Structural Optimization 18, 173182 @ SpringerVerlag 1999
Efficient sensitivity analysis and optimization of shell structures by the ABAQUS code
W.H. Zhang and M. Domaszewski
Laboratory of Modelling in Mechanics, Polytechnic Institute of Sevenans, F90010 Belfort, France
Abstract In this paper, a new efficient sensitivity analysis procedure is presented for the optimization of shell structures without access to the finite element source code. It is devised as a general interface tool to extend existing finite element systems from pure structural analysis to design capability. The implemen tation is performed based on the ABAQUS code. Kirchhoff flat shell elements are taken into account in the study with the el ement thickness as design variables. To ensure the performance and the validity of the proposed procedure, satisfactory sensitivity and optimization results are illustrated for numerical examples.
1
Introduction
Historically, structural optimization systems are organised by integrating sequentially three basic parts into one mod ule: finite element analysis, sensitivity analysis and optimiza tion algorithms. This scheme is not applicable for program users to extend commercial finite element systems such as ABAQUS from pure analysis capability to design optimiza tion due to the lack of the source code. From this point of view, an alternative approach discussed here is to adopt the open and modular architecture with the separation of the three parts above. Data flows will be transferred be tween corresponding databases. This separation can make full use of advanced analysis capabilities of existing finite ele ment systems. We do not need to know about computational methods used inside or intermediate steps. The FE system can be considered as a black box. Our concern lies in whether finite element analysis results in the database are complete and how they can be suitably employed for sensitivity com putations. As is known, shells are widely applied in the construction of aerospace, automotive and civil engineering structures such as an arc dam, a cooling tower, a barrel vault and so on. they belong to a particular form of a threedimensional solid. The thickness of such structures is very small as compared with other dimensions so that complete threedimensional compu tations are not needed. Flat shell elements considered here are defined as a combination of membrane and thin Kirch hoff plate elements. Geometrically, nodes of each element are coplanar. Due to the assumption that sections normal to the middle plane remain plane during the deformation, shear effects are neglected so that the resulting inplane and bend ing deformations are independent and a plane stress state is retained.
Despite the discretization error, numerical experience re ported by Zienkiewicz and Taylor (1991) shows that satis factory results can indeed be obtained and that convergence could occur as continuously curved shell structures are ade quately discretized as an assembly of flat shell elements and the subdivision of finite element mesh is refined. In addi tion, it is necessary to mention that shell elements are very representative in type. Bar, membrane, beam and plate ele ments can be considered as the degeneration or simplification of shell elements in the limiting cases of dimensions and/or loading. Therefore, the formulations presented below can also be extended to other types of elements.
The sizing optimum design of plate and shell structures is one of the important problems. Haftka and Prasad (1981) surveyed previous work. Yu et al. (1991) proposed a stepped reduction method in the study of thin cylindrical shells with arbitrary axisymetrical boundary conditions and distributed loads. This method permits us to establish the closed re lations between the deflection and shell thickness design variables for compliance minimization and the rain max of deflection designs. Leal and Mota Soares (1989) as well as Yamazaki and Vanderplaats (1993) adopted the inside implementation approach for sensitivity analysis of eight node isoparametric plate and shell elements based on the ReissnerMindlin theory. Vanderplaats and Thomas (1993) presented a highquality approximation for stress in plate structures based on the intermediate approximation of ele ment forces. Recently, Bendsee and Diaz (1993) discussed the minimum compliance design of Mindlin plate of fixed thick ness and variable material in the context of topology opti mization. In dynamic design, Grandhi and Bharatram (1992) proposed a generalized compound scaling algorithm with el ement thickness design variables for the weight minimization involving multiple frequency constraints. Barthelemy et al. (1988) studied the accuracy problems associated with semian alytical (SA) derivatives of static response. It was found that the inaccuracy of the SA design sensitivities depends on both the number of elements and the step size. The accuracy of the pseudoload vector computing is strongly influenced by the rigid body motion of the individual elements. The previous work of Santos and Choi (1988) was oriented to build up the continuous sensitivity analysis approach based on the contin uum equations of elasticity. It was coupled with the ANSYS system but with the need of shape functions for the compu tation of adjoint loads. Barthelemy and Hall (1995) studied the use of automatic differentiation for a given finite element
174
analysis program. This method proceeds by identifying firstly dependent and independent variables and then implementing the chain rule of differentiation into the program. Obviously, the finite element analysis program should be available. Sen sitivity analysis was interfaced with ABAQUS code for bar and plane stress elements by Zhang and Domaszewski (1998). In this paper, an extension is made to sensitivity analysis and optimization of thin shell structures.
2 Sensitivity analysis of shell elements
For linear static problems, recall that the discrete finite ele ment equation system corresponds to
KU 
= 
F, 
(1) 
where K is the global stiffness matrix; U is the 
vector of 
nodal displacements to be calculated and F is the vector of external loads. Sensitivity analysis can be directly carried out using the direct differentiation method (DDM) to obtain the sensitivity of the displacement vector
3U
_
with
Fp, i

