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Solid Elements: Overview

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8.1. 8.2. 8.3.

8.4.

8.5. 8.

Introduction Geometrical Congurations Isoparametric Denition 8.3.1. Geometry Description . . . . 8.3.2. Displacement Interpolation . . The Stiffness Matrix 8.4.1. The Strain-Displacement Equations 8.4.2. The Constitutive Equations . . 8.4.3. The Stiffness Matrix . . . . . The Mass Matrix Exercises . . . . . . . . . . . .

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8.2 8.1. Introduction

GEOMETRICAL CONFIGURATIONS

Solid elements are three-dimensional nite elements that can model solid bodies and structures without any a priori geometric simplication. Finite element models of this type have the advantage of directness. Geometric, constitutive and loading assumptions required to effect dimensionality reduction, for example to planar or axisymmetric behavior, are avoided. Boundary conditions on both forces and displacements can be more realistically treated. Another attractive feature is that the nite element mesh visually looks like the physical system. See Figure 8.1.

Figure 8.1. Use of solid elements simplies visualization of the physical object being modeled.

This directness does not come for free. It is paid in terms of modeling, mesh preparation, computing and postprocessing effort. The rapid increase in computer time as the mesh is rened should be noted, as discussed in the Curse of Dimensionality section of a later Chapter. To keep these within reasonable limits it may be necessary to use coarser meshes than with two dimensional models. This in turn can degrade accuracy, negating the advantage of directness. Thus nite element users should not automatically look upon solid elements as snake oil. Several tradeoffs are at work. In summary: use of solid elements should be restricted to problem and analysis stages, such as verication, where the generality and exibility of full 3D models is warranted. They should be avoided during design stages. Furthermore they should also be avoided in thin-wall structures such as aerospace shells, since solid elements tend to perform poorly because of locking problems. The present Chapter describes general attributes of solid elements for linear elastostatic problems. 83

Chapter 8: SOLID ELEMENTS: OVERVIEW

4 4 5 1 3 1 3 1 2 6 4 3 2 2 8 5 6 7

hexahedron, aka "brick"

Figure 8.2. The three standard solid element geometries: tetrahedron (left), wedge (center) and brick (right). Only elements with corner nodes are shown.

8.2. Geometrical Congurations Two dimensional (2D) nite elements have two standard geometries: quadrilateral and triangle. All other geometric congurations, such as polygons with ve or more sides, are classied as nonstandard or special. Three dimensional (3D) nite elements offer more variety. There are three standard geometries: the tetrahedron, the wedge, and the hexahedron or brick. These have 4, 6 and 8 corners, respectively, with three faces meeting at each corner. See Figure 8.2. These elements can be used to build topologically regular meshes as illustrated in Figure 8.3.

Tets

Wedges

Bricks

Figure 8.3. Regular 3D meshes can be built with cube-like repeating mesh units built with bricks, wedges or tetrahedra.

There are two nonstandard geometries that deserve consideration as they are ocassionally useful to complete generated 3D meshes: the pyramid and the wrick. (The latter term is a contraction of wedge and brick) These have 5 and 7 corners, respectively. See Figure 8.4. One of the corners (the last numbered one in the elements pictured in that gure) is special in that four faces meet, which leads to a singular metric there. This singularity disqualies those elements for use in stress analysis in highly stressed regions. However they may be acceptable away from such regions, and in vibration analysis. Both standard and nonstandard elements can be rened with additional nodes. For example, Figure 8.4 shows the elements of Figures 8.1 and 8.3 equipped with midside nodes. These rened elements are of interest for more accurate stress analysis. Of course, the midside nodes may be moved away from the midpoints to t curved geometries better. Tables 8.1 and 8.2 summarize various properties of solid elements. These are discussed at length in this and ensuing chapters. 84

8.3
5 7 4 3 1 1 4

ISOPARAMETRIC DEFINITION

6 5

3 2 2 Pyramid Wrick

Figure 8.4. Two nonstandard solid element geometries: pyramid and wrick [w(edge)+(b)rick]. Four faces meet at corners 5 and 7, leading to a singular metric.

4 8 4 5 1 3 1 1 2 5 7 4 3 1 1 2 2 4 3 5 6 2 3 2 6 5 6 4 3 7

Figure 8.5. Solid elements rened with midside nodes. Although shown at midpoints for simplicity, in practice they can be placed away from such locations to t curved geometries better.

8.3. Isoparametric Denition In this Chapter we will restrict consideration here to isoparametric solid elements with three translational degrees of freedom (DOF) per node. Much of the development of such elements can be carried out assuming an arbitrary number of nodes n . In fact a general template module can be written to form the element stiffness matrix and mass matrix. Nodal quantities will be identied by the node subscript. Thus {xi , yi , z i } denote the node coordinates of the i th node, while {u xi , u yi , u zi } are the nodal displacement DOFs. The shape function for the i th node is denoted by Ni . These are expressed in term of natural coordinates which vary according to the type of element, as listed in table 8.2. Throughout this Chapter, however, the shape functions are left in generic form. 85

Chapter 8: SOLID ELEMENTS: OVERVIEW

Table 8.1. Summary of Properties of Solid Elements Region Tetrahedron Wedge Pyramid Wrick Hexahedron

C+E+F 4+6+4 6+9+5 5+8+5 7+11+6 8+12+6

Global coords x , y, z x , y, z x , y, z x , y, z x , y, z

Restrictions None None None None None

Acronym may be followed by a node count, e.g.Tetr10 means a 10 node tetrahedron. C: corners, E: edges, F: faces.

