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Institut Gramme – LIEGE

Dr. Ir. P. BOERAEVE Chargé de cours

January 2010

Introduction To The Finite Element Method (FEM)

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 2

Contents of this chapter :

CHAPITRE 1.

THE FINITE ELEMENT METHOD

4

1.1

SEVEN STEPS IN THE FINITE ELEMENT METHOD

4

1.1.1

STEP 1 - IDEALIZATION

4

1.1.2

STEP 2 - DISCRETIZATION

5

1.1.3

STEP 3 - CHOICE OF THE TYPE OF ELEMENT

5

1.1.4

STEP 4 - ASSEMBLY OF THE DISCRETE ELEMENTS

6

1.1.5

STEP 5 - APPLICATION OF BOUNDARY CONDITIONS

6

1.1.6

STEP 6 - SOLVE FOR PRIMARY UNKNOWNS

6

1.1.7

STEP 7 - CALCULATE DERIVED VARIABLES

6

1.2

PHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE FEM

6

1.3

ILLUSTRATION OF THE FEM THEORY WITH THE 2 NODES BAR ELEMENT

6

1.3.1

INTRODUCTION

6

1.3.2

VIRTUAL WORK PRINCIPLE

7

1.3.3

EXAMPLE : HANGING CYLINDRICAL BAR LOADED BY ITS OWN WEIGHT

11

1.3.4

NODAL EXACTNESS

17

1.3.5

LOCAL AXES – GLOBAL AXES – TRANSFORMATION MATRIX

19

1.3.6

CONCLUSIONS

21

CHAPITRE 2.

THE 2-NODES BEAM ELEMENT

23

2.1

INTRODUCTION

23

2.2

WHAT IS A BEAM?

23

2.3

MATHEMATICAL MODELS

23

2.3.1

BERNOULLI-EULER BEAM MODEL

23

2.3.2

TIMOSHENKO BEAM MODEL

23

2.4

DISPLACEMENT FIELD IN A BEAM

23

2.5

SIMPLIFIED BERNOULLI-EULER BEAM ELEMENT

24

2.5.1

KINEMATICS

24

2.5.2

SHAPE FUNCTIONS

25

2.5.3

STRAINS

27

2.5.4

STIFFNESS MATRIX

28

2.5.5

WORK-EQUIVALENT FORCES

28

2.5.6

COMPLETE PLANE BEAM ELEMENT

29

2.5.7

LOCAL AXES – GLOBAL AXES – TRANSFORMATION MATRIX

29

2.6

SPATIAL BEAM (3D)

30

2.7

CONCLUSIONS

30

CHAPITRE 3.

DIMENSIONAL REDUCTION

32

3.1

INTRODUCTION

32

3.2

REDUCING FROM 3D SOLID TO LINE (3D TO 1D)

32

3.3

REDUCING FROM 3D TO A PLANAR (2D) ANALYSIS

32

3.3.1

PLANE STRESS

32

3.3.2

PLANE STRAIN

33

3.3.3

AXISYMMETRIC

34

3.3.4

2D FINITE ELEMENTS

34

3.4

COMBINATION OF ELEMENT TYPES

36

CHAPITRE 4.

