity in the curves as dh ! dmax. attained when the beam is fully extended along the loading axis. (13) becomes Eq. followed by some algebraic transformations. The characteristics of this singularity can be determined by analyzing Eqs. For instance. Eq. This variation of the fiber stiffness at the beginning of the deformation controls the initial elastic deformation of polyeth´ ylene felts (Chocron et al. followed by developing the elliptic integrals in Taylor power series at hl ! 0. 4.

2 0. Gonzalez.6 h / max b Fig. Non-dimensional plot of the evolution of the beam axial displacement. (a) Diagram of the initial shape of the beams indicated by hl0. (b) Results for beams with initial radius of curvature R0 = l0/hl0 = 4 and 8. (8) is plotted together with the analytical approximation provided by Eq.2 0. 25) P P 30000 l0 = /16 20000 10000 l0 = /8 0. (eq. The exact result of Eq. (c) Results for beams with initial radius of curvature R0 = l0/hl0 = 2 and 3. (25). (eq.8 1 0 0 0. hl !0 lim ðdmax À dh Þ ¼ R 3 h 2 l ð19Þ Thus.1542 ´ C. P = P for inextensible beams of length p/2.6 h / max 1000 (c) Exact result 800 Analytical approx.4 0. LLorca / International Journal of Solids and Structures 42 (2005) 1537–1545 (a) 4 6 8 16 50000 (b) 40000 Exact result Analytical approx. it is possible to propose a new function P(1 À dh/dmax)2/3 whose limit at hl ! 0 is finite and given by .4 0.8 1 0 0 0. J. although P is singular at hl ! 0. 3. 25) P P 600 l0 = /6 400 200 l0 = /4 0. n = dh/dmax. as a function of the applied load.

dh À dmax. (22) gives the stiffness of the curved beam at the beginning of deformation (n = 0) and thus  2=3 d½P ð1 À nÞ Š EI   ¼ 3 dmax  dn 2R0 / n¼0 ð23Þ ð24Þ and the function P(1Àn)2/3 can be fitted by the minimum squares method to a polynomial function. where / is a constant given by Z hl0 hl0 3 /¼ cos 2hl0 À sin 2hl0 ðcos f À cos hl0 Þ2 df ¼ hl0 þ 4 2 0 Eq. as shown in Fig. (8) for extensible beams are plotted in Fig. the differences between the extensible and inextensible behavior are most significant as n approaches 1. The elastic energy stored in the beam. the axial stiffness approaches that of a straight column of length l0 as the beam is fully extended.´ C. In the case of extensible beams of initial length l0. 2) from linear beam theory. dh0. 4(a) and (b) for a set of beams of initial length l0 = p/2 and radius of curvature R0 = 2 and 8. which is given by !5=3 P n 1 À bn2 R0 ¼ where b ¼ 1 À 21=3 / ð25Þ ^ dmax P 2/ ð1 À nÞ2=3 Eq. (25) provides an accurate fit to the exact solution of P À dh curves given by Eq. LLorca / International Journal of Solids and Structures 42 (2005) 1537–1545 1543  2=3 dh EI lim P 1 À ¼ lim P ð1 À nÞ2=3 ¼ 2=3 4=3 2=3 hl !0 hl !0 dmax 2 R0 dmax ð20Þ in which n = dh/dmax. 3 for beams of length l0 = p/2 and radius of curvature in the range 2–8. Extensible beams The non-dimensional load–axial displacement curves provided by Eq. It is easy to obtain an analytical expression for the initial horizontal stiffness of the beam of radius R0 (which stands for the initial configuration of the curved beam analyzed here. The maximum error in load predicted by Eq. J. The extensibility of the beams in this figure is shown by the non-dimensional parameter ðX=l0 ÞðR3 =IÞ. (25) can be used confidently to predict the axial stiffness of a curved. The inextensible behavior is pro0 gressively recovered as this parameter increases. at the beginning of deformation is given by Z l0 Z l0 2 1 Mðs0 Þ2 P ½yðl0 Þ À yðs0 ފ2 ds0 ¼ ds0 U ¼2 ð21Þ 2 EI EI 0 0 and the initial horizontal displacement. (8) for inextensible beams in the whole range of material properties and initial curvatures. and Eq. can be expressed as . The elongation of the straight column. can be computed following CastiglianoÕs theorem as dh0 ¼ @U 2PR3 0 ¼ / @P EI ð22Þ after some algebra. and it is sensible to fit the new results by modifying Eq. Gonzalez.2. 3. U. The beam elongation due to the action of normal forces eliminates the singularity of P at n ! 1 and the beam axial stiffness departed from the results obtained for inextensible beams. (8)—is always below 5%. Obviously. Fig. respectively. (25) in this region. inextensible beam. whose value is given in bold characters next to each curve. (25)—as compared to the exact solution of Eq.

