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Finite Element Analysis of Delaminations

Acknowledgements

I wish to thank my supervisor, Professor R. Vescovini, for his support, helpfulness and

encouragement. His eort and the time He dedicated to this work were extremely precious

to me. I am grateful to Him for the possibility He gave me to work on my graduation thesis

under His supervision, and for the substantial contribution He gave to my technical skills

in the last years of my studies.

Special thanks are due to Professor T. Merlini, who transmitted to me his outstanding

passion for structural mechanics and taught me most of my knowledge of this subject. If it

was not for Him, probably, my thesis would concern a dierent matter.

I wish to thank also all of my friends and my university mates. Their moral support

and the wonderful moments spent together were really important to me.

Finally, I want to dedicate this work to my family, that gave me a fundamental support

and that has always believed in my possibilities.

i

Sommario

meccanismi di danno. Solitamente, il collasso di tali strutture avviene per carichi su-

periori a quelli per cui si ha l'inizio del danneggiamento. Alcuni meccanismi di danno,

come le delaminazioni, non sono inoltre rilevabili ispezionando la supercie della struttura.

Per questi motivi, le simulazioni numeriche per prevedere la propagazione del danneggia-

mento e il collasso delle strutture in materiale composito hanno assunto negli anni un

ruolo chiave nella progettazione strutturale. Spesso, la propagazione delle delaminazioni

é simulata per mezzo degli elementi coesivi. L'utilizzo di questi elementi puó portare a

problemi numerici se l'analisi é eseguita utilizzando i tradizionali algoritmi quasi-statici.

In questo lavoro, vengono sviluppate procedure quasi-statiche innovative per simulare la

propagazione di delaminazioni con gli elementi coesivi. Nella prima parte della tesi, viene

presentata una nuova classe di metodi arc-length, detti a vincolo ibrido, basati sull'idea di

combinare un'equazione di vincolo geometrica ed una dissipativa per mezzo di una somma

pesata. In questo ambito, vengono presentati tre algoritmi. Nella seconda parte del la-

voro, sono introdotti due nuovi metodi di continuazione per studiare il comportamento in

post-buckling di strutture in composito che contengono elementi coesivi. Il primo é una

versione modicata del metodo di continuazione di Riks basata su un'equazione di vincolo

che contiene solo gli spostamenti nodali ed é sviluppato per l'analisi di problemi dominati

da nonlinearitá geometriche. Il secondo é un nuovo metodo dipendente da un'equazione

di vincolo basata sull'energia dissipata, ed é sviluppato appositamente per problemi domi-

nati da nonlinearitá del materiale. Un'approfondita analisi delle caratteristiche dei diversi

metodi proposti viene inne presentata attraverso una serie di esempi numerici.

Parole chiave: elementi coesivi, delaminazioni, compositi, metodi arc-length, metodi di

continuazione, metodo degli elementi niti, post-buckling.

ii

Abstract

mechanisms. These structure can usually bear higher loads after damage initiation, and the

occurrence of some damage mechanisms, like delaminations, is not visible on the surface

of the structure. For these reasons, numerical simulations to predict damage propagation

and collapse in composite structures are assuming a key role in structural design. In recent

years, delamination growth is usually predicted by means of cohesive elements. This ap-

proach can lead to numerical problems if traditional quasi-static algorithms are adopted to

perform the analyses. In this work, innovative quasi-static procedures to simulate delami-

nation growth using cohesive elements are developed. In the rst part of the thesis, a new

class of arc-length techniques, the hybrid-constraint methods, is developed based on the

idea of combining geometric and dissipative constraint equations by means of a weighted

sum. Three algorithms belonging to this class are presented. In the second part of the

work, two novel continuation methods are introduced to study the post-buckling behaviour

of composite structures involving cohesive elements. The rst one is a modied version

of the popular Riks' continuation method based on a constraint equation concerning only

the nodal displacements, and is suited for problems dominated by geometric nonlinearities.

The second one is an innovative method relying on a constraint equation based on energy

dissipation, and is specically developed for problems dominated by material nonlinear-

ities. The performance of the presented methods demonstrated by means of numerical

tests.

Keywords: cohesive elements, delamination, composites, arc-length methods, continua-

tion methods, nite element method, post-buckling.

Contents

1 Introduction 1

1.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

1.2 Literature Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

1.3 Present Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

1.4 Outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

ments 7

2.1 Nonlinear Formulation of the Structural Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

2.2 Finite Element Discretization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

2.3 Cohesive Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

2.3.1 Interface Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

2.3.2 The Cohesive Constitutive Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

2.4 PyFEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

2.4.1 PyFEM.py . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

2.4.2 The Function assembleArray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

2.4.3 <ElementType>.py . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

2.4.4 shapeFunctions.py . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

2.4.5 The Function getStress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

2.4.6 <OutputName>.py . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

2.5 Implementation of Mixed-Mode Cohesive Elements in PyFEM . . . . . . . . 21

2.5.1 Comparison With Abaqus Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

3.1 Introduction to Arc-Length Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

3.2 Arc-Length Methods for Geometric Nonlinearities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

3.2.1 Riks' Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

3.2.2 Criseld's Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

3.2.3 Cylindrical Arc-Length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

3.2.4 Ramm's Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

3.3 Arc-Length Methods for Problems with Material Nonlinearities . . . . . . . 34

3.3.1 The Dissipated Energy Arc-Length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

3.4 Open Issues and Goals of the Present Investigation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

4.1 The Concept of Hybrid-Constraint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

4.1.1 Features of the Weighting Function γ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

4.2 Strategies for a Sound Computation of the Weighting function γ . . . . . . 38

iv Contents

4.3 Hybrid-Constraint Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

4.3.1 Hybrid-Riks' Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

4.3.2 Hybrid-Ramm's Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

4.3.3 Hybrid-Criseld's Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

4.4 Predictor Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

4.5 Corrector Iterations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

4.5.1 Root Selection Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

4.6 Step Size Adjustment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

5.1 Preliminary Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

5.2 Implementation of the Hybrid-Riks' Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

5.2.1 The Method WeightedRiks.run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

5.3 Implementation of the Hybrid-Ramm's Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

5.3.1 The Method WeightedHP.run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

5.4 Implementation of the Hybrid-Criseld's Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

5.4.1 The Method WeightedCrisfield.run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

5.4.2 Implementation of the Root Selection Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

5.4.3 The Function plotIter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

6.1 Goals of the Investigation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

6.2 Double Cantilever Beam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

6.3 Pull-Out Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

6.4 Bending of a L-shaped Specimen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

6.5 Delamination Buckling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

6.6 Variable Thickness DCB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

6.7 Perforated Cantilever Beam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90

6.8 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

7 Continuation Methods 99

7.1 Preliminaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99

7.2 Critical Points Computation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103

7.2.1 Critical Points Detection and Computation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105

7.3 Branch Switching Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

7.3.1 Normal Vector Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

7.3.2 Eigenvector Injection Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109

7.4 Modied Riks' Continuation Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110

7.5 Dissipated Energy Continuation Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112

8.1 Implementation of the Modied Riks' Continuation Method . . . . . . . . . 117

8.1.1 The Class RiksContinuation and its Methods . . . . . . . . . . . 117

8.1.2 The Class RiksBranchContinuation and its Methods . . . . . . 122

8.1.3 Limitations of the Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126

8.2 Implementation of the Dissipated Energy Continuation Method . . . . . . . 127

8.2.1 The Class DissEnContinuation and its Methods . . . . . . . . . 127

8.2.2 The Class DissEnBranchContinuation and its Methods . . . . 129

Contents v

9.1 Goals of the Investigation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133

9.2 Preliminaries on Finite Element Analyses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134

9.3 Validation of the Modied Riks' Continuation Method . . . . . . . . . . . . 134

9.4 Performance of the Continuation Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137

10.1 Future Developments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150

A.1 Implementation of Criseld's Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151

