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KO

Ivana Krajnovi, Faculty of Technical Sciences University of Novi Sad

2. SUPERELEMENT

CONCEPT

AND

IMPLEMENTATION

Field of study: Civil Engineering, Structural

Engineering

The superelement method (also known as the

substructuring technique) is a technique used in finite

1

element analysis (FEA) of complex structures since

1960s. It was originally developed within aerospace

.

industry and later adopted by the offshore and

shipbuilding industries [3].

. ,

.

65 06'6 N

22 19'3 E

method in dynamic analysis of the lighthouse structure.

Superelement method is a reduction technique used in

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of complex structures. In

this paper different modeling approaches are presented

and compared against each other. Furthermore, usage of

different software for dynamical analysis is presented.

Key words: Superelement method, Abaqus CAE,

Lighthouse, Structural dynamics

1.

INTRODUCTION

deployed in 1971 about 60 km offshore Lule in Sweden,

in the Gulf of Bothnia, in the Baltic Sea. The lighthouse is

a concrete structure with foundation caissons filled by

sand. Total height of the structure is 42.3 m. The diameter

of the foundation is 23 m, and diameter of the structures

body varies between 4.3 and 5.3 m. Diameter of the

structure at the waterline is 7.2 m. The total mass of the

structure is about 9000 t, and the sea dept is about 14 m.

Detail description of the lighthouse is in [5]. During the

winter months, this area is usually covered by the sea ice.

Sea ice is a solid material with crystal structure. In cold

regions, it floats on the water and, occasionally strikes

offshore structures. The floating sheets of ice are crushing

against the lighthouse causing vibrations of the structure.

In order to collect data about properties of the sea ice and

its impact on the lighthouse, the extensive measurements

were performed on this structure. To better understand

data from measurements and learn more about the

behavior of the structure various numerical models of the

lighthouse were implemented [2], [10], [6]. In what

follows the creation of the superelement model is

presented.

1 :

- .

left, and location of the lighthouse, right2

common attributes as a single element (superelement). In

the domain of FEA, this means reduction of the system

matrices, and, also, possibility to design parts of complex

structures independently [1]. The technique is

advantageous for the structures with repetitive patterns,

since mass and stiffens calculations are performed only

once per superelement. Reduction of the processing time

is also one of the advantages of this technique. Here are

the principal steps of creating a superelement model

followed by a graphical example in Figure 1. Firstly, there

is a complete model made of finite elements (FEs), as

shown in Figure 2(a). It is then divided into several

substructures. Every substructure now has internal, and

boundary nodes (Figure 2(b)). Internal nodes (slave

nodes) are connected only to the nodes within its

substructure, and boundary nodes (master nodes) may be

connected to nodes of other substructures. In this point,

the system matrices are calculated within every

substructure, but the elements connected to the master

nodes are only preserved. An elimination of the internal

nodes, and their degrees of freedom (DOFs) leads to the

simpler mathematical model of a substructure. Now,

every substructure can be observed as a single element,

superelement (Figure 2(c)). At the end (Figure 2(d)),

master nodes between different substructures are

2 generated with www.google.de/maps

superelements.

eigenmodes are presented and compared in what follows,

since the structure is symmetric. Therefore, even

eigenfrequencies are same as odd and corresponding

eigenmodes are symmetric.

Adjustment of 3D model

In the original model, material density was different along

the structure, to take additional masses of equipment and

thermal insulation into account. For this research, material

properties were uniformed along the 3D model. It has

been done by assigning same material properties to the

entire structure, classic reinforced concrete with the

density of 2500kg m3. Eigenfrequencies of 3D models

with uniformed and different materials are presented in

Table 1. The differences are below 2.5%, which justifies

this simplification.

Table 1. Percentage difference in terms of natural

frequencies between model with various and uniformed

material properties

matrices of every superelement are reduced in the way.

2.1. Reduction of 3D model to a superelement model

The objective of this research is to simplify the 3D

structure, but to retain physical properties of it.

Substructuring technique was suitable for the

simplification. It enables condensation of the models

properties in terms of mass, stiffness and dynamical

behavior only in certain points the master nodes.

3D model

The Abaqus software package is a finite element analysis

product suitable for wide range simulations of various

design properties [11]. Version 6.13 is used for this

research. The existing finite element model of the

lighthouse is based on 3D solid elements. It was created

in Fraunhofer IWES [10]. Structural and dynamical

properties were derived from [5]. The foundation plate is

in XZ plane. The structure was supported at the central

node of the foundation plate. Soil properties are

introduced in this node as point mass and inertia,

transitional and torsion springs. Sand filling in caissons

was presented as a point mass/inertia in the point (0 m,

4.58m, 0m). Hydrodynamic added mass and thermal

insulation were presented through an increase of the

density of the material in corresponding areas of the 3D

model. The structure was meshed with ten-node quadratic

tetrahedral elements. Other properties and values of the

attachments 3D model are presented in [10]. The natural

frequencies and corresponding mode shapes of the 3D

model were calculated with no effects of damping and

gravity loads included. These frequencies are presented in

Table 1, and correspond to the limited information about

dynamics of the full-scale structure. It was decided to

keep first ten eigenmodes below 20Hz since they

incorporate 98.9% of the modal mass as proved in [10].

