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AN EXAMPLE OF ELEMENT BIRTH AND


DEATH IN MECHANICAL
Problem/Description:
Element birth and death allows one to deactivate selected elements for certain load step and bring them
back to live for subsequent step. This feature can be useful for simulations with sequential/staged
process in many different industries. For example, in simulation with welding or annealing process, one
can deactivate a part of the model at certain temperature to simulate stress free status, i.e., the selected
elements lose strength capability for the step. When temperature starts to change, the part can be
activated again from stress free status and start to have thermal or elastic stress from that changed
temperature.

In this solution, a simple numerical example of two parts glued by a dummy adhesive material is
presented to demonstrated the usage of element birth and death in ANSYS Mechanical.

Solution:
As shown in Figure1, two parts with structural steel material are connected by a slim part with adhesive
material. Two bonded connections are created between the surfaces of structural steel and the surfaces
of adhesive material part. Left end face of the bottom structural steel part is with fix support and the right
end face of the upper structural steel is fixed for transition degree of freedom (DOF) but free for rotation.

The simulation is a three-step modeling. For first step, temperature is constant and the adhesive material
is not activated; for second step, temperature is elevated and the adhesive material remains inactive; for
the third step, temperature starts to decrease from the peak value to room temperature and the adhesive
material is activated to start to bear load.

Adhesive material part:


 Killed for step 1 and step 2
 Alive for step 3

Figure 1: Two parts connected by adhesive material

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Model description
Refer to Figure 2 for the tree outline and some details of this model.

There are several key points for this model:


 Thermal condition is defined as shown in Figure 2 for the three load steps.
 The reference temperature value ("stress-free" temperature) of adhesive material part should be
set to the temperature at which the part starts to be alive (121.11 for this case). Otherwise, there
will be undesired jump change in thermal strain & stress once the elements brought back to live,
recall that
Thermal strain = (Element temperature - Reference temperature) * Coefficient of expansion
Often an adhesive or polymer will have a gel temperature where it transitions from a more fluid
rubbery state to a more solid state. For welds, this can be the temperature the material starts to
transition from liquid to solid
 A name selection is created for the part of adhesive material. It is used in the Command Snippet
to assign element birth and death for the part.
 Two Command Snippets are inserted under Static Structural, one for step 1 to kill the adhesive
material part and the other for step 3 to activate the part. Refer to Figure 3 and Figure 4 for the
command sentences and setting.

Figure 2: Tree outline of the model

© 2015 ANSYS, Inc. All rights reserved.


Figure 3: Command Snippet for step 1

Figure 4: Command Snippet for step 2

Discussion of results
First, let us check the total deformation. There is no deformation for the first step because of constant
thermal condition. Deformation starts from the beginning of second step where temperature starts to
grow. It can be seen from Figure 5 that both the structural steel part and the adhesive material part are
under deformation for the end of second step (time = 2s). Even though the adhesive part is deactivated
for step 1 and step 2, the part can still deform with the structure. Instead of entirely deleting DOFs
associated with the element, “ekill” deactivates the elements by multiplying their stiffness by a severe
reduction factor, 1.0E-6 by default. The elements become very soft compare to other part of the structure
and hold almost no stress even with deformation. Check Figure 6 and Figure 7 for thermal and shear
stress (check label values). For time = 2s when temperature is at peak value, there are no stress values
for the adhesive part. At time = 2.05s right after temperature starts to decrease, stress values are
generated for the adhesive part. Finally, at time = 3.0s, the final solution time, we have effectively
simulated the introduction of the adhesive at elevated temperatures, cooled back to room temperature.

© 2015 ANSYS, Inc. All rights reserved.


Figure 5: Total deformation at time = 2s

Figure 6: Thermal stress at time = 2s and time = 2.05s

© 2015 ANSYS, Inc. All rights reserved.


Figure 7: Shear stress at time = 2s and time = 2.05s

Attachments:
1. 2044786.wbpz

© 2015 ANSYS, Inc. All rights reserved.