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~I~~LA~EM~NTS~ STRAIN AND STRESS ERROR NODAL

LINES IN FINITE ELEMENTS!

Department

of Ma~~rna~~~s Boston University,

Boston, MA 022tf.

U.S.A.

and
J. A, METZLER
Department
of Mathematics.Drew University, Madison,NJ 07940,U.S.A.
(Recoined

11September 1977: received

jarpublicationI L&ember

1977)

~~t-~~~eF~~~
experiments show that the CF~OF in the computed finite eicment sobztion aad its derivatives
vanish on typicalerrornodal&es insidee~cbfiniteelement.A itKoretica1
explanation
isgivento thisphenotnenon,
which was previously discovered for distinct. special points. Systematic classification of these lines for different
element types afid problems appears to be a worthy undertaking.

Since the original observation by 3~~owrll that the


finite element svlessescomputed in rectangularelements
at the Gauss points are superior in accuracy, there have
been
reports
on different
such special points in
rectangles121and triangies[31. Using the best energy fit
techniquef4J. whereby minimization of the error in the
energy is carried out over a singie typical element with
an assumed polynomia1 exact solution that assures a
globaily admissible finite element sobtion, it is shown
here that there are entire lines (surfaces in space) inside
the ekment on which accuracy is superior and hence the
variety of observed special points.
These nodal tines depend on the etement. o~g~~~~
probkm and eventually location, as shown ~eoretical~y
and nume~c~ly in this paper.

Here the finite element solution t is obtained


of

from

the

minimization

or

equivalently

where u and 5 are the exact solution


element

trial function,

and

the

finite

respectively.

For the bilinear, reactangular finite element I = uoc


alx + a2y + a~xy, -I IX. .v5 1, inside each element and
accordingly the choice u = aax2 + a,xy + a& is made.
Minjm~tion
of (21 yields nt = 0, a2 = 0 and oj = al such
that ti = aa+o~x~. Equating u,, tt, with
ir,,
&
produces aox = 0, and a2y = 0, and the errors au, h
u. - ri, and Su, = u, - ri, are changing signs on the lines
x = 0 and y =O, respectively, Choosing the free
Vtestxuch suppwtcd by the O&e
N~t~~~~36.
CAS Vol. 9. No. LA

parameter ao=O makes the finite element solution the


to the q~~atic,
meting that it is exte~~ie
over neighboring elements. Also, since any smooth solution is, by Taylors theorem, almost a polynomial inside
each element, it is expected of the errors to change signs
on x = 0 and y = 0 in general. One is also tempted to
conjecture (as was done in [4]f that the best place to
compute rl is at the nodes. Numeric
experiments,
however, refute this, at kast in the bilnear case.
For the biiadratic
element rS= oo+olx + n2y + a$
-Irsx,pIf.
+ acxy + usy'
t u6x2y + u,xy2 t ullx2y2.
and consequently the choice u = bti+ a,xy + a2xy
+ a$ is made. Similar argumncts lead here to the conch&on that Su, changes signs along the tines x = *g13f3f
and btr, along y = rg(313f. For Su one is again led to
expect the best accuracy at the nodes.
To numerically observe ail this and to see the effects
of numerical integration, the equation rt,, + lYY t I = 0 is
sofved in a square region with K = 0 on its boundary.
Finite element calculations are carried out with bilinear
and biquadratic elements (because of symmetry only one
quarter is considered,} The error nodal fines of &u, and
6u, for a 7 X 7 mesh of b&tear elements and the shaded
element as in Fig. f(a). are shown in Figs. f(b) and (cl
Figures l(d) and (e) show the nodal fines of 6~ and &I,
for the biquadratic element (3 x 3 mesh and an element at
the middle of the quadrant), with exact integration and a
2 x 2 (broken line) Gauss lotion
scheme. ff $ or &,
are computed at the Gauss point then the 2 X 2 integration results, as can be seen from Table I, in a
certain loss of accuracy.
interpolate

of Navaf Research ONR-

PLATEBENDING
Here one is called to minimize (Poissons ratio Y = 0).
The potential energy

336

ISAAC FRIEDand J. A. METZLER

and

Su,=aaox(xt

6uy = f a&

1)(x-

1)

+ 1NY-

1)

with SuIy being identically zero. Thus the nodal lines for
Su, are x = - 1, x=0 and x=1. Those of 6u,. y=-1,
Y = 0 and y = 1. while Su,, and &a,, change sign on the
tines
that
pass
through
the
Gauss
points
(M3/3). W/(3/3)) and parallel to the x and y axes,
respectively.
Figure ZtaHd) shows the experimental error nodal
lines for 6~. &,, Su,, and SuX, in case of a simply
supported plate uniformly loaded and discretized as in
Fig. 2(e).

