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Newton-Raphson Procedure

15.13.6. Arc-Length Method

The arc-length method (accessed with ARCLEN,ON) is suitable for nonlinear static equilibrium solutions of unstable problems. Applications of the arc-length method involves the tracing of a complex path in the load-displacement response into the buckling/post buckling regimes. The arc-length method uses the explicit spherical iterations to maintain the orthogonality between the arc-length radius and orthogonal directions as described by Forde and Stiemer(174). It is assumed that all load magnitudes are controlled by a single scalar parameter (i.e., the total load factor). Unsmooth or discontinuous load-displacement response in the cases often seen in contact analyses and elastic-perfectly plastic analyses cannot be traced effectively by the arc-length solution method. Mathematically, the arc-length method can be viewed as the trace of a single equilibrium curve in a space spanned by the nodal displacement variables and the total load factor. Therefore, all options of the Newton-Raphson method are still the basic method for the arc-length solution. As the displacement vectors and the scalar load factor are treated as unknowns, the arc-length method itself is an automatic load step method (AUTOTS,ON is not needed). For problems with sharp turns in the load-displacement curve or path dependent materials, it is necessary to limit the arc-length radius (arc-length load step size) using the initial arc-length radius (using the NSUBST command). During the solution, the arc-length method will vary the arc-length radius at each arc-length substep according to the degree of nonlinearities that is involved. The range of variation of the arc-length radius is limited by the maximum and minimum multipliers (MAXARC and MINARC on the ARCLEN command). In the arc-length procedure, nonlinear (Equation 15142) is recast associated with the total load factor :


where is normally within the range -1.0 l 1.0. Writing the proportional loading factor in an incremental form yields at substep n and iteration i (see Figure 15.16: "Arc-Length Approach with Full Newton-Raphson Method"):


= incremental load factor (as shown in Figure 15.16: "Arc-Length Approach with Full Newton-Raphson Method")

Figure 15.16 Arc-Length Approach with Full Newton-Raphson Method

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15.13. Newton-Raphson Procedure

The incremental displacement {ui} can be written into two parts following (Equation 15158):


= displacement due to a unit load factor = displacement increment from the conventional Newton-Raphson method

These are defined by:



In each arc-length iteration, it is necessary to use (Equation 15160) and (Equation 15161) to solve for and . The incremental load factor in (Equation 15159) is determined by the arc-length equation which can be written as, for instance, at iteration i (see Figure 15.16: "Arc-Length Approach with Full Newton-Raphson Method"):


= scaling factor (with units of displacement) used to ensure the correct scale in the equations un = sum of all the displacement increments ui of this iteration

The arc-length radius i is forced, during the iterations, to be identical to the radius iteration 1 at the first iteration, i.e.

While the arc-length radius 1 at iteration 1 of a substep is determined by using the initial arc-length radius (defined by the NSUBST command), the limit range (defined by the ARCLEN command) and some logic of the automatic time (load) step method (Automatic Time Stepping). (Equation 15159) together with (Equation 15162) uniquely determines the solution vector (ui, )T. However, there are many ways to solve for approximately. The explicit spherical iteration method is used to ensure orthogonality (Forde and Stiemer(174)). In this method, the required residual ri (a scalar) for explicit iteration on a sphere is first calculated. Then the arc-length load increment factor is
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15.13. Newton-Raphson Procedure

for explicit iteration on a sphere is first calculated. Then the arc-length load increment factor is determined by formula:


The method works well even in the situation where the vicinity of the critical point has sharp solution changes. Finally, the solution vectors are updated according to (see Figure 15.16: "Arc-Length Approach with Full Newton-Raphson Method"):


n = current substep number

Values of n and are available in POST26 (SOLU command) corresponding to labels ALLF and ALDLF, respectively. The normalized arc-length radius label ARCL (SOLU) corresponds to value where is the initial arc-length radius defined (by the NSUBST command) through (Equation 15162) (an arc-length radius at the first iteration of the first substep). In the case where the applied loads are greater or smaller than the maximum or minimum critical loads, arc-length will continue the iterations in cycles because || does not approach unity. It is recommended to terminate the arc-length iterations (using the ARCTRM or NCNV commands). ,

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