MEMBRANE ELEMENTS

37

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 3

4.1

DISPLACEMENT-STRAIN RELATION

37

4.2

THE THREE NODES TRIANGLE MEMBRANE ELEMENT T3

37

4.2.1

DESCRIPTION

37

4.2.2

STRAINS

37

4.2.3

SHAPE FUNCTIONS

38

4.2.4

CONCLUSIONS

39

4.3

THE SIX NODES TRIANGLE MEMBRANE ELEMENT T6

39

4.3.1

DESCRIPTION

39

4.3.2

STRAINS

39

4.3.3

SHAPE FUNCTIONS

40

4.3.4

CONCLUSIONS

41

4.4

THE FOUR NODES QUADRILATERAL MEMBRANE ELEMENT Q4

42

4.4.1

DESCRIPTION

42

4.4.2

STRAINS

42

4.4.3

SHAPE FUNCTIONS

42

4.4.4

ELEMENT STIFFNESS

44

4.5

THE Q6 "INCOMPATIBLE" FINITE ELEMENT

45

4.6

THE HEIGHT NODES QUADRILATERAL MEMBRANE ELEMENT Q8

45

4.6.1

DESCRIPTION

45

4.6.2

STRAINS

46

4.6.3

SHAPE FUNCTIONS

46

4.7

THE NINE NODES QUADRILATERAL MEMBRANE ELEMENT Q9

49

4.7.1

DESCRIPTION

49

4.7.2

STRAINS

49

4.7.3

SHAPE FUNCTIONS

50

CHAPITRE 5.

ISO-PARAMETRIC ELEMENTS AND NUMERICAL INTEGRATION

54

5.1

ISO-PARAMETRIC ELEMENTS

54

5.2

NUMERICAL INTEGRATION

56

5.2.1

1D INTEGRATION

56

5.2.2

CONCLUSION

57

5.2.3

2D AND 3D INTEGRATION

57

5.2.4

CHOICE OF QUADRATURE RULE. INSTABILITIES

58

5.2.5

EXERCISE

58

CHAPITRE 6.

3D SOLIDS AND SOLIDS OF REVOLUTION

59

6.1

3D SOLIDS

59

6.1.1

INTRODUCTION

59

6.1.2

STRESS-STRAIN RELATIONS :

59

6.1.3

INTERPOLATION OF THE DISPLACEMENTS WITHIN AN ELEMENT (SHAPE FUNCTIONS)

60

6.1.4

STRAIN-DISPLACEMENT RELATIONS :

60

6.1.5

STIFFNESS MATRIX CALCULATION

60

6.1.6

SOLID FINITE ELEMENTS

60

6.1.7

EXAMPLE OF THE CONSTANT STRAIN TETRAHEDRON

61

6.2

SOLIDS OF REVOLUTION

62

6.2.1

STRESS-STRAIN RELATIONS :

62

6.2.2

STRAIN-DISPLACEMENT RELATIONS

62

6.2.3

EXAMPLE OF THE T3 AXISYMMETRIC ELEMENT

63

6.2.4

EXERCISE 7-1

63

6.2.5

EXERCISE 7-2

64

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 4

CHAPITRE 7.

PLATES AND SHELLS

65

7.1

PLATE ELEMENTS

65

7.1.1

INTRODUCTION

65

7.1.2

THIN-PLATE (KIRCHHOFF)

65

7.1.3

DEGREES OF FREEDOM:

66

7.1.4

DISPLACEMENT FIELD

66

7.1.5

THICK-PLATE (MINDLIN) THEORY

67

7.2

SHELL ELEMENTS

68

7.2.1

INTRODUCTION

68

7.2.2

SHELL

68

Chapitre 1.

The Finite Element Method

1.1 Seven Steps in the Finite Element Method

1.1.1 Step 1 - Idealization 1

The "real" problem is idealized : assumptions are made to simplify the problem :

by reducing the dimensions (see below) (all real problems are 3D, but may be idealized with1D, 2D or 3D models),

by idealizing the support conditions,

by suppressing details, such as small holes and fillets, that are insignificant from the analysis point of view, but which complicate matters during mesh 2 generation.

This step can be dramatically important if the assumptions are not correct !

Examples :

1.This 3D part can be idealized by 2D elements (plates 3 ) or 3D solid elements 4 .

by 2D elements (plates 3 ) or 3D solid elements 4 . Figure 1 : Idealization

Figure 1 : Idealization

3 ) or 3D solid elements 4 . Figure 1 : Idealization 2. The roof truss

2. The roof truss 5 of the figure 2 can be idealized with 1D members :

1 modélisation

2 Le maillage
3

4 Eléments volumiques 5 Charpente en treillis

Plaques

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 5

a) bars with hinges 6 at the extremities

b) beams with rigid joints 7 at the extremities

The choice between a) and b) idealizations depend on how the real structure is realized : are the joints able to transmit moments? (Riveted 8 or bolted 9 joints are usually idealized by hinges, while welded joints may be idealized by rigid joints).

while welded joints may be idealized by rigid joints). Figure 2 : Idealization of a roof

Figure 2 : Idealization of a roof truss

1.1.2 Step 2 - Discretization

The problem domain is discretized into a collection of simple shapes, or elements. In the figure 1 above, the 3D idealization shows the discretization in many tetrahedral solid elements.

