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# Universit de Sfax

Ecole Nationale
dIngnieurs de Sfax

University of Sfax
National Engineering
School of Sfax

Mthodes des
lments finis

Finite Element
Method
Prpar par

Prepared by

Dr. Slim Choura

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

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1
Finite element analysis
of one-dimensional
problems

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 2
The Finite Element Method (FEM) is a technique in which a given spatial domain is represented as a
collection of simple domains, called finite elements.

Basic steps

1. Domain discretization.
a. Construct the finite element mesh.
b. Number the nodes and elements.
c. Generate the geometric properties (e.g., coordinates and cross-sectional areas)

2. Derivation of element equations.
a. Construct the variational formulation of the given differential equation over the typical
element.
b. Assume that a typical dependent variable u is of the form
1
n
i i
i
u u
=
=

and substitute it into Step 2a to obtain the element equations in the matrix form
{ } { }
e e
e
K u F =

.
c. Derive or select element interpolation functions
i
and compute the element matrices.

3 Assembly of element equations.
a. Identify the interelement continuity conditions among the primary variables by relating
element nodes to global nodes.
b. Identify the equilibrium conditions among the secondary variables.
c. Assemble element equations using Steps 3a and 3b.

4 Imposition of the boundary conditions.
a. Identify the specified global primary degrees of freedom.
b. Identify the specified global secondary degrees of freedom (if not already done in Step
3b)

5 Solution of the assembled equations.

6 Post processing.
a. Compute the gradient of the solution or other desired quantities from the primary
degrees of freedom computed in Step 5.
b. Represent the results in tabular/or graphical form.

Table 1.1 Steps involved in the finite element analysis of a typical problem

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

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1.1. Model of second-order boundary value problems:

Consider the differential equation describing the axial deformation in a bar shown in Figure 1.1

( ) ( ) ( ) 0 for 0
d du
a x c x u q x x L
dx dx

+ = < <

(1. 1)
( )
0 0
0 ,
x L
du
u u a Q
dx
=
| |
= =
|
\
(1. 2)

Step 1: Discretization:

The domain ( ) 0 , L = is divided into a set of line elements of length
e
h .

Step 2: Derivation of Element Equations:

Weak Form:
We seek an approximate solution to (1.1) over each element.

A
x
B
x
e h
x
A
B
0 = x
e h x =
x
2
( )
1
e
A
u x u =
1
A
e
x x
du
Q a
dx
=
| |

|
\

1
( )
2
e
B
u x u =
2
B
e
x x
du
Q a
dx
=
| |

|
\

e e
x
N
h
1
h
e
h
2
h

1 2
e
N
Element number
1 2 e e+1 N+1
Node number
3 N
( ) x q
0
x L
du
Q a
dx
=
| |
=
|
\

L
x
Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

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The polynomial approximation of the solution:
( )
1
n
e e e
j j
j
U u x
=
=

(1. 3)
e
j
u are the values of the solution at the nodes and
e
j
are the approximation functions.

Equation (1.1) in a in a weighted-integral form:
0
B
A
x
x
d du
w a cu q dx
dx dx

= +

(1. 4)
( ) w x is the weight function. Equation (1.4) reduces to
0
B
B
A
A
x
x
x
x
dw du du
a c wu wq dx wa
dx dx dx
| |
= +
|

\
(1. 5)
( ) ( )
0
B
A
x
A A B B
x
dw du
a cwu wq dx w x Q w x Q
dx dx
| |
= +
|
\
(1. 6)
where

A
A
x
du
Q a
dx
| |
=
|
\
,
B
B
x
du
Q a
dx
| |
=
|
\
(1. 7)

Step 3: Approximations of the Solution:

Linear approximation

( ) ( )
2
1
e e e
j j
j
U x x u
=
=

(1. 8)
where

( )
1
1
e
e
x
x
h
= ( )
2
e
e
x
x
h
= (1. 9)
where
A e
x x x x x = =

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

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( ) ( )
3
1
e e e
j j
j
U x x u
=
=

(1. 10)
( ) ( )
( )
( )
( )
1 2 3
1 1 1
1 1 ; 1 ; 1
1 1
e e e
x x x x x x
x x x
h h h h h h

| | | | | | | |
= = =
| | | |

\ \ \ \

(1. 11)

where 0 1 < < and
2 1
e e
e
x x h = + (i.e.; the second node is chosen arbitrarily at the interior of the
element). For
2
1
= (node 2 is at midpoint):

( ) ( ) ( )
( )
1 2 3
1 1 2 4 1 1 2
1
e e e
x x x x x x
x x x
h h h h h h

| || | | | | |
= = =
| | | |

\ \ \ \
(1. 12)
Note that
1
e
is equal to 1 at node i and zero at the other two nodes, but varies quadratically
between the nodes.

