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ANSYS Nonlinear

Convergence
g
Best
Practices
Peter R. Barrett, P.E.
September 27, 2012

2008 CAE Associates

ANSYS Nonlinear Convergence Best Practices

Nonlinearities Overview:

Characterize Convergence Difficulty with Examples

Relatively Straight Forward (easy) Problems


Challenging (i.e. really hard) Problems

Step-by-Step
p y
p Convergence
g
Procedure
1.
2.
3.

Large Deflection
Material Nonlinearities
Contact

Rigid body motion


Force balance not obtained
Material Instabilities and/or Element formulation error

Q&A

All Products Exhibit Nonlinearities

Always start with the simplest linear analysis if possible!

Large deflection affects stiffness

Material Properties Cannot Always Be


Assumed to Be Linear

Contact is the Most Common Source of


Nonlinearity and is Often the Most Difficult
tto S
l !
Solve!
Status
changes,
friction,
pressure

When,
When where?
What is the pressure?
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Characterize Convergence Difficulty

Easier Problems

Deformations
D
f
ti
are relatively
l ti l smallll
Nonlinear strains (plasticity, creep, swelling) are small
Contact status does not oscillate
M d l are smallll and
Models
d simplified
i lifi d (2D
(2D, Axisymmetric)
A i
ti )
Symmetric boundary conditions are utilized
Displacement based loads
L d result
Loads
lt iin ttensile
il member
b stresses
t
Nonlinear buckling to the point of instability (Post buckling not needed)
409 Parts
967 Contact Pairs

Characterize Convergence Difficulty

Harder Problems

Very large
V
l
d
deformation
f
ti
Large strains with large distortion
Contact chatter and/or loose fitting assemblies
C t t sliding
Contact
lidi with
ith hi
high
h ffriction
i ti coefficient
ffi i t
Post buckling response
Large 3D models with complex geometry
N symmetry
No
t b
boundaries
d i
Force based loads

Pin Insert Model

Hard Solution

Model the entire Pin / socket assembly


Mesh fine enough to capture local
stress concentrations
Use a force based analysis to model
pin insertion and removal
Determine critical locations / load
steps

Easier Solution

Model a single axi-symmetric


Pin/Socket assembly
Create mapped mesh with refinement
on contact surfaces and areas of high
stress
Use a displacement controlled solution
Use auto time stepping and smart
output controls since max stress might
not occur at the final solution step
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Gasket Assembly

Hard Problem

Large model
Complex loading sequence
Multiple bolt loads
Frictional Contact
Nonlinear material response

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Automatic Contact Reduces Modeling Time

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Building Collapse Simulation

Running an analysis dynamically can be used to obtain convergence

Evaluating the thermal-structural response of the World Trade Center collapse

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Elastomeric Bearing with Lead Plug


Force
Deflection of a
Single Truss
Element
Matches
Detailed 3d
Model

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Clevis Pin Pullout

Springs can be used to imposed loads and/or prevent rigid body motion

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Surgical Staple Displ. Controlled Example

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ANSYS Nitinol Material Behavior

Complex Material Response requires many substeps for


accuracy and
d convergence

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Rubber Boot with Self-Contact

Combined Geometric, Material and Contact Nonlinearities

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Vena Cava Filter

IVC filters are used in case of contraindication to anticoagulation


I.e. it captures clots!

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FSI Example Vena Cava Filter

Nonlinear structural response coupled with fluid flow

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FSI Example Vena Cava Filter

Streamlines

Deformation

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My Analysis Did Not converge. Now What?

First step is to determine the cause:


1.
2.
3
3.
4.
5.

Rigid body motion


Force balance not obtained
Material Instabilities
Element formulation error
Combination of items 1-4 above

We will examine each in detail including:

identifying the problem


d t
determining
i i th
the cause
providing solutions

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Understanding the Solver Output

Whether in WB or Mechanical APDL,


APDL the first step is to read the output file
to determine the origin of the non-convergence

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Rigid Body Motion Error Messages

DOF limit exceeded.


Negative main diagonal.
Small/Negative Pivot error.
MAX DOF INC = A very large number
*** WARNING ***
CP =
11.703 TIME= 16:15:15
Smallest negative equation solver pivot term encountered at UX DOF of
node 98. Check for an insufficiently constrained model.

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Examples of Rigid Body Motion Cont.

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Causes of Rigid Body Motion

Insufficient supports
Individual parts of an assembly are not supported. This is the most common
form that is found in a contact analysis where rigid body motion occurs
in the parts not associated with any supports.
Insufficiently connected dissimilar element types (i.e. beams to solids, etc.)

