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Many structures exhibit some form of symmetry. The following figure shows the different types of common structural symmetry.

11. 11. The following symmetric boundary conditions can be applied at the nodes on the symmetric axis: u1 = 0 u2 = 0 . Some of the structures are symmetric with respect to multiple planes (as shown in fig. The position of the mirror is called plane of symmetry.17 is symmetric with respect to an axis of symmetry of x = c.16). A structure is said to have mirror structural symmetry if there is symmetry of geometry. The 2D solid in fig. A half of the structure is the mirror image of another.WHY TO USE SYMMETRY? • • • • • To simplify the modelling process To reduce the DOFs To reduce the computational time required for the analysis Accuracy of the analysis can be improved as the equation system becomes smaller Error in computation is reduced MIRROR OR PLANE SYMMETRY: Mirror symmetry is the symmetry about a particular plane. support conditions and material properties.

u3 = 0 The above equation gives a set of Single Point Constraints (SPC). 11. its support conditions. A loading is considered symmetric if the loading can also be ‘reflected’ off a particular plane. .19). Loading conditions on the symmetrical structure must also be taken into consideration. 11. A problem is said to be symmetric if the structure. A problem is said to anti-symmetric if the structure is symmetric but loading is anti-symmetric (as shown in fig. as well as loading is symmetric (as shown in fig.18).

11.The following general rules can be applied when deciding the boundary conditions at the plane of symmetry: • Symmetric problem (fig.11. . • Anti-symmetric problem (fig. There are no translational displacement components parallel to the plane of symmetry. 2.19) 1.18) 1. There are no rotational displacement components with respect to the axis that is parallel to the plane of symmetry. There are no translational displacement components normal to the plane of symmetry.

2.21 shows a more complex example of the above stated concept. but the loading is asymmetry. with each problem having half the numbers of DOFs if the whole structure is modelled. The structure can always be treated as a combination of (a) the same structure with symmetric loading and (b) the same structure with anti-symmetric loading. There are no rotational displacement components with respect to the axis that is normal to the plane of symmetry. if the structure is symmetric. . Figure 11. In this case. 11.20a where the simply supported beam structure is symmetric structurally. Consider now a case as shown in fig. one needs to solve two problems. Any load can be decomposed into a symmetric load and an anti-symmetric load.


For example. a cylindrical shell structure can be modelled using 1D axisymmetric beam elements. as shown in Fig. the problem can always be decomposed into two sets of axial symmetric and axial anti-symmetric problems.25. . as shown in Fig. Therefore.24 shows an example of a 3D solid under axially symmetric loads.23. which can be modelled using 2D axisymmetric elements. In each case. 11. material and boundary support). Any axial asymmetric load can be expressed in a Fourier superimposition of both axial symmetric and axial anti-symmetric components in θ direction (see Fig. as long as the structure is axial symmetric (in geometry. 11. 11. a complete solution can be obtained by analysing only one sector as a representative cell with a set of cyclic boundary conditions on the boundaries of the cell.AXIAL SYMMETRY A solid or structure is said to have axial symmetry when the solid can be generated by rotating a planar shape about an axis. 11. Fig.23). CYCLIC SYMMETRY Cyclic symmetry prevails in problems where both geometry and loading appear as repeated sectors.

. only one section needs to be modelled and analysed.. REPETITIVE SYMMETRY Repetitive symmetry prevails in structures consisting of continuously repeating sections under certain loading conditions (usually in the direction of a repeating section). Constraint equations at all the corresponding nodes along sides A and B can therefore be written as uAn = uBn uAt = uBt . constraint equations are used for the corresponding nodes at the sectioned surface...... both uAn and uBn (or uAt and uBt ) are unknowns... (1) and (2). (2) Note that in Eqns... as shown in Fig. So these involve Multi Point Constraints.26.... In such a case. Similar to cyclic symmetry.The cyclic symmetric boundary condition for the problem shown in Fig. (3) ... 11.. Thus the above equations are constraint equations involving more than one DOF in one equation...25 should be that all the variables along side A must match exactly those on side B... 11. (1) . such that uAx = uBx which is again an MPC equation.