Step 4: Finite Element Model:

The model can be developed for an arbitrary degree of interpolation:
( )
1
n
e e e
j j
j
u U u x
=
=

(1. 13)
Following the Rayleigh-Ritz procedure, we substitute (1.13) for u and
1
e
,
2
e
, ,
e
n
for w into
the weak form (1.6) to obtain n algebraic equations:

( ) ( )
1
1 1 1
1 1 1
0
B
A
n n n
x
e
e
j
e e e e e e e e
j j j j j
x
j j i
d
d
a u c u x q dx x Q
dx dx

= = =
| | | |
| |
= +
| |
| |

\ \

( ) ( )
2
2 2 2
1 1 1
0
B
A
n n n
x
e
e
j
e e e e e e e e
j j j j j
x
j j i
d
d
a u c u x q dx x Q
dx dx

= = =
| | | |
| |
= +
| |
| |

\ \

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 6
( ) ( )
1 1 1
0
B
A
n n n
x
e
e
j e e e e e e e e i
j i j j i i j j
x
j j i
d
d
a u c u x q dx x Q
dx dx

= = =
| | | |
| |
= +
| |
| |

\ \

( ) ( )
1 1 1
0
B
A
n n n
x
e
e
j
e e e e e e e e n
j n j j n n j j
x
j j i
d
d
a u c u x q dx x Q
dx dx

= = =
| | | |
| |
= +
| |
| |

\ \

(1. 14)

The i
th
algebraic equation can be written as

( )
1
1, 2, ... ,
n
e e e e
ij j i i
j
K u f Q i n
=
= + =

(1. 15)
( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( ) ( )
0
e
h
e e
j i e e e
ij i j
d x d x
K a x c x x x dx
dx dx

= +

, ( ) ( )
0
e
h
e e
i i
f q x x dx =

(1. 16)
or in matrix form

{ } { } { }
e e e e
K u f Q = +

(1. 17)

e
K

is symmetric (coefficient matrix or stiffness matrix in structural mechanics applications)

{ }
e
f (source vector or force vector in structural mechanics applications).

Linear element:
Special case 1: constant
e
q
{ }
1 1 2 1 1

1 1 1 2 1 6 2
e e e e e e e
e
a c h q h
K f
h

= + =
`

)
(1. 18)
Special case 2:
e
a a x = and
e
c c = ,
1
1 1 2 1

1 1 1 2 2 6
e e e e e e
e
a x x c h
K
h
+
| | +
= +
|

\
(1. 19)
Special case 3: a and q are element-wise-constant and 0 = c
1 1
2 2
1 1 1
1 1 1 2
e e
e e e
e e
e
u Q a q h
h u Q

= +
` ` `

) ) )
(1. 20)
Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 7

Special case: a , c and q are element-wise constant
7 8 1 4 2 1
8 16 8 2 16 2
30 3
1 8 7 1 2 4
e e e e
e
a c h
K
h

= +

{ }
1
4
6
1
e e e
q h
f

=
`

)
(1. 21)
Connectivity of Elements:

The assembly of elements is carried out by imposing the following conditions:
1. Continuity of primary variables at connecting nodes:
1
1
e e
n
u u
+
= (1. 22)
2. Balance of secondary variables at connecting nodes:
1
1
0 0
0 if no external point source is applied
if an external point source of magnitude is applied
e e
n
Q Q
Q Q
+

+ =

(1. 23)

Continuity of the primary variables

1
1 1
u U =
1 2
2 1 2
u u U = =
2 3
2 1 3
u u U = =
1
2 1
E E
E
u u U

= =
2 1
E
E
u U
+
= (1. 24)