A.1.1 The Method CrisfieldSolver.run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151

vi Contents

List of Figures

2.1 Planar interface element between two three-dimensional nite elements (taken

from [10]) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

2.2 Single-mode constitutive equations: (a) mode II or mode III; (b) mode I

(taken from [11]) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

2.3 Mixed-mode 2D cohesive constitutive law (taken from [11]) . . . . . . . . . 15

2.4 Directory structure of the PyFEM code. The root directory is called PyFEM-

x.y, where x.y indicates the version number of the code (taken from [10]) . . 16

2.5 PyFEM architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

2.6 Architecture of cohesive element implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

2.7 Input and output variables of the method getStressCoh . . . . . . . . . . 22

2.8 Structure of the function getStressCoh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

2.9 Model for cohesive elements validation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

2.10 Comparison Abaqus-PyFEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

3.2 Graphical interpretation of Riks' method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

3.3 Graphical interpretation of Criseld's method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

3.4 Graphical interpretation of Ramm's method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

4.2 Inuence of γ on the domain circumference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

4.3 Graphical representation of the increment direction method . . . . . . . . . 47

4.4 Failure of the lowest residual method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

5.2 Structure of the solver WeightedRiks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

5.3 Procedure for the computation of γ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

5.4 Structure of the solver WeightedHP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

5.5 Structure of the solver WeightedCrisfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

5.6 Implementation of the root selection scheme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

5.7 Example of the le Step<n_step>.py . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

6.2 DCB: nite element mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

6.3 DCB: structural response and deformed congurations . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

6.4 DCB: results comparison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

6.5 DCB: results obtained with the HRi and the DE methods . . . . . . . . . . 71

6.6 Pull-out test: structural model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

6.7 Pull-out test: nite element mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

viii List of Figures

ments 10×) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

6.9 Pull-out test: results comparison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

6.10 Pull-out test: results obtained with the HC, the DE and the HRi methods . 74

6.11 L-shaped specimen: structural model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

6.12 L-shaped specimen: nite element mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

6.13 L-shaped specimen: structural response and deformed congurations . . . . 78

6.14 L-shaped specimen: results comparison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

6.15 L-shaped specimen: results obtained with the HRi and the DE methods . . 79

6.16 Delamination buckling: structural model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81

6.17 Delamination buckling: nite element mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81

6.18 Delamination buckling: structural response and deformed congurations . . 82

6.19 Delamination buckling: results comparison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

6.20 Delamination buckling: results obtained with the HRa and the DE methods 84

6.21 Variable thickness DCB: structural model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

6.22 Variable thickness DCB: nite element mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86

6.23 Variable thickness DCB: structural response and deformed congurations . 87

6.24 Variable thickness DCB: results comparison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

6.25 Variable thickness DCB: results obtained with the HC and the DE methods 88

6.26 Perforated cantilever beam: structural model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90

6.27 Perforated cantilever beam: nite element mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

6.28 Perforated cantilever beam: structural response and deformed congura-

tions (displacements 5×) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

6.29 Perforated cantilever beam: results comparison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93

6.30 Perforated cantilever beam: results obtained with the HC and the DE methods 94

6.31 Perforated cantilever beam: history of the values of γ . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

6.32 Perforated cantilever beam: root selection schemes in HC . . . . . . . . . . 96

6.33 Perforated cantilever beam: spurious branches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

7.2 Post-buckling analyses with traditional quasi-static techniques . . . . . . . . 100

7.3 Post-buckling analyses with continuation methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101

7.4 Force-control and displacement-control parametrizations near turning points 102

7.5 Arc-length parametrization near turning points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102

8.2 Structure of the function CriticalPointsComputation . . . . . . . . . 120

8.3 Architecture of RiksBranchContinuation.py . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123

8.4 Structure of the le DissEnContinuation.py . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131

9.2 Euler buckling: nite element mesh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135

9.3 Euler buckling: results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135

9.4 Truss-spring system: structural model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136

9.5 Truss-spring system: results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137

9.6 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: structural model . . . . . . . . . . . . 137

9.7 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: nite element mesh . . . . . . . . . . . 138

9.8 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: primary path . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139

9.9 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: rst bifurcation branch . . . . . . . . . 139

List of Figures ix

9.10 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: fourth bifurcation branch . . . . . . . 140

9.11 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: bifurcation diagram . . . . . . . . . . 140

9.12 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: deformed congurations along the

bifurcation branches (displacements 5×) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141

9.13 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: buckling mode 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . 142

9.14 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: bifurcation diagrams . . . . . . . . . . 142

9.15 Arch with embedded cohesive layer: structural model . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144

9.16 Arch with embedded cohesive layer: nite element mesh . . . . . . . . . . . 145

9.17 Arch with embedded cohesive layer: bifurcation diagram . . . . . . . . . . . 145

9.18 Arch with embedded cohesive layer: comparison between continuation method

and Riks' method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146

9.19 Arch with embedded cohesive layer: nal congurations on the primary path

and on the bifurcation branch (displacements 2×) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

9.20 Arch with embedded cohesive layer: bifurcation diagrams . . . . . . . . . . 147

x List of Figures

List of Tables

2.2 Shell element properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

6.2 DCB: properties of the cohesive constitutive law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

6.3 DCB: analysis parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

6.4 DCB: numerical performances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

6.5 Pull-out test: geometric features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

6.6 Pull-out test: properties of the cohesive constitutive law . . . . . . . . . . . 72

6.7 Pull-out test: analysis parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

6.8 Pull-out test: numerical performances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

6.9 L-shaped specimen: geometric features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

6.10 L-shaped specimen: properties of the cohesive constitutive law . . . . . . . . 76

6.11 L-shaped specimen: properties of the cohesive elements A and B . . . . . . 77

6.12 L-shaped specimen: analysis parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

6.13 L-shaped specimen: numerical performances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

6.14 Delamination buckling: geometric features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81

6.15 Delamination buckling: properties of the cohesive constitutive law . . . . . . 81

6.16 Delamination buckling: analysis parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

6.17 Delamination buckling: numerical performances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

6.18 Variable thickness DCB: geometric features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

6.19 Variable thickness DCB: properties of the cohesive constitutive law . . . . . 85

6.20 Variable thickness DCB: analysis parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86

6.21 Variable thickness DCB: numerical performances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

6.22 Perforated cantilever beam: geometric features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90

6.23 Perforated cantilever beam: properties of the cohesive constitutive law . . . 90

6.24 Perforated cantilever beam: analysis parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

6.25 Perforated cantilever beam: numerical performances . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

9.2 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: geometric features . . . . . . . . . . . 138