LLorca / International Journal of Solids and Structures 42 (2005) 1537–1545 2. 4. 28) 2.6 h / max b Fig. dh À dmax ¼ P l0 EX ð26Þ The axial displacement of a curved.100 2.2 0.10-4 1000 (a) Exact result inextensible 800 l0 Approximation (Eq. (8) is plotted together with 0 the analytical approximation of Eq.2 1.2 0. The exact solution of Eq.10 4 0. (25)) and the axial displacement corresponding to the elongation of a straight column (Eq.10-5 0 0.4 1.8 1 1.105 2. (a) Initial radius of curvature R0 = l0/hl0 = 2. (26)).4 1.2 1. extensible beam can be approximated by adding the elongation due to bending of an inextensible beam (Eq. P = P for extensible beams of length p/2.105 (b) 2. 28) = /4 P P 600 400 2 10-3 200 0 0 0.10-7 inextensible Exact result Approximation (Eq. J. This second term can be expressed in non-dimensional form as next = (dh À dmax)/dmax. n = dh/dmax as a function of the applied load.6 0.10-6 = /16 P P 1.6 h / max 3.105 l0 2.10-5 2. Gonzalez.105 1.105 5.5.4 0.8 1 1.6 0. (b) Initial radius of curvature R0 = l0/hl0 = 8. The bold numbers next to each curve stand for the beam extensibility given by ðX=l0 ÞðR3 =IÞ.1544 ´ C.5. in which the axial elongation due to normal stresses is divided by the maximum axial displacement of the inextensible beam. Non-dimensional plot of the evolution of the beam axial displacement. leading to next ¼ l0 I P b X R3 P 0 ð27Þ .4 0. (28).

4. 2000. Lee. Finally. London..´ C. T. The analytical––although implicit––fit of Eq. LLorca / International Journal of Solids and Structures 42 (2005) 1537–1545 1545 which shows that the beam elongation due to normal stresses (normalized by maximum axial displacement due to bending) is controlled by the parameters X/l0 and R3 =I. 2001. British Journal of Applied Physics 3. Random fiber networks and special elastic orthotropy of paper.. C. J. Butterworth & Co..I. where the elongation due to the normal stresses cannot be neglected. 1962. D. 205–241. M. 1962. Crush response of an inclined beam. (28) is again excellent even in the cases where the beam elongation is important to determine the axial stiffness. 72–79.B. E... Lyne. Large deflection of cantilever beams. pp. to the normal 0 stiffness of the beam section and to the beam axial displacement due to bending. Army. X. British Paper and Board Makers Association. Cendon. A.. International Journal of Non-linear Mechanics 37. (28) is compared with the exact numerical results in Fig. ... The Formation and Structure of Paper. DuPont de Nemours Inc. The beam deformation was determined from the Bernouilli–Euler hypothesis and included the effect of large displacements. Following the same procedure.com/. pp. viscoelastic and inelastic mechanical behavior of paper and board. Van den Akker. was also obtained. F. F. Borch. the total beam elongation can be computed as n ¼ nin þ next ¼ nin þ l0 I P b X R3 P 0 ð28Þ where nin is obtained by solving the equation P n 1 À bn2 in ¼ in b P 2/ ð1 À nin Þ2=3 ð29Þ and the approximation provided by Eq.E. (Ed. Journal of Elasticity 60. Gonzalez.. Characterization of fraglight non-woven felt and simulation of FSPÕ impact in it. 1952. Some theoretical considerations on the mechanical properties of fibrous structures. In: Bolam. The nature of the singularity was determined and the load–axial displacement curves were accurately fitted to a polynomial expression with the same type of singularity. S. Ostoja-Starzewski. respectively. and the corresponding load–axial displacement curves were fitted to another analytical expression––although implicit––derived from the one developed for inextensible beams. inextensible elastic beam subjected to axial load.. M. References Bisshopp.... K. Quarterly of Applied Mathematics 3. The elasticity and strength of paper and other fibrous materials.. DSM.dsm. In: Mark. S. Cox..). The evolution of the axial displacement as a function of the applied load was expressed in terms of two incomplete elliptic integrals and presented a singularity as the beam was fully extended along the loading axis.C. J.. (Eds. which are related. Report A052804 from the Polytechnic University of Madrid to the U.tyvek. Handbook of Physical Testing of Paper. ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ Chocron. Sanchez-Galvez. V.).A.. 2002. Wierzbicki.W. 131–149. Models describing the elastic. 4. 1945.. http://www. 1128–1158. Thin-Walled Structures 41. Teng. Frisch-Fay. 2003. New York. Flexible bars.. K. 1–76. Pintor. 2002.C. Large deflections of cantilever beams of non-linear elastic material under a combined loading. the behavior of an extensible beam.. R. 2004.. Habeger. Available from: <http://www. Stahl. J. R. C. Rosello. 2004. Drucker. Perkins.C.com/>. which provides the evolution of the beam stiffness during deformation. 272–275. Marcel Dekker. D. H. Conclusions An analytical expression is obtained for the axial displacement of a curved.E.L. 439–443. D.