To obtain
1
1
e e
n
Q Q
+
+ , we must add the n
th
equation of element
e
to the first equation of element
1 e+
1
n
e e e e
nj j n n
j
K u f Q
=
= +

and
1 1 1 1
1 1 1
1
n
e e e e
j j
j
K u f Q
+ + + +
=
= +

to give
e
Q
1

2 1
e

e
2 1
1 e+
e
e
Q
2

1
1
+ e
Q
1
2
+ e
Q
( ) x Ue
1
2
+ e
u
1
1
+ e
u
2 1
1 + e
U
e
2 1
e+1
2 + e
U
e U
e
u
2

e
u
1

e e+1 e+1 e+2
( ) x U
e 1 +

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

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( ) ( )
1 1 1 1
1 1 1
1
n
e e e e e e e e
nj j j j n n
j
K u K u f f Q Q
+ + + +
=
+ = + + +

1
1 0
e e
n
f f Q
+
= + + (1. 25)
For a mesh of E linear elements ( 2 = n ), we have

1 1 1
11 12 1 1
1 1 2 2 1 2
21 22 11 12 2 2 1
2 2 3 2 3
21 22 11 3 2 1
1 1
22 11 12 2 1
21 22 1 2
0 0 0
0 0
0 0 0

0 0 0
0 0 0
E E E E E
E
E E E
E
K K U f
K K K K U f f
K K K U f f
K K K U f f
K K U f

+

+ +

+ +

=
`

+ +

)

1
1
1 2
2 1
2 3
2 1
1
2 1
2
E E
E
Q
Q Q
Q Q
Q Q
Q

+

+

+
` `

+

) )

(1. 26)
Recall that the above discussion of assembly is based on the assumption that the elements are
connected in series.

Consider the following structure:

Continuity and force balance conditions:

1 3 2
2 1 2 3
u u u U = = =
1 3 2
2 1 2
2 Q Q Q P + + = (1. 27)
To enforce these conditions:

1
1 1
u U =
2
1 2
u U =
1 3 2
2 1 2 3
u u u U = = =
3
2 4
u U =

( ) ( ) ( )
1 1 1 1 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 3 2 1 3 2
21 1 22 2 11 1 12 2 21 1 22 2 2 1 2 2 1 2
K u K u K u K u K u K u f f f Q Q Q + + + + + = + + + + + (1. 28)

h
2
h
1
P
P
h
3
1
2 3
3
3
4
Rigid bar
(constrained to move horizontally)
h
2
= h
1

2
1
3
Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 9

The assembled equations are:
1 1 1 1
1 11 12 1 1
2 2 2 2
2 11 12 1 1
1 2 1 3 2 3 1 3 2 1 3 2
3 21 21 22 11 22 12 2 1 2 2 1 2
3 3 3 3
4 21 22 2 2
0 0
0 0

0 0
U K K f Q
U K K f Q
U K K K K K K f f f Q Q Q
U K K f Q

= +
` ` `

+ + + + + +

) ) )
(1. 29)

Step 6: Imposition of Boundary Conditions:

1
1 1
0 u U = =
2
1 2
0 u U = =
3
2 4
0 u U = = (1. 30)

1 3 2
2 1 2
2 Q Q Q P + + = (1. 31)

The displacement
3
U and the forces
1
1
Q ,
2
1
Q and
3
2
Q are unknown. We obtain

1 1 1
1 11 12 1
2 2 2
2 11 12 1
1 2 1 3 2 3
3 21 21 22 11 22 12
3 3 3
4 21 22 2
0 0
0
0 0
0
2
0 0
0
U K K Q
U K K Q
P
U K K K K K K
U K K Q
=

=

=
` `

+ +

=

) )
(1. 32)

Step 5: Solution of Equations:

Condensed equation
( ) ( )
1 3 2 1 2 3
22 11 22 3 21 1 21 2 12 4
2 K K K U P K U K U K U + + = + + (1. 33)

Hence,
( )
3
1 3 2
22 11 22
2P
U
K K K
=
+ +
(1. 34)
The remaining equations can be assembled as:
1 1 1
1 1
1 12 3
11 12
2 2 2
2 2
1 12 3
11 12
3 3 3
3 3
2 21 3
21 22
4
0 0
0 0
0 0
U
Q K U
K K
U
Q K U
K K
U
Q K U
K K
U

= =
` ` `

) )

)
(1. 35)
Step 6: Post Processing of the Solution:

The solution u as a continuous function of position x is:

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 10
( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
1 1 1
1
2 2 2
1
1

n
j j
j
n
j j
j
n
N N N
j j
j
U x u x
U x u x
u x
U x u x

=
=
=

(1. 36)
Depending on the value of x , the corresponding element equation from (1.66) is used. The derivative
of the solution is obtained by differentiating (1.66):