Fig. I. Fixed square membrane discretized with rectangular


elements. Nodal lines for 6u (b) and 6~. (c) in case of a mesh of
bilinear elements as in (a). The nodal lines in (d) and (e) are for
8u and 6u,. respectively. for exact and a 2x2 Gauss scheme
(broken line). and a 3 x 3 mesh of biquadraticelements as in Fig.
3(e). The marked points 0 are Gauss points.

Table 1. Values of Su, = ti, - a, at the four


Gauss points in Fig. I(e) for a biquadratic
element and a 3 x 3 mesh discretizing a uniformly loaded membrane. Once for exact (3 x
3) and once for a 2x2 Gauss integration
Scheme
au,
3x3

Point
1
2
3
4
max (Su, )

-0.35lf-4
-0.45d-4
-0.IZd-4
0.848-2

0.3ld.2

In the case of the bicubic.

17=

cii

and accordingly
1( = aox

+ nlx3y

Once more the

axy

rectangular

2x2
-0.61d-4
0.20d-3
-0.33d-3
0.25d-3
OAOd-2

element

i<3,j<3,--lIX.~LTl

Id)

fCcl

(5)

the choice for u falls UPon


+ a2x2yZ + a3xy + a.iy4,

best energy fit is the interpolate such that

1q
I

I_________
_
lel

Fig. 2. Nodal lines of Su (a). 6u, (b). 6u,, fc) and Su,, (dt in case
of a simply supported square plate uniformly loaded and discretized by a 3 x 3 -.mesh (e) of bicubic _elements
_ (nodal values u.
u,. u,. u,,). The marked points l are Gauss pomts

Displacement.

strain and stress error nodal

Table 2. Rotating
sphere with biquadratic
elements.
twenty-five
points in Fig. 3(a). Integration with 3
v=o.3

2
4
5
6

i
IO

II
I2
I3
I4
IS
16
I7
I8
I9
20
21
22
23
24
25

-0.102d
00
-0.906d-O
I
-0.7641-01
-0.6341-01
-O.S42d-01
-0.2371-01
-0.1 l3d-01
0.6061-02
0.218d-01
0.306d-01
0.220d-01
0.3261-01
0.516d-01
0.682d-01
0.723d-01
-O.l99d-01
-O.l26d-01
0.551 d-02
0.206d-01
0.137d-01
-0.9751-01
-0.959d-01
-0.853d-01
-0.835d-01
-0.120d00

-0.11 Id-02
-0.119d-01
-0.I IOd-02
0.148d-01
0.109d-02
0.1881-03
-0. IOSd-01
O.l36d-02
0.19ld-01
0.4701-02
-0.2641-03
-0.1l6d-01
0.27Od-03
O.l87d-01
O.lSId-02
-0.7171-03
-0.129d-01
-0.820d-03
O.l86d-01
-0,204d-02
0.386d-03
-0.I l8d-01
0.1431-02
0.2371-01
0.166d-02

lines

in finite element5

337

Relative errors of strains a~ the


3 Gauss integration points and

-0.232d-01
-O.S54d-01
-0.660d-01
-0.68 I d-01
-0.4lOd.01
-O.l74d-01
-0.498d.01
-O&iOd-01
-0.593d-01
-0.32ld-01
-O.l78d-01
-O&Id-01
-0.543d-01
-0.7341-01
-0.387d-01
-O.l95d-01
-0.477d-01
-0.492d-01
-0.1 l9d 00
-0.533d-01
-O.l59d-01
-0.448d-01
-0.538d-01
-0.125d
01
-0.459d-01

0.277d00
0.4671-01
-0.457d-01
0.74Od-01
0.329d00
0.219d 00
-0.764d-02
-0.987d-01
O.l88d-01
0.270d00
0.204d00
-0.308d-01
-0.12Sd
00
-0.408d-02
0.25Sd00
0.255d00
-0.4351-02
-O.lWd
00
0.24Od-01
0.309d00
0.345d00
0.534d-01
-OMd-01
0.84Od-01
0.403dOO

Table 3. Same as Table 2 but with 3 X 3 Gauss integration points Y = 0.45

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
II
I2
13
I4
I5
I6
I7
I8
I9
20
21
22
23
24
25

