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An Introduction to the

Finite Element
Analysis

Presented by
Niko Manopulo

Agenda
PART I
Introduction and Basic Concepts
1.0

Computational Methods
1.1
1.2
1.3

2.0

The Finite Elements Method


2.1
2.2

3.0

Idealization
Discretization
Solution
FEM Notation
Element Types

Mechanichal Approach
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4

The Problem Setup


Strain Energy
External Energy
The Potential Energy Functional
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Agenda
PART II
Mathematical Formulation
4.0

The Mathematics Behind the Method


4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6
4.7
4.8

Weighted Residual Methods


Approxiamting Functions
The Residual
Galerkins Method
The Weak Form
Solution Space
Linear System of Equations
Connection to the physical system
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Agenda
PART III
Finite Element Discretization
5.0

Finite Element Discretization


4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6
4.7

6.0
7.0

The Trial Basis


Matrix Form of the Problem
Element Stiffness Matrix
Element Mass Matrix
External Work Integral
Assembling
Linear System of Equations

References
Question and Answers
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PART I
Introduction and Basic Concepts

1.0 Computational Methods

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1.1 Idealization
Mathematical Models
A model is a symbolic device built to
simulate and predict aspects of behavior of a
system.
Abstraction of physical reality

Implicit vs. Explicit Modelling


Implicit modelling consists of using existent
pieces of abstraction and fitting them into the
particular situation (e.g. Using general
purpose FEM programs)
Explicit modelling consists of building the
model from scratch
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1.2 Dicretization
1. Finite Difference Discretization

The solution is discretized


Stability Problems
Loss of physical meaning

2. Finite Element Discretization

The problem is discretized


Physical meaning is conserved on elements
Interpretation and Control is easier

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1.3 Solution
1. Linear System Solution Algorithms

Gaussian Elimination
Fast Fourier Transform
Relaxation Techniques

2. Error Estimation and Convergence


Analysis

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2.0 Finite Element Method

Two interpretations
1. Physical Interpretation:
The continous physical model is divided into
finite pieces called elements and laws of
nature are applied on the generic element.
The results are then recombined to
represent the continuum.

2. Mathematical Interpretation:
The differetional equation reppresenting the
system is converted into a variational form,
which is approximated by the linear
combination of a finite set of trial functions.
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2.1 FEM Notation


Elements are defined by the following
properties:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Dimensionality
Nodal Points
Geometry
Degrees of Freedom
Nodal Forces
(Non homogeneous RHS of the DE)
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2.2 Element Types

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3.0 Mechanical Approach

Simple mechanical problem


Introduction of basic mechanical concepts
Introduction of governing equations
Mechanical concepts used in mathematical
derivation

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3.1 The Problem Setup

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3.2 Strain Energy


Hookes Law:

( x ) E ( x )
where
du
( x)
dx

Strain Energy Density:


1
( x) ( x)
2
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3.2 Strain Energy (contd)


Integrating over the Volume of the Bar:

1
1 L
1 L
U dV p dx ( EAu ' )u ' dx
2 V
2 0
2 0
1 L
U u ' EAu ' dx
2 0
All quantities may depend on x.

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3.3 External Energy

Due to applied external loads


1. The distributed load q(x)
2. The point end load P. This can be
included in q.

External Energy:
L

W qu dx
0

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3.4 The Total Potential


Energy Functional
The unknown strain Function u is found by
minimizing the TPE functional described below:

U W
or
[u ( x)] U [u ( x)] W [u ( x)]

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PART II
Mathematical Formulation

4.0 Historical Background


Hrennikof and McHenry formulated a 2D
structural problem as an assembly of bars
and beams
Courant used a variational formulation to
approximate PDEs by linear interpolation
over triangular elements
Turner wrote a seminal paper on how to
solve one and two dimensional problems
using structural elements or triangular and
rectangular elements of continuum.
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4.1 Weighted Residual Methods

The class of differential equations containing also the one


dimensional bar described above can be described as
follows :

L[u ]

d
du
( p( x) ) z ( x)u q( x),
dx
dx
u (0) u (1) 0.