1
1
1
2
2
1
1

n
j
j
j
n
j
j
j
n
N
j N
j
j
d
u
dx
d
u
du
dx
dx
d
u
dx

=
=
=

(1. 37)

1.2. Model of Fourth Order Boundary Value Problem (Bending of Beams) :

1.2.1. The Euler-Bernoulli Beam Element:

1.2.1.1. Governing equation:

Transverse deflection w of the beam
L
w
M
0
f(x)
F
0
Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 11

( ) ( )
2 2
2 2
d d w
b x f x
dx dx
| |
=
|
\
for 0 < x < L (1. 38)

where EI b = and f are functions of the independent variable x characterizing respectively the beam
rigidity and the distributed load per unit length.

1.2.1.2. Domain discretization:

(a)

(b)
1.2.1.3. Derivation of element equations:

Weak Form

Using the three-step procedure developed earlier, we write

1
1
1
2 2
2 2
2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
0
e
e
e
e
e
e
x
x
x
x
x
x
d d w
v b f dx
dx dx
d v d w d w d w d dv
b vf dx v b b
dx dx dx dx dx dx
+
+
+
| |
=
|
\

| |
= +
|
\

(1. 39)

where ( ) v x is a weight function that is twice differentiable with respect to x .
. . .
1
2
3 N N + 1
. . .
h
1
h
2
h
e
h
N
. . . . . .
2 3
e
w u =
1 2
= u
3
e
Q
1
e
Q
4
e
Q
h
e
Primary variables
(Generalized displacements)
1 2
2
e
Q
2 4
= u
1 1
e
w u =
Secondary variables
(Generalized forces)
Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 12
( ) ( )
1 1
1
2 2
1 2 1 3 4
2 2
0
e e
e e
e e
x x
e e e e
e e
x x
x x
d v d w dv dv
b dx vfdx v x Q Q v x Q Q
dx dx dx dx
+ +
+
+

| | | |
=
| |
\ \

(1. 40)
2
1
2
e
e
x
d w d
Q b
dx dx
| |

|
\

2
2
2
e
e
x
d w
Q b
dx
| |

|
\

1
2
3
2
e
e
x
d w d
Q b
dx dx
+
| |

|
\

1
2
4
2
e
e
x
d w
Q b
dx
+
| |

|
\
(1. 41)

Interpolation Functions

In the local coordinate system, the Hermite cubic interpolation functions are
2 3 2 2 3 2
1 2 3 4
1 3 2 1 3 2
e e e e
e e e e e e e
x x x x x x x
x x
h h h h h h h

| | | | | | | | | | | |
= + = = =
| | | | | |

\ \ \ \ \ \

(1. 42)
Finite Element Model

The
th
i algebraic equation of the finite element model is (for
e
i
v = )

1 1
4
2
2
2 2
1
0
e e
e e
x x
e
e
j e e e i
j i i
x x
j
d
d
b dx u fdx Q
dx dx

+ +
=
| |
|
=
|
\

(1. 43)
or
4
1
0
e e e
ij j i
j
K u F
=
=

(1. 44)
where
1 1 2
2
2 2

e e
e e
x x
e
e
j e e e e i
ij i i i
x x
d
d
K b dx F fdx Q
dx dx

+ +
= = +

(1. 45)
The coefficients
e
ij
K are symmetric (
e e
ij ji
K K = ). In matrix notation (1.43) can be written as:
11 12 13 14 1 1 1
21 22 23 24 2 2 2
31 32 33 34 3 3 3
41 42 43 44 4 4 4
e e e e e e e
e e e e e e e
e e e e e e e
e e e e e e e
K K K K u f Q
K K K K u f Q
K K K K u f Q
K K K K u f Q

= +
` ` `

) ) )
(1. 46)

For the case in which ( ) b EI = and f are constant over an element

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 13
{ }
1
2 2
2
3
3
2 2
4
6 6 6
3 3
3 2 3 2

6 6 6
12 3 3
3 3 2
e
e e
e
e e e e e e e e
e
e e e
e
e e e e e
h h Q
h h h h h Q fh b
K F
h h h Q
h h h h h Q

= = +
` `

) )
(1. 47)

Assembly of Element Equations

Continuity conditions:

1 1 1 2
1 1 2 2 3 1 3
1 2 2 2
4 2 4 3 5 4 6

u U u U u u U
u u U u U u U
= = = =
= = = =
(1. 48)

Equilibrium conditions:
3 1
4 2
applied external point force
applied external bending moment
e f
e f
Q Q
Q Q
+ =
+ =
(1. 49)
Forces are taken positive acting upward and moments are taken positive acting clockwise.

