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A linear strain, curvature-driven triangular element for the analysis of membrane structures

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Peter Gosling, Lei Zhang


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The analysis of membrane structures is made complex by the essentially anti-clasticgeometry and flexibility introducing significant geometric non-linearities. With the in-creasing application of these structures in high-profile projects, the introduction of newmaterials in the form of ETFE foil, for example, and the impending requirements of amembrane structures-specific Eurocode, the need for high quality analysis capabilities isparamount. Existing formulations lag behind shell element counterparts and are basedon a range of principles, from discrete to continua, and uniaxial to plane stress constitu-tive laws. In this paper, we present a linear strain triangular element for the efficient andaccurate analysis of membrane structures. The triangular geometry of the element meetstypical patterning needs, whilst the novel inclusion of curvature means that each elementclosely matches the characteristics of the local surface of the membrane efficiently. Thisis achieved without the introduction of rotational degrees-of-freedom, therefore negatingbending stiffnesses that may compromise the quality of the simulation. The element isalso shown to work well in predicting the onset and development of wrinkling.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gosling PD, Zhang L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: CMES: Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences

Year: 2012

Volume: 83

Issue: 2

Pages: 97-141

ISSN (print): 1526-1492

ISSN (electronic): 1526-1506

Publisher: Tech Science Press


DOI: 10.3970/cmes.2012.083.097


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