1.1.3 Step 3 - Choice of the type of element

The software available on the market offer a lot different types of elements :

on the market offer a lot different types of elements : Figure 3 : Typical finite

Figure 3 : Typical finite element geometries

6 rotules

7 assemblages
8

9 boulonnés

rivetés

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 6

The results can be very different from one type to another. This is due to the theory hidden behind those elements. We will see, in this course, the theory of the main types of elements.

1.1.4 Step 4 - Assembly 10 of the discrete elements

The element equations for each element in the FEM mesh are assembled into a set of global equations that model the properties of the entire system.

1.1.5 Step 5 - Application of Boundary Conditions 11

Solution cannot be obtained unless boundary conditions are applied. They reflect the known values for certain primary unknowns. Imposing the boundary conditions modifies the global equations.

1.1.6 Step 6 - Solve for Primary Unknowns

The modified global equations are solved for the primary unknowns at the nodes.

1.1.7 Step 7 - Calculate Derived Variables

Calculated using the nodal values of the primary variables.

1.2 Physical Interpretation of the FEM

The basic concept in the physical interpretation is the breakdown (disassembly, tearing, partition, separation, decomposition) of a complex mechanical system into simpler, disjoint components called finite elements, or simply elements.

The mechanical response of an element is characterized in terms of a finite number of degrees of freedom. These degrees of freedoms are represented as the values of the unknown functions at a set of node points (displacements, temperature, flow…)

The response of the original system is considered to be approximated by that of the discrete model constructed by connecting or assembling the collection of all elements.

1.3 Illustration of the FEM theory with the 2 nodes bar element.

1.3.1 Introduction

The simplest finite element is the 2 nodes bar element. It has 2 extremities, called "nodes" by which it can be connected to other finite elements or supports, and can only shorten or extend, that means that the unknowns at the nodes are the axial displacements u 1 and u 2 . These are called the degrees of freedom of the element. It has a cross-section 12 A and a length L. We will here consider the case of an external distributed loads (axial load per unit length) q(x).

10 Assemblage
11

12 Section droite

Conditions aux limites

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 7

u 1

u u(x) x
u
u(x)
x

u 2

The Finite Element Method page 7 u 1 u u(x) x u 2 q(x) 1 2

q(x)

1 2
1
2

u

1

Method page 7 u 1 u u(x) x u 2 q(x) 1 2 u 1 u

u

2

Method page 7 u 1 u u(x) x u 2 q(x) 1 2 u 1 u

L

Method page 7 u 1 u u(x) x u 2 q(x) 1 2 u 1 u
Method page 7 u 1 u u(x) x u 2 q(x) 1 2 u 1 u

Figure 4 : 2-nodes bar element

1.3.2 Virtual Work Principle

The external work done by the forces q(x) is stored in the solid as (internal) strain energy W I :

1.3.2.a)Strain energy :

In Mechanics of Materials it is shown that the strain energy density at a point of a linear-elastic material subjected to a one-dimensional state of stress σ and strain is

U =

1

.

2

.

,

Total Strain Energy Integrated on the total volume V of the bar :

W

I

=

V

1

.

2

.

.

dV

As =E. is constant over the section A of the bar, and dV=A.dx :

W

I

=

V

1

.

2

.

.

dV =

L

1

2

.

.

E

.

.

A dx

.

And the strain and displacements are linked by the relation :

(

x

)

=

d

dx

u

(

x

)

The real variation of u(x) along the bar is not known. Instead, we will interpolate the value of u(x) from the values of the displacements at the nodes : u 1 and u 2 :

u(x) = N (x).u + N (x).u

1

1

2

2

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 8

where N 1 (x) and N 2 (x) are called shape functions 13 .