To impose the equilibrium equations (1.47), we add the third (fourth) equation of the first element to
the first (second) equation of the second element.

1
1
unknown Q =
0
1
= U
1
2
unknown Q =
2
0 U =
3
U
1 2
3 1
0 Q Q + =
4
U
1 2
4 2
0 Q Q + =
2
3 0
Q F = 5
U
2
4 0
Q M =
6
U
1
3
u
1
4
u
1
4
Q
1
3
Q
1
1
u
1
2
u
1
2
Q
1
1
Q
Element 1
2
3
u
2
4
u
2
4
Q
2
3
Q
2
1
u
2
2
u
2
2
Q
2
1
Q
Element 2
Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 14
[ ]
3
2
1

3

2

1

2
44
2
43
2
34
2
33
2
42
2
41
2
32
2
31
2
24
2
23
2
14
2
13
2
22
1
44
2
21
1
43
2
12
1
34
2
11
1
33
1
42
1
41
1
32
1
31
1
24
1
23
1
14
1
13
1
22
1
21
1
12
1
11

+ +
+ +
=
K K
K K
K K
K K
K K
K K
K K K K
K K K K
K K
K K
K K
K K
K K
K K
K

(1. 50)
{ }
1
1
1
2
1 2
3 1
1 2
4 2
2
3
2
4
F
F
F F
F
F F
F
F

+

=
`
+

)
(1. 51)

Imposition of Boundary Conditions

Let us consider a two-element cantilever beam

For a mesh of two elements with
1 2
1
2
h h L h = = = , and constant EI and f

0
M
0
F
0
f
L
z
1 2 3
Global
nodes
Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 15
1
1 1
2 2 1
2 2
1 2
3 3 1 0
3 2 2 2 2 1 2
4 4 2
2
5 3
2 2
6
6 -3 6 3 0 0 6
3 3 0 0
2
6 3 6 6 3 3 6 3 6 6
2
3 3 3 3
12 2 2
0 0 6 3 6 3 6
0 0 3 3
2
h h
U Q
h h h U h h Q
h h h h
U Q Q f h EI
h h h h h h h U h h h h Q Q
h h
U Q
h h h U h h

+ + +

= +
` `
+ +

) )
2
4
Q

`

)
(1. 52)

It can be seen that
1 2 1 2
3 1 4 2
0 0 Q Q Q Q + = + = (1. 53)
2
2
3 0
2
x L
d w d
Q EI F
dx dx
=
| |
=
|
\

2
2
4 0
2
x L
d w
Q EI M
dx
=
| |
=
|
\
(1. 54)

1 1
1 1 1
0 u w U = = =
1 1
2 1 2
0
dw
u U
dx

| |
= = = =
|
\
(1. 55)

Using (1.99)-(1.101) into (1.98) yields:

1
1 1
1 2 2
2 2
3 0
3 2 2 2
4
5 0
2 2
6 0
6 0 6 3 6 3 0 0
0 3 2 3 0 0
12 0 6 3 12 0 6 3 2

0 12 0 3 0 4 3
6 0 0 6 3 6 3
0 0 3 3 2
U Q h h
h U Q h h h h
U h h f h EI
h U h h h h h
U F h h
h U M h h h h
=

=

= +
` ` `

) ) )

(1. 56)
Solution
{ }
2 3
0 0 0
3
2
2 4
0 0 0
2 3
5
0 0 0
2
6
0 0 0
17
5 3
4
9 6 7
6
16 12 12
12 12 8
h F hM f h
U
U h
hF M f h
U
EI U
h F hM f h
U
hF M f h

+ +

= =
` `

+ +

)

)
(1. 57)
{ }
( )
( )
1
0 0
1 1
1
2
0 0 0
2
2
F f h
Q
F
Q
h F f h M

+

= =
` `
+ +
)
)
(1. 58)
Post-processing of the solution

The finite element solution as a function of position x is given by

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 16
( )
1 1
3 3 4 4
2 2 3 4
3 1 4 2 5 2 6 2
for 0
for 2
e
x h
U U
w x
h x h
U U U U