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Find the Rigid Body Motion

Plot the unconverged or last converged displacement solution and verify


displacement scaling

The example below is a converged solution where the rigid body motion is only
restrained by weak springs
Note the unrealistic 10e-6 displacement scaling

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Use Modal Analysis to Find Rigid Body Motion

If it is not clear what constraint is required to eliminate rigid body motion


motion, a
modal analysis can be performed.

A modal analysis determines the vibration modes including rigid body motion.
Each rigid body mode is predicted as a zero frequency mode
Animating the zero frequency mode shape illustrates the rigidly moving model.

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Correct the Rigid Body Motion

Take advantage of symmetries

Axisymmetry
Rotational
Planar or reflective
Repetitive or translational

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Correct the Rigid Body Motion

Isolate the error by creating a smaller simpler model KISS!

Make a 2d Sector model


Delete/Suppress parts or fix DOF until you get an answer

Add supports and/or use displacement controlled solution

Adding a rigid region and pushing it with displacements will usually converge
better than a force loading.

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Correct the Rigid Body Motion

Use bonded contact for debugging

Adjust the parts to all start in contact

Can use adjust to touch ANSYS option, but be careful since the geometry will
be changed

Increase pinball region

If interfaces are all in compression, one might be able to leave as bonded


Modify to standard contact one pair at a time

Corrects interference fits

Add friction

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Correct the Rigid Body Motion

Avoid mistakes from wrong assumptions

Make sure to include large deflections when displacements are significant


You can never get the wrong answer by adding large displacement effects

Check Displacement Scaling

Large deflections included!

Li
Linear
solution
l ti
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Correct the Rigid Body Motion

Use bonded contact to tie dissimilar


element types

Example Shells or beams to solids


Use MPC contact option to eliminate
iterations and penalty stiffness dependency

Add/adjust weak spring stiffness

Be sure to check reactions to make sure no


error is introduced

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Correct the Rigid Body Motion

Add Contact Stabilization Damping


Rigid body motion often can occur in the beginning of a static analysis due
to the fact that the initial contact condition is not well established.

Fn

Ft
Contact
Target

Pd1,d

Pdn

Pdn d n u n
Pd 1 d t u1
Pd 2 d t u 2

Contact Stabilization introduces a viscous damping traction proportional to


b t opposite
but
it to
t the
th relative
l ti pseudo
d velocities
l iti b
between
t
th
the ttwo surfaces
f
along contact normal and/or tangential directions.
Where: d n = damping coefficient in normal direction
d
u

= damping coefficient in tangential direction


= pseudo velocity
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Contact Stabilization Damping

Example: Consider a fixed pin interfacing with a hole in plate with initial
radial clearance and under a force based load
Stabilization captures localized stress distribution more accurately because it
does not change the shape of the pin
Conventional Adjust to Touch
Contact Stabilization Damping

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Correct the Rigid Body Motion

Buckling Response

Nonlinear stabilization
Local instabilities and global
instability.
Used
U d ttogether
th with
ith liline search
h and
d
automatic time stepping

Arc-length method
Circumvent g
global instability
y when
forces are applied.
Simulate the negative slope portion
of a load-vs.-displacement curve.

Running
R
nning a static problem as a
"slow dynamic" analysis in ANSYS
Running a static problem as a
"slow
slow dynamic"
dynamic analysis in
ANSYS/LS-DYNA

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Connections that Prevent Rigid Body Motion

Automation tools can save a lot of time in tying assemblies together

Constraint equations

Springs

Spot
Welds

Beam connections
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Examples of Force Equilibrium not Obtained

Definition:

Convergence value is greater than criterion after min. load increment and max.
number of iterations are solved

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Equilibrium Iterations

A nonlinear structure is analyzed using an iterative series of linear


approximations, with corrections.

ANSYS uses an iterative process called the Newton-Raphson


Method. Each iteration is known as an equilibrium iteration.

Load
F
2

A full Newton-Raphson
iterative analysis for one
increment of load. (Four
iterations are shown.)

1
u

Displacement
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Convergence Procedure

The difference between external and internal loads


loads, {Fa} - {Fnr},
} is called
the residual. It is a measure of the force imbalance in the structure.

The goal is to iterate until the residual becomes acceptably small; less
than the criterion, where the solution is then considered converged.

When convergence is achieved, the solution is in equilibrium, within an


acceptable tolerance
tolerance.