K
cgF
cgti
1 (OF ~/
OK
cgti U.
~Ku~ ~/
./ = K1Fp,i,
_{(}_{2}_{)}
The intermediate term Fp, i is called the pseudoload vec
tor; t i denotes the thickness of the flat shell element i.
comparison between (2) and (1) shows that the sensitivity of displacement vector is in fact the displacement caused by the pseudoioad. The first term ~ can often he omitted if the exterior force, e.g. the surface pressure, is invariant with respect to the thickness of the element. The derivative of the global stiffness matrix in the second term of the pseudoload expression can be reduced as the derivative of the stiffness matrix of the element i, so that
The
s
,i
=

OK
ot
u
=
0ki U.

,.
(3)
Due to the assumption of independent deformations of the inplane membrane and the thin bending plate, the stiffness matrix of the flat shell element is diagonal and composed of inplane stiffness and bending stiffness, which can be written as the multiplication of constant matrices by element thick ness of the first and thirdorder, respectively,
kb(t~)
=
0
ta~b
.
(4)
Suppose that the element plane is situated parallel to the xy plane of the global system. This means that the bending force is oriented in the z direction. According to (3) and (4), we now have
Fp'i
=

[<0Q
0
kb
3T[
lgi =
with
(5)
~c
~
Note that r _ (r162162
=
.~
T
4,m
m
=(r162162
rn
m
are
internal node force and moment vectors of the element i. From (5), it can be concluded that the pseudoload vector can be easily computed by scaling internal node force and mo ment vectors. The element stiffness matrix as well as shape functions are not required. Because shell elements are subject generally to both bend ing and inplane stresses, the maximum values of the lat ter take place in the upper and lower layer of the element
Therefore, stress sensitivity analysis can be
limited only in these two extremity layers. Detailed compu tations are described in the Appendix.
z
=
~
ti/2.
3
Numerical
examples
Two shell panels are studied for sizing optimization. The op timization algorithm GMMA (Generalized Method of Mov ing Asymptotes) is used for numerical solutions of problems. This is a firstorder convex approximation method. The input data of the objective function and constraint values come di rectly from ABAQUS analysis results. Sensitivities are com puted by the procedure proposed above.
3.1
Square
plane
panel
The problem is shown in Fig. 1. The panel is subject to
a concentrated load F at the central point Q. Symmetric
fixation conditions will be imposed along the edges of the panel. For this reason, only a quarter of the structure will be studied. The mesh is composed of 5 * 5 fournode SdR shell elements of the ABAQUS library. The thickness of each element is considered as one design variable. Initial data are
in, initial thickness: t O = 1 in,
psi,
v =
4* 104 lb, stress limit: Ovm <_ 25000 psi,
lower bound: t_ = 0.1 in; physical properties: E = 107
as follows: AB
=
BC
=
20
0.3; loads: F
=
displacement limit: lUzl < 1 in. Solutions are firstly carried by the following formulation:
min FTu,
V<_V
~ ,
t i<t i, i=1,25.
The minimization of the compliance aims at ensuring the rigidity of the design. It is equivalent to the minimization of the amplitude of the vertical displacement of the point Q in our problem. The volume is limited by its initial value. Four fixation conditions are studied for the panel ABCD.
1. Two edges AB
and CD
are clamped.
2. Same fixations but with the presence of holes on the ele
ment ll
and symmetric positions.
Q
5 
10 
15 
20 
4 
9 
14 
19 
3 
8 
13 
18 
2 
7 
12 
17 
1 
6 
1l 
16 
25
24
23
22
21
C
B
Fig. 
1. Plane shell panel problem 

