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University of Alexandria Dept.

of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering


Faculty of Engineering Instructor: H. W. Leheta

CHAPTER 4 BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE FINITE


ELEMENT METHOD (FEM)

The basic concept of the finite element method is the same as in matrix stiffness
analysis, where the structure is represented as an assemblage of structural elements
connected at a discrete number of nodes.
In FEM, a continuum structure is divided into a number of artificial “finite” elements.
The internal displacements of the elements must be related to the nodal
displacements. The problem then becomes a discrete instead of a continuous
problem.
The finite element representation must satisfy everywhere conditions of equilibrium
and compatibility.

4.3 Dividing structure into finite elements

This is what we call structural idealization or modeling. The accuracy of the method
increases with the number of elements used, however the computer time is also
increased and hence the cost.

Types of structural elements used in marine structures:

1-Truss (bar) element (2-D or 3-D)


2- Beam element (2-D or 3-D)
3- Membrane (plane stress) element: this is a thin plate subjected to in-plane forces.
Usually, the material is isotropic but it can be orthotropic.
4- Plain strain element: like the previous element except that it may carry stress
normal to the element plane.
5- Bending plate element: it is a thin plate element subjected to bending, both
isotropic and orthotropic elements may be used.
6- Thin shell element: to represent singly or doubly curved thin shells with both
stretching and bending.
7- Axisymmetric thin shell element: used to represent the axisymmetric (possessing
axial symmetry in cylindrical coordinates) shell structure in which both bending and
in-plane forces occur.
8- The 3-D solid element: the most common are the tetrahedron (four corner nodes)
and the hexahedron (eight corner nodes).
9- Thick shell element: a 3-D solid element with reduced dimension in the thickness
direction.

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University of Alexandria Dept. of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Instructor: H. W. Leheta

4.2 Use of displacement functions to derive the element local matrix

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University of Alexandria Dept. of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Instructor: H. W. Leheta

4.2.1 Beam element (flexure only)

Let us consider a flexure only beam element:

v1 v2

θ1 θ2
1 2

⎧ v1 ⎫
⎪v ' ⎪
dv ⎪ ⎪
θ= = v' δ = ⎨ 1⎬
dx ⎪v 2 ⎪
⎪⎩v' 2 ⎪⎭
A displacement function is a function that defines the state of displacement at all
points within the element in terms of the nodal degrees of freedom. Assume:
v (x ) = C1 + C2 .x + C3 .x 2 + C4 .x 3
which is cubic polynomial with 4 coefficients since we have four degrees of freedom.

In matrix form:
v (x ) = H (x ).C
where: H (x ) = 1 x { x 2
x 3
} and
⎧C1 ⎫
⎪C ⎪
⎪ ⎪
C = ⎨ 2⎬
⎪C3 ⎪
⎪⎩C4 ⎪⎭

v' (x ) = C2 + 2C3 x + 3C4 x 2

We define δ(x), the generalized displacement vector:


⎧C1 ⎫
⎪ ⎪
⎧ v (x ) ⎫ ⎡1 x x x ⎤ ⎪C2 ⎪ 2 3
δ( x ) = ⎨ =
⎬ ⎢ .
2⎥ ⎨ ⎬
⎩v' (x )⎭ ⎣0 1 2 x 3 x ⎦ ⎪C3 ⎪
⎪⎩C4 ⎪⎭

At node 1, x = 0 hence v1 = C1 and v’1 = C2

At node 2, x = L hence
v 2 = C1 + C2 L +C 3 L2 + C4 L3

v' 2 = C2 + 2C3 L + 3C4 L2

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University of Alexandria Dept. of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Instructor: H. W. Leheta

In matrix form:
⎧ v1 ⎫ ⎡1 0 0 0 ⎤ ⎧C1 ⎫
⎪v ' ⎪
⎪ 1⎪
⎢0
⎢ 1 0 0 ⎥⎥ ⎪⎪C2 ⎪⎪
⎨ ⎬= ⋅⎨ ⎬
⎪v 2 ⎪ ⎢1 L L2 L3 ⎥ ⎪C3 ⎪
⎢ ⎥
⎪⎩v' 2 ⎪⎭ ⎣0 1 2 L 3 L2 ⎦ ⎪⎩C4 ⎪⎭

or δ = A ⋅ C ⇒ C = A −1 ⋅ δ

⎡ 1 0 0 0 ⎤
⎢ 0 1 0 0 ⎥⎥
⎢ 3 2 3 1
A −1 = ⎢− 2 − − ⎥
⎢ L L L L⎥
⎢ 2 1 2 1 ⎥
⎢⎣ L3 − 3
L2 L L2 ⎥⎦

v (x ) = H (x ) ⋅ C = H (x ) ⋅ A −1 ⋅ δ = N(x ) ⋅ δ

N(x) is known as the shape function:

⎡ 1 0 0 0 ⎤
⎢ 0 1 0 0 ⎥⎥
⎢ 3
N (x ) = H ( x ) ⋅ A − 1 = 1 x [ x2 ]
x 3 ⋅ ⎢− 2 −
2 3 1
− ⎥
⎢ L L L2 L⎥
⎢ 2 1 2 1 ⎥
⎢⎣ L3 − 3
L2 L L2 ⎥⎦

⎡ x2 x3 x2 x3 x2 x3 x2 x3 ⎤
= ⎢1 − 3 2 + 2 3 x −2 + 3 − 2 − + ⎥
⎣ L L L L2 L2 L3 L L2 ⎦

Curvature ψ =d2v/dx2 =v’’ (for small deflections)

v' ' (x ) = 2C3 + 6C4 x

In matrix form:

⎧C1 ⎫
⎪C ⎪
⎪ ⎪
v' ' (x ) = [0 0 2 6 x ] ⋅ ⎨ 2 ⎬ = [0 0 2 6 x ] ⋅ A −1 ⋅ δ = B ⋅ δ
⎪C3 ⎪
⎪⎩C4 ⎪⎭

53
University of Alexandria Dept. of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Instructor: H. W. Leheta

⎡ 1 0 0 0 ⎤
⎢ 0 1 0 0 ⎥⎥
⎢ 3 2 3 1 ⎡ 6 12 x 4 6x 6 12 x 2 6x ⎤
B = [0 0 2 6 x ] ⋅ ⎢− 2 − − ⎥ = ⎢− 2 + 3 − + − 3 − +
⎢ L L L2 L⎥ ⎣ L L L L2 L2 L L L2 ⎥⎦
⎢ 2 1 2 1 ⎥
⎢⎣ L3 − 3
L2 L L2 ⎥⎦

Force-deformation relationship:

M( x )
v' ' (x ) = ⇒ M (x ) = EI .v' ' ( x ) = EI.B.δ is the internal bending moment
EI

⎧ v1 ⎫
⎪ ⎪
⎡ 6 12 x 4 6x 6 12 x 2 6 x ⎤ ⎪v'1 ⎪
∴ M ( x ) = EI ⎢- 2 + 3 − + − 3 − + 2 ⎥⋅⎨ ⎬
⎣ L L L L2 L2 L L L ⎦ ⎪v 2 ⎪
⎪⎩v' 2 ⎪⎭

At the nodes:

⎡ 6 4 6 2 ⎤ ⎧ v1 ⎫
⎧M (0 )⎫ ⎢− L2 − − ⎥ ⎪v ' ⎪
⎬ = EI ⋅ ⎢ 6 L L2 L ⎪ 1⎪
⎨ 4 ⎥ ⎨v 2 ⎬
⎩M (L )⎭ ⎢ 2
2 6
− 2 ⎥⎪ ⎪
⎣ L L L L ⎦ ⎪⎩v' 2 ⎪⎭

Principle of virtual work:

f = vector of nodal forces


δ =vector of nodal displacements

Impose virtual displacements on the beam δ :

⎧ v1 ⎫ ⎧ fy 1 ⎫
⎪ ⎪ ⎪M ⎪
⎪v ' 1 ⎪ ⎪ ⎪
δ = ⎨ ⎬ , virtual displacements f = ⎨ 1 ⎬ , real forces
⎪v 2 ⎪ ⎪ fy 2 ⎪
⎪v' 2 ⎪ ⎪⎩M2 ⎪⎭
⎩ ⎭