Table 8.2. Natural Coordinates and Isoparametric Geometry Denition Region Natural coordinates Range of natural coordinates Iso-P geometry denition in terms of n geometric nodes and shape functions Ni

Tetrahedron 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 [0, 1]

1 1 x x1 y=y 1 z1 z

1 x2 y2 z2

... ... ... ...

1 N1 xn . . . yn N n zn

Wedge Pyramid Wrick Hexahedron

1 , 2 , 3 , , , , , , ,

NC constraints: 1 + 2 + 3 = 1 for wedges, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 1 for tetrahedra.

8.3.1. Geometry Description Following the isoparametric notation introduced by Felippa and Clough1 the element geometry is described by N1 1 1 1 ... 1 N2 x x1 x2 . . . xn . (8.1) = . y1 y2 . . . yn . y . z1 z2 . . . zn z Nn
1

C. A. Felippa and R. W. Clough, The Finite Element Method in Solid Mechanics, in Numerical Solution of Field Problems in Continuum Physics, ed. by G. Birkhoff and R. S. Varga, SIAMAMS Proceedings II, American Mathematical Society, Providence, R.I., 1969, pp. 210252

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8.4

THE STIFFNESS MATRIX

The four rows of this matrix relation express the geometric conditions
n n n n

1=
i =1

Ni ,

x=
i =1

x i Ni ,

y=
i =1

yi Ni ,

z=
i =1

z i Ni ,

(8.2)

which the shape functions must identically satisfy. The rst one: sum of shape functions must be unity, is an essential part of the verication of completeness. 8.3.2. Displacement Interpolation The displacement interpolation is ux uy uz ux1 u y1 u z1 ux2 u y2 u z2 . . . u xn . . . u yn . . . u zn N N2 . . . . Nn
1

(8.3)

The three rows of this matrix relation express the interpolation conditions
n n n

ux =
i =1

u xi Ni ,

uy =
i =1

u yi Ni ,

uz =
i =1

u zi Ni .

(8.4)

The identical structure of the geometry denition (8.1) and displacement interpolation (8.3) characterizes an isoparametric element (iso=same). For future development the element node displacements of (8.3) are collected in the 3n column vector u which is congured with the 3 components grouped node by node: uT = [ u x 1 u y1 u z1 ux2 . . . u xn u yn u zn ] (8.5)

8.4. The Stiffness Matrix For convenience in the stiffness matrix formulation the six components of the strains and stresses are grouped as follows to form into 6-component vectors: ex x e yy e e = zz , 2ex y 2e yz 2ezx x x yy = zz . x y yz zx

(8.6)

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Chapter 8: SOLID ELEMENTS: OVERVIEW

8.4.1. The Strain-Displacement Equations The strains are related to the element node displacements by the 6 3n strain-displacement matrix: ux x ux1 Nx 1 0 0 . . . N xn 0 0 uy u y1 0 N 0 . . . 0 N 0 y y 1 yn u z1 0 0 0 Nzn 0 Nz1 . . . uz . = = Bu, (8.7) . e= . N y1 Nx 1 z 0 . . . N N 0 yn xn u u y + ux xn 0 N yn N xn 0 Nz1 N y1 . . . x u y yn Nz1 0 N x 1 . . . Nzn 0 N xn . u zn . . in which N xi N yi and Nzi denote the derivatives of shape function Ni with respect to x , y and z , respectively. 8.4.2. The Constitutive Equations We restrict attention to linear elastostatic analysis without initial stresses. For a general anisotropic material the stress-strain equations can be presented as x x E 11 E 12 E 13 E 14 E 15 E 16 ex x E 22 E 23 E 24 E 25 E 26 e yy yy E 33 E 34 E 35 E 36 ezz zz = (8.8) = = Ee. E 44 E 45 E 46 2ex y x y yz E 55 E 56 2e yz zx symm E 66 2ezx The stress-strain matrix E will be assumed to be constant over the element. This matrix can be signicantly simplied in the case of isotropic or orthotropic material. However for the actual element implementation those simplications are not considered here. 8.4.3. The Stiffness Matrix The element stiffness matrix is formally given by the volume integral Ke =
Ve

BT EB d V

(8.9)

where the integral is taken over the element volume. The usual treatment of (8.9) consists of evaluating the integral by numerical Gauss quadrature with n G points:
nG

K =
e k =1

T wk Jk Bk E Bk

(8.10)

Here k is the integration point index; wk is the integration weight, Bk is the stress-displacement matrix and Jk is the Jacobian determinant introduced later, respectively, evaluated at the integration point. Three dimensional integration rules are discussed in a later chapter. 88

8.5

THE MASS MATRIX

Remark 8.1. The fast computation of the matrix product BT EB is important in the efcient implementation

of elements, because this evaluation is repeated at each integration point. For each node point pair i , j dene

xi

0 0 Bi = N yi
0 Nzi

0 N yi 0 N xi Nzi 0

0 0 Nzi , 0 N yi N xi

xj

0 0 Bj = Ny j
0 Nz j

0 Ny j 0 Nx j Nz j 0

0 0 Nz j , 0 N yi Nx j

i , j = 1, . . . n .