3. 
Four edges AB, 
BC, 
CD and AD 
are clamped. 
4. 
Four corners A, B, C and D are simply supported. 
The results of the design variables are given in Table 1 and plotted in Figs. 2 to 5. The first case gives rise to a beam like solution or a stiffened panel of minimum thickness. The hole is bypassed in the second cases, stiffeners are obtained along the shortest symmetric lines in the third one. In the last case, materials are distributed along the diagonal line. It can be concluded that materials are concentrated along the shortest path from the loading point to the foundation due to the volume limitation. To validate stress sensitivity computations, suppose an additional distributing traction load Fz = 600 lb/in is si multaneously applied along the edge BC and AD together with F at the point Q. The edges AB and CD are clamped. As a result, von Mises stresses and the sensitivities are no longer equal for the same point on the upper and lower lay ers. As indicated in Table 2, sensitivity results by the cur rent method and those computed by finite difference method demonstrate good agreement when tests are made with re spect to the thickness of the first element by varying the step size. Furthermore, if the weight mimization is made subject to the constraints to the vertical displacement of point Q as well as to the von Mises stresses at Gauss points of all ele ments, the final solution leads to the thickness distribution shown in Fig. 6.
3.2 Weight minimization design of a curved shell panel
175
Fig. 2. Final thickness distribution in compliance design (Case 1)
Fig. 3. Final thickness distribution in compliance design (Case 2)
Fig. 4. Final thickness distribution in compliance design (Case 3)
of 38
a
Due
set
design
variables
is defined,
each
of which
and
CD
3 * 103
consists
are clamped.
1,
it
of
is
of 9 elements.
to the
fact that
Two
the ratio to/R
edges AB
=
<<
The problem is shown in Fig. 7. Optimization will be carried 
reasonable to use elements based on thin shell theory in this 

out to minimize the weight of the panel subject to von Mises 
application. 
Initial data are as follows. 
Radius: 
R 
= 
300 in, 

stress constraints for all elements on the upper and lower 
length: AB 
= 
CD 
= 
600 in, open angle: 
0 
= 
80~, initial 

layers. A quarter of the whole panel is considered due to 
thickness: 
t O 
= 
1 
in, 
lower 
bound: 
t 
= 0.01 
in, 
physical 

symmetry. The finite element mesh is defined by 18 * 18 
properties: 
E 
= 
107 psi, u 
= 
0.3, stress limit: 
Crvm < 25000 

S4R shell elements of the ABAQUS library. A total number 
psi, loads: 
F0 = 45.35 ib/in, 
Fz = 63.33 lb/in. 
176
Table 1. Results of the design variables and the objective function
Element no. 
Final thickness (in) 
Final thickness (in) 
Final thickness (in) 
Final thickness (in) 
i 
Case 1 
Case 2 
Case 3 
Case 4 
two edges clamped 
four edges clamped 
simply supported 
hole presence 

i 
5.9596 
4.7100 
2.8595 
4.7830 
2 
4.4063 
2.9130 
1.9924 
0.4035 
3 
3.1403 
1.9282 
0.i000 
0.i000 
4 
4.1574 
1.6941 
0.i000 
0.i000 
5 
5.3364 
2.7686 
0.i000 
0.i000 
6 
0.i000 
2.9130 
1.9924 
3.6223 
7 
0.i000 
0.18211 
2.8896 
1.4842 
8 
0.1000 
0.1000 
1.6625 
0.1000 
9 
0.1000 
0.1000 
0.1000 
0.1000 
10 
0.1000 
0.1000 
0.1000 
0.1000 
11 
0.1000 
1.9282 
0.1000 
 
