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ABAQUS / Answers

Answers to Common ABAQUS Questions Fall 1994

Cantilever I - Beam loaded off axis

The torsional response
of a thin open section is
Contents very different from that
Beam elements: Torsion and warping 1 of a solid circular shaft, Fixed End

where all cross sections

Animation 2 normal to the beam axis
100 lb

Postprocessing the ABAQUS results (.fil) file 4 remain plane under 3

torsional loading. If the 1 2

cross section is not MAG. FACTOR =+5.0E+00 DISPLACED MESH ORIGINAL MESH

circular, plane cross

Beam Elements:
0 lb

sections do not remain plane under torsion: they warp.

Torsion and Warping Warping introduces longitudinal strains as the section
twists and significantly affects the torsional stiffness. In the
This is a continuation of an article on beam elements which case of open, thin-walled beams, the constraint of the axial
began in the last issue of ABAQUS/Answers. In this issue warping strains provides the primary source of torsional
we focus on the effect of torsion and warping. stiffness. Otherwise these open sections have very little
Torsion refers to the twisting of a structural member about resistance to torsional loading. Warping restraint also
its longitudinal axis. Structural members are often subjected introduces axial stresses which can affect the beam’s
to torsional moments. These occur in almost any three- response to other types of loading. The stresses and strains
dimensional frame structure. Loads which cause bending in in the I-section cantilever shown above vary significantly,
one member may cause twisting in another, as in the figure depending on whether warping is prevented at the fixed
below. Torsion is also produced when a member carries a end. Since the cantilever shown above is modeled with
shear force that does not act shell elements, the boundary conditions at the fixed end
through its shear center, the automatically constrain any warping displacement there.
position in the cross section With beam elements, warping may or may not be
through which a load must act to restrained.
avoid twist. A shear force While warping constraint significantly affects torsional
produces a twisting moment stiffness for open thin-walled sections, the torsional stiffness
Torsion induced in a equal to the force times its of other types of sections depends primarily on the material’s
framed structure. eccentricity with respect to the shear modulus, G, and a torsion constant, J. The torsion
shear center. constant depends upon the shape and the warping
This is important because the centroid and the shear center characteristics of the beam cross section.
often do not coincide in open, thin-walled beam sections
(see below). If the nodes are not at the shear center of the To calculate the correct torsional stiffness, ABAQUS
cross section (node location in beam sections is discussed identifies three different classes of beam cross section: solid
later), the section may twist under either concentrated sections; closed, thin-walled sections; and open, thin-walled
forces or distributed loads. The effect of eccentric loading sections. The calculation of the warping behavior assumes
can be seen in the deflection of a cantilever I-beam (above that the warping displacements in the cross section are small.
right). Depending upon the cross section dimensions, the The non-circular RECT and TRAPEZOID solid cross
twisting can be significant. sections are treated as beams in which warping is
unrestrained. This is because warping constraints would
only affect the solution in the immediate vicinity of the
locations of shear s c s c s
constrained end. Beam elements B31, B32, B33, B34, B31H,
centers, s, and c and B32H may all be used for these cross sections.
centroids, c, for a s
number of beam c
These same elements are also appropriate for closed, thin-
cross sections. c,s walled sections (PIPE, BOX, and HEXAGON section
c types), since they also assume unrestrained warping. Section
Page 2 ABAQUS/Answers

type ARBITRARY is treated as a closed thin-walled section • Cross sectional area.