From this last equation, it can be seen that :

N 1 (x)=1 and N 2 (x)=0 at x=0, in order to have

N 1 (x)=0 and N 2 (x)=1 at x=L, in order to have

1.3.2.b)The shape functions

u(0) = u

u(L) = u

1

2

For a two node bar element the only possible variation of the displacement u(x) is linear, and expressed by the interpolation formula :

u

(

x

)

=

L

x

L

.

u

1

+

x

L

.

u

2

.

That means that the shape functions are :

N

1

=

L

x

L

and

This can be written as a scalar product of 2 vectors :

L

u

(

x

)

=<

x

x

L

,

L

>

.

where :

u

u

1

2

{…} represents a column vector, <…> represents a line vector, {U} is the nodal displacement vector. <N> is the shape function vector

1.3.2.c)Strain

(

x

)

=

d

dx

=

u

(

<

x

)

1

=

L

,

 

d

dx

1

>

L

N

2

=

= <

x

L

N

.

>

.

{

U

<

N

{

. U

}

>

 

.{

U

}

}

Finally :

where :

<B>=

d

dx <

1.3.2.d)External work

(x) = < B > .{U} =

< U > .{B}

(1)

N > is called the Strain-Displacement Matrix

The external work of q(x) applied on a infinitesimal length dx, at the distance x is q(x).dx.u(x) The total external work on the length L is :

13 Fonctions d'interpolation

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 9

1.3.2.e)Total Potential Energy

1.3.2.f)Virtual Work Principle

W

E

=

L

q

(

x

= W

I

).

u

(

x

).

W

E

dx

The total work done by all forces acting on a system in static equilibrium is zero for any infinitesimal virtual displacement field u , kinematically admissible (compatible with the support conditions).

Then

With

and

Thus,

W

I

=

1

.

2

L

[

.

E

.

W

E

=

W

I

+

E

.

.

W

E

= 0

].

A dx =

.

=

L

q

(

).

x

u

(

x

).

dx

E

.

L

.

.

A dx

.

L

.

E

.

.

A dx =

.

L

q

(

x

).

u

(

x

).

dx

Substituting (1) in (2) gives :

< U >

.

L

A E

.

.{

B

}.

< B >

.{

U

}.

dx

=

< U >

.

L

q

where < U >

is a vector of nodal virtual displacements.

(2)

x

.{

Thus

L

A E

.

.{

B

}.

< B > dx

.

.{

U

}

=

L

q

x

. N .dx

{

}

This can be written

N

}.

dx

[K].{U}= {F}

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 10

Where: [K]=

{U}

{F} =

L

A E

.

.{

B

}.

< B > dx

.

is the element stiffness matrix 14 ,

is the nodal displacement vector,

L

q

x

. N .dx the work-equivalent nodal force vector (the nodal forces {F}

{

}

produce the same external work as the distributed load q(x).

1.3.2.g)Stiffness Matrix :

[

K

]

=

=

=

=

L

L

A E

.

A E

.

.

.

1

L

1

L

.

 

1

2

L

1

2

L

1

L

1

,

2

L

1

2

L

1

L

. dx

. dx

E

.

A

2

L

E

.

A

L

.

.

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

.

L

dx

1.3.2.h)Work-equivalent nodal force vector {F}

W

E

{

F

}

=

L

=

L

q

x

q

x .

. N .dx

{

}

L



L

x

L

x


. dx

14 Matrice de rigidité

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 11

F 1

 

F

=

2

q

x

.


L

L

x

 

dx  

L

L

x

L

.

. dx

=

q

x

.


L

 

2

 

L

2

 

1.3.3 Example : Hanging cylindrical bar loaded by its own weight.

x h
x
h

1.3.3.a)Analytical solution :

Figure 5

Stress in a cross-section at a distance x

The stress is equal to the weight of the bar below that point divided by the area of the cross-section at that point.