12 
0.i000 
0.i000 
1.6625 
3.3816 
13 
0.i000 
0.I000 
2.5752 
0.i000 
14 
0.i000 
0.i000 
1.3890 
0.I000 
15 
0.1000 
0.1000 
0.1000 
0.1000 
16 
0.1000 
1.6941 
0.1000 
0.1000 
17 
0.1000 
0.1000 
0.1000 
4.2851 
18 
0.1000 
0.1000 
1.3890 
0.1000 
19 
0.1000 
0.1000 
2.0579 
0.1000 
20 
0.1000 
0.1000 
1.0185 
0.1000 
21 
0.1000 
2.7686 
0.1000 
0.1000 
22 
0.i000 
0.i000 
0.I000 
5.3400 
23 
0.i000 
0.i000 
0.1000 
0.I000 
24 
0.i000 
0.i000 
1.0185 
0.1000 
25 
0.1000 
0.i000 
1.2927 
0.1000 
Obj. function (FTu) Initial value (lb. in) 1398.4 
1060.7 
6926 
1473 

Final value (lb. in) 73.242 
122.01 
2410 
107.74 
i
!
Fig. 5. Final thickness distribution in compliance design (Case 4)
Three loading cases are taken into account.
1. A distributed pressure load
Fz
middle line between AB
and CD.
along the
symmetrical
Fig. 6. Final design of weight minimization subject to both in plane and bending forces
2. Simultaneous pressure loads of Fz and F O.
Results of design variables are plotted in Figs. 8 and 9 together with the final distributions of the yon Mises stresses.
177
Table 2. Validation of sensitivities of von Mises stresses at the Gauss point
_{E}_{l}_{e}_{m}_{e}_{n}_{t} _{n}_{o}_{.} 
O~ 
(proposed method) 
~1 A~i (finite difference method) 

Or1 

i 
to 
= 
lin 
At 1 = 
103 
in 
At 1 
=5.10 
3 
in 
At 1= 
102 
in 
1 
43577.50 (upper layer) 
43579.36 
43522.16 
43522.03 

