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# An Introduction to the

Finite Element
Analysis

Presented by
Niko Manopulo

Agenda
PART I
Introduction and Basic Concepts
1.0

Computational Methods
1.1
1.2
1.3

2.0

## The Finite Elements Method

2.1
2.2

3.0

Idealization
Discretization
Solution
FEM Notation
Element Types

Mechanichal Approach
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4

## The Problem Setup

Strain Energy
External Energy
The Potential Energy Functional
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Agenda
PART II
Mathematical Formulation
4.0

4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6
4.7
4.8

## Weighted Residual Methods

Approxiamting Functions
The Residual
Galerkins Method
The Weak Form
Solution Space
Linear System of Equations
Connection to the physical system
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Agenda
PART III
Finite Element Discretization
5.0

4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6
4.7

6.0
7.0

## The Trial Basis

Matrix Form of the Problem
Element Stiffness Matrix
Element Mass Matrix
External Work Integral
Assembling
Linear System of Equations

References
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PART I
Introduction and Basic Concepts

## 1.0 Computational Methods

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1.1 Idealization
Mathematical Models
A model is a symbolic device built to
simulate and predict aspects of behavior of a
system.
Abstraction of physical reality

## Implicit vs. Explicit Modelling

Implicit modelling consists of using existent
pieces of abstraction and fitting them into the
particular situation (e.g. Using general
purpose FEM programs)
Explicit modelling consists of building the
model from scratch
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1.2 Dicretization
1. Finite Difference Discretization

## The solution is discretized

Stability Problems
Loss of physical meaning

## The problem is discretized

Physical meaning is conserved on elements
Interpretation and Control is easier

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1.3 Solution
1. Linear System Solution Algorithms

Gaussian Elimination
Fast Fourier Transform
Relaxation Techniques

## 2. Error Estimation and Convergence

Analysis

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## 2.0 Finite Element Method

Two interpretations
1. Physical Interpretation:
The continous physical model is divided into
finite pieces called elements and laws of
nature are applied on the generic element.
The results are then recombined to
represent the continuum.

2. Mathematical Interpretation:
The differetional equation reppresenting the
system is converted into a variational form,
which is approximated by the linear
combination of a finite set of trial functions.
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## 2.1 FEM Notation

Elements are defined by the following
properties:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Dimensionality
Nodal Points
Geometry
Degrees of Freedom
Nodal Forces
(Non homogeneous RHS of the DE)
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## 2.2 Element Types

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## Simple mechanical problem

Introduction of basic mechanical concepts
Introduction of governing equations
Mechanical concepts used in mathematical
derivation

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## 3.1 The Problem Setup

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Hookes Law:

( x ) E ( x )
where
du
( x)
dx

## Strain Energy Density:

1
( x) ( x)
2
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## 3.2 Strain Energy (contd)

Integrating over the Volume of the Bar:

1
1 L
1 L
U dV p dx ( EAu ' )u ' dx
2 V
2 0
2 0
1 L
U u ' EAu ' dx
2 0
All quantities may depend on x.

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## Due to applied external loads

2. The point end load P. This can be
included in q.

External Energy:
L

W qu dx
0

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## 3.4 The Total Potential

Energy Functional
The unknown strain Function u is found by
minimizing the TPE functional described below:

U W
or
[u ( x)] U [u ( x)] W [u ( x)]

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PART II
Mathematical Formulation

## 4.0 Historical Background

Hrennikof and McHenry formulated a 2D
structural problem as an assembly of bars
and beams
Courant used a variational formulation to
approximate PDEs by linear interpolation
over triangular elements
Turner wrote a seminal paper on how to
solve one and two dimensional problems
using structural elements or triangular and
rectangular elements of continuum.
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## The class of differential equations containing also the one

dimensional bar described above can be described as
follows :

L[u ]

d
du
( p( x) ) z ( x)u q( x),
dx
dx
u (0) u (1) 0.