T
External V.W. : W E = δ .f = v 1 .fy1 + v' 1 .M1 + v 2 .fy 2 + v' 2 .M2

M (x )
L L
Internal V.W. : W I = ∫0 EI .M (x ).dx = ∫0 v' ' ( x ).M (x ).dx

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University of Alexandria Dept. of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Instructor: H. W. Leheta

v' ' (x ) = B ⋅ δ M ( x ) = EI ⋅ B ⋅ δ

v ' ' ( x ) ⋅ M ( x ) = δ ⋅ B T ⋅ EI ⋅ B ⋅ δ
T

L L
T T
W I = ∫ δ ⋅ B T ⋅ EI ⋅ B ⋅ δ ⋅ dx = δ ∫B
T
⋅EI ⋅ B ⋅ dx ⋅ δ = W E ⇒
0 0

L
f = ∫ B T ⋅ EI ⋅ B ⋅ dx . δ but f = ke ⋅ δ
0

⎧ 6 12 x ⎫
⎪− L2 + L3 ⎪
⎪ 4 6x ⎪
L L ⎪ − + ⎪
⎪ L L2 ⎪ ⎡ 6 12 x 4 6x 6 12 x 2 6x ⎤
∴ k = ∫ B .EI ⋅ B ⋅ dx = EI ⋅ ∫ ⎨
e T
⋅ − + 3 − + − 3 − + ⋅ dx
6 12 x ⎬ ⎢⎣ L2 L L L2 L2 L L L2 ⎥⎦
0 0 ⎪
2
− 3 ⎪
⎪ L L ⎪
⎪ 2 6x ⎪
⎪⎩ − L + L2 ⎪⎭

General form:

ke = ∫B ⋅ D ⋅ B ⋅ dV
T

ve

where
ve is the volume of the element
B is the strain matrix, such that ε = B ⋅ δ
D is the material stiffness matrix, such that σ = D ⋅ ε

4.2.2 Constant stress triangle CST (plane stress)

v3
y
3 u3 v(x,y)
v2

u(x,y)
v1 u2
2
1 u1
x

f = ke ⋅ δ

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University of Alexandria Dept. of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Instructor: H. W. Leheta

⎧u1 ⎫ ⎧fx1 ⎫
⎪v ⎪ ⎪f ⎪
⎪ 1⎪ ⎪ y1 ⎪
⎪⎪u ⎪⎪ ⎪⎪fx ⎪⎪
δ = ⎨ 2⎬ f =⎨ 2⎬
⎪v 2 ⎪ ⎪fy 2 ⎪
⎪u3 ⎪ ⎪fx 3 ⎪
⎪ ⎪ ⎪ ⎪
⎩⎪v 3 ⎭⎪ ⎪⎩fy 3 ⎪⎭

u (x , y ) = C1 + C2 x + C3 y v ( x , y ) = C4 + C5 x + C6 y

⎧ε x ⎫
⎪ ⎪ ∂u ∂v ∂u ∂v
ε( x , y ) = ⎨ε y ⎬ εx = εy = γ = +
⎪γ ⎪ ∂x ∂y ∂y ∂x
⎩ ⎭

ε (x , y ) = B ⋅ δ

⎡ ⎤
⎧σ x ⎫ ⎢1 ν 0 ⎥
⎪ ⎪ E
⎢ν 1
σ = ⎨σ y ⎬ = D ⋅ ε where D= 0 ⎥
⎪τ ⎪ 1 −ν 2 ⎢ 1 −ν ⎥
⎩ ⎭ ⎢0 0 ⎥
⎣ 2 ⎦

Other elements can be derived in a similar fashion, see: Hughes, O., Ship Structural
Design: A Rationally-Based Computer-Aided Optimization Approach, SNAME, 1988.
Finally, the same procedure as for matrix stiffness analysis is carried out to obtain
the solution.

5.3 Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Programs

There are several FEA computer packages:


• General purpose such as: ANSYS, ABAQUS, ADINA, SAP, LUSAS, etc.
• For application to ship structures: MAESTRO, SAFEHULL (ABS), GLFRAME
(GL), NAUTICUS HULL (DNV), etc.
• For application to offshore structures: Zentech STRUCAD, COSMOS, etc.

There are 3 phases in FEA:

1. Preprocessing phase
a) Create and discretize the solution domain into finite elements; that is, subdivide
the problem into nodes and elements.
b) Assume a shape function to represent the physical behaviour of an element; that
is, an approximate continuous function is assumed to represent the solution of an
element.
c) Develop equations for an element.

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University of Alexandria Dept. of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Instructor: H. W. Leheta

d) Assemble the elements to represent the entire problem. Construct the global
stiffness matrix.
e) Apply boundary conditions, initial conditions and loading.

2. Solution Phase
f) Solve a set of linear or nonlinear algebraic equations simultaneously to obtain
nodal results, such as displacement values at different nodes.

3. Postprocessing Phase
g) Obtain other important information. At this point, you may be interested in reaction
forces, internal forces, principal stresses, equivalent stresses, etc.

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