44064.10 (lower layer) 
44064.55 
44035.92 
44004.33 

2 
5244.81 
5272.65 
5014.01 
4753.92 

6442.08 
6471.06 
6215.50 
5958.31 

3 
7541.96 
7537.93 
7464.24 
7389.52 

7412.49 
7408.91 
7337.78 
7265.67 

4 
8918.36 
8921.38 
883.53 
8845.00 

8861.29 
8864.30 
8826.63 
8788.29 

5 
8965.57 
8965.91 
8923.14 
8879.66 

8919.58 
8919.94 
8877.28 
8833.92 

In the first case, the final weight W* is reduced to 39.92% 
4 
Conclusions 
as
along the clamped and loading edges. In the second case, the weight W* is reduced to 42.53% of W 0. Materials are mainly distributed along clamped and two loading edges. It can be seen from Figs. 8 and 9 that yon Mises stress constraints are satisfied without constraint violation in both cases and they become active in some regions.
compared with the initial W 0. Materials are concentrated
A
The paper describes the calculation of sensitivity derivatives for shell structures using the ABAQUS program without ac cess to the source code. Numerical examples show that sizing optimization with stress, displacement and weight considera tions become practicable by this approach and the precision of sensitivity analysis is ensured. Applications can be also ex tended to axisymetrical shell structures. In addition, it can be seen that the work of program developing and implemen tation is very small for users. It takes about one manmonth to establish the interface. However, it should be noted that the method depends on separating linear and cubic terms in the thickness, and is therefore limited to problems without membranebending coupling. It does not seem to be directly applicable to thick shell elements and composite shells. This issue will be further investigated.
B References
Fig. 7. Curved shell panel problem
Besides, it is necessary to indicate that because the opti mization algorithm is based on the duality, the final solution is ensured to verify the KuhnTucker optimality condition af ter the convergence. Figure 10 shows the iteration histories related to the two loading cases.
Finally, to show the efficiency of the developed sensitiv ity analysis method, the CPU time consumption is compared here versus the finite difference cost for the first case of the curved panel problem. It can be observed that the time sav ing is about 30% (see Table 3).
Barthelemy, J.F.M; Hall, L.E. 1995: Automatic differentiation as
a tool in engineering design. Struct.
Barthelemy, B.; Chon, C.T.; Haftka, R.T. 1988: Accuracy prob lems associated with semianalyticalderivatives of static response. Finite Elements in Analysis gJ Design 4, 249265
BendsCe, M.P.; Diaz, A.R. 1993: Optimization of material prop erties for Mindlin plate design. Struct. Optirn. 6, 268270
Grandhi, R.V.; Bharatram, G. 1992: Optimum design of plate structures with multiple frequency constraints. Struct. Optim. 5,
Optirn. 9, 7682
100107
Haftka, R.T.; Prasad, B. 1981: Optimal structural design with plate bending elements  A survey. AIAA J. 19, 517522
Hibbit, Karlsson & Sorensen, Inc. 1997: Abaqus/Standard user's manuel, version 5.7
178 

Table 
3. Comparison of computing cost 
Developed method
(sec)
Finite difference (sec)
One main FE analysis 
1.92 
1.92 

38 design variables 
25.81" 
38 
x 
1.92 
Total CPU time (sec) 
27.73 
74.88 
* FE solution of the pseudo load problem
Fig. 8. Final thickness and von Mises stress distributions (Case 1)
Fig. 9. Final thickness and von Mises stress distributions (Case 2)
Leal, R.P.; Mota Soares, C.A. 1989: Mixed elements in the optimal
design of plates.
Santos, J.L.T.; Choi, K.K. 1988: Sizing design sensitivity analysis of nonlinear structural systems. Part II: Numerical method. _{I}_{n}_{t}_{.}
J. Nurner. Meth. Engng. 26, 20972114
Vanderplaats, G.N; Thomas, H.L. 1993: An improved approxima tion for stress constraints in plate structures. _{S}_{t}_{r}_{u}_{c}_{t}_{.} _{O}_{p}_{t}_{i}_{r}_{n}_{.} _{6}_{,}
Struet.
Optim. 1, 127136
16
Yamazaki, K.; Vanderplaats,
with isoparametric shell elements. _{S}_{t}_{r}_{u}_{c}_{t}_{.}
Yu, H.R.; Liang, B.; Li, L. 1991: Optimal design of cylindrical
N. 1993: Design sensitivity analysis
_{O}_{p}_{t}_{i}_{r}_{n}_{.} 5, 152158
shells. Struct. Optirn. 3, 252256
Zhang, W.H.; Domaszewski, M.; Bassir, H. 1998: Developments of sizing sensitivity analysis with ABAQUS code. _{S}_{t}_{r}_{u}_{c}_{t}_{.} _{O}_{p}_{t}_{i}_{m}_{.} (to appear)
Zieukiewicz, O.C.; Taylor, R.L. 1991:
4th Edition. McGrawHill
_{T}_{h}_{e} _{f}_{i}_{n}_{i}_{t}_{e} _{e}_{l}_{e}_{m}_{e}_{n}_{t} _{m}_{e}_{t}_{h}_{o}_{d}_{,}
Appendix
A.1 Computation of pseudoload vector through system trans
179
Fig. 10. Convergence curves of panel design optimization
formation
When the element plane is not parallel to the xy plane of the global coordinate system as shown in Fig. 11, the internal
scaled in the
forcemoment vector
local coordinate system of the element for the computation of the pseudoload vector,
4i
=
[r162
must
be
"s
L~
~x
N
<
Fig.
elements
11. Local and global coordinate systems for the flat shell
The ABAQUS user's manual (1997) shows that internal node forcemoment vector is reported in the global system. This needs the transformation to the local system. To de termine the normal direction zI of each element, we can first build up two axes x I and yl in the plane by using node posi
tions,
x,
=
with
g12 =
and
=
with
g13 =

