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Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 43 (2007) 861 869 www.elsevier.


Analysis of shear wall structure using optimal membrane triangle element

M. Paknahad , J. Noorzaei, M.S. Jaafar, Waleed A. Thanoon
Civil Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, University Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM-Serdang, Malaysia Received 25 January 2006; received in revised form 9 March 2007; accepted 30 May 2007 Available online 19 July 2007

Abstract In this study an alternate formulation, using optimal membrane triangle elements in nite element (FE) programming has been implemented. The formulation showed that more efcient computation was achieved and the accuracy of the FE program was established using some standard benchmark examples. Numerical studies indicate that the FE idealization, with coarse mesh using this alternative optimal membrane triangle element, produced good results for the analysis of shear wall structures. The results were found to be satisfactory with a wide range of element aspect ratio. 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Finite elements; High performance element; Drilling degrees of freedom; Shear wall structures with/without opening

1. Introduction The idea of including normal-rotation degrees of freedom at corner points of plane-stress nite elements (FEs) (the socalled drilling freedom) is an old one [18]. Many efforts to develop membrane elements with drilling degrees of freedom were made during the period 19641975, which came out with inconclusive results. The classical FE formulation to develop membrane elements with drilling degrees of freedom was unsuccessful. These unsatisfactory endeavors caused Irons and Ahmad [9] to view it as futile for any further attempt to develop membrane elements with drilling degrees of freedom. The main motivations behind inclusion of drilling degrees of freedom were: (i) To improve the element performance while avoiding the use of midpoint degrees of freedom. The midpoint nodes have lower valency respect to corner nodes, demand extra effort in FE mesh, and can cause modeling difculties in nonlinear and dynamics analysis. (ii) To solve the normal rotation problem of shells analyzed with FE programs that carry six degrees of freedom per node.
Corresponding author.

(iii) To simplify the modeling of connections between plates, shells and beams. Numerical techniques based on FEs with drilling degrees of freedom have received attention in recent years. For examples, MacNeal [1012] reported the processes of formulation, computation and validation of a defect free performance of fournode membrane quadrilateral element, with drilling degrees of freedom based on the Isoparametric principles. Sze et al. [13] proposed a mixed quadrilateral plane element with drilling degrees of freedom using Allmans interpolation scheme, HellingerReissener functional and assumed stress eld. The element stiffness matrix is generated based on numerical integration scheme. The performance of the element has been established by analyzing few standard benchmark examples. Piancastelli [14] introduced a plate-type FE with six degrees of freedom for each node to analyze anisotropic composite materials. A similar study on composite folded anisotropic structures using plate element with drilling degrees of freedom was reported by Lee et al. [15]. Pimpinelli [16] studied a four nodes quadrilateral membrane with drilling degrees of freedom. The formulation was mainly based on minimization of the modied HuWashizu functional, in which the enhanced strain and rotation elds were included. Hughes et al. [17] exploited a proper functional to describe, in weak form, the equilibrium problem associated with the

E-mail address: (M. Paknahad). 0168-874X/$ - see front matter doi:10.1016/j.nel.2007.05.010 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


M. Paknahad et al. / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 43 (2007) 861 869

boundary values in the presence of independent rotation elds. In the two-dimensional case, these lead to membrane elements with drilling degrees of freedom. Cook [18] developed a 24 degrees of freedom quadrilateral shell element by including the drilling degrees of freedom. The author concluded that numerical results are good but the element is not the best available four-node shell element in all test cases. Chinosi [19] combined a membrane element with plate bending element which lead to a shell elements with six degrees of freedom. Further more, Chinosi and collaborators [20] constructed a new FE with drilling degrees of freedom for linear elasticity problems. They showed that the new element was more efcient compared with the authors earlier proposed shell element. Zhu et al. [21] discussed the development of a new quadrilateral shell element with drilling degrees of freedom. One point quadrature was used for the analysis of nonlinear geometrical and material problems. Ibrahimbegovic [2225] presented membrane elements with drilling degrees of freedom based on a variational formulation which employs an independent rotation eld. Two new membrane elements, namely MQ2 and MQ3 were developed. These elements exhibited good performance over a set of problems. Furthermore, the author demonstrated the application of these elements for geometrically nonlinear shell theory. Felippa et al. [26] studied the formulation of 3-node, 9-dof membrane elements with the drilling degrees of freedom within the context of parameterized variational principles. The investigation has constructed an element of this type, using the extended free formulation (EFF). They constructed this element within the context of the assumed natural deviatoric strain (ANDES) formulation. The resulting formulation has ve free parameters. These parameters are optimized against pure bending by energy balance methods. Furthermore, Felippa [27] compared derivation methods for constructing optimal membrane triangles with corner drilling freedoms. In this report a comprehensive summary of element formulation approaches and the construction of an optimal 3-node triangle (OPT) using the ANDES formulation were presented. Based on the extensive review of the literature on elements with degrees of freedom derived on different principles, it was seen that for two dimensional plane stress problems Felippa and co-workers optimal membrane triangle element based on ANDES formulation, was found to be most efcient and suitable. In the present work, an attempt has been made to further enhance the formulation of Felippas work [2629]. Hence, an alternative formulation of triangle optimal element has been proposed to make the triangle optimal element more attractive as far as its programming effort and computational efciency are concerned. The objectives of the present work are to: (i) carry out reformulation (or alternate formulation) of OPT element in an alternative form, (ii) implement this reformulation and its computational algorithm in a computer coding, (iii) test the FE code against the standard benchmark examples, (iv) apply the proposed code to shear wall structures with and without openings.