Thus :

(x) =

.g.(h

x)

and the stress varies linearly along the bar

displacement in a cross-section at a distance x :

du = and = dx E du .g = = = ( h x )
du
=
and
=
dx
E
du
.g
=
=
=
(
h
x
)
dx
E
E
.
g x
.
x
u
(
x
) =
.
dx
+
cste
=
.
h
E
E
2
in
x = 0 , we have :
u(0) = 0
2
h
in
x = h , we have :
u h
(
)
=
.
g
. 2. E

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 12

in

x =

h

2

, we have :

u

 

h

2

 

=

3.

.

g h

.

2

8. E

1.3.3.b)Finite Element Method with one element :

Solution

{

F

}

[

K

=

.

g A

.

.

E A

.

h

.  

1

1

[K].{U}= {F}

]

=

E A

.

h

.

 

1

1

1

1

 

{

U

h

2

h

2

 

 

}

=

u

u

1

2

(because q x = = *g*A )

1

1

 

.

u

u

1 g A

2

=

.

.

.

 

 

h

2

 

h

2

 

The system cannot be solved because the determinant of the matrix is zero. This is due to the fact that we haven't taken into account the boundary conditions and the bar is free to move as a rigid body. The FEM software, in such a case, display an error message like "Instability at node xxx". That means that the model is unsupported or inadequately supported.

The boundary condition here is that :

the displacement at node 1, u 1 , is equal to zero,

at node 1, there is a external reaction force R. That force, like any other external nodal force, must appear in the force vector {F}

To summarize : the force vector {F} is the sum of:

-

the external nodal forces vector

-

the work-equivalent nodal forces vector

-

the reactions vector

-

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 13

Thus

.

E A

h

.

1

1

The second line gives directly u 2

E A

.

h

.

u

2

=

.

g A

.

.

h

2

1

1

 

.

0

u

2

u

2

=

=

.

g A

.

.

.

h

h

.

2

.

g A

.

.

g . A

h

2

.

E A

.

+

h

2

R

 

 

The first line gives the reaction R :

R

.

E A

h

=

. u

=

.

.

g A

.

.

.

g h

. . g h
R : R . E A h = . u = . . g A .

2

2

E A

.

h

2.

E

h

+

2

.

R

g A

.

.

h

=

2

.

g A h

.

.

2 . g h . u = 2 2. E
2
.
g h
.
u
=
2
2. E

The reaction is negative, because opposite to the direction of x in the element.

Displacements along the bar

The formula

displacement in x=h/2 et x=h

in x=h/2:

u( x ) =< N > { d } found above allows the determination of the values of de

u

(

x

)

=

u

1

.

N

1

+

u

2

.

N

2

=<

N

1

,

N

2

>

.

u

u

1

2

u

u

(

  

x

)

=<

h

2

=<

1

1

x x

,
h

h

>

1

2

,

1

>

2

.


u 1

u

2

0

.


u

2

u (

h

)

=

.

g h

.

2

2

4. E

Stresses

Now let us deduce from

(

x

)

=

E

.

(

x

)

=

E

.

du x

(

)

dx

the value of

in x=h/2 and x=h

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 14

(

x

)

du x

(

)

.

<

1

1

>

.

u

1

 

h

,

h

 

u

2

 

1

.

.

g h

2

=

.

.

g h

.

.

 

h

2.

E

 

2

 

E

E

= =

.

E

(

x

)

E

.

dx

=

As u 1 is equal to zero, one has :

(

x

)

=

E

.

u

2

h

=

element !

. g h . ( x ) = 2
.
g h
.
(
x )
=
2

at any point in the

1.3.3.c)Finite Element Method with two elements

Element 1 :

[

K

{

U

{

F

]

}

}

=

E A

.

L

1

.

=

u

u

1

2

=

.

g A

.

.

Element 2 :

[

K

{

U

]

}

=

.

E A

L

2

.

=

u

u

2

3

1

1

L

1

2

L

1

 

2  

  

1

1

1

1

=

1

1

=

.

=

2.

E

.

A

h

g A

.

.

.

 

h

4

 

 

h

4

2.

E

.

A

h

.

 

1

1

1

1

1 h 2
1
h
2

Figure 6

1

1

1

1

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 15

{

F

}

=

.

g A

.

.