9.3 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: properties of the cohesive constitutive

law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138

9.4 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: analysis parameters . . . . . . . . . . 138

9.5 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: analysis results . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142

xii List of Tables

9.6 Beam with embedded cohesive layer: values of λ at critical points . . . . . . 143

9.7 Arch with embedded cohesive layer: geometric features . . . . . . . . . . . . 144

9.8 Arch with embedded cohesive layer: properties of the cohesive constitutive

law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145

9.9 Arch with embedded cohesive layer: analysis parameters . . . . . . . . . . . 145

9.10 Arch with embedded cohesive layer: analysis results . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

9.11 Arch with embedded cohesive layer: values of λ at critical points . . . . . . 148

Chapter 1

Introduction

1.1 Overview

In recent years, aircraft manufacturers are showing an increasing interest in the use of

composite structures. The introduction of composites has the potential to provide lighter

structures thanks to their high stiness to weight ratio, attractive fatigue properties and

the possibility to reduce the number of joints. Furthermore, composite structures are not

subject to corrosion and enable to create materials with directional properties, character-

ized by optimized stacking sequences. Nevertheless, composite materials raise also some

peculiar aspects, one of the most relevant being the fact that composite materials can ex-

hibit multiple damage mechanisms involving dierent scale levels. The initiation of damage

does not imply that the material cannot bear additional load, as the structure can usually

carry higher loads before the complete failure. The onset of a damage mechanism can

lead to the progressive development of dierent ones before reaching collapse. As a result,

the prediction of damage phenomena is an essential task to determine the collapse load.

Furthermore, failure mechanisms such as delaminations occur between layers, and are not

visible on the laminate surface.

For these reasons, the nite element simulations of the damage process of composite struc-

tures are becoming increasingly important in the aerospace industry.

Since the failure of composite materials implies a reduction of the mechanical properties of

the material, all of these simulations involve nonlinear analyses characterized by material

nonlinearities. Furthermore, the directionality of the structural properties implies that all

the potential load paths and all the load conditions that may lead to critical states must

be considered, and a high number of simulations is likely to be required. To perform these

analyses, reliable numerical models and robust and ecient solvers are needed.

In the present thesis work, the numerical prediction of delaminations is of primary concern.

In particular, a class of arc-length procedures and two continuation methods are developed

for delamination problems involving cohesive elements.

Delamination growth is usually accompanied by a nonlinear strain-softening behaviour,

which is characterized by a reduction of structural resistance at increasing strain.

Modern numerical models adopted in delamination problems, like the cohesive elements,

can lead to numerical diculties that cause convergence problems when ordinary solution

procedures are used. It follows that signicant benets can be achieved developing specic

solution techniques for this kind of simulations.

2 Introduction

Since the introduction of the nite element method (FEM) in the late fties [43], a wide

range of numerical methods has been adopted to perform nonlinear FE analyses. In that

period, aerostructures were principally made of aluminium alloys, and nonlinear analyses

were substantially restricted to geometric nonlinearities and buckling. This kind of analysis

was performed by means of strategies based on the well-known Newton-Raphson method

[30, 33], a standard approach to the solution of nonlinear problems. Despite providing a

second order convergence, this method requires the assembly of the Jacobian matrix at

each iteration, resulting in a relevant waste of time when large problems are considered.

The need for increasingly complex models and the limited computational resources available

at that time, encouraged the diusion of the modied Newton-Raphson method and of

the quasi-Newton methods [5]. These procedures have a lower computational cost, as a

simplied Jacobian matrix is assembled, but provide a lower convergence rate.

The Newton-like methods are not suitable to predict the nonlinear response of structures

showing snaps, a phenomenon often encountered in the post-buckling response of thin

walled structures, due to the arising of singularities in the Jacobian matrix.

The increasing interest in the post-buckling behaviour of such structures promoted the de-

velopment of numerical methods able to handle snaps. A solution to this problem was the

adoption of a procedure able to switch from the force-control to the displacement-control

approach in the neighbourhood of limit points [39]. Although this strategy is eective to

deal with snap-through behaviours, it fails in presence of snap-backs.

In the early seventies, a fundamental advance was provided by the introduction of the

path-following methods, like the arc-length techniques and the continuation methods. The

arc-length methods were introduced by Riks [35] and Wempner [48]. In these procedures,

the load is considered an unknown quantity, which adds one more degree of freedom to the

structural problem. The introduction of an additional degree of freedom requires to add

a scalar constraint to the equilibrium equations. This strategy enables both the load and

the displacements to increase or decrease, and removes the singularities occurring in the

Jacobian matrix at turning points. Major developments in the arc-length methods came

in the early eighties from Criseld [13, 14, 22] and Ramm [32]. Arc-length techniques are

used not only in nite element analyses, but they have been applied also to semi-analytical

procedures [45]. A review of the arc-length methods for geometrically nonlinear problems

available up to the end of the nineties is provided in [29, 37].

All these arc-length strategies are well suited to study geometrically nonlinear elastic prob-

lems, even when complex behaviours, like snap-backs, are present. Nevertheless, they

proved to be unsuitable when material nonlinearities related to strain-softening behaviour

were present [29].

With the introduction of composites in aerostructures, analyses concerning the prediction

of damage initiation, damage accumulation and structural collapse, which are characterized

by material nonlinearities, assumed an increasing relevance. The rst FE approaches to

predict damage in composite structures were the computational fracture mechanics, which

led to the study of delaminations by means of the virtual crack closure technique (VCCT)

[25, 38], and the progressive failure analysis [42]. Later on, the development of continuum

damage mechanics [24] introduced the concept of damage model to provide the degradation

of the mechanical properties of the material. In recent years, cohesive elements have been

successfully applied to delamination problems [1, 4, 11, 17, 23].

The use of cohesive elements can induce numerical problems in the quasi-static solution

Introduction 3

procedure. During the damage process, the stiness matrix can lose its positive-denitness

and a sudden loss of stiness can be observed. As a consequence, complex structural

behaviours such as sharp snap-backs may arise. These phenomena cause the inadequacy

of those algorithms that involve the inversion of the stiness matrix, such as the Newton-

like and the arc-length methods, which usually result unsuitable to perform this kind of

simulations [18, 26].

For these reasons, analyses involving cohesive elements are usually performed adopting

direct integration methods. These procedures are not subject to the above mentioned nu-

merical issues as they do not require the inversion of the stiness matrix.

The use of direct integration methods turns delamination analyses into dynamic problems.

However, in real structures, delamination growth is usually an unstable phenomenon char-

acterized by a dynamic behaviour. As a consequence, the dynamic solution of delamination

problems is a sound approach.

Direct integration methods can be divided into explicit and implicit ones. Explicit strate-

gies are always able to provide a correct solution but, to avoid divergence, they require a

small step size [5], which leads to long simulations. Implicit solvers provide stable solutions

also with larger time steps, but, in case of unstable delamination growth, they often fail to

converge or provide oscillating solutions depending on the mesh size and on the cohesive

law parameters. An example of application of a combined quasi-static and implicit method

is presented in [8, 9].

