Formulation of Shell Elements Based on the Motion Formalism

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Bauchau, O.; Sonneville, V. Formulation of Shell Elements Based on the Motion Formalism. Appl. Mech. 2021, 2, 1009-1036.


This paper presents a finite element implementation of plates and shells for the analysis of flexible multibody systems. The developments are set within the framework of the motion formalism that (1) uses configuration and motion to describe the kinematics of flexible multibody systems, (2) couples their displacement and rotation components by recognizing that configuration and motion are members of the Special Euclidean group, and (3) resolves all tensors components in local frames. The formulation based on the motion formalism (1) provides a theoretical framework that streamlines the formulation of shell elements, (2) leads to governing equations of motion that are objective, intrinsic, and present a reduced order of nonlinearity, (3) improves the efficiency of the solution process, (4) circumvents the shear locking phenomenon that plagues shell formulations based on classical kinematic descriptions, and (5) prevents the occurrence of singularities in the treatment of finite rotation. Numerical examples are presented to illustrate the advantageous features of the proposed formulation.