(8.11)

B E +B E +B E xi 11 yi 14 zi 16 B E + B E + B xi 12 yi 24 zi E 26 Bxi E 13 + B yi E 34 + Bzi E 36 C= Bxi E 14 + B yi E 44 + Bzi E 46

Bxi E 15 + B yi E 45 + Bzi E 56 Bxi E 16 + B yi E 46 + Bzi E 66 Bx j C11 + B y j C41 + Bz j C61 B y j C21 + Bxi C41 + Bz j C51 Bz j C31 + B y j C51 + Bx j C61

B yi E 12 + Bxi E 14 + Bzi E 15 B yi E 22 + Bxi E 24 + Bzi E 25 B yi E 23 + Bxi E 34 + Bzi E 35 B yi E 24 + Bxi E 44 + Bzi E 45 B yi E 25 + Bxi E 45 + Bzi E 55 B yi E 26 + Bxi E 46 + Bzi E 56 Bx j C12 + B y j C42 + Bz j C62 B y j C22 + Bxi C42 + Bz j C52 Bz j C32 + B y j C52 + Bx j C62

Bzi E 13 + B yi E 15 + Bxi E 16 Bzi E 23 + B yi E 25 + Bxi E 26 Bzi E 33 + B yi E 35 + Bxi E 36 Bzi E 34 + B yi E 45 + Bxi E 46 Bzi E 35 + B yi E 55 + Bxi E 56 Bzi E 36 + B yi E 56 + Bxi E 66 Bx j C13 + B y j C43 + Bz j C63 B y j C23 + Bxi C43 + Bz j C53 Bz j C33 + B y j C53 + Bx j C63

(8.12)

Qi j =

The computation of each Qi j block requires 54 + 27 = 81 multiplications. (The slight savings for i = j are not worth the coding complications.) For an element with n nodes and n G Gauss integration points, n G n (n + 1)/2 multiplications are required since Q ji = QiTj , and the total effort associated with BT EE is approximately 40n G n 2 multiplications. This computation, plus associated indexing to access the K entries, dominates the total effort. As an example: an 8-node brick integrated with a 2 2 2 rule would require roughly 20,000 multiplications whereas a 20-node brick integrated by a 3 3 3 rule would consume 432,000; thus the formation time ratio would be roughly 22:1. For an isotropic material two thirds of the stress-strain coefcients in E are zero. Explicit recognition of that fact would cut the computation of Qi j to 15 + 21 = 36 multiplications, roughly a 2:1 speedup. This would complicate the program logic, however, because branching to this special case would be needed, and it is not clear whether the complication is likely to be worth the special effort. In any event, the unrolled evaluation of the Qi j should be preferred to general matrix multiplication.

8.5. The Mass Matrix For deriving the consistent mass matrix the iso-P displacement interpolation (8.4) is rearranged as ux uy uz = N1 0 0 0 N1 0 0 0 N1 ... ... ... Nn 0 0 0 Nn 0 0 0 Nn u = Nu. (8.13)

Using either the Lagrange dynamical equations or Hamiltons variational principle, the consistent mass matrix is given by
e MC =

N NT d V .
V

(8.14)

where is the mass density of the material. If is constant over the element it may be taken out of the foregoing volume integral. 89

Chapter 8: SOLID ELEMENTS: OVERVIEW

As in the case of the stiffness matrix, the expression (8.14) is usually evaluated by a Gauss quadrature rule. The sparsity of the shape function matrix N is easily accounted for when forming the 3 3 e . i , j blocks of MC
e to a lumped mass matrix Me Transformation of MC L can be done through a variety of techniques. A good coverage is given in the book by Cook et al.2 .

R. D. Cook, D. S. Malkus and M. E. Plesha, Concepts and Application of Finite Element Methods, 3rd ed., Wiley, New York, 1989

810

Exercises

Homework Exercises for Chapter 8 Solid Elements: Overview Tabulate the rough number of multiplications needed to form Ke for elements with 4, 6, 8, 10, 15, 20 and 27 and 64 nodes, for integration rules containing 1, 4, 6, 8, 15 27 and 64 Gauss points. (Use the formula found in Remark 8.1.) If the computer can do 109 multiplications per second, tabulate how many elements can be formed in one second of CPU time.
EXERCISE 8.1 [A/C:10]

Find the approximate cost in multiplications to form the consistent mass matrix (8.14) of a solid element with n nodes if n G Gauss points are used. Compare to the approximate count 40n G n (n + 1) to form the stiffness matrix Ke if the number of Gauss points n G is the same.

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