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and

Analysis of 3D Problems

Jayadeep U. B.

M.E.D., NIT Calicut

Ref.: 1. Finite Elements and Approximation, Zienkiewicz, O. C.,

and Morgan, K., John Wiley & Sons.

2. Zienkiewicz, O. C., The Finite Element Method, Tata

McGraw Hill Edition.

Introduction

Till now, we have been mostly considering the linear shape

functions. In 1D, this gave us linear elements; while in 2D,

this resulted in linear triangles and bi-linear rectangles.

However, while introducing the concept of shape functions in

1D, the possibility of using higher order shape functions as a

means for improving the accuracy of approximation, without

refining the mesh was discussed.

We derived the quadratic shape functions in 1D and also, the

possibility of higher order shape functions was discussed in

2D, for achieving greater accuracy.

This section is intended to be a general discussion on higher

order elements and an introduction to finite element analysis

of 3D problems.

Lecture - 01

In 1D, the shape function of any order can be expressed by

the Lagrange Interpolation functions. In general, the shape

function for node l using a Lagrange interpolation function

of order p is given as:

e

l

x x0 x x1 L x xl 1 x xl 1 L x x p

xl x0 xl x1 L xl xl 1 xl xl 1 L xl x p

shape functions:

1 & N e 1

Linear: N 0e

1

2

2

1

1 1

1

e

e

e

Qudratic: N 0

, N1

& N2

2

2

2

Cubic and higher order shape functions can be similarly

obtained.

Lecture - 01

contd.

is called the Lagrangian Family of Elements.

However, there is a major disadvantage for this formulation, if

we are planning to improve the accuracy by successively

increasing the order of shape functions.

The shape functions of any given node are different in each

case and therefore, we will not able to re-use any part of the

stiffness matrix calculated for a lower order shape function.

The issue can be (partly) rectified using the shape functions

called Hierarchical shape functions.

The basic idea here is to increase the order of polynomials

using additional terms, without changing the original shape

function, and so stiffness matrix of a lower order element

becomes part of new elements. Details left for self-study.

However, the more preferred method is mesh refinement.

Lecture - 01

A similar procedure can be adopted in 2D, especially for the

rectangular type Lagrangian elements.

When two perpendicular natural coordinate directions are

defined as discussed earlier, any order shape functions can be

obtained as products of linear shape functions. For example:

1 1

e

Bi-Linear: N 0

4

1 1

e

Bi-Quadratic: N 0

2

2

obtained.

The bilinear element has a linear variation for shape functions

along the edges, while it has a quadratic variation along a line

connecting the corners. This can be observed by substituting

= in the above equation.

Lecture - 01

contd.

the terms represented by the shape functions:

1

2

3

2

2

the completed polynomials. In other words, there could be

errors of the order of 2 in case of a bi-linear element.

Lecture - 01

contd.

1

2

3

4

2

3

2

2

2 2

3

3

though there 4th order terms in the shape functions.

The shape functions of 4th order is unnecessary as we have

only one term of the 4th order polynomial available.

This leads to the formulation of the Serendipity family of

elements, where this higher order terms are not present.

Lecture - 01

contd.

polynomial is given in the figure below:

2

3

4

2

3

2

2

2 2

3

3

serendipity elements.

Further details on this family of elements is left for self-study.

Lecture - 01

Introduction to 3D FEM

Examples of 3-D Problems Heat Transfer Problem:

The steady-state 3D heat transfer equation is:

Q k k k Q 0

x x

y y

z

z

2

problem are due to geometry:

The domain is a volume (3D space) as against an area in

case of 2D.

The boundary is a surface, instead of a curve.

Any heat transfer problem is actually a 3D problem. Hence,

any problem can be analyzed as 3D, but simplifications are

possible to 1D or 2D problems in many cases.

Lecture - 01

Examples of 3-D Problems Stress Analysis:

There are no simplifications involved in a general 3D

formulation, and hence, there are no further classifications in

3D problems.

The equilibrium equations in 3D are:

xy y yz

x xy xz

X 0,

Y 0 &

x

y

z

x

y

z

xz yz z

Z 0

x

y

z

There could be three independent displacements at any point,

and hence there are 3 d.o.f. per node.

The stress and strain vectors have six elements, and hence the

strain-displacement and stress-strain relations gets modified

accordingly.

Lecture - 01

The finite element analysis in 3D is computationally more

complicated due to larger number of unknowns and equations.

This is especially true in the vector field problems, like stress

analysis, since the number of unknowns per node also is

higher than 1D and 2D problems.

However, most of the derivations used in 2D could be easily

extended, after making proper modifications, to 3D.

Also, the 3D problems could be conceptually simpler, since

we do not make much assumptions in 3D formulation.

However, due to computation reasons, it is preferable to

perform a 1D or 2D analysis, if it is justifiable.

Lecture - 01

Finite Elements in 3D

The extension of a linear triangle in 2D to 3D is the Fournoded Tetrahedron Element.

As in case of triangular elements, if used in case of stress

analysis, we get a constant strains/stresses everywhere in a

given element, since the displacement has linear variation.

The standard tetrahedron element in natural coordinates is

shown in figure below:

3

The weights and sampling

(0,0,1)

points for Gauss Quadrature

method can be easily

obtained.

(0,1,0)

(1,0,0)

variation for field variable, can be formulated as in 1D & 2D.

Lecture - 01

Finite Elements in 3D

The extension of a bi-linear rectangle is the Eight-noded Brick

Element.

For better accuracy, we can have the higher order elements of

Lagrangian family, or the higher order Serendipity elements.

The standard brick element in natural coordinates is shown in

figure below:

(-1, -1, 1)

(1, -1, 1)

(1, -1, -1)

(-1, 1, 1)

points for Gauss Quadrature

obtained by extending the

(-1, 1, -1)

same from 1D.

(1, 1, -1)

be exactly matched by this element. For curved boundaries,

either linear approximation or higher order mapping is used.

Lecture - 01

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