if the coordinates of the first and last points are identical. • Second moments of inertia about the centroid.
Open, thin-walled sections are very flexible in torsion • Products of inertia about the centroid.
when warping is unrestrained. The variation of the warping • Polar moment of inertia about the centroid.
induced axial deformation over the cross section is defined
by the section’s warping function. The magnitude of this • Torsion constant.
function is treated as an extra degree of freedom, 7, in a • Centroid coordinates relative to the nodal location in the
special family of elements: B31OS, B32OS, B31OSH, and cross section.
B32OSH. Constraining this degree of freedom prevents • Shear center coordinates relative to the nodal
warping. Nonzero values represent the warping amplitude— coordinates.
the scale factor of the axial displacement field in the shape • For open section beams elements, ABAQUS also reports
of the warping function. A value of 1.0 implies a maximum warping related properties.
axial displacement of 1.0 due to warping. Open thin-walled
shapes such as a channel (defined as an ARBITRARY When beams are used as stiffeners with shell elements it
section) or an I-section should usually be modeled as open is convenient to have the same nodes define both the beams
section beams. The regular beam elements may be used, but and the shells. This is possible when providing the section
no axial stress due to warping can evolve and the response property data for section types I, TRAPEZOID, and
will be very different from the open section element ARBITRARY.
formulation with warping constraint. Geometric properties for ∗BEAM GENERAL SECTION,
SECTION=GENERAL must be given with respect to the
Independent nodes should generally be used in each
centroid and shear center, but the ∗SHEAR CENTER and
branch at a connection in a frame structure, since the
∗CENTROID suboptions allow these locations to be offset
amplitude of warping will usually be quite different in each
from the node in the cross section, thus making it easier to
branch. However, if the connection is designed so that it
model stiffeners.
prevents warping in all members that intersect there, only
one node is needed, with a boundary condition applied to
degree of freedom 7. same node
used for shell
and beam
Use separate nodes for the shell section
members connected at this
location. Constrain DOFs 1-6 2
Input syntax if the reference axis (nodal
to be equal at the connection 2.0
position) of the section to the left is shifted to
but keep the warping degree of the midsurface of a shell, of thickness=0.1,
freedom, 7, independent and 0.2 attached to the bottom flange.
constrain it separately if
0.2 0.2 2.4 -0.05, 2.4, 3., 2., .2, .2, .2

3.0 The first data item refers to the offset of the

beam node from the bottom of the section in
the direction of the local 2-axis.
The regular three-dimensional beam elements use two
stress components for constitutive calculations: one direct
axial stress (output variable S11) and one shear stress due to
torsion (S12). The shear stress acts along the section wall in
a thin-walled section, and in the direction defined by the St. Animation
Venant warping function (which ABAQUS calculates Animating results in ABAQUS/Post is a two stage process:
automatically) for a solid section. Open section beams use
only S11, since the torsional shear stresses are negligible in • Create an animation file using the ∗SET, CAPTURE and
this case. ∗SEQUENCE commands.
• Play back the animation using the ∗ANIMATE
The torsional stiffness calculations apply equally to command.
the start of an analysis ABAQUS calculates a beam section’s The ∗SEQUENCE command allows you to create a series
elastic stretching, bending, shear and warping properties. of frames, by stepping through the restart file in a prescribed
For all three-dimensional beam elements, ABAQUS reports manner. The ∗SET, CAPTURE command stores the screen
the following geometric properties in the model printout in images in a file in a neutral binary format. The time taken to
the.dat file: store the image and the size of the animation (.flc) file are
ABAQUS/Answers Page 3

independent of the contents of the screen. A color contour

plot of a large, three-dimensional model will take the same
time to store as a plot of a 10 element beam model. The
physical size of the window—the number of pixels— SECTION POINT 1

determines how long the frame takes to store and how large PEEQ VALUE

the file will be.The smaller the size of the ABAQUS/Post


window, the shorter the capture time and the smaller the size

of the .flc file. 2 +4.87E-01


The ∗ANIMATE command plays back the .flc file.

3 1

ABAQUS/Post normally loads the entire image file into

memory. This means that the animation is fast and smooth.
If there is not enough memory to store all the images, the SECTION POINT 1

image data are read directly from the file on disk. This will PEEQ VALUE

produce a less smooth animation sequence. +8.85E-02


A number of other considerations need to be borne in mind


in order to create effective animation sequences.


3 1

By default, ABAQUS/Post always scales the model to fill

the screen. To ensure that the scale factor is constant during
the animation, the ∗SET, RESCALE=OFF command should
be used before starting screen capture. The scaling required
depends on how large the model is and how much it is going SECTION POINT 1