2. FE formulation of optimal membrane triangle element The ANDES formulation is a combination of the free formulation (FF) of Bergan and a variant of the assumed natural strain (ANS) method due to Park et al. [1,3]. Extensive formulations of ANS and ANDES were published by Felippa et al. [2629]. The basic steps of the formulations are summarized in this section. Assuming that the element to be constructed has nodal displacement degrees of freedom collected in vector v, elastic modulus matrix E, and volume V, stiffness matrix is constructed by using the fundamental decomposition of stiffness equations: KR = (Kb + Kh )V . (1)

Here Kb is the basic stiffness, which takes care of consistency, and Kh is the higher order stiffness, which takes care of stability (rank sufciency) and accuracy. This decomposition was found by Bergan [6] as part of the FF and is a scaling coefcient ( > 0). The basic stiffness matrix Kb is constructed by the standard procedure (CST element). The main portion of the strains is left to be determined variationally from the constant stress assumptions which are used to develop Kh . 2.1. Element description The membrane triangle shown in Fig. 1 has straight sides joining the corners and is dened by the coordinates {xi , yi }, i = 1, 2, 3. Coordinate differences are abbreviated as xij = xi xj and yij = yi yj . (2)

The area A is given by 2A = (x2 y3 x3 y2 ) + (x3 y1 x1 y3 ) + (x1 y2 x2 y1 ) = y21 x13 x21 y13 . (3)

In addition to the corner nodes 1, 2 and 3, midpoints 4, 5 and 6 shall also be used for derivations, although these nodes do not appear in the nal equations of the element. Midpoints 4, 5, 6 are located at the opposite corners 3, 1 and 2, respectively. As shown in Fig. 1, intrinsic coordinate systems are used over each side and the Lij s are the lengths of the

Fig. 1. Triangle geometry.

M. Paknahad et al. / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 43 (2007) 861 869


sides [27]. The triangle will be assumed to have constant thickness h and uniform plane stress constitutive properties. The well-known triangle coordinates showed in Fig. 2, are denoted by 1 , 2 and 3 , which satisfy 1 + 2 + 3 = 1. The degrees of freedom are collected in the node displacement vector uR as uR = [ux1 uy1
1 ux2 uy2 2 ux3 uy3 3 ] T

2.4. The higher order stiffness The ANDES form of higher order stiffness matrix Kh developed in [8], is (9) Kh = Cfac T T K T u , u where K is the 3 3 higher order stiffness in terms of the hierarchical rotations and Cfac is a scaling factor. To express K compactly, the following matrices are introduced:
1 2 3 2 l21 2A 4 Q1 = 2 3 l32 7 2 l21 5 2 l32 8 2 l13 7 2 l21 1 2 l32 4 2 l13 2 l21 6 , 2 l32 9 2 l13 8 2 l21 2 2 l32 5 2 l13


Here uxi and uyi denote the nodal values of the translational displacements along x and y, respectively, and i is the drilling rotations about z. 2.2. Natural strains In the derivation of the higher order stiffness by ANDES, natural strains play a key role. Strains along the three side directions were used in [28]. The natural strains are collected in the three vectors. The natural strains are related to Cartesian strains by the strain gage rosette transformation: [ ]=[
21 32 T 13 ] ,

2A Q2 = 3
2 y12 y32 l13 2 x12 x32 l13

2 l13 9 2 l21 3 2 l32 6 2 l13

[e] = [exx eyy 2exy ]T ,

2 y31 y21 l32 2 x31 x21 l32

Te = 1 4A2

= Te1 e, (5)

2 y23 y13 l21 2 x23 x13 l21 2 (y23 x31 + x32 y13 )l21

(6) .