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0 x 1

(1)

4.1 Weighted Residual Methods


It follows that:

L[u ] q 0

Multiplying this by a weight function v and integrating over


the whole domain we obtain:
1

( L[u] q)v dx (v, L[u ] q) 0


0

(2)

For the inner product to exist v must be square integrable


Therefore:

v L2 (0,1)
Equation (2) is called variational form
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4.2 Approximating Function

We can replace u and v in the formula with their


approximation function i.e.
N

u ( x ) U ( x ) c j j ( x )
j 1

v( x) V ( x) d j j ( x)
j 1

The functions jandj are of our choice and are meant to be


suitable to the particular problem. For example the choice of
sine and cosine functions satisfy boundary conditions hence it
could be a good choice.
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4.2 Approximating Function

U is called trial function and V is called test function


As the differential operator L[u] is second order

u C 2 (0,1) U C 2 (0,1)

Therefore we can see U as element of a finite-diemnsional


subspace of the infinite-dimensional function space C 2(0,1)

U S N (0 ,1) C 2 (0 ,1)

The same way

V S N (0 ,1) L2 (0 ,1)
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4.3 The Residual

Replacing v and u with respectively V and U (2) becomes

(V , r ) 0,

V S N

r ( x) L[U ] q

r(x) is called the residual (as the name of the method suggests)
The vanishing inner product shows that the residual is orthogonal to
all functions V in the test space.

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4.3 The Residual


N

Substituting

V ( x) d j j ( x) into

(V , L[U ] q ) 0

j 1

and exchanging summations and integrals we obtain


N

d
j 1

( j , L[U ] q ) 0

d j ,

j 1, 2 , ... , N

As the inner product equation is satisfied for all choices of V in SN


the above equation has to be valid for all choices of dj which
implies that

( j , L[U ] q ) 0

j 1, 2 , ... , N

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4.4 Galerkins Method


One obvious choice of j would be taking it equal to j
This Choice leads to the Galerkins Method

( j , L[U ] q) 0

j 1, 2 , ... , N

This form of the problem is called the strong form of the


problem. Because the so chosen test space has more
continuity than necessary.
Therefore it is worthwile for this and other reasons to convert
the problem into a more symmetrical form
This can be acheived by integrating by parts the initial strong
form of the problem.

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4.5 The Weak Form

Let us remember the initial form of the problem

L[u ]

d
du
( p ( x) ) z ( x)u q ( x ),
dx
dx

0 x 1

u (0) u (1) 0.
1

(v, L[u ] q ) v [( pu ' )' zu q ] dx


0

Integrating by parts
1

v [( pu ' )' zu q] dx (v' pu 'vzu vq) dx vpu'


0

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1
0

4.5 The Weak Form

The problem can be rewritten as

A(v , u ) (v , q ) 0
where
1

A(v , u ) (v' pu ' vzu ) dx


0

The integration by parts eliminated the second derivatives


from the problem making it possible less continouity than the
previous form. This is why this form is called weak form of the
problem.

A(v,u) is called Strain Energy.


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4.6 Solution Space

Now that derivative of v comes into the picture v needs to have more
continoutiy than those in L2. As we want to keep symmetry its
appropriate to choose functions that produce bounded values of
1

A(u , u ) ( p (u ' ) 2 zu 2 ) dx

As p and z are necessarily smooth functions the following restriction is


sufficient
1
2
2
(
u
'
)

u
dx

Functions obeying this rule belong to the so called Sobolev Space and
they are denoted by H1. We require v and u to satisfy
boundary
1
conditions so we denote the resulting space as H 0
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4.7 Linear System of Equations

The solution now takes the form


A(v , u ) (v , q)

v H 01
Substituting the approximate solutions obtained earlier in the
more general WRM we obtain
U ,V S 0N H 01

A(V , U ) (V , q )

V S 0N

More explicitly substituting U and V (remember we chose


them to have the same base) and swapping summations and
integrals we obtain
N

c A(
k 1

, k ) ( j , q) ,
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j 1, 2 , ... , N

4.8 Connection to the Physical System


Mechanical Formulation

Mathematical Formulation
1

1 L
U u ' EAu ' dx
2 0
L

A(v , u ) (v' pu 'vzu ) dx


0

W qu dx

(v , q )

U W 0

A(v , u ) (v , q ) 0

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PART III
Finite Element Discretization

5.0 Finite Element Discretization

Let us take the initial value problem with constant coefficients

pu ' ' zu q ( x),

0 x 1

p, z 0
u (0) u (1) 0.

As a first step let us divide the domain in N subintervals with


the following mesh

0 x0 x1 ... x N 1

Each subinterval ( x j 1 , x j ), j 1 : N is called


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finite element.