Mod

e

1

3

5

7

9

3D Model

Original

[Hz]

2.826

4.170

5.617

12.974

18.085

3D Model

uniformed [Hz]

Difference

[%]

2.840

4.274

5.685

12.972

18.284

0.475

2.422

1.200

0.015

1.088

The substructure generation procedure contains two steps

in Abaqus CAE. The first step is defining master nodes of

the future superelement. The idea was to reduce the entire

structure to a single superelement, to condense

information about the entire 3D model only in several

points of interest. Therefore, the reasonable selection of

the master nodes is of crucial importance in the reduction

procedure. On the full-scale structure, measurements were

performed only in two points, where the accelerometers

were mounted. Thus, those are the main nodes of interest

on the numerical model. The point on the contact between

ice and structure, at the waterline is also of importance.

That is where the superelement model of the lighthouse

can be subjected to environmental loads, such as sea ice,

or wave loading. To facilitate verifications of the

numerical model, it was decided to retain additional nodes

along the structures main axis and one more in the plane

at waterline. Finally, the master nodes of the superelement

model are presented in Figure 3. The equation of motion

of 3D model is presented with the matrix equation:

(1)

M u +C u + Ku=f

Where: K stiffness matrix, M mass matrix and C the

damping matrix of the model, u vector of displacement

DOFs, u

velocity vector, u acceleration

vector and f vector of external forces. All six DOFs

connected to the master nodes have been retained. In the

second step of the substructure generation system

matrices of the 3D model from the Equation 1 are

changed; stiffens matrix is condensed and mass matrix

and damping matrix are reduced to the matrices of the

is presented in [1], [9] and many others.

Node

names

N_42,3

N_39,5

5

N_37,1

0

N_34,3

0

N_31,5

0

N_28,9

5

N_25,8

5

N_22,8

0

N_19,6

5

N_16,5

0

N_14,2

5

N_14,2

5

Coordinates

42.3

39.55

37.1

34.3

31.5

28.95

25.85

22.8

19.65

16.5

14.25

-3.6

14.25

3.6

(a) 1st

(2)

C= M + K

and are damping coefficients calculated as it follows:

1 22 1

(3)

2221

2 21 1

(4)

2221

i =2 f i

Where:

1,2

1= 2 .

(5)

-1

1,2

(d) 7th

(e) 9th

Figure 4. Eigenmodes of the superelement model

presented with Rayleigh viscous damping, as a

combination of mass and stiffness matrices:

=2

f 1 =2.839 Hz and f 2=4.274 Hz

and a damping ratio of 1= 2=0.035 , which is the

and

[10]. The values of and are, respectively,

0.7503 and 0.0016.

=2 1 2

Herein,

frequencies,

necessary to confirm that it contains the properties of the

3D model. The superelement model has the same

eigenfrequencies as the model from which has been

derived. The eigenmodes of the superelement model are

presented in Figure 4. Retained nodes are presented by

black dots. The 1st eigenmode is characterized as bending

of the structures tower. Caisson is also slightly rotated.

The 3rd represents bending of the tower and translation of

the caisson. The 5th eigenmode is also characterized by

bending of the tower and rotation of the caisson. The 7 th

represents bending and a small torsion of the structures

tower with no movement of the caisson. The 9 th mode

represents torsion of the structure. These shapes

correspond to the ones reported by Popko in [10]. The

quantitative comparison between eigenmodes of the

superelement model and 3D numerical model has been

performed in terms of magnitudes of displacements. For

first 6 eigenmodes, the difference is below one percent.

For the last eigenmodes the difference between

displacements magnitudes is considerable, over 90% for

the 9th eigenmode. These modes are characterized with the

torsion of the structure. Thus, to decrease the difference, it

would be necessary to retain more nodes in the

substructure generation procedure. Additional nodes

should be at certain distance of the structures vertical

axis, to take the effects of torsion into account. Retaining

more degrees of freedom would not only consume more

modeling time. It would increase the orders of system

matrices, and, subsequently, computing time during the

simulations. In this particular case, retaining additional

nodes would not significantly affect the accuracy of the

model, since forces that can cause the torsion are not

going to be applied to the structure.

2.3. Exportation procedure

Abaqus has been used so far to create 3D model and

generate superelement model that can be used in analyses

within this software package; however, it can generate a

file with information about the finite element models that

could be analyzed within another simulation environment.

This file is standard input data file (SID) and has .SID

extension. As explained by Wallrapp in [12]: SID files

deformations and structure of it is organized using an

object-oriented class description. This means that the

SID file contains information about finite element

models system matrices, herein superelements matrices.

The SID file for the superelement is generated with the

Abaqus software package from a SIM file, using an

undocumented function abaqus tosid [11]. With the

generation of this file, the creation of superelement model

of the lighthouse is accomplished.