g12
Y21
z21
=
1{.2.,}

g12
Y2  Yl
Zl
z2 _
~/x221 + y221+ z21,
1

g13
~x21
Y31
z31
=
1{.3.,}

g13
Y3  Yl
Zl
z3 _
+
Y21 Iz21 .
By properties of the crossproduct the normal direction zI is then
z/

x /
Jl x'
x
•
yl
y'
II
,
,
(A1)
(A2)
of two above vectors,
(A3)
Consider now r
=
[r
q~n] consisting of three force and
moment components at each node. As shown in Fig. 11, the
force subvector r
which is the projection of Cf on the local
direction zp and the inplane force subvector qS/f,y~, which is
bendingforcer
itself can be divided into two parts:
the
the projection on the x/y / element plane. Their expressions
are
Then by scaling in the local system, the corresponding pseudoload force vector F f 9related to the force subvector
q~f can be obtained through
pfiz ~
180
_{s}_{o} that the pseudoload force vector Ff,i_ expressed in the global system is the resultant of above terms
Similarly,
+
the
: [4
pseudoload
+, (4
moment
vector
global system can be obtained
rmp,~= Fmp,iz'+ r ~p,iz,y, = 
[3r

2 (0?"
;)
Fpm,,i in
the
z'] /ti. (A7)
Finally, to check the validity of the above transforma tion, one can consider the case where the local direction zI coincides with direction z of the global system. That is zr = (0, 0, 1)T. Consequently, (A6) and (A7) will be simpli fied to give rise to the known solutions produced in (5),
F
f
,i
=_ F p,iz f ~§
ft
ft
and
Fpm,i = F p,iz m I §
F p,iz~y~ f =
F p,ixlyl rn =
A.2 Stress sensitivity
analysis of shell elements
The plane stress state of the element is supposed as a com bination of membrane and plate effects
TXY
by+~
V~y § 7~xy
,(A10)
in which (o"b, Crby,rby) denote pure bending stress components
and (4, 4, rxPy)denote membrane inplane stress compo
nents. Based on ttooke's law and straindisplacement rela tions, stresses components can be expressed in terms of the displacements
{~rP}=
Tx~y
T~y
=
D
Wyy
2Wzy
Vy Uy I vx
,
(All)
where D is the usual elasticity matrix in the function of Young's modulus and Poisson's ratio; (u, v, w) is the displace ment vector at the corresponding point of middle plane. It can be seen that along the thickness direction z of the element, the membrane stresses are constant and the bending
stresses components vary linearly. Suppose (o'zb, Cryb, r~b)
and Qr+b ~+b 7.+yb) denote the pointwise bending stresses of lower and upper layers respectively, e.g. at the Gauss point of the element. The following relation then holds with respect to the middle plane according to (All):
~D
Wyy
2Wxy
Txy
.
Hence, we have from (A10)
"r~yb
(A12)
(A13)
with {r and {~} the resultant stresses at the upper and lower layer, respectively. Considering now the sensitivity of stress resultants in the finite element j with respect to the thickness design variable t i of the element i. By differentiating (A13), we will obtain the general expressions as
j
=
+t
Tj,
(A14)
where sensitivity of bending stress components is computed, in virtue of (A12), as
f oo+b )
~D
=
OW2gx
C~Wyy
Ot i
20Wxy
at i
~t i
o~+b
yJ
0o+b _{x}_{y}_{,}_{j}
ati
=

D
wyy
Wxy

^{0}^{,}^{+}^{b}^{I}
(AI5)
with the notation of the second part in the above relation
=7
D
20wzy
Oti
(A16)
Similarly, in view of (A11), sensitivity of membrane stress components is evaluated as
= 
OVy 

Oti 
J 
ati 
= 
D 
~ 
. 