5.1 The Trial Basis

Next we select as a basis the so called hat function.


x x j 1
x x
j 1
j
x j 1 x

j ( x)

x j 1 x j

x j 1 x x j
x j x x j 1

otherwise

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5.1 The Trial Basis

With the basis in the previous slide we construct our


approximate solution U(x)

It is interesting to note that the coefficients correspond to the


values of U at the interior nodes
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5.1 The Trial Basis

The problem at this point can be easily solved using the


previously derived Galerkins Method
N

c A(
k 1

, k ) ( j , q ) ,

j 1, 2 , ... , N

A little more work is needed to convert this problem into


matrix notation

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5.2 Matrix Form of the Problem

Restricting U over the typical finite element we can write


U ( x) c j 1 j 1 ( x) c j j ( x)

x [ x j 1 , x j ]

Which in turn can be written as

U ( x) [c j 1

j 1 ( x)
c j 1
c j ]
[ j 1 ( x) j ( x)]

(
x
)
c
j
j

x [ x j 1 , x j ]

in the same way

V ( x) [d j 1

j 1 ( x)
d j 1
d j ]
[ j 1 ( x) j ( x)] d

(
x
)
j

j
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x [ x j 1 , x j ]

5.2 Matrix Form of the Problem

Taking the derivative

U ' ( x) [c j 1

1/ hj
c j 1
c j ]
[1 / h j 1 / h j ] c
1
/
h
j

j
h j x j x j 1

x [ x j 1 , x j ]

Derivative of V is analogus

V ' ( x) [d j 1

1/ hj
d j 1
d j ]
[1 / h j 1 / h j ]

1
/
h
d
j

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x [ x j 1 , x j ]

5.2 Matrix Form of the Problem

The variational formula can be elementwise defined as


follows:
N

[ A (V ,U ) (V , q)
j 1

]0

A j (V ,U ) ASj (V ,U ) AMj (V ,U )
A (V ,U )
S
j

xj

x j 1

A (V ,U )
M
j

xj

x j 1

pV 'U ' dx
zVU dx

xj

(V , q ) Vq dx
x j 1

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4.3 The Element Stiffnes Matrix

Substituting U,V,U and V into these formulae we obtain


A (V , U ) [d j 1
S
j

A (V , U ) [d j 1
S
j

d j ]

d j ]

xj

x j 1

p
x j1 h 2j
xj

1/ hj
p
[1 / h j 1 / h j ] dx

1/ hj

c j 1
c
j

c j 1
1 1 c j 1
1 1 dx c [d j 1 d j ]K j c

j
j

p
Kj
hj

1 1
1 1

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4.4 The Element Mass Matrix

The same way

A (V , U ) [d j 1
M
j

d j ]

j 1
x j1 z j [ j 1 j ] dx

xj

A (V ,U ) [d j 1
S
j

c j 1
d j ]M j

c
j

zh j 2 1
Mj
6 1 2

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c j 1
c
j

4.5 External Work


Integral

The external work integral cannot be evaluated for every


function q(x)
xj

(V , q) Vq dx
x j 1

We can consider a linear interpolant of q(x) for simplicity.


q ( x) q j 1 j 1 ( x) q j j ( x),

x [ x j 1 , x j ]

Substituting and evaluating the integral


j 1
q j 1
(V , q) j [d j 1 , d j ]
[ j 1 , j ]
dx [d j 1 , d j ] l j

x j 1
j
qj
h j 2q j 1 q j
lj
Element load vector
6 q j 1 2q j
xj

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4.6 Assembling

Now the task is to assemble the elements into the whole


system in fact we have to sum each integral over all the
elements
For doing so we can extend the dimension of each element
matrix to N and then put the 2x2 matrix at the appropriate
position inside it
With all matrices and vectors having the same dimension the
summation looks like
N

j 1

c1
c
S
T
A j d Kc c 2
...

c
N 1

d1
d
d 2
...

d
N 1

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2 1

1 2 1

1 2 1
p
K

... ... ...


h

1 2 1

1 2

4.6 Assembling

Doing the same for the Mass Matrix and for the Load Vector

A
j 1

4 1
1 4 1

M
j

d Mc
T

zh
M
6

(V , q)
j 1

d Tl

h
l
6

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1
1

... ... ...

4 1
1

q0 4q1 q2
q1 4q2 q3

...

q N 2 4q N 1 q N

4.7 Linear System of Equations

Substituting this Matrix form of the expressions in


N

[ A (V ,U ) (V , q)
j 1

]0

we obtain the following set of linear equations

d T [(K M )c l ] 0

This has to be satisfied for all choices of d therefore

(K M )c l 0

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References
Carlos Felippa
http://caswww.colorado.edu/courses.d/IFEM.d/IFE
M.Ch06.d/IFEM.Ch06.pdf

Joseph E Flaherty,Amos Eaton Professor


http://www.cs.rpi.edu/~flaherje/FEM/fem1.ps

Gilbert Strang, George J. Fix


An Analysis of the Finite Element Method
Prentice-Hall,1973
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