To improve convergence and provide smoother solutions in the implicit methods, a suc-

cessful strategy was the introduction of the viscous regularization [12, 21], based on the

introduction of a ctitious viscosity in the cohesive constitutive law. This approach is ef-

fective to solve convergence diculties, but the solution is aected by the unrealistic eects

of viscosity.

Regarding quasi-static techniques, direct integration methods are characterized by a higher

computational cost and are not able to trace the virtual unloading branches generated by

snap-backs.

The development of eective quasi-static techniques, like the arc-length methods, could

lead to a reduction of the computational cost with respect to dynamic solvers, and would

enable to trace the complete quasi-static equilibrium path, providing a deeper insight into

the structural behaviour.

Starting from the early 2000s, a renewed interest in the application of quasi-static proce-

dures to delamination analyses is found in literature, and a consistent number of innovative

techniques is introduced.

Since fracture propagation is characterized by the localization of strains in a restricted area

surrounding the crack tip, relevant benets are obtained with the introduction of so called

local arc-lengths [2, 28]. The idea behind these methods is to include in the constraint

equation only the degrees of freedom of the nodes located in the neighbourhood of the crack

tip. This approach implies that the user should know in advance where the delamination

propagation is going to start.

With respect to classic quasi-static techniques, the modern arc-length methods are de-

veloped for specic problems and often feature cumbersome and articulated procedures.

In [20, 44] an arc-length method adopting a constraint equation based on the energy re-

lease rate is presented. This approach can robustly trace complex structural responses,

but requires a double solution strategy to trace both elastic and dissipative equilibrium

branches. In [18] an arc-length algorithm based on a constraint that xes the increment of

4 Introduction

the crack length is introduced. Despite being eective, this method is based on a complex

and cumbersome procedure.

In the late seventies, continuation methods start being applied to the study of the post-

buckling behaviour [36]. These path-following techniques were originally introduced by

Davidenko [15, 16] in 1953. They rely on the idea of transforming a nonlinear system of

equations into a dierential one. This system is parametrized with respect to a solution

parameter, and is solved as an initial value problem [3, 34, 40]. The application of contin-

uation methods to nonlinear structural analyses enables to trace the primary equilibrium

path of the structure, also in presence of snaps [36], to detect and compute the critical

points [7, 36, 41] and to trace the bifurcation branches [27, 47]. As a result, continuation

methods enable to trace the complete bifurcation diagram of the structure, providing a

powerful approach to perform post-buckling analyses. While a consistent number of ex-

amples concerning the use of continuation methods to study the post-buckling behaviour

of elastic structures can be found in literature, very few applications of these techniques to

delaminating structures exist. These applications either adopt already existing strategies,

or provide new procedures that are modied versions of the already existing ones [19].

static procedures, simple strategies, based on global quantities and that do not require the

selection of a limited group of DOFs or the implementation of complex algorithms, must

be sought.

Goal of the present thesis is the development of robust and ecient quasi-static numerical

methods for the solution of delamination problems involving cohesive elements. These pro-

cedures are protable alternatives to the use of implicit and explicit dynamic solvers, and

provide relevant advantages with respect to the adoption of already existing quasi-static

approaches. The investigation is here focused on arc-length techniques and continuation

methods.

In the rst part of the work, a new class of arc-length procedures is developed for problems

involving strain-softening behaviours and cohesive elements. These methods are called

hybrid-constraint methods and rely on the idea of combining a geometric constraint equa-

tion and a dissipative one by means of a weighted sum. The weighted sum is realized

by means of a function that is updated during the solution procedure on the basis of the

damage state of the structure.

Adopting dierent geometric constraint equations, three algorithms belonging to the family

of hybrid-constraint methods are presented.

An innovative root selection scheme is proposed for the arc-length strategies relying on a

quadratic constraint equation. This strategy can be adopted only when energy dissipation

is occurring, and enables to follow always the dissipative solution. This strategy is fast and

prevents convergence on elastic unloading solutions. In addition, an automatic procedure

is provided to switch the root selection scheme in the hybrid-constraint methods.

responses and complex structural behaviours, representing general purpose solution proce-

dures for delamination problems.

Introduction 5

A second part of the work is focused on continuation methods and two novel strategies are

developed. Firstly, a modied version of the Riks' continuation method is presented. As

compared to the original Riks' method [36], the terms of the constraint equation related

to the load factor are removed. This strategy provides increased robustness in the compu-

tation of the vector tangent to the equilibrium path, hence preventing the doubling back

of the solution. The modied Riks' continuation method is not suitable for the application

to problems involving strain-softening responses, however, if delamination propagation is

primarily dominated by buckling or geometric nonlinearities, it provides satisfactory per-

formance.

To the best of the author's knowledge, no continuation methods specically developed for

problems involving strain-softening responses can be found in literature. In this thesis,

a continuation method for this kind of problems is introduced. This procedure is here

referred to as the dissipated energy continuation method, and is based on the dissipated

energy constraint introduced in [20, 44]. Since the dissipated energy constraint works only

if a certain amount of energy is being dissipated, an additional solution strategy, based on

the modied Riks' continuation method, is used in the procedure to perform the contin-

uation process on elastic branches. This formulation can accurately trace the equilibrium

paths and shows excellent robustness on bifurcation branches dominated by dissipative

phenomena.

1.4 Outline

The thesis is structured as follow:

total Lagrangian formulation is derived and the equilibrium equations are approxi-

mated by means of the nite element method. Then, the cohesive constitutive law for

single-mode and mixed-mode fractures is illustrated. Finally, the nite element code

PyFEM is described and the implementation of the cohesive elements in PyFEM is

illustrated.

introduction, typical procedures for problems involving geometric nonlinearities are

described. Then, the issues related to the presence of cohesive elements are discussed,

and an arc-length method present in literature and developed to deal with strain-

softening materials is introduced. Finally, some guidelines for the development of

numerical methods for analyses involving cohesive elements are outlined.

presented. These methods are specically developed to deal with cohesive elements.

The features of the weighting function adopted in the hybrid-constraint formulation

are described and some expressions of such function are proposed. Three algorithms

belonging to the new family of methods are presented. Finally, a detailed description

of the predictor and the corrector phases and of the root selection schemes is given,

and the strategy adopted to update the step size is introduced.

Chapter 5. The les, the classes and the methods related to these procedures are

discussed in details. In addition, an automatic procedure to switch the root selection

scheme in hybrid-constraint methods relying on a quadratic constraint is presented.

6 Introduction

by means of six numerical examples. The performance of the new procedures are

compared to those of already existing arc-length strategies.

for the computation of critical points and the branch switching methods adopted in

this work are introduced. Then, a modied version of the Riks' continuation method

and a new procedure for problems involving energy dissipation are presented.

cussed. An insight is provided into the les, the classes and the methods constituting

the algorithms.

• The performance of the continuation methods presented in this work are compared

in Chapter 9 by means of two numerical tests.

• Chapter 10 reports the concluding remarks and some future developments of the

methods presented in this investigation.