2 (y31 x12 + x13 y21 )l32

2 (y12 x23 + x21 y32 )l13

Enat = TeT ET e ,


where Enat is the natural stressstrain matrix dened which is constant over the triangle. 2.3. The basic stiffness An explicit form of the basic stiffness was published by Bergan et al. [6]. It can be expressed as Kb = V 1 LELT , where V = Ah is the element volume and L is a 3 9 matrix that contains a free parameter b [2629]: 1 6 1 L = 2h 1 6
1 6

2A Q3 = 3

5 2 l21 8 2 l32 2 2 l13

6 2 l21 9 2 l32 3 2 l13

4 2 l21 7 2 l32 1 2 l13


Depending on nine free dimensionless parameters; 1 9 , the scaling by 2A/3 is for convenience in correlating with prior developments. Matrix Qi are evaluated at the midpoints by the following terms:
1 Q4 = 2 (Q1 + Q2 ), 1 Q6 = 2 (Q3 + Q1 ), 1 Q5 = 2 (Q2 + Q3 ),

y23 0 y23 (y13 y21 ) b y31 0 y31 (y21 y32 ) b y12 0 y12 (y32 y13 ) b

1 6

1 6

1 6

0 x23 b x32 (x31 x12 ) 0 x13 b x13 (x12 x23 ) 0 x21 b x21 (x23 x31 )

1 3

1 3

1 3

x23 y23 (x31 y13 x12 y21 ) b x13 y31 . (x12 y21 x23 y32 ) b x21 y12 b (x23 y32 x31 y13 )


If b =0, the basic stiffness reduces to the stiffness matrix of the CST element. In this case, the rows and columns associated with the drilling rotations vanish. In the direct fabrication approach, the decomposition is explicitly used to construct the stiffness matrix in two stages, rst Kb and then Kh .

K = h(QT Enat Q4 + QT Enat Q5 + QT Enat Q6 ), 4 5 6 Kh =

T 3 4 0T uK

T u,



M. Paknahad et al. / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 43 (2007) 861 869

and Eq. (11) can be rewritten as Q = LL1 Q4 , 4 Q = LL1 Q5 , 5 Q = LL1 Q6 6 (17)

by substituting the new form of Te and Qi in high order stiffness formulation and expanding it K = h((LL1 Q )T (Te LL)T E(Te LL)(LL1 Q ) 4 4
Fig. 2. Natural strains, along side directions.

+ (LL1 Q )T (Te LL)T E(Te LL)(LL1 Q ) 5 5 + (LL1 Q )T (Te LL)T E(Te LL)(LL1 Q )), 6 6 (18)

Table 1 Dimensionless parameter of OPT element

b 3 2 0 1 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

K = h((QT )(LLT LLT )(TeT ET )(LLLL1 )(Q ) e 4 4 + (QT )(LLT LLT )(TeT ET )(LLLL1 )(Q ) e 5 5 + (QT )(LLT LLT )(TeT ET )(LLLL1 )(Q )) e 6 6 from denition of matrix LL it can be written:
K = h(QT Enat Q + QT Enat Q + QT Enat Q ). 4 4 5 5 6 6


where 0 is an overall scaling coefcient. So nally KR assumes a template form with 11 dimensionless parameters: b , 0, 1, . . . , 9: KR ( b ,
0, 1, . . . , 9) = V 1



3 4

T T K T u. u


Hence the formulation of Kh with new notation is more efcient in view point of computational time and effort compared to that of Felippa [27]. The same formulation is also adapted for calculation of stresses. 4. Computational procedure and development of an FE code The followings are the major computational steps adopted in implementing the proposed OPT element: Step i: Dene geometrical parameter of the OPT element to calculate Eqs. (3) and (15). Step ii: Evaluate Enat matrix using Eq. (14). Step iii: Determine the basic stiffness matrix Kb . Step iv: Generate Qi for corner and mid-side nodes employing Eqs. (16) and (17). Step v: Calculate higher order stiffness matrix Kh using Eqs. (18)(20). Step vi: Evaluate triangle optimal element stiffness matrix using Eq. (12). Hence, based on the above computational steps an existing two-dimensional FE analysis program written by Noorzaei et al. [30] has been extensively modied in view of inclusion of triangle optimal element which is based on new formulation presented in this paper [31]. This program is multi-element, multi-degrees of freedom and has dynamically dimensioned features. The program was written in FORTRAN language and works under FORTRAN power station environment. 5. Testing and verication