+
=

+ + +

(1. 59)
2 3 2 3
1 1
3 4
2 3 2
2 2
1 2
2 3 3 2
2 2
3 4
3 2
1 3 1 2 1 1 2
3 1 2 1 1 1
x x x x
h
h h h h
x x x x
h
h h h h
x x x x
h
h h h h

| | | | | | | |
= =

| | | |
\ \ \ \

| | | | | || |
= =
| | | |
\ \ \ \

| | | | | | | |
= + = +

| | | |
\ \ \ \

(1. 60)
Exact solution
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
4 3 2 2
0 0 0 0 0 0
3 2 2
0 0 0 0 0 0
2 2
0 0 0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1
24 6 2 2
1 1 1
for 0
6 2 2
1 1
2 2
EIw x f x F f L x M F L f L x
EI x f x F f L x M F L f L x x L
M x f x F f L x M F L f L

| |
= + + + +
|
\

| |
= + + + +
`
|
\

| |
= + + + +

|
\ )
(1. 61)
1
0
m kN 24
-
f = , kN 0 6
0
= F , m 3 = L ,
m kN 0
0
= M ,
2 6
m kN 10 00 2
-
E = ,
4 6
mm 10 9 2 = I
As expected, the finite element solution for w and coincides with the exact solution at the nodes.
At other points, the difference is less than 2%.

w (m) - M / EI (kN m)
x (m) FEM Exact FEM Exact FEM Exact
0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.0489 0.0497
0.1875 0.0008 0.0008 0.0088 0.0089 0.0452 0.0455
0.3750 0.0033 0.0033 0.0169 0.0171 0.0415 0.0414
0.5625 0.0071 0.0072 0.0244 0.0245 0.0378 0.0375
0.7500 0.0124 0.0124 0.0311 0.0311 0.0341 0.0338
0.9375 0.0188 0.0188 0.0372 0.0371 0.0305 0.0301
1.1250 0.0263 0.0263 0.0426 0.0425 0.0268 0.0266
1.3125 0.0347 0.0347 0.0472 0.0471 0.0231 0.0234
1.5000 0.0439 0.0439 0.0512 0.0512 0.0194 0.0202
1.6875 0.0539 0.0539 0.0546 0.0547 0.0169 0.0171
1.8750 0.0644 0.0644 0.0575 0.0576 0.0144 0.0143
2.0625 0.0754 0.0755 0.0600 0.0600 0.0118 0.0115
2.2500 0.0868 0.0869 0.0620 0.0620 0.0093 0.0089
2.4375 0.0986 0.0987 0.0635 0.0634 0.0068 0.0065
2.6250 0.1106 0.1107 0.0645 0.0644 0.0043 0.0042
2.8025 0.1228 0.1228 0.0651 0.0650 0.0017 0.0020
3.0000 0.1350 0.1350 0.0652 0.0652 -0.0008 0.0000

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 17
1.2.2. Plane Truss and Euler-Bernoulli Frame Elements:

Structures composed of bar elements and beam elements are classified as truss and frame structures.
Truss structure:

Frame structure:

Element degrees of freedom Global degrees of freedom
x
z
V
F
H
F
x

o F
A pin connection
Members rotate
z
F
0
f
x

z
z
x
2
u
5
u
1
u
4
u
3
u
6
u

x
z
z
x
2
u
5
u
1
u
4
u
3
u
6
u
x
z

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 18

{ } { }
e e e
K u F =

(1. 62)
{ }
1
1
1
2
2
2
e
u
w
u
u
w

=
`

)
,
{ }
1
2
2
3
4
5
2
6
1/ 2
1/ 2
1/12
1/ 2
1/ 2
1/12
e
e
e
e
e
e
e
qh Q
fh Q
fh Q
F
qh Q
fh Q
fh Q

= +
` `

) )
(1. 63)

and
0
q q = and
0
f f = are constants over an element:

2 2
3
2 2
0 0 0 0
0 6 3 0 6 3
0 3 2 0 3
2
0 0 0 0
0 6 3 0 6 3
0 3 0 3 2
e

h h
h h h h
EI
K
h
h h
h h h h

=

,
2
2
Ah
I
= (1. 64)

Let u and w denote the axial and transverse displacements referred to the local coordinate system
( ) z y x , , :

cos 0 sin
0 1 0
sin 0 cos
x x
y y
z z

=
` `

) )
(1. 65)

where the angle is measured counter-clockwise from the x axis to the x axis. In addition

cos sin 0
sin cos 0
0 0 1
u u
w w

=
` `

) )
(1. 66)