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0 x 1

(1)

It follows that:

L[u ] q 0

## Multiplying this by a weight function v and integrating over

the whole domain we obtain:
1

0

(2)

## For the inner product to exist v must be square integrable

Therefore:

v L2 (0,1)
Equation (2) is called variational form
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## We can replace u and v in the formula with their

approximation function i.e.
N

u ( x ) U ( x ) c j j ( x )
j 1

v( x) V ( x) d j j ( x)
j 1

## The functions jandj are of our choice and are meant to be

suitable to the particular problem. For example the choice of
sine and cosine functions satisfy boundary conditions hence it
could be a good choice.
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## U is called trial function and V is called test function

As the differential operator L[u] is second order

u C 2 (0,1) U C 2 (0,1)

## Therefore we can see U as element of a finite-diemnsional

subspace of the infinite-dimensional function space C 2(0,1)

U S N (0 ,1) C 2 (0 ,1)

## The same way

V S N (0 ,1) L2 (0 ,1)
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## Replacing v and u with respectively V and U (2) becomes

(V , r ) 0,

V S N

r ( x) L[U ] q

r(x) is called the residual (as the name of the method suggests)
The vanishing inner product shows that the residual is orthogonal to
all functions V in the test space.

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## 4.3 The Residual

N

Substituting

V ( x) d j j ( x) into

(V , L[U ] q ) 0

j 1

## and exchanging summations and integrals we obtain

N

d
j 1

( j , L[U ] q ) 0

d j ,

j 1, 2 , ... , N

## As the inner product equation is satisfied for all choices of V in SN

the above equation has to be valid for all choices of dj which
implies that

( j , L[U ] q ) 0

j 1, 2 , ... , N

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## 4.4 Galerkins Method

One obvious choice of j would be taking it equal to j
This Choice leads to the Galerkins Method

( j , L[U ] q) 0

j 1, 2 , ... , N

## This form of the problem is called the strong form of the

problem. Because the so chosen test space has more
continuity than necessary.
Therefore it is worthwile for this and other reasons to convert
the problem into a more symmetrical form
This can be acheived by integrating by parts the initial strong
form of the problem.

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## Let us remember the initial form of the problem

L[u ]

d
du
( p ( x) ) z ( x)u q ( x ),
dx
dx

0 x 1

u (0) u (1) 0.
1

## (v, L[u ] q ) v [( pu ' )' zu q ] dx

0

Integrating by parts
1

## v [( pu ' )' zu q] dx (v' pu 'vzu vq) dx vpu'

0

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1
0

## The problem can be rewritten as

A(v , u ) (v , q ) 0
where
1

0

## The integration by parts eliminated the second derivatives

from the problem making it possible less continouity than the
previous form. This is why this form is called weak form of the
problem.

## A(v,u) is called Strain Energy.

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## 4.6 Solution Space

Now that derivative of v comes into the picture v needs to have more
continoutiy than those in L2. As we want to keep symmetry its
appropriate to choose functions that produce bounded values of
1

A(u , u ) ( p (u ' ) 2 zu 2 ) dx

## As p and z are necessarily smooth functions the following restriction is

sufficient
1
2
2
(
u
'
)

u
dx

Functions obeying this rule belong to the so called Sobolev Space and
they are denoted by H1. We require v and u to satisfy
boundary
1
conditions so we denote the resulting space as H 0
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## The solution now takes the form

A(v , u ) (v , q)

v H 01
Substituting the approximate solutions obtained earlier in the
more general WRM we obtain
U ,V S 0N H 01

A(V , U ) (V , q )

V S 0N

## More explicitly substituting U and V (remember we chose

them to have the same base) and swapping summations and
integrals we obtain
N

c A(
k 1

, k ) ( j , q) ,
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j 1, 2 , ... , N

## 4.8 Connection to the Physical System

Mechanical Formulation

Mathematical Formulation
1

1 L
U u ' EAu ' dx
2 0
L

## A(v , u ) (v' pu 'vzu ) dx

0

W qu dx

(v , q )

U W 0

A(v , u ) (v , q ) 0

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PART III
Finite Element Discretization

0 x 1

p, z 0
u (0) u (1) 0.

## As a first step let us divide the domain in N subintervals with

the following mesh

0 x0 x1 ... x N 1

## Each subinterval ( x j 1 , x j ), j 1 : N is called

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finite element.