C%~Pyj 
COUy 
CgVx 
(alr)
By comparing (A16) and (A17) with (All), we can find
that {
stress responses caused directly by the displacement sensi
it
3~ } and { Ot~ can be physically interpreted as the
tivity
Oti '~i
aw~
(Ou~ Oji~) but
Oti'
9
vectors
~
~ Oti'
Ow~ )
and
should be kept in mind that { O~i } is not the true sensi tivity of bending stresses. By noting the following combination:
j:
+t
77j'
^{(}^{A}^{1}^{8}^{)}
we can write the sensitivity of stress resultants (A14) at the upper layer
{0~?
}
namely
[
}=
j,
10tj
f05+b I
i
g.
Oo"p
(a19)
(AGO)
If the yon Mises stress of element j is concerned in design optimization, its calculation corresponds to
~+
vrno
=
q(~rz+j)2 +
(Cryj)
+
2

(
~+~r +
xj
yj) ~ 3(xyj)
r+
2
)"
(A21)
181
The sensitivity is easily obtained by
vmo _ 
~+ 
05 

Oti 
mJ t 
Oti 
y3 
"0~i )
^{+}
(A22)
In the same way, we can also obtain stress sensitivity for the lower layer. From (A20), it can be concluded that the sensitivity of stress resultants in the element j must be com puted in two ways: if the sensitivity of the element is made with respect to its own thickness variable (i = j), then the scaled bending stress component must be added to adjust stress sensitivity term (A18) directly resulting from the ac tion of the pseudoload. Otherwise, the sensitivity results from the solution of the pseudoload system can be directly used as the sensitivity of true stress resultants if the deriva tive is made with respect to the thickness of other elements (i # j). Unfortunately, because bending stress components in (A20) belong to intermediate values which are not often stored in the database, only stress resultants (~, ~y, r~y) and (r + r + rx+y) are available in practice when finite ele ment analysis, i.e. ABAQUS, is executed for shell structures. To overcome this difficulty, we propose here a stress ex traction procedure. Due to the symmetry of the bending stress with respect to the middle plane, we can obtain the following relations by means of (A12),
{r

~y
{~+}+{er} 1{ ~++4 }
2

2
~
+ cr~
rx'v + r~y
.
(A23)
This simple algebraic manipulation permits us to efficiently obtain the stress components needed in (A20) and (A22). From this demonstration, it can be observed that unlike bar and membrane elements studied in our previous work (Zhang et al. 1998), particular attention must be paid to stress sen sitivity computations of shell elements. Secondly, it can be seen that this interface tool is very general to be coupled with other finite element analysis sys tems because internal node forces and stress results are often available in the database. Finally, the numerical sensitivity analysis procedure is summarized below.
Step 1. 
Do 
an 
FE 
analysis of the 
considered problem by 
ABAQUS to generate results database (I). 

Step 2. 
Read internal force result of each element from the above database (I) and then scale according to (At) and (A7) to compute the pseudoload vector. 
182
Step 3. Generate displacement sensitivity results database (II) under the action of the pseudoload vector by performing a restart procedure of ABAQUS linear analysis.
Step 4. Read the stress resultant
lower layer of each element from the database (I)
tensor at the upper and
Received June 8, 1998
Revised manuscript
received October 9, 1998
and then apply extraction procedure (A23) to obtain bending and membrane components.
Step 5. Compute the stress sensitivity by means of (A20) with stress tensors related to the pseudoload from database (II) and bending stress components from Step 4.
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