The class and the methods related to this algorithm are presented.

Chapter 2

Element Analysis and Cohesive

Elements

Cohesive elements are a common numerical technique to study crack propagations, delam-

inations and decohesions in structural problems. These nite elements are characterized

by a constitutive law which establishes an equation between tractions and displacements

on the two parts of a crack.

In this chapter, an introduction to nonlinear nite element analysis and to cohesive ele-

ments is given. Basic concepts concerning nonlinear structural mechanics are presented

and the nonlinear nite element discretization is introduced. Then, cohesive elements

are presented and the mixed-mode cohesive constitutive law is introduced. Finally, an

overview of the open source nite element code PyFEM is given and the implementation

of the mixed-mode cohesive constitutive law in PyFEM is discussed.

The nonlinear equilibrium equations of a structure at the time t + ∆t can be written as:

Z Z Z

(δt+∆t T t+∆t

) σ dV = T

δu t dS + ρ0 δuT g dV (2.1)

V S V

where t+∆t is the Green-Lagrange strain tensor at the time t + ∆t, σ t+∆t is the second

Piola-Kirchho stress tensor at the time t + ∆t, u represents the displacement vector, t is

the vector of external applied loads per unit surface, V is the body volume, S is the body

surface, ρ0 is the material density, g is the vector dening directions and intensities of

the forces per unit volume, and the symbol δ indicates a virtual variation of the quantity

associated with it. Eq. (2.1) represents the nonlinear form of the Principle of Virtual

Works (PVW).

The numerical solution of Eq. (2.1) is often sought using numerical procedures such as

the nite element method, which involve the application of Newton-like methods. These

strategies imply a linearisation of Eq. (2.1) in the neighbourhood of a reference congura-

tion, which is usually the equilibrium conguration assumed by the structure at the time

t.

In presence of geometric nonlinearities, an incremental decomposition of and σ is neces-

8 Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements

σ t+∆t = σ t + ∆σ (2.2)

t+∆t t t

= + ∆ = + ∆e + ∆η (2.3)

where ∆e contains the terms linear in the displacement increment and ∆η contains the

terms that are nonlinear in the displacement increment.

Substituting Eq. (2.3) in Eq. (2.1) and noting that δt+∆t = δ∆ and ∆σ = D∆,

where D is the material elasticity matrix, the following linearised equilibrium equations

are obtained:

Z Z Z Z

δ∆eT D∆e dV + δ∆eT D∆η dV + δ∆η T D∆e dV + δ∆η T D∆η dV

VZ ZV Z V Z V

(2.4)

T t T T T t

+ δ∆η σ dV = δu t dS + ρ0 δu g dV − δ∆e σ dV

V S V V

The higher-order terms in Eq. (2.4) are neglected in the linearisation process, obtaining:

Z Z

T

δ∆e D∆e dV + δ∆η T σ t dV =

ZV Z V Z (2.5)

T

δu t dS + ρ0 δuT g dV − δ∆eT σ t dV

S V V

The incremental approach derived in Eq. (2.5) is known as total Lagrangian update for-

mulation.

In absence of geometric nonlinearities ∆ = ∆e. In addition, material nonlinearities

make the elasticity matrix D dependent on strains, so that D = D(). In this case

∆σ = D()∆ + dD d ∆, and the total Lagrangian equations become:

t

Z Z

T dD t

δ∆e D∆e dV + δ∆eT ∆e dV =

d

ZV Z V Z (2.6)

δuT t dS + ρ0 δuT g dV − δ∆eT σ t dV

S V V

The expression of Eq. (2.6) is quadratic in terms of displacements, and is suitable to derive

linear equations. The discretization of the variational principle of Eq. (2.6) is discussed in

the next section.

The nite element method relies on the idea of satisfying equilibrium at a nite number of

points of the structural domain [5, 10], assuming that the solution in all the other points

of the domain varies according to the shape functions.

The displacement eld u is approximated as follow:

u = Na (2.7)

Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements 9

where a is the vector of nodal displacements, i.e. the vector of the unknowns, and N is

the matrix containing the shape functions.

Introducing a matrix D containing the appropriate derivatives with respect to the coordi-

nates (x, y, z) the expression of the linear strain eld is derived as:

e = DNa = BL a (2.8)

Z

KL = BTL DBL dV (2.9)

ZV

KN L = BTN L T BN L dV (2.10)

V

where KL and KN L are the linear and nonlinear terms of the tangent stiness matrix

respectively, BN L is a matrix containing the variations of the terms in BL , and T represents

the second Piola-Kirchho tensor written in matrix form. The expression of T for a two-

dimensional conguration is:

σxx σxy 0 0

σxy σyy 0 0

T =

0

(2.11)

0 σxx σxy

0 0 σxy σyy

The terms on the right hand side of Eq. (2.5) become the vector of nodal external forces

t+∆t

fext and the vector of internal forces fint

t according to:

Z Z

t+∆t

fext = NT t dS + ρ0 NT g dV (2.12)

ZS V

t

fint = BTL σ t dV (2.13)

V

t+∆t

δ∆aT K∆a = δ∆aT (fext t

− fint ) (2.14)

K = (KL + KN L ) (2.15)

Thanks to the arbitrariness of the virtual displacements δ∆a, the linearised structural

problem can be expressed as:

t+∆t

K∆a = fext t

− fint (2.16)

The unknown ∆a can be computed by inverting the stiness matrix, so that the vector

at+∆t is obtained.

In presence of material nonlinearities, the expression of Eq. (2.14) still holds, but the

10 Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements

Z

dD t

KN L = BTL BL dV (2.17)

V d

The solution of the nonlinear structural problem has thus been derived with a total La-

grangian formulation for problems with geometric nonlinearities or material nonlinearities.

A geometrically nonlinear material model, the cohesive constitutive law, is discussed in the

next section.

Cohesive elements are a particular type of nite element widely used to simulate decohe-

sions, delaminations and crack propagation in quasi-brittle materials. Cohesive elements

are created associating interface elements with a cohesive constitutive law.

Interface elements are commonly used to model fracture process zones in conjunction with

a cohesive constitutive law, when the dimension of the fracture process zone is not small

compared with the structural dimensions. Interface elements must be introduced a priori

in the nite element mesh between two continuum elements, as shown in Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1: Planar interface element between two three-dimensional nite elements (taken

from [10])

The subscripts n, s, t in Figure 2.1 stand for the normal and the two shear modes respec-

tively. Interface elements consist of two layers of coincident nodes, which form the two sides

of the element, and the governing kinematic quantities are a set of mutually orthogonal,

relative displacements, δ3 , δ1 and δ2 for the normal and the two shear modes respectively.

The relative displacements can be collected in a relative displacement vector δ , and can

be related to the displacements at the upper (+) and the lower sides (−) of the interface

by means of a vector u and a matrix L:

Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements 11

−1 1 0 0 0 0

L = 0 0 −1 1 0 0 (2.19)

0 0 0 0 −1 1

so that,

δ3

δ = δ1 = Lu (2.20)

δ2

Introducing the nite element discretization in Eq. (2.20), the vector δ can be written as

a function of nodal displacements:

δ = LNa = Bd a (2.21)

According to Eq. (2.21), the vector δ can be introduced in Eq. (2.5) as the strain vector

for the interface element, and its elemental stiness matrix can be computed according to:

Z

dDd (δ) t

K= T

Bd Dd (δ) + δ Bd dS (2.22)

Sd dδ

where Dd is the elastic matrix of the interface element and Sd is the surface of the element.