 



L

 

2

L

2  

=

.

g A

.

.

 

h

4

 

 

h

4

 

Elements 1+2 :

The next figure shows both elements with their work-equivalent nodal forces and reactions.

R

with their work-equivalent nodal forces and reactions. R . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4

.g.A.h/4

.g.A.h/4

.g.A.h/4

.g.A.h/4

and reactions. R . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 1 2 u 2 h/2
and reactions. R . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 1 2 u 2 h/2
and reactions. R . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 1 2 u 2 h/2

1

2

u 2 u

h/2

R . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 1 2 u 2 h/2 u 3
R . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 1 2 u 2 h/2 u 3

u 3

g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 . g.A.h/4 1 2 u 2 h/2 u 3 Node 2

Node 2 is common to both elements : there is a work-equivalent nodal force coming from each element. Node 1 has a work-equivalent force AND a reaction.

The global stiffness matrix is assembled from the elemental matrices. The displacement vector contains all the degrees of freedom (the displacements) of the whole structure.

 1 1 0   2. E . A   . 1 1
 1
1
0
2.
E . A
.
1
1
+
1
1
.
h
0
1
1
As u 1 = 0, the system reduces to

0

u

u

2

3

 h  . g A . . + R   4  
h
.
g A
.
.
+
R
4
h
  =
.
g A
.
.
h +
.
g A
.
.
4
4
 
h
.
g A
.
.
4
 

2.

E A

.

h

2

.

1

1

1

 

.

u

u

2

3

=

.

g A

.

.

h

4

.

2

1

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 16

2.

E A

.

2.

h

E A

.

h

.

.

(

(

2.

u

2

u

+

2

u

3

u

3

)

=

)

=

.

.

g A

.

.

g A

.

.

h

2

h

4

If we add these two equations, member to member, we obtain :

2. E A

.

h

.

(

2.

u

2

u

3

u

+

2

u

3

)

=

.

g A h

.

.

.

 

1

+

2

1

4

 

2. E A . 3 . u = . g A h . . 2
2.
E A
.
3
.
u
=
.
g A h
.
.
2
h
. 4
3 h
u
=
.
g A h
.
.
.
.
2
4
2.
E A
.
2
3
.
g h
.
=
u 2
8. E

Substituting that value in the first equation of the reduced system, we obtain :

Stresses

element 1 :

1

E

= =

.

E

.

du

dx

=

As u 1 = 0, we obtain :

E

.

2.

.

E A

.2.

3

.

.

g h

2

2.

.

E A

 
   

.

.

 

h

8

E

h

2.

.

E A

 

3

 

.

u

3

=

.

 

.

g Ah

.

.

 
 

h

   

2

<

1

h

,

1

h

>

.

u 3 = . . g h 2. E 2 u 1  

u

3

=

.

.

g h

2.

E

2

u 1

 
 

u

2

 

2

2

u

3

=

.

.

g A

.

g A

.

.

h

2

.

h

2

P. Boeraeve

The Finite Element Method

page 17

2 2. E 2. E 3 . g h . = . u = .
2
2.
E
2.
E
3
.
g h
.
=
.
u
=
.
.
1
2
h
h
8
E
3
=
.
.
g h
.
1
4
element 2 :
du
1
1
u
2
= E
.
=
E
.
=
E
.
<
,
>
.
2
dx
h
h
u
3
2
2
2.
E
2.
E
=
.
u
+
.
u
2
2
3
h
h
2
2
2.
E
3
.
g h
.
2.
E
.
g h
.
=
.
.
+
.
=
2
h
8
E
h
2.
E
1
=
. .
g h
.
2
4
1.3.4 NODAL EXACTNESS

3

4

.

.

.

g h

+

.

g h

.

Suppose that the following three conditions are satisfied:

1. The bar properties are constant along the length (prismatic member).

2. The distributed load q(x) is zero between nodes.

3. The only applied loads are point forces applied at the nodes.

If so, a linear axial displacement u(x) as defined by the shape functions of the 2-nodes bar element is the exact solution over each element because constant strain and stress satisfy, element by element, all of the governing equations.