Fa

{
{Fa}

{Fnr}

Fnr

u
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Newton Raphson Residuals

Plot Newton Raphson Residuals to determine critical contact pair

Note that these controls need to be activated prior to the solution

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Causes of Force Balance not Obtained

Contact Stiffness is too large


Load is stepped too rapidly
For small load increments, MINREF criterion exceeded
Material instability
Buckling

Definition of non-convergence,
sum of R (unbalanced forces)
never gets
t below
b l
.5%
5% off th
the
sum of F (sum of external loads,
reactions, etc.))

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Ideal Load Stepping

Convergence after 3 to 5 iterations each substep

Use more substeps to reduce iterations, use less if only one or two are
needed. (One exception: If contact without friction is the only nonlinearity,
sometimes one substep
p with lots of iterations can be an efficient solution
method)

Load
Load Step 2
2
1

4
equilibrium
iterations

Load Step 1

Substeps
Time

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Causes of Force Balance not Obtained

Contact Stiffness is too large


Oscillation of contact status and force balance caused by large contact
stiffness.

A typical range of ANSYS penalty stiffness is .01 to 10 times the ANSYS


i t
internal
l stiffness
tiff
value
l which
hi h iis a ffunction
ti off material
t i l and
d mesh
hb
butt nott
geometry

F=KU

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Causes of Force Balance not Obtained

Load is stepped too rapidly


U Mi
Use
Min, M
Max and
d starting
t ti substep
b t control
t l tto iimprove convergence. Y
You
cannot get the wrong answer by adding too many substeps
Load

Time
tstart

tmin

Incorrect
Strain Energy

tmax

Rule of Thumb:
The more nonlinearities, the
more substeps required

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Overcome the Force Unbalance

Nonlinear Solution Corrective Action


ANSYS WB Mechanical offers a toolbox of options under the analysis
settings branch for achieving successful convergence.

Step
p Control - Load steps
p and substeps
p
Nonlinear Controls - N-R convergence criteria
Contact Settings
g

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Overcome the Force Unbalance

Reduce Normal Stiffness Factor

Increase the number of Substeps

General Rule more nonlinearities use more substeps

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Overcome the Force Unbalance

Change contact stiffness update


Recommend using iteration based adjustments

Ramp on the interference fit

Use Higher Order Elements


Especially with curved surface contact

Refine the mesh


The more points in contact the better the convergence

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Overcome the Force Unbalance

Increase the MINREF criterion


If the criterion is very small this will not effect the solution accuracy

Extend the Stress-Strain curve

Adjust the convergence tolerance


If the unbalance force difference is very small this can increase solution speed
significantly
i ifi
tl

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Review Initial Contact Settings and Eliminate Gaps

See the ANSYS output file or run CNCHECK before solving

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Adjust Contact Pinball Region

Default pinball region is different based on analysis type


type. (see below)

Increase for large initial penetrations

Default
PINB*

Contact
Classification

Contact Surface
Behavior

Initial Penetration Behavior


KEYOPT(9)

3 x Depth**

Rigid/Flex

Standard

Default (Include Everything)

4 x Depth

Rigid or Flex

Standard

Include Everything/with Ramped effects

2 x Depth

Flex/Flex

Standard

Default (Include Everything)

0.50x Depth

Flex/Flex

Bonded or No Separation

Default (Include Everything)

0.75x Depth
p

Rigid/Flex
g

Bonded or No Separation
p

Default ((Include Everything)


y
g)

1.00x Depth

Rigid/Flex

Bonded or No Separation

Include Everything/with Ramped effects

* Values are for NLGEOM,ON and are reduced by 50% for NLGEOM,OFF
**Depth
Depth = Underlying element depth (for solid elements)
**Depth = 4 x element thickness (for shells and beams)
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Surface Projection Based Contact

More accurate distribution of contact stresses.


stresses
Satisfies moment equilibrium when an offset exists between contact and
target surfaces with friction.
Can help with
ith contact con
convergence.
ergence
Better handling of sliding contact.
KEYOPT,<contact element type>,4 ,3

Default Contact Settings

Surface Projection Contact

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Examples of Material Instabilities

Depending upon the size of the residual these can be caused by large
force unbalance or can be a result of incorrect material properties

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Causes of Material Instabilities

Force balance not obtained

Too large of plastic or creep strain increment

Material law cannot handle large load and/or time increment. If the force
unbalance is very large, the material model might not be the problem
Element distorted shape results in negative volume calculation
calculation. Check the
mesh, but again with very large force unbalances the material model might not
be the problem

Max. increment can be adjusted as part of cutback controls, but typically force
balance is the controlling criterion and thus this is rarely changed.