Usually interface elements are used in conjunction with a cohesive constitutive law, hence

resulting in cohesive elements. Cohesive elements are often introduced in the nite element

mesh as layer along which the crack propagates, thus giving life to a so called cohesive zone.

In the present work a bilinear cohesive model is considered.

Cohesive constitutive laws are endowed with a damaging mechanism which degradates the

mechanical properties of the material if the nodal relative displacements of the related

interface element exceed a prescribed value: such a behaviour is usually referred to as

strain-softening behaviour and reects the way the material loses its load-carrying capacity.

Hereafter the bilinear cohesive model for a single-mode crack is introduced. Then, this

model is extended to mixed-mode fractures.

The single-mode bilinear cohesive constitutive law is a triangular law made up of an as-

cending linear part followed by a descending linear part, as shown in Figure 2.2.

The slope of the rst part is equal to the penalty stiness Kd . The descending part starts

when the traction τi equals a critical value that is referred to as N for the normal mode

and T and S for the two shear modes. The area under the curve is equal to the fracture

toughness GiC for the corresponding mode. The parameters, Kd , GiC and the tensile or

shear strengths N, T and S, completely dene the material properties.

Until τ has not reached N,T or S, the material behaves as a linear elastic material with

modulus equal to Kd (point 1 in Figure 2.2). When τ reaches N,T or S (point 2 in Figure

2.2) and the relative displacement equals the value for delamination onset, δ30 = N/K ,

δ10 = T /K or δ20 = S/K , the mechanical properties start degradating. As a result, Kd is

progressively reduce by means of a damage variable d as the relative displacement increases

(point 3 in Figure 2.2), so that:

τi = (1 − di )Kd δi (2.23)

12 Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements

Figure 2.2: Single-mode constitutive equations: (a) mode II or mode III; (b) mode I (taken

from [11])

The damage variable di can assume only values in the interval [0, 1], and is dened as:

di = (2.24)

δimax (δif − δi0 )

where, δimax = max{δimax , |δi |} for i = 1, 2, and δ3max = max{δ3max , δ3 } for δ3 > 0, while

δ3f = 2GIC /N , δ1f = 2GIIC /T and δ2f = 2GIIIC /S .

When δi ≥ δif the cohesive element is fully damaged, which means that its modulus is null,

an energy equal to the fracture toughness has been dissipated and the value of the damage

variable equals 1 (points 4 and 5 in Figure 2.2).

When a partially damaged element is unloaded, the material shows a linear elastic be-

haviour, and unloading occurs along a line of slope (1 − d)Kd that passes through the

origin (from point 0 to point 3 in Figure 2.2).

The single-mode cohesive constitutive law is described as:

0

Kd δi , δi ≤ δi

τi = (1 − di )Kd δi , δi0 ≤ δi ≤ δif (2.25)

0, δi > δif

τ3 = Kd δ3 , δ3 ≤ 0 (2.26)

The condition of Eq. (2.26) ensures that when the cohesive element is compressed it is

provided with a high stiness and a linear elastic behaviour.

In common applications of composite materials, delamination growth is likely to occur

under mixed-mode loading. This fact requires that a general formulation for cohesive ele-

ments dealing with mixed-mode delamination onset and propagation is introduced.

Interactions between interlaminar stress components are very important to predict delam-

inations onset under mixed-mode loading conditions, because the damage onset and the

corresponding softening behaviour may occur before any of the traction components in-

Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements 13

volved reach their respective allowables. In this section, the mixed-mode cohesive model

implemented in the FEA code Abaqus is presented. Further details can be found in [11].

Mixed-mode fractures involve all the three nodal relative displacements. A total mixed-

mode relative displacement δm is then introduced as:

q q

δm = δ12 + δ22 + hδ3 i2 = δshear

2 + hδ3 i2 (2.27)

where δshear is the norm of the vector dening the tangential relative displacements of the

element.

Adopting the same penalty stiness in modes I, II and III, the tractions before softening

onset are:

τi = Kd δi , i = 1, 2, 3 (2.28)

The mode mixity ratio β , for an opening displacement δ3 greater than zero, is dened as:

δshear

β= (2.29)

δ3

Assuming that compressive normal tractions cannot induce delaminations, the onset of

damage can be predicted using a quadratic failure criterion:

2 2 2

hτ3 i τ1 τ2

+ + =1 (2.30)

N T S

Substituting Eqs. (2.27)-(2.29) and the expressions of δi0 introduced before, into Eq. (2.30),

and solving for δm , the mixed-mode relative displacement corresponding to the onset of

softening, δm

0 , is obtained:

( q 2

δ30 δ10 (δ0 )1+β

2 +(βδ 0 )2 , δ3 > 0

0

δm = 1 3 (2.31)

0

δshear , δ3 ≤ 0

that proposed by Benzeggagh and Kenane (B-K criterion):

η

Gshear

GIC + (GIIC − GIC ) = GC , with GT = GI + Gshear (2.32)

GT

where,

3f 30

Kd δm δm

GI = (2.33)

2

shear f shear 0

Kd δm δm

Gshear = (2.34)

2

The parameters GIC and GIIC , and η of Eq. (2.32) are obtained experimentally [6, 11].

3f 3 0 , δ shear f and δ shear 0 are obtained from Eqs. (2.27) and

Once the expressions of δm , δm m m

(2.29), they can be substituted into the expressions of GI and GII , and the B-K criterion

can be used to get the mixed-mode relative displacements corresponding to total decohesion

14 Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements

f

δm :

η

2 0 GIC + (GIIC − GIC ) β 2 2

, δ3 > 0

K δ 1+β

f

δm = qd m (2.35)

(δ f )2 + (δ f )2 , δ ≤ 0

1 2 3

The constitutive equation for mixed-mode loading is dened by the penalty parameter

Kd , the damage variable d, and the mixed-mode relative displacements corresponding to

0 and δ f respectively, as:

damage initiation and total decohesion, δm m

τs = Dsr δr (2.36)

According to the mixed-mode cohesive constitutive law, the components of Dd assume the

expression reported in Eq. (2.37).

δ sr Kd max 6 δ 0

, δm m

h−δ3 i 0 < δ max < δ f (2.37)

Dsr = δ sr 1 − d Kd + dKd −δ3 δ s3 , δm m m

δ δ h−δ3 i K

, max > δ f

δm

s3 3r −δ3 d m

max = max δ max , δ

m , and the damage variable d is

m

dened as:

f max − δ 0 )

δm (δm

d= m

, d ∈ [0, 1] (2.38)

max (δ f − δ 0 )

δm m m

Both the mixed-mode cohesive constitutive law presented above and the bi-linear single-

mode constitutive law discussed before, are single-variable responses. The relative dis-

placements for initiation and ultimate failure in the mixed-mode cohesive constitutive law

are functions of the mode mixity β , the material properties, and the penalty stiness Kd .