-0.ll2d
00
-0.8251-01
-O.SSBd-01
-0.398d-01
-0.319d-IO
-0.704d-01
-0.370d-01
-0.47Sd-03
O.ZSSd-01
0.3874-01
-0.4491-01
-O.l23d-01
0.3271-01
0.718d-01
0909d-01
-0.6536-01
-0.413d-01
0.284d-02
0.502d-01
0.719d-01
-O.lIZd
00
-0.102d
00
-0.748d-01
-0.4621-01
-0.618d-01

-0.5 l9d-02
-0.170d-01
-0.3621-02
O.lSSd-01
-0.502d-02
-0.257d-02
-O.l46d-01
0.2331-03
0.219d-01
-0.502d-03
-O.l64d-02
-0. ISOd-0.4761-03
0.219d-01
-0.664d-02
-0.7596-03
-0.IS7d-01
-O.l43d-02
0.219d-01
-0.144d-01
0.159d-02
-0.137d-01
O.l8Sd-02
0.293d-01
-O.llld-01

ELAsTlcITY

As an example in elasticity, consider the rotating thick


spherical shell for which analytic solution to compare
with the approximate is available [S] (errata to this paper
in the Appendix). The spherical strains]61 are too involved for a theoretical prediction as in the preceding
section and analysis is confined to the numerical. Of

O.IMd-01
-0.835d-02
-0.4276-02
0.2016 00
-O.l09d-01
0.222d-01
-0.885d-03
-0.7SSd-02
-0.223d-02
0.121d
00
0.2661-01
0.3886-02
-0.6801-02
-0.20ld-01
-0.457d00
0.278d-01
O.S84d-02
-0.7lld.02
-0.2331-01
-0.l16d
00
0.297d-01
0.707d-02
-O.l02d-01
-0.3224-01
-0.93Sd-01

0.244100
0.446d-01
-0.344d-01
0.713d-01
0.296100
0.197600
-0.222d-02
-0.82ld-01
0.2221-01
0.244d00
0.192d 00
-O.l94d-0
I
-O.IOSd00
0.272d-02
0.234d00
0.24Sd00
0.814d-02
-0.8871-01
0.292d-01
0.285d00
0.331d00
0.6281-03
-0.479d-03
0.838d-01
0.371d 00

interest here is the dependence of the nodal lines on the


order of numerical integration and Poissons ratio v.
Figures 3(aHd) shows the nodal lines for the strain
error 6r, &.B, SEe and the shear Sy, for a 3 x 3 mesh of
biquadratic elements and the shaded element in Fig. 3(e).
Figure 3 refers to a 3 x 3 Gauss integration scheme and
v = 0.3.

338

ISAAC FRIED aad J. A. METZLER


Table 4. Same as Table 2 but with 2 X 2 Gauss integration points and p = 0.3
Point

WG

I
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

0.869d 00
-0.873d-01
-0.549d00
-0.6166-01
0.884d00
0.617600
-0.3201-02
-0.320d00
0.19Od-01

IO
II
14

0.714d00
O.Z%d-oI
0.489d-01
0.64Sd-01
O.SSSd-O!

If

0.226d-01

12

13
16
17
18

I9
20
21
22
23
24

25

-0.74Od00

O.iZld51
0.504d00
-0.78Od-02
-0.149dOI
-0.t32dOl
-0dSSd-01
0.838100
-0.129d00
-0.365101

We*

sci&

O.?%d-OZ
-O.!OOd-O!
-0.394d-02
O.IS?d-@I
0.123d-01
O.!%d-OZ
-0.87Sd-02
0.2761-02
0.196d-01
0.399d-02
-0.238d-02
-0.102d-OI
0.361d-02
0.187d-01
-0.641d-02
0.85Sd-03
-0.120dW
-0.8706-03
0.18Od-01
-0.22Od-02
09976.02
-O.!!Sd-O!
-0.527d62
0.225d-01

0.216d-01

-0.485d-01
-0.5376-01
0.808d-01
-O.SZOdi)I
-0.193d-01
-0.133d-01
-0.452d-O!
-0.505d-01
-0.66Sd-O!
-0368d-01
-0.195d-02

-0.466d~l
-0.79Od-01

-0.913d-01
-0.769d-01
-0.3!Md-O1
-0.599d-01
-0.325d-01

-0.2Sld 00
-0.ll7d00

-O.!OfJdOO
-0.7681-01
0.275601

Wr
0.371600
0.99ld-01
-0.407d-01
0.28Sd-01
0.236d00
0.219d00
-0.6681-02
-0.964d-01
O.Wd-Ol
0.274100
O.!SSd00
-0.572d-01
-0.l27d00
0.224d-01
0.310600
0.261400
-0.794d-02