The free dimensionless parameters are determined from a higher order patch test which tunes up the higher order stiffness of triangular elements. These parameters are collected and tabulated in Table 1 [27]. 3. Alternative formulation of higher order stiffness matrix In the present study an alternative formulation of the above element is presented, which is more efcient compared to the optimal element constructed by Felippa [27]. In the subsequent discussion these formulations are presented in detail. Let us assume LL matrix as 2 l21 0 0 2 LL = 0 l32 0 . (13) 2 0 0 l13 Then the formulation of Qi and Te (Eqs. (6) and (10)) has been rewritten in the following form: Qi = LL1 Q , i Te = where Q = 1 Q = 3 2A 3 2A 3
1 4 7 5 8 2 2 5 8 6 9 3 3 6 9 4 7 1

Te = Te LL y23 y13 x23 x13 y23 x31 +x32 y13


Enat = TeT ET , e


1 4A2

y31 y21 x31 x21 y31 x12 +x13 y21

y12 y32 x12 x32 , y12 x23 +x21 y32


Q = 2

2A 3

9 3 6

7 1 4

8 2 5

, In order to validate the formulation, computational algorithm and implementation of new formulation of OPT element, three benchmark examples which are available in the literature are considered [19]. Table 2 shows the notations used for previous


M. Paknahad et al. / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 43 (2007) 861 869
Table 2 Identier of triangle element instances
Name ALL-3I ALL-3M ALL-LS CST LST-Ret OPT Description Allman 88 element integrated by 3-point interior rule Allman 88 element integrated by 3-midpoint rule Allman 88 element, least-square strain t Constant strain triangle CST-3/6C Retrotted LST with b = 4 3 Optimal ANDES template


Fig. 5. Cantilever under end shear.

Fig. 3. Slender cantilever beam under end moment.

Fig. 6. Tip deection for short cantilever mesh 16 4.

Fig. 4. Tip deection for cantilever beam.

are similar to those published by Felippa (using similar OPT element). The gure also indicates that the OPT element is superior to other elements as reported by Felippa [2629]. 5.2. Example 2the shear-loaded short cantilever The shear-loaded cantilever beam dened in Fig. 5 has been selected as a test problem for plane stress elements by many investigators since it was originally presented in 1966 [29]. The geometrical data, material property, boundary conditions and loading are shown in Fig. 5. The comparison value is the tip deection c at the center of the end-loaded cross section. An approximate solution derived from two-dimensional elasticity, based on a polynomial Airys stress function, gives c = 0.35533. Fig. 6 shows computed deections for rectangular mesh units with aspect ratios of 1, 2 and 4, respectively. Mesh units consist of four half-thickness overlaid triangles. For reporting purposes, the load was scaled, so that the theoretical solution becomes 100. The deection evaluated from the present investigation is identical as reported by Felippa [2629].

results in literature. In all benchmark examples the used units were consistent. 5.1. Example 1cantilever beam under end moment The slender cantilever beam of Fig. 3 is subjected to an end moment M = 100. The exact tip deection is 100. The geometric data, material properties, boundary conditions, loading and dimension of the beam are also presented in this gure. The beam has been discretized using regular meshes, ranging from 2 2 to 32 2, with each rectangle mesh unit consisting of four half-thickness overlaid triangles. The element aspect ratios vary from 1:1 to 16:1. Fig. 4 shows computed tip deections for several element types and ve aspect ratios (1, 2, 4, 8, and 16), respectively. It is clear from this plot that the results obtained from this study


M. Paknahad et al. / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 43 (2007) 861 869

5.3. Example 3-cooks problem Fig. 8 shows results computed for the plane stress problem dened in Fig. 7. This problem was proposed by Cook [18] as a test case for nonrectangular quadrilateral elements. There is not any known analytical solution, but the OPT results for the 64 64 mesh are used for comparison purposes. For triangle tests, quadrilaterals were assembled with two triangles in the shortest-diagonal-cut layout as illustrated in Fig. 7 for a 2 2 mesh. Again, the results predicted by the

FE program code written in the present research, agree well with the OPT element reported by Felippa [27]. Through these three verication examples, accuracy and convergence of the present formulation of OPT element, as well as the compatibility of the FE code, are demonstrated. In the next step, the applicability of the developed code is shown by analyzing shear wall structures. 6. Application of present study element in shear wall structure 6.1. Cantilever shear wall without opening The FE program developed in this study is now applied to an analysis of shear wall structures. Fig. 9 shows geometry,

Fig. 7. Cooks problem: clamped trapezoid under end shear.