The mixed-mode cohesive constitutive law can be illustrated in a single three-dimensional

map by representing mode I and a shear mode as shown in Figure 2.3.

When the nonlinear analysis is performed by means of a numerical method involving lin-

earisation, such as the Newton's method, and using a total Lagrangian formulation, also

the term dDdδ δ must be considered to compute the nonlinear part (see Eq. (2.17)) of the

d t

tangent stiness matrix. After some mathematical steps, this nonlinear term becomes:

0 δf

K d δm h−δ3 i hδ3 iδ3 (δ1 )2

m

− max 2 f 0 1 − −δ3 + 0

dDd t (δm ) (δm −δm ) δm δm

δ = 0 δf

dδ K d δm m hδ3 i )2

(δ1

0 − max 2 f 0 ) δm δ 3 + δm

(δm ) (δm −δm

(2.39)

The expression in Eq. (2.39) is valid only when the element is damaging (between points

2 and 4 in Figure 2.2), while in all the other cases the tangent modular matrix is null. The

Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements 15

dDd t

values assumed by the term dδ δ are resumed as:

" #

0 0 max ≤ δ 0 ∨ δ max ≥ δ f ∨ δ < δ max

, δm m m m m m

0 0

dDd t

δ =

dδ h−δ3 i hδ3 iδ3 (δ1 )2

H 1 − −δ3 δm + δm 0

0 < δ max < δ f

, δm m m

2

H hδδ 3 i δ3 + (δδ1 )

0 m m

(2.40)

where,

0 δf

Kd δm m

H=− (2.41)

max )2 (δ f − δ 0 )

(δm m m

The mixed-mode cohesive constitutive law is completely derived and the terms Dd and

dDd t

dδ δ , constituting the tangent modular matrix of the cohesive element, and the matrix

Bd of the interface element can be introduced in Eq. (2.6).

2.4 PyFEM

The code used to perform the numerical examples presented in this work is PyFEM.

PyFEM is a nite element code available for a free download from the website http://

www.wiley.com/go/deborst, and is described in [10]. PyFEM is an open source code

intended for educational and scientic use. It does not contain comprehensive libraries,

e.g. of element formulations, but it is designed so that it is relatively easy to add other

solvers, elements, and material models. PyFEM is based on Python, an object-oriented,

interpreted, and interactive programming language. Many Python packages dedicated

16 Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements

Figure 2.4: Directory structure of the PyFEM code. The root directory is called PyFEM-

x.y, where x.y indicates the version number of the code (taken from [10])

towards numerical simulations are available. PyFEM makes use of the packages NumPy,

SciPy and Matplotlib. The NumPy package contains array objects and linear algebra

operations. The SciPy package is an extension to NumPy, and contains additional linear

algebra tools, e.g. solvers and sparse arrays. The Matplotlib package contains tools to

creates graphs and plots.

The program is based on a main le, PyFEM.py, which works like a stand-alone program

that can carry out a variety of simulations with dierent element formulations and material

models.

A diagram representing the content of the root directory of PyFEM is shown in Figure 2.4.

The PyFEM directory contains the following les and directories:

• PyFEM.py is the main program. Executing this program requires an input le with

the extension .pro.

• The directory doc contains a short user manual of the code and installation notes.

• The directory examples contains small example programs and input les, which are

stored in subdirectories ch01, ch02, etc., which refer to the corresponding chapters

of [10] for easy reference.

• The nite element tools are stored in the directory pyfem. This directory consists

of six subdirectories, including elements, which contains element implementations,

solvers, which contains the solvers and materials, which contains the material

formulations. The other three directories, io, fem and util, contain input parsers,

output writers and various nite element utility functions, such as a shape function

utility.

Regarding the element library of PyFEM, the following nite elements are available:

Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements 17

Element is present. The aim of this class is to initialize the element and some quantities

into which the element data are stored.

In PyFEM the following solvers are available:

lems;

pation occurs (see Section 3.3.1 and [20, 44]);

present. The aim of this class is to initialize the solver that is used in the simulation and

to run it when requested.

Concerning the material library, the following materials are available in PyFEM:

[10].

of normal stress and three components of shear stress to the corresponding strains;

for mode I fractures;

one described above).

18 Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements

In the directory materials, two additional scripts are present. The rst one is

BaseMaterial.py, which contains a class called BaseMaterial that reads and stores

the material properties. The second one is

MaterialManager.py, which contains a class called MaterialManager that loads and

initializes the requested material model.

detailed description of the blocks reported in Figure 2.5 is reported below.

2.4.1 PyFEM.py

PyFEM simulations are started launching the script PyFEM.py followed by the name of

the .pro input le to analyse. PyFEM.py reads the input le by means of the function

InputReader and stores the information contained in the input le into two instances:

props and globdat. The instance props is used to store the material parameters, while

globdat is a global database that stores the information regarding the elements, such as

node coordinates, element connections, degrees of freedom, results and global parameters.

After creating these two instances, PyFEM.py initializes the solver and the outputs. The

analysis is started by means of a while loop, whose end is dened by the value of the

boolean variable globdat.active.

In every loop cycle, a load step is performed running the solver by means of the method

solver.run. Once the load step is ended, the outputs are updated running the method

output.run. Both solver.run and output.run take as an input the instances

props and globdat.

During the analysis, the matrix K is assembled by the function

assembleTangentStiffness, and the vector of internal forces by the function

assembleInternalForces. Both of these methods call the function assembleArray

implemented in Assembly.py. The function assembleArray performs a for loop

on all the elements of the model, in which the elemental tangent stiness matrices or the

elemental internal forces vectors are created, and nally places them into the global tangent

stiness matrix or into the global internal forces vector respectively.

2.4.3 <ElementType>.py

Every element formulation is implemented in a script contained in the directory elements,

that here is generically referred to as <ElementType>.py. To build the elemental tan-

gent stiness matrix and the elemental internal forces vector, assembleArray calls the

methods getTangentStiffness and getInternalForces contained in

<ElementType>.py. In addition, <ElementType>.py contains also other functions

that are used to build the quantities N, BL , BN L , , δ and σ . Since these functions

assume dierent names in the les <ElementType>.py, here they are referred to with

their most common names adopted in PyFEM: <getKinematics>, <getNmatrix>,

<getBmatrix>.

Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements 19

2.4.4 shapeFunctions.py

The functions getTangentStiffness and getInternalForces, call the method

getElemShapeData. The method belongs to the class elemShapeData implemented

in the script shapeFunctions.py contained in the directory util. The method

getElemShapeData, according to the number of nodes of the element, calls an appropri-

ate function, here generically referred to as <getShape>, which computes the values of

the shape functions and of their derivatives in the integration points (h and dhdxi), the

weights that are used to perform Gaussian integration (weights) and the Jacobian (jac).

Finally, these quantities are passed to the functions <getNmatrix> and <getBmatrix>,

contained in <ElementType>.py, to compute N, BL and BN L .

The function getStress implements the constitutive law of the material. Each material is

implemented as a class, here generically referred to as <MaterialName>, and is contained

in a script here referred to as <MaterialName>.py, which is located in the directory

materials.