Superelement model in Modelica

Modelica is an object-oriented programming language,

for modeling complex systems, used to describe models

for individual components. The SID file of the

superelement, have been imported in Modelica as

ModalBody model. The ModalBody model class is a part

of the commercial DLR FlexibleBodies library,

implemented in Modelica by Heckmann et al. [4].

Verification against superelement model in Abaqus

In order to conclude that model in Modelica behaves in

the same manner as the models in Abaqus three

comparisons were made. The very basic comparison

between the superelement in Modelica and the

superelement in Abaqus was in terms of total mass of the

structure. The total mass of the structure is 9192769.87 kg

in both Abaqus and Modelica. The second comparison

was conducted in terms of eigenfrequencies. The

eigenfrequencies of the model in Modelica fit perfectly to

the ones in Abaqus. The third comparison was in terms of

steady-state displacements and the response of the

structure. For this purpose, an impulse horizontal force of

5 MN was applied on the top of the lighthouses in Abaqus

and Modelica. The responses of these two models were

compared in following points: 37.10 m and 16.50 m from

the sea bed. The responses of the both models correspond

to each other, and are presented in Figure 5.With this, it is

concluded that superelement in Abaqus is the same as the

superelement in Modelica.

0.02

0.02

Displacement [m]

Modelica

0.01

0.01

Abaqus

0

0

10 15 20 25

Time [s]

Figure 5. Responses to an impulse force of 5MN of the models

in Abaqus and Modelica at 16.50 m

3. Conclusions

The existing 3D numerical model of the Norstrmsgrund

lighthouse was reduced to the superelement model in

superelement model of the lighthouse inherited

assumptions on which the 3D model is set up. After the

reduction, the superelement model is verifiedagainst the

3D model in Abaqus in terms of eigenfrequencies and

corresponding modal shapes. The differences in terms of

eigenfrequencies between the models are below 2.5%

meaning that superelement model is good enough

representation of the 3D model and, subsequently the fullscale structure. The reason behind the simplification was

the reduction of computing time during the coupled

simulations of the ice-structure interaction. The coupled

simulations of the ice-structure interaction were set up in

Modelica. The superelement model of the lighthouse is

imported from Abaqus to Modelica, making the

importation procedure successful as well.

4. Acknowledgments

My deepest gratitude has Wojciech Popko, for having

high demands, precious comments and corrections, as

well as patience while mentoring me at Fraunhofer IWES.

5. Bibliography

[1]

M. V. Belyi. Superelement method for transient

dynamic analysis of structural systems. International

Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, 36:2263

2286, 1993.

[2]

Morten Bjerks, Arne Alberktsen, and Arne

Grtner. Static and dynamic ice actions in the light of new

design codes. In Proceedings of OMAE2010 29th

International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and

Arctic Engineering, pages 733739, Shangai, China, June

2010.

[3]

C. A. Felippa. Introduction to finite element

methods. Department of aerospace Engineering Sciences

and Center for Aerospace Structures, University of

Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA, 2004.

[4]

Andreas Heckmann, Martin Otter, Stefan Dietz,

and Hos Daz Lpez. The DLR FlexibleBodies library to

model large motions of beams and of flexible bodies

exported from finite element programs. In Proceedings of

the 5th Modelica Conference, volume 1, pages 8595,

Vienna, Austria, September 2006. The Modelica

Association and arsenal research.

[5]

Jaakko Heinonen, Tuomo Krn, and Chouping

Luo. STRICE REPORT Dynamic behaviour of the

Norstrmsgrund lighthouse. Technical Report D-6.2-A,

VTT Technical Research Center of Finland,

LuleUniversity of Technology, January 2004.

[6]

P. Jochmann. STRICE REPORT: Full Scale

Measurements at Lighthouse Norstrmsgrund winter

2001. Report, Technical D-5.1.1., Hamburgishche

Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt GmbH, Hamburg, Germnay,

2003.

[7]

K. Kolari. http://virtual.vtt.fi/virtual/proj6/arki/kuvat/strice/Norstromsgrund_Lighthouse_2003.html,

February 2003. Online accesed: January 31, 2015.

[8]

A. Y. Leung. An accurate method of dynamic

condensation in structural analysis. International Journal

for Numerical Methods in Engineering, 12:17051715,

1978.

[9]

A. Y. Leung. An accurate method of dynamic

substructuring with simplified computation. International

Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, 14:1241

1256, 1979.

[10]

Wojciech Popko. Comparison of full-scale and

numerical model dynamic responses of Norstrmsgrund

lighthouse. In Proceedings of the ASME 2014 33rd

International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic

Engineering OMAE, San Francisco, CA, USA, June 2014.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

[11]

Simulia. Abaqus FEA user guide. http://www.3ds.com/products-services/simulia/portfolio/abaqus/latest-release/?

accessed on February 2nd, 2015.

[12]

Oscar Wallrapp. Standardization of flexible body

modeling in multibody system codes, part i: Definition of

standard input data. Mechanics Based Designe of

Structures and Machines, 33(2):283304, 1994.

Kratka biografija:

, 1988.

2013.

Fraunhofer IWES.

.

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