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Lecture 31: Upper and Lower Bound

Jayadeep U. B.
Dept. of Mechanical Engg., NIT Calicut.
Calculation of exact forces in metal forming processes is very
difficult as the corresponding stress and velocity fields must satisfy
equilibrium equations, incompressibility condition and yield
criterion, in addition to stress and velocity b.c.
Hence, it is convenient to use limit theorems (upper and lower
bound theorems), which are known to predict either higher or
lower values (upper or lower bounds) than the actual ones.
They are not limited to plane strain, unlike slipline fields.
They are directly related to the virtual work principle.
Upper bound analysis is especially useful, as it gives a higher
estimate (safe value) of the actual load.
In this lecture, we discuss the development of upper and lower
bound theorems.
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Virtual Work Principle
There 3 different but equivalent ways of formulating problems
in solid mechanics: formulations based on equilibrium equations,
principle of minimum potential energy and virtual work principle.
Use of minimum potential energy principle requires the existence
of a potential energy function (a functional, in fact), while the
other two methods are more generally applicable.
Use of equilibrium equations is related to force method
(Newtonian mechanics), while the other two are energy-based
methods (Lagrangian mechanics).
To derive the virtual work principle, let us start with the
equations of equilibrium: ij ,i + Fj = 0
Traction on the surface is given by: T j = ij ni
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Virtual Work Principle contd.
Consider an arbitrary velocity field (vj), chosen independent of the
stress field. The rate of work done by the external forces is given by:
T j v j dS + Fj v j dV = ij ni v j dS + Fj v j dV = ( ij v j ) dV + Fj v j dV

We have, ( ij v j ) dV = ( ij ,i v j + ij v j ,i ) dV = ( Fj v j + ij v j ,i ) dV

Substituting we get the virtual work principle:

T v dS + F v dV =
j j j j ij v j ,i dV = ij ( v j ,i + vi , j ) 2 dV = ijij dV

Principle of virtual work states that the rate of work done by external
forces on any virtual velocity field is equal to the rate of internal energy
dissipation. In case of velocity discontinuities, the rate of energy
dissipation across them should be added to the internal dissipation.
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Kinematically Admissible Velocity Field
A velocity field which satisfies the incompressibility condition and
the velocity boundary conditions is called kinematically admissible.
The associated stress field need not be satisfying the equilibrium
equations or the traction boundary conditions.
The actual solution to a given problem must be a kinematically
admissible velocity field. However, there could be many other
velocity fields, which are kinematically admissible.
A kinematically admissible velocity field can have discontinuities
in the tangential components of velocity across a surface.
The normal component of velocity must be continuous to ensure
the continuity of flow.
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Statically Admissible Stress Field
A stress field which satisfies equilibrium equations, compatibility
conditions and traction boundary conditions is called a statically
admissible stress field.
In addition, if the material is plastically deforming, it must satisfy
the yield criterion. For example, in plane flow of a plastically
deforming perfectly plastic material, the maximum shear stress
must be k.
We can have many statically admissible stress fields in addition
to the actual one (which must have a kinematically admissible
velocity field associated with it).
The discontinuities in a statically admissible stress field across a
surface can only be in the normal stress components in tangential
direction. Shear stress and the normal stress component
perpendicular to the surface must be continuous.
Lower Bound Theorem
Let the actual solution for a plastically deforming rigid perfectly
plastic material be given by ( ij , v j , ij ) . We have by virtual work
principle: T v dS = dV + k [ v ] dS
j j ij ij


For another statically admissible stress field, we have:

j j ij ij
= + [v ] dSD

* * *
T v dS dV

Subtracting the second equation from the first, we get:

( j j ) j ( ij ij ) ij
= + ( ) [v] dSD
* * *
T T v dS dV k

Both the integrals on the RHS are non-negative on account of the

maximum work principle and yield criterion.
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Lower Bound Theorem contd.
Further, since both the stress fields are statically admissible, both
of them satisfy the traction b.c. on SF (S = SF + Sv).
Hence we can write: T j v j dS v T j*v j dS v = ij* ni v j dS v
Sv Sv Sv

This is the lower bound theorem, which states that the rate of work
done by the actual surface tractions is greater than or equal to that
done by surface tractions in any statically admissible stress field.
If the prescribed velocity is uniform, the lower bound theorem
provides a bound on the actual load itself at the yield point.
Similarly, if the prescribed velocity corresponds to a rigid body
rotation, a lower bound on the yield couple is obtained.
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Upper Bound Theorem
Consider a kinematically admissible velocity field: v*j
Let the corresponding stress and strain rate be ij* & ij*
Denoting the actual quantities using un-starred symbols, by
virtual work principle, we have: T v* dS = * dV + v* dS *
j j ij ij D

We have: k & ijij* ij*ij* (Maximum plastic dissipation)

Hence, we get the upper bound theorem:
T v dS
j j v ij ij

* *
dV + D j j dSF
k v *
dS *
T v *


The work done by unknown tractions on Sv is less than or equal to

the energy dissipated in a kinematically admissible velocity field,
provided the last integral on RHS vanishes (which is common).
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Chakrabarty, J., Theory of plasticity, Butterworth-
Hosford, W.F. and Caddell, R.M., Metal Forming, Cambridge
University Press.
Dieter, G.E., Mechanical Metallurgy, McGraw Hill.
Sadd, M.H., Elasticity: Theory, Applications and Numerics,
Academic Press.
Hill, R., The Mathematical Theory of Plasticity, Oxford University
Johnson,W. and Mellor, P.B., Plasticity for Mechanical Engineers,
van Nostrand Company Ltd.

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