to deform. It is therefore desirable to set it to cope with the


largest possible deformation. You can do this by selecting


the restart state with the largest deformations, creating a 2


deformed plot and then typing ∗SET, RESCALE=OFF. 3 1

In small displacement analysis ABAQUS/Post magnifies The following ABAQUS/Post commands create a simple
the deformation so it is clearly visible. To avoid this animation file. The analysis used is Example Problem 4.2.14.
magnification varying from increment to increment, To extract the input file use the command:
constant magnification can be specified using the ∗SET,
DMAG or ∗SET, CMAG commands before the capture is abaqus fetch input=4021401 job=punch
This extracts the input file from the examples directory in
The first thing ABAQUS/Post does after the command your ABAQUS installation and puts it into the current
∗SET, CAPTURE has been typed is to store the image that working directory as punch.inp. You should edit this file
is currently on the screen. It is therefore important to ensure to modify the ∗RESTART, WRITE command so that data
that the first image you require in the animation sequence is are written every 10 increments, and then run the analysis.
the image on the screen when ∗SET, CAPTURE is typed. To
Then use the following commands in ABAQUS/Post to
avoid the first frame appearing in the animation twice, any
create the animation. (The commands may be put together
subsequent sequence commands should start from the
and submitted as a journal file.)
second frame in the animation. The BSTEP and BINC
parameters on the ∗SEQUENCE command can be used to ∗restart, file=punch
start the sequence at the desired point. ∗∗SET UP THE VIEW
For contour plots it is usually best to maintain one set of ∗zoom, factor=0.9
contour levels for the entire animation sequence using the ∗view, view=(1,1,1), up=(0,1,0)
∗set, axisymmetric angle=180
∗SET, CMIN and ∗SET, CMAX commands (by default ∗detail, elset=metal
ABAQUS/Post will set the contour levels to cover the range ∗set, center=(0,0,-18)
of data in the current plot). ∗set, ctitle=off, dtitle=off
The smoothness of the animation depends on the number ∗∗SCALE THE SCREEN
of frames and the changes occurring in the plot between each ∗draw, displaced
frame. For most animations it is desirable to have around 20 ∗set, rescale=off,
∗set, undeformed=off, dcolor=off
frames covering the period of the analysis. You may need ∗set, shade=on, normalsmooth=70
more if the deformations are particularly large. You should ∗∗SET CONSTANT CONTOUR LEVELS
ensure that enough states are stored in the restart file to create ∗set, cmin=0, cmax=0.487
a reasonable animation. ∗set, clegend=(0.1,0.5)
Page 4 ABAQUS/Answers

∗∗SET UP THE FIRST FRAME The routines used to read the .fil file are:
∗restart, step=1, inc=1
∗contour, var=peeq • INITPF, with which you specify the name of the file, the
∗set, hide=on, erase=off initial unit number to read from, and whether a new .fil
∗colorset, elset=metal, color=black file will be written.
∗draw, displaced
∗set, shade=on, erase=on • DBRNU, which specifies the unit number for a particular
∗set, capture=punch.flc
∗∗SEQUENCE THROUGH ALL STORED DATA • DBFILE, which reads a record from a file.
∗sequence, time, bstep=2
&contour, v=peeq
&set, hide=on, erase=off The file contains a series of records, each with a number
&colorset, elset=metal, color=black of words. The first word gives the number of words in the
&draw, displaced record. The second contains an integer key that identifies the
&set, shade=on, erase=on record type. The remainder of the record contains the data
∗∗CLOSE THE ANIMATION FILE relevant to that particular record type. Section 6.1.1 of the
∗set, capture=close User’s manual describes these data for each type of record,
explains how to extract the data from each record, and
To play back the animation use the ABAQUS/Post presents a simple example of a program that reads a results
command: file. Chapter 7 of the ABAQUS/Standard Verification
manual contains further examples of such programs.
FORTRAN errors are the most common problem with
user-written postprocessing programs. You should ensure
that your code compiles successfully before attempting to
link it with the ABAQUS libraries. Another common
Postprocessing from the problem is that the compile and link commands may not be
ABAQUS Results File set correctly in the abaqus.env environment file. Consult
the ABAQUS Site Guide to determine the correct commands
The results (.fil) file produced by ABAQUS is a for your computer.
sequential file, in binary or ASCII format, in which each The libraries supplied with the ABAQUS installation are
record contains a set of results data. The format of the file is created using a particular version of the FORTRAN compiler
described in Chapter 6 of the User’s manual.
and operating system. If your machine does not have
The .fil file can be used for x–y plots in ABAQUS/Post, compatible FORTRAN and operating system levels your
to transfer results to external postprocessors, or to program may not link successfully with the ABAQUS
postprocess results with your own programs. libraries. The correct system requirements for all machines
FORTRAN interface routines are supplied with the are given in the ABAQUS Site Guide.
ABAQUS installation to allow you to access the .fil file
and extract the contents of any record. These routines must The ∗FILE FORMAT option allows the .fil file to be
be called from within a FORTRAN program which is written in ASCII format, so that it may be moved between
compiled and linked with the ABAQUS libraries. This is dissimilar computers. The ascfil command line option also
done by using the make option. To compile and link a allows .fil files to be converted between binary and ASCII
program stored in a file prog.f, use the command: format . ASCII format files are not in a “readable” form: they
must be accessed through the interface routines described
abaqus make job=prog user=prog.f above.


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