Therefore,

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 19
1 1
2 2
3 3
4 4
5 5
6 6
cos sin 0 0 0 0
sin cos 0 0 0 0
0 0 1 0 0 0

0 0 0 cos sin 0
0 0 0 sin cos 0
0 0 0 0 0 1
e e
u u
u u
u u

u u
u u
u u

=
` `

) )
(1. 67)
or
{ } { }
e e e
u T u =

(1. 68)
Analogously
{ } { }
e e e
F T F =

(1. 69)
Using (1.67) and (1.68) in the element equations
{ } { }
e e e
K u F =

(1. 70)
we obtain
{ } { }
T
e e e e e
T K T u F =

(1. 71)
which gives the element stiffness matrix

{ } { }
=
T T
e e e e e e e
K T K T F T F =

(1. 72)

It can be shown that the above matrix has the following form:

( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( ) ( )
2 2
2 2
2
2 2 2 2
3
2 2 2
cos 6sin
6 cos sin sin 6cos symmetric
3 sin 3 cos 2
2

cos 6sin 6 cos sin 3 sin cos 6sin
6 cos sin sin 6cos 3 cos 6 cos sin sin
e

h h h
EI
K
h
h
h

+
+

=

+ +
+
2
2 2
6cos
3 sin 3 cos 3 sin 3 cos 2
e
h h h h h h

+

(1. 73)
{ }
1 2
1 2
2
3
4 5
4 5
6
cos sin
sin cos

2 cos sin
sin cos
e
e e e
e
e
F F
F F
F A h
F
I F F
F F
F

+

= =
`

+

)
(1. 74)

Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 20
Example 1:

Consider the three-member truss shown in Figure 1. 15(a). All members of the truss have identical
cross-sectional area A and modulus E. We wish to determine the horizontal and vertical
displacements at the joint 3 and the forces in each member of the structure.

(a)

(b)
Figure 1.15. (a) Geometry and loading (b) element numbers, global node numbers of element nodes
and element nodal forces in the element coordinates

2P
P
x
z
2
1
3
L
L
3
1
2
45
o
90
o
6
U
5
U
2
U
1
U
4
U
3
U
1
4
Q
1
3
Q
1
2
Q
1
1
Q
3
3
Q
3
4
Q
3
2
Q
3
1
Q
2
2
Q
2
1
Q
2
3
Q
2
4
Q
1
2
3
2
1
1
3
3 2
Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 21
Since all joints are hinged, and the applied forces are acting at the nodes, the members are subjected
to only axial forces. Hence, the structure is a truss. We use three finite elements to model the
structure. Any further subdivision of the members does not add to the accuracy, because for all truss
problems the finite element solutions are exact. This is a consequence of the fact that all truss
members with constant cross-section are governed by the homogeneous differential equation

2
2
0
d u
EA
dx
= (1. 75)
whose solution is of the form ( )
1 2
u x c x c = + . Thus, linear interpolation of the displacements should
give the exact result.

There are two degrees of freedom, horizontal and vertical displacements, at each node of the
element. The element stiffness matrix in the local coordinate system is:

1 0 1 0
0 0 0 0
1 0 1 0
0 0 0 0
e e e
e
A E
K
h

=

(1. 76)

The transformed stiffness matrix of the element
e
in the global coordinate system is given by:
2 2
2 2
2 2
2 2 2
cos cos sin cos cos sin
cos sin sin cos sin sin
cos cos sin cos cos sin
cos sin sin cos sin sin
e e e
e
E A
K
h

=

(1. 77)

which is obtained from (1.127) by deleting the rows and columns corresponding to the bending
degrees of freedom and setting all bending stiffnesses to zero.

The element data for the problem are as follows:

Element
number
Global nodes
of the element
Geometric
properties
Material
property
Orientation
1 2 3 A, L h =
1
E
O
0 =
2 1 3 A, L h 2
2
= E
O
45 =
3 1 2 A, L h =
1
E
O
90 =

The assembled stiffness and force coefficients are given by:
Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 22

[ ]
2 3 2 3 3 3 2 2
11 11 12 12 13 14 13 14
2 3 3 3 2 2
22 22 23 24 23 24
3 1 3 1 1 1
33 11 34 12 13 14
3 1 1 1
44 22 23 24
2 1 2 1
33 33 34 34
2 1
44 44
symmetric
K K K K K K K K
K K K K K K
K K K K K K
K
K K K K
K K K K
K K
+ +