The function getStress takes as an input the vector deformations, containing the

deformations or relative displacements computed by the function

<getKinematics>, and gives as an output the elemental stress vector sigma and the

elemental tangent modular matrix tang.

2.4.6 <OutputName>.py

Once the solver has performed the current load step, the results, stored in the instance

globdat, are passed to the functions that update the requested output by means of the

instruction output.run. The output writers are implemented as classes, that here are

generically referred to as <OutputName>. Every class <OutputName> is located in the

le <OutputName>.py contained in the directory io. The method run executes the

instructions contained in <OutputName>. Two output writers are available in PyFEM:

• GraphWriter, which creates a 2D plot on screen and writes the plotted data to a

text le;

• MeshWriter, which exports contours of the results by means of .pvd and .vtu

les that can be imported in the program ParaView.

<SolverName>.py

PyFEM.py

<SolverName>.py

PyFEM.py <SolverName>.run

<OutputName>.py <SolverName>.run(props, globdat)

+props

+globdat

+solver

<OutputName> +output assembleTangentStiﬀness

solver.run(props, globdat) assembleInternalForces

while: globdat.active = True

solver.run

- GraphWriter check conditions to

output.run

- MeshWriter terminate the analysis

Analysis Terminated

assembleArray

getElemShapedata

<MaterialName>.py

shapeFunctions.py <ElementType>.py

<MaterialName>

elemShapeData <ElementType>

getStress(deformations)

getElemShapeData getTangentStiffness ( getStressCoh(deformations, damage, deltaMax) )

getInternalForces

getStress

(getStressCoh)

<getKinamatics>

<getNmatrix>

<getBmatrix>

<getShape> sigma

tang

(damage)

(deltaMax)

stiﬀ

h ﬁnt

dhdxi

weight

jac

20 Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements

Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements 21

PyFEM

As far as mixed-mode cohesive elements are not available in PyFEM, they have been

implemented according to the architecture illustrated in the scheme of Figure 2.6.

globdat.damageOldDict globdat.damageDict

globdat.deltaMaxOldDict globdat.deltaMaxDict

assembleArray assembleArray

getTangentStiﬀness

getInternalForces

CohesiveAbaqus.py

CohesiveAbaqus

mode constitutive law is implemented. The cohesive model is introduced as a class

called CohesiveAbaqus, in the script CohesiveAbaqus.py located in the directory

materials of PyFEM. The CohesiveAbaqus material is used in conjunction with the

four-noded interface elements present in element library of PyFEM.

It must be remarked that the 2D version of the mixed-mode cohesive constitutive law is

able to account for mode I and mode II delaminations only.

The state of a mixed-mode cohesive element is determined by the strain values, the val-

ues of the damage variable d and the mixed-mode relative displacement δm . The con-

stitutive equations of the mixed-mode cohesive model are implemented in the method

getStressCoh. The method takes three inputs and gives four outputs, as illustrated in

Figure 2.7.

22 Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements

The inputs are the relative displacements deformations, the value of the damage vari-

able at the last converged equilibrium point damageOld and the value of δm max at the last

converged equilibrium point deltaMaxOld. The outputs are the vector of nodal tractions

sigma, the tangent modular matrix of the element tang and the new values of the damage

variable and the mixed-mode relative displacement, damage and deltaMax respectively.

The method getStressCoh is called by the functions getTangentStiffness and

getInternalForces present in the class interface of the le Interface.py con-

tained in the directory elements of PyFEM. This le implements the interface element

formulation.

Every time the tangent stiness matrix or the vector internal forces are assembled, the

method getSressCoh is called once per integration point per cohesive element.

The mixed-mode cohesive elements introduce two new quantities that must be stored: the

damage variables and the maximum mixed-mode relative displacements. Every time K

and fint are assembled, the method getStressCoh computes new values for these two

quantities. In the current load step, the values of d and δm max that must be given as an

input to getStressCoh are always those at the last converged equilibrium point. As a

consequence, the current values, computed by getStressCoh must be stored separately.

To store these variables, four Python dictionaries are introduced as members of the instance

globdat:

equilibrium point;

ments at the last converged equilibrium point;

relative displacements.

These four dictionaries contain one key per cohesive element, and the key name is equal

to the ID of the related element. Each key is associated with a list containing the values

of d or δm

max of the corresponding element.

Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements 23

globdat.deltaMaxOldDict are overwritten setting them equal to

globdat.damageDict and globdat.deltaMaxDict respectively.

CohesiveAbaqus.py

CohesiveAbaqus

getStressCoh(deformations,damageOld,deltaMaxOld)

Compute Quantities:

- d_rel

- d3_0; d3_f

- d1_0; d1_f

- d_shear

- d_shear

- d_m

- beta

- dm_0; dm_f

Update deltaMax

if d_m<deltaMax

if d_m>deltaMax

Unloading condition

if deltaMax<dm_0 if deltaMax>dm_f

if dm_0<deltaMax<dm_f

behaviour element

sigma

tang

damage

deltaMax

The method getStressCoh, rst computes the quantities δ , δ30 , δ3f , δ10 , δ1f , δshear , δm ,

0 and δ f according to the formulae reported in Section 2.3.2. Then, it updates δ max

β , δm m m

according to the value of δm just computed and deltaMaxOld: if the value of δm is higher

than deltaMaxOld, the function sets deltaMax equal to δm . Finally, the formulae in

24 Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements

Eqs. (2.37) and (2.40) are applied based on the values of deltaMax, δm m

new values of sigma, tang and damage are computed.

To validate the cohesive constitutive law, a comparison is presented between the solutions

provided by PyFEM and Abaqus.

The model is sketched in Figure 2.9 and consists of one cohesive element and one shell

element: the cohesive element is xed at the bottom and loaded at the top with two

vertical forces.

The aim of this analysis is to trace the bilinear curve of the cohesive constitutive laws

to check if the one implemented in PyFEM is correct and if it corresponds to the law

implemented in Abaqus, at least for mode I fractures. The solution procedure is based on

a quasi-static analysis performed adopting the explicit dynamic solver available in PyFEM.

The results obtained in PyFEM are compared to those provided by Abaqus performing a

static analysis based on a displacement-control approach.

To simulate quasi-static loading conditions, the load is imposed with a rate of 25.5 Ns−1 ,

and 100000 steps are performed adopting a time step ∆t = 2 · 10−7 s to meet the CFL

requirements [5].

If the load is applied slowly enough in the explicit analysis, no signicant dierences should

appear between the two solutions. With reference to the notation adopted in Section 2.3.2,

the properties assigned to the cohesive element and to the shell element in both analyses

are reported in Tables 2.1 and 2.2 respectively.

1.0 2.5 · 10−3 2 · 103

E (MPa) ρ (Kgmm−3 )

100 1.0 · 10−9

Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements 25

PyFem Explicit Dynamics

1

0.8

Load [N]

0.6

0.4

0.2

0

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5

Displacement [mm] x 10

−3

The comparison of Figure 2.10 reveals the good agreement between PyFEM and Abaqus

results. The initial part of