Elements with mixed u-P constraints not satisfied

Modifyy the Volumetric Constraint

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Causes of Element Formulation Errors

Element Shape distortion


Excessive strain
Volumetric locking (PLESOL,NL,HPRES)
Hourglass modes

Buckling

Using Higher order elements or change to


enhanced strain to eliminate reduced
integration issues in lower order elements
Reduce rate of loading

V
Very
llarge fforce unbalance
b l

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Correct Element Formulation Errors

Mechanical APDL commands

Use CHECK command for overall verification including missing elastic


properties, unconstrained model, and element shape checks.
MCHECK command can help you identify defects in the mesh such as holes or
cracks.

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Correct Element Formulation Errors

Make sure to use the correct material input


Make sure to input True Stress vs. Log Strain

Conversion from engineering data

l ln 1

Always extend your material law will beyond


expected
p
strain levels

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Element Selection

Use Higher Order elements for curved surface contact for faster
faster, more
accurate results

20 node bricks
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Solver Type and Tolerance

Suggest using Direct (Sparse) solver unless PCG is significantly faster per
iteration

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Correct Element Formulation Errors

Add intermediate substeps


p
Rezoning

Adjust the starting mesh shapes this is the most common solution
Change Element type / formulation
Use shell or beam elements

Requires a restart so generally only used for very large strain cases like
forming operations or seals

Faster and more efficient solutions where applicable

Test with 1 Element model

Change the HyperElastic material model


Modify creep law or coefficients
Start mesh shape so that deformed
elements become more square

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Element Type Selection

Select the appropriate element type to maximize results efficiency and


quality
Simple is almost always better and definitely easier to debug

Complex 3-D
geometries

Shell elements

Slender structures
(twisted pipe
model)
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Remesh the Model Part Way Through the Analysis

Rezoning

Note that this requires a restart, but will map existing stresses and strains so
that the solution history is preserved

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Change Material Models

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Hyperelastic Material Models

Yeoh is very robust for large strain problems such as seals

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The Value of the One Element Test Case

Testing nonlinear material models

Make sure the material converges for all stress / strain levels expected with the
one element model before running full model
Especially critical step for hyperelastic and creep analyses

Testing of macros and user-defined routines


Evaluation of the impact of large aspect ratios, skew angles or warped
elements

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Element Shape

Robust well shaped elements can improve solution convergence and time

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Mesh Controls

Numerous controls are available to locally modify the mesh to reduce


stress gradients through multiple elements

Example showing the value of symmetry

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Mesh Refinement

Automated mesh refinement will increase the solution quality and


sometimes speed

Automated mesh refinement in workbench is generally only used in linear


analyses

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Element Formulation

Solver Output records the element technology being activated based on


the element order chosen (midside nodes) and the material association.
Workbench uses higher order 2d elements by default
Elastic material or
metal plasticity with
higher order
elements
2D Plane Stress
Elastic material or
Metal Plasticity with
lower order elements

2D Plain Strain
Elastic material or
Metal Plasticity with
lower order elements
Fully incompressible
hyperelasticity with
h h or lower
higher
l
order elements

Default URI
Enhanced Strain

Simplified Enhanced Strain

B-Bar with Mixed u-P


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You Have a Solution!

How do you make the solution more efficient?


Change the mesh

Change the Substep settings

Refine areas of steep gradient


C
Coarsen
areas where
h
stresses
t
are llow
Adjust initial element shapes to create better deformed shapes
Add substeps to reduce bisections
Reduce substeps where convergence takes 1 or 2 iterations max.

Include Material Nonlinearities?

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Improve Performance in Subsequent Analyses

The Force Convergence graph clearly indicates that starting with more
substeps would eliminate the 27 iterations performed before the first
bisection. Reducing the starting number of substeps might eliminate this
bisection

Force Residual vs. Iterations


Time vs. Cumulative Iteration

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Thoroughly Investigate Your Results

List and plot results to check to make sure you solved the problem
intended and that the results make sense

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Check the Quality of Your Results - Forces

First check should always be a free body diagram


Applied loads

Matching reaction forces


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Check the Quality of Your Stress Results

Comparing average vs.


vs un-average stresses can provide an estimate of
mesh error

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Understand the Data Generated

Displacements are based on original coordinate system


Stresses and strain component data rotate with the elements

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Need More Information?

Additional Information on all of these topics is available in the ANSYS Help


or through taking training classes

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