## Next we select as a basis the so called hat function.

x x j 1
x x
j 1
j
x j 1 x

j ( x)

x j 1 x j

x j 1 x x j
x j x x j 1

otherwise

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## With the basis in the previous slide we construct our

approximate solution U(x)

## It is interesting to note that the coefficients correspond to the

values of U at the interior nodes
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## The problem at this point can be easily solved using the

previously derived Galerkins Method
N

c A(
k 1

, k ) ( j , q ) ,

j 1, 2 , ... , N

## A little more work is needed to convert this problem into

matrix notation

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## Restricting U over the typical finite element we can write

U ( x) c j 1 j 1 ( x) c j j ( x)

x [ x j 1 , x j ]

## Which in turn can be written as

U ( x) [c j 1

j 1 ( x)
c j 1
c j ]
[ j 1 ( x) j ( x)]

(
x
)
c
j
j

x [ x j 1 , x j ]

## in the same way

V ( x) [d j 1

j 1 ( x)
d j 1
d j ]
[ j 1 ( x) j ( x)] d

(
x
)
j

j
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x [ x j 1 , x j ]

## Taking the derivative

U ' ( x) [c j 1

1/ hj
c j 1
c j ]
[1 / h j 1 / h j ] c
1
/
h
j

j
h j x j x j 1

x [ x j 1 , x j ]

Derivative of V is analogus

V ' ( x) [d j 1

1/ hj
d j 1
d j ]
[1 / h j 1 / h j ]

1
/
h
d
j

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x [ x j 1 , x j ]

## The variational formula can be elementwise defined as

follows:
N

[ A (V ,U ) (V , q)
j 1

]0

A j (V ,U ) ASj (V ,U ) AMj (V ,U )
A (V ,U )
S
j

xj

x j 1

A (V ,U )
M
j

xj

x j 1

pV 'U ' dx
zVU dx

xj

(V , q ) Vq dx
x j 1

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## Substituting U,V,U and V into these formulae we obtain

A (V , U ) [d j 1
S
j

A (V , U ) [d j 1
S
j

d j ]

d j ]

xj

x j 1

p
x j1 h 2j
xj

1/ hj
p
[1 / h j 1 / h j ] dx

1/ hj

c j 1
c
j

c j 1
1 1 c j 1
1 1 dx c [d j 1 d j ]K j c

j
j

p
Kj
hj

1 1
1 1

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## The same way

A (V , U ) [d j 1
M
j

d j ]

j 1
x j1 z j [ j 1 j ] dx

xj

A (V ,U ) [d j 1
S
j

c j 1
d j ]M j

c
j

zh j 2 1
Mj
6 1 2

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c j 1
c
j

Integral

function q(x)
xj

(V , q) Vq dx
x j 1

## We can consider a linear interpolant of q(x) for simplicity.

q ( x) q j 1 j 1 ( x) q j j ( x),

x [ x j 1 , x j ]

## Substituting and evaluating the integral

j 1
q j 1
(V , q) j [d j 1 , d j ]
[ j 1 , j ]
dx [d j 1 , d j ] l j

x j 1
j
qj
h j 2q j 1 q j
lj
6 q j 1 2q j
xj

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4.6 Assembling

## Now the task is to assemble the elements into the whole

system in fact we have to sum each integral over all the
elements
For doing so we can extend the dimension of each element
matrix to N and then put the 2x2 matrix at the appropriate
position inside it
With all matrices and vectors having the same dimension the
summation looks like
N

j 1

c1
c
S
T
A j d Kc c 2
...

c
N 1

d1
d
d 2
...

d
N 1

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2 1

1 2 1

1 2 1
p
K

## ... ... ...

h

1 2 1

1 2

4.6 Assembling

Doing the same for the Mass Matrix and for the Load Vector

A
j 1

4 1
1 4 1

M
j

d Mc
T

zh
M
6

(V , q)
j 1

d Tl

h
l
6

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1
1

4 1
1

q0 4q1 q2
q1 4q2 q3

...

q N 2 4q N 1 q N

## Substituting this Matrix form of the expressions in

N

[ A (V ,U ) (V , q)
j 1

]0

## we obtain the following set of linear equations

d T [(K M )c l ] 0

## This has to be satisfied for all choices of d therefore

(K M )c l 0

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References
Carlos Felippa
M.Ch06.d/IFEM.Ch06.pdf

## Joseph E Flaherty,Amos Eaton Professor

http://www.cs.rpi.edu/~flaherje/FEM/fem1.ps

## Gilbert Strang, George J. Fix

An Analysis of the Finite Element Method
Prentice-Hall,1973