-O.IW 00
0.213d-01
0.317d00
0.47Sd00
O.llOd00
-0.777d-01

-0. IOZd02

0.140d-01

-0.113d00

0.29Id 00

Table 5. Same as Tabble 2 but with 2 X 2 Gauss intenration ooints and v =

I
2
:
5
6
7
8
9
10
Ii
I2
13
14
15
16
I7
18
19
20
::
23
24
25

0.27Sd01
-0.5IOd-01
-0.134d01
-0.4834-01
0.235101
0.181601
-0.3271-02
-0.899100

0.109d51
0.182d01
O.tI4d51
0.29id-01
0.45Id-01
0.43Od-01
0.2241.03
-0.234d01
0.5331-02
0.156d01
-0.4921-02
-0.47Od01
-0.432101
-0.518d-01
0.327dOf
-0.142d00
-0.IS6d02

0.4SSd-01
-0,!23d=Ol
-0.287d-01
O.l9Sd-01
0.8136-01
0.1738-02
-0.IO8d-01
0.313d-01
0.252d-01
0.623d-02
-0.232451
-0.127d-01
0.175d-01
0.2431-01
-0.507d-O!
0.7~d~3

-0.IStd51
-0.Mid.02
0.2371.01
-0.185642
0.553d-01
-0.I47d-01
-0.3996-01
0.3!06-01
o.!6Od00

Tables 2-5 list the relative errors at the twenty-five


points in Fig. 3(a), for 2 x 2 and 3 x 3 Gauss inte~t~n
schemes, and Y-0.3 and Y= 0.45. It is evident from
these tables that as Y approaches 0.5 and with a low
integration Scheme[?] it becomes imperative to look for

-0.124dOO
-0.3691-01
0.122600
75IdOO
0.275600

-0.135d-01
-0.279151
0.7831-02
0.168600
-0.286100
0.374d~I

-0.2631-01
-0.579d-01
0.8336-01
0.208d01
-0.302d-01
-0.34Od-01
-0.5671-02
0.7986-01
0.23ld00

-0.1666 00
-0.446d-01
0.8476-01
0.838d-01
-0.20ld00

0.45

0.698800
0.285d00
-0.329d-01
-0.169d00
-0.169d00
0.191d00
-0.6581-02
-0.8474-O!
0.204d-01
0.242100
-0.514d-01

-0.152d 00
-0.1 I4d 00
0.121d00

0.471d00
0.237d00
-0.756d-02
-0.106d00
0.199d-01
0.289100
0.913d00
0.349800
-0.7381-01
-0.239dOO
-0.2tld
00

the strains (stresses) at points on the nodal lines lest they


become disastero~sIy ~0%.
The excellence of the strains at the special points helps
to explain the success of Reissners principie with independent stress fields sampled at the integration points.

~splacement,

II

strain and stress error nodal lines in finite elements

16 21

(b)

(a)

~
(c)

(4

339

I. G. Strang and G. J. Fix, An Analysis o/ the Finite Hemenr


Method, Section 3.4. Prentice-Hall.
New Jersey (19731.
2. 0. C. Zienkiewicz, fsoparametric ekment forms in finite element analysis. In Lectures OR Finite Element Methods in
Continuum Mechanics (Edited by J. T. Oden and E. R. de
Arantes e Oliveira), pp. 379-414. University of Alabama Press
( 19731.
3. T. Moan, Experiences with orthogonal ~iy~mials
and
best numerical integration formulas on a triangle: with
particular reference to finite element approximations. ZAMM
54 501-508 (1974).
4. I. Fried. Finite element method: accuracy at a point. Quart.
A~pi. Math. 149-161 (1974).
5. M. A. Goldberg, V. A. Salerno and hf. A. Sadowsky, Stress
distribution in a rotating spherical shell of arbitrary thickness.
1. Appl. Mech. 127-131 (1961).
6. A. E. H. Love, The hfathemaricai Theov of Eiasticity, 4th
Edn. Section 22. Dover. New York W&+4).
7. 1. Fried, Finite element analysis of incompnssible material by
residual energy balancing. ht. 1. So/ids .StntcturesId.
9934002 (1975).

In Ref. [S] eqn (3) should read


cr# = [-4v
Fii. 3. Nodal lines of the strain errors &, (a), &* (b), &o (c) and
8, (d) in case of a revolving hollow elastic sphere discretized
with a 3 x 3 mesh of biquadratic elements (c). This case is with a
3 x 3 Gauss integration scheme and Y = 0.3. The marked points 0
are Gauss points.

t (-3 + IOIQ

+ 3(1 - 2V)Pl?.

Equation (8) should have been


Be=-

2(7-5~)l-o~~.
57
I-a