Fig. 8. Results for vertical displacement at C for different subdivision.

Fig. 9. Geometry and material of shear wall.

M. Paknahad et al. / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 43 (2007) 861 869


loading and material property of a cantilever shear wall. The shear wall structure was analyzed for different subdivisions, to illustrate the capability of OPT element in analysis of the wall structures. To show the efciency and accuracy of the present element against conventional FE in the analysis of the shear wall, eight node isoparametric element was used to model the shear wall. The results for horizontal displacement at the top of shear wall, using OPT and eight node element for different FE discretization, are shown in Fig. 10. This gure shows that by using ner mesh, the higher lateral deections of the shear wall occurred in the case of conventional FEs; whereas, using OPT element, the result was converged to almost similar values, indicating the accuracy and fast rate convergence of OPT element. 6.2. Shear wall with opening In order to show the efciency, suitability, accuracy and superiority of the OPT element based on the proposed formulation an attempt has been made to analyze shear wall structures with

openings. Commercial packages, namely SAP-2000, STAADPRO and FE program based on plane stress formulation were used for comparisons [30]. Fig. 11 shows geometry and material property of an eight story coupled shear wall. The structure was represented by two FE models, namely model a (coarse mesh) and model b (ne mesh). The lateral displacement of each model at story 2, 4, 6 and 8 for all the FE codes has been tabulated in Table 3. The classical eight node plane stress element and standard commercial software [30] reect a comparable result. The ner the mesh, the analysis converged to greater deection. However, by application of the current alternative OPT element, the deections obtained using coarse mesh are very similar to those using ne mesh. Moreover, the results indicate that the coarse mesh from the OPT element converge to more accurate deection obtained from the FE by isoparametric eight node analysis using ne mesh. Therefore, it could be concluded that the new formulation of the OPT element can be considered to be more efcient as it did not require ne mesh in order to get accurate results. Contour of normal stress distribution, x calculated by STAAD-PRO, SAP 2000 and the present study are shown in Fig. 12. These plots show that FE code using present OPT element is capable of predicting almost similar stress distribution in the shear wall and at the connecting beams. Moreover, the stress distribution evaluated by the developed FE code based on alternative formulation of OPT element with coarse FE mesh, agrees well with the stress distributions given by the commercial packages where ne mesh was used. This comparison further proves the computational efciency of the proposed formulation of the OPT element. 7. Conclusion In this study an alternative formulation of OPT element was employed and its computational algorithm has been implemented in an FE code. The implemented code was veried, using standard benchmark examples, and was found to be suitable for further use. The implemented code has been applied

Fig. 10. Results for horizontal displacement of the top of shear wall.

Fig. 11. Geometry and material of coupled shear wall.


M. Paknahad et al. / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 43 (2007) 861 869

Table 3 Comparison of the lateral deection at different story level

Finite element method Model Lateral displacement at oor level Floor 2 Eight node isoparametric element Model a Model b Difference (%) Model a Model b Difference (%) Model a Model b Difference (%) Model a Model b Difference (%) 0.56 0.68 21.4 0.55 0.77 40.0 0.68 0.79 16.1 0.71 0.74 4.2 Floor 4 1.53 1.82 18.9 1.48 2.06 39.1 1.68 2.08 23.8 1.91 1.98 3.6 Floor 6 2.59 3.02 16.6 2.54 3.40 33.8 2.78 3.44 23.7 3.19 3.28 2.82 Floor 8 3.62 4.16 14.9 3.62 4.66 35.5 3.86 4.69 21.5 4.43 4.51 1.8



Present study

Fig. 12. Contour of normal stress for shear wall and connection beam.

M. Paknahad et al. / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 43 (2007) 861 869


to the analysis of shear wall structures with and without openings. Based on the results obtained in this study, it could be concluded that: (a) The developed code based on the reformulation of the OPT was found to be reliable as the results obtained from this work were found to be similar to those reported by Felippa [2629]. (b) The OPT based FE code was found to be more efcient and accurate as it displayed greater accuracy for the deection and stresses of shear wall structures, with and without opening, even using coarse mesh in the FE modeling of the structures.

Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank Professor C.A. Felippa of the University of Colorado for providing the technical advice at the initial stage of this research work. The work reported here has been supported by University Putra Malaysia. Their nancial support is gratefully acknowledged. References
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