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**Plate and Shell Elements
**

© 1999 Yijun Liu, University of Cincinnati 129

II. Plate Elements

Kirchhoff Plate Elements:

4-Node Quadrilateral Element

DOF at each node:

y

w

y

w

w

∂

∂

∂

∂

, , .

On each element, the deflection w(x,y) is represented by

∑

·

1

]

1

¸

+ + ·

4

1

) ( ) ( ) , (

i

i yi i xi i i

y

w

N

x

w

N w N y x w

∂

∂

∂

∂

,

where N

i

, N

xi

and N

yi

are shape functions. This is an

incompatible element! The stiffness matrix is still of the form

∫

·

V

T

dV EB B k ,

where B is the strain-displacement matrix, and E the stress-

strain matrix.

x

y

z

t

1 2

3

4

1

1

1

, ,

,

_

¸

¸

∂

∂

,

_

¸

¸

∂

∂

y

w

x

w

w

2

2

2

, ,

,

_

¸

¸

∂

∂

,

_

¸

¸

∂

∂

y

w

x

w

w

Mid surface

Lecture Notes: Introduction to Finite Element Method Chapter 5. Plate and Shell Elements

© 1999 Yijun Liu, University of Cincinnati 130

Mindlin Plate Elements:

4-Node Quadrilateral 8-Node Quadrilateral

DOF at each node: w, θ

x

and θ

y

.

On each element:

. ) , (

, ) , (

, ) , (

1

1

1

∑

∑

∑

·

·

·

·

·

·

n

i

yi i y

n

i

xi i x

n

i

i i

N y x

N y x

w N y x w

θ θ

θ θ

• Three independent fields.

• Deflection w(x,y) is linear for Q4, and quadratic for Q8.

x

y

z

t

1 2

3

4

x

y

z

t

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Lecture Notes: Introduction to Finite Element Method Chapter 5. Plate and Shell Elements

© 1999 Yijun Liu, University of Cincinnati 131

Discrete Kirchhoff Element:

Triangular plate element (not available in ANSYS).

Start with a 6-node triangular element,

DOF at corner nodes:

y x

y

w

x

w

w θ θ

∂

∂

∂

∂

, , , , ;

DOF at mid side nodes:

y x

θ θ , .

Total DOF = 21.

Then, impose conditions 0 · ·

yz xz

γ γ , etc., at selected

nodes to reduce the DOF (using relations in (15)). Obtain:

At each node:

,

_

¸

¸

·

,

_

¸

¸

·

y

w

x

w

w

y x

∂

∂

θ

∂

∂

θ , , .

Total DOF = 9 (DKT Element).

• Incompatible w(x,y); convergence is faster (w is cubic

along each edge) and it is efficient.

x

y

z

t

1

2

3

4

5

6

x

y

z

1

2

3

Lecture Notes: Introduction to Finite Element Method Chapter 5. Plate and Shell Elements

© 1999 Yijun Liu, University of Cincinnati 132

Test Problem:

ANSYS 4-node quadrilateral plate element.

ANSYS Result for w

c

Mesh

w

c

(× PL

2

/D)

2×2

0.00593

4×4

0.00598

8×8

0.00574

16×16

0.00565

: :

Exact Solution 0.00560

Question: Converges from “above”? Contradiction to what

we learnt about the nature of the FEA solution?

Reason: This is an incompatible element ( See comments

on p. 177).

x

y

z

L/t = 10, ν = 0.3

C

L

L

P

Lecture Notes: Introduction to Finite Element Method Chapter 5. Plate and Shell Elements

© 1999 Yijun Liu, University of Cincinnati 133

III. Shells and Shell Elements

Shells – Thin structures witch span over curved surfaces.

Example:

• Sea shell, egg shell (the wonder of the nature);

• Containers, pipes, tanks;

• Car bodies;

• Roofs, buildings (the Superdome), etc.

Forces in shells:

Membrane forces + Bending Moments

(cf. plates: bending only)

Lecture Notes: Introduction to Finite Element Method Chapter 5. Plate and Shell Elements

© 1999 Yijun Liu, University of Cincinnati 134

Example: A Cylindrical Container.

Shell Theory:

• Thin shell theory

• Thick shell theory

Shell theories are the most complicated ones to formulate

and analyze in mechanics (Russian’s contributions).

• Engineering ≠ Craftsmanship

• Demand strong analytical skill

p

p

internal forces:

membrane stresses

dominate

p

p

Lecture Notes: Introduction to Finite Element Method Chapter 5. Plate and Shell Elements

© 1999 Yijun Liu, University of Cincinnati 135

Shell Elements:

cf.: bar + simple beam element => general beam element.

DOF at each node:

Q4 or Q8 shell element.

+

plane stress element

plate bending element

flat shell element

u

v

w

θ

x

θ

y

Lecture Notes: Introduction to Finite Element Method Chapter 5. Plate and Shell Elements

© 1999 Yijun Liu, University of Cincinnati 136

Curved shell elements:

• Based on shell theories;

• Most general shell elements (flat shell and plate

elements are subsets);

• Complicated in formulation.

u

v

w

θ

x

θ

y

θ

z

i

i

Lecture Notes: Introduction to Finite Element Method Chapter 5. Plate and Shell Elements

© 1999 Yijun Liu, University of Cincinnati 137

Test Cases:

ð Check the Table, on page 188 of Cook’s book, for

values of the displacement ∆

A

under the various loading

conditions.

Difficulties in Application:

• Non uniform thickness (turbo blades, vessels with

stiffeners, thin layered structures, etc.);

ð Should turn to 3-D theory and apply solid elements.

A

R

80

o

Roof

R

A

F

F

L/2

L/2

Pinched Cylinder

A

F

F

F

F

R

Pinched Hemisphere

q

A

F

2

F

1

b

L

Twisted Strip (90

o

)

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