+

+ +
=

+

+ +

(1. 78)
The force vector can be written:
{ }
3 2
1 1
3 2
2 2
3 1
3 1
3 1
4 2
1 2
3 3
1 2
4 4
Q Q
Q Q
Q Q
F
Q Q
Q Q
Q Q
+

+

+

=
`
+

+

+

)
(1. 79)
Substituting the element data into (1.132), we get:

[ ]
0.3536 0.3536 0 0 0.3536 0.3536
1.3536 0 1 0.3536 0.3536
1 0 1 0
1 0 0
symmetric 1.3536 0.3536
0.3536

K

=

(1. 80)
The specified displacement degrees of freedom are

1 2 3 4
0 U U U U = = = = (1. 81)
The condensed equations for the unknown displacements and forces are
5
6
1.3536 0.3536 2
0.3536 0.3536
P U EA
P L U

=
` `

) )
(1. 82)
3 2
1 1
3 2
5 2 2
3 1
6 3 1
3 1
4 2
0.3536 0.3536
0.3536 0.3536
1 0
0 0
Q Q
U Q Q EA
L U Q Q
Q Q
+

+

=
` ` `
+
)

+
) )
(1. 83)
where, for example,
3 2
1 1
Q Q + is the horizontal force and
3 2
2 2
Q Q + the vertical force at node 1.

Solving (1.136) and (1.137) yields:

P 2
P
Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 23
5
3PL
U
EA
=
( ) 6
3 2 2 5.828
PL PL
U
EA EA
= + =

2 3
1 1 1
F Q Q P = + =
2
F P =
3
3 F P =
4
0 F = (1. 84)

Example 2:

The frame structure shown in Figure 1.16 is to be analyzed for displacements and forces.

(a) (b)

The geometric and material properties of each element are as follows:

Element 1:
L = 144 in, A = 10 in
2
, I = 10 in
4
, 0 cos = , 1 sin = , E = 10
6
psi, P f
72
1

1
= lb in
-1
.
Element 2:
L = 180 in, A = 10 in
2
, I = 10 in
4
, 0.8 cos = , 0.6 sin = , E = 10
6
psi, 0
2
= f .

The assembled stiffness matrix and force vectors are obtained by superimposing the last three rows
and columns of element 1 on the first three rows and columns of element 2; i.e., the 3 3 submatrix
associated with rows and columns 4, 5 and 6 of element 1, and 3 3 submatrix associated with rows
and columns 1, 2 and 3 of element 2 overlap in the global stiffness matrix.

The known geometric boundary conditions are:

2
1
Q
1
6
Q
4P
) ft (lb
6
1 1
P
2P
x
y
1
2
3
6 ft
12 ft
9 ft
12 ft
1
2
3
1
3
1
4
Q
1
5
Q
1
1
Q
1
2
Q
1
3
Q
2
4
2
2
3
Q
2
2
Q
2
5
Q
2
4
Q
2
6
Q
Finite Element Method Dr. Slim Choura

Page 24
0
1
= U , 0
2
= U , 0
3
= U , 0
7
= U , 0
8
= U , 0
9
= U (1. 85)
The force boundary conditions are

1 2
4 1
0 Q Q + = ,
1 2
5 2
2 Q Q P + = ,
1 2
6 3
0 Q Q + = (1. 86)
Since all specified values of the known boundary conditions on the primary variables are zero, the
condensed equations for the unknown global displacement degrees of freedom are:
4
5
5
6
0.3560 0.2666 0.0178 1
10 0.2666 0.8846 0.0148 4
0.0178 0.0148 5.0000 48
U
U P
U

=
` `

)
)
(1. 87)
whose solution is

( ) in 10 0.839
4
4
P U

= ( ) in 10 0.681
4
5
P U

= ( ) rad 10 0.961
4
4
P U

= (1. 88)

The reactions and forces in each member in the global coordinates can be computed from the
element equations
{ } { } { }
e e e e
Q K u f =

(1. 89)
The forces { }
e
Q can be transformed to those in the element coordinate system by means of

{ } { }
e e e
Q T Q =

(1. 90)
we obtain

{ }
1
4.731
0.725
10.900
4.731
1.275
50.450
Q P

=
`

)
,
{ }
2
1.458
0.180
21.550
1.458
0.180
10.870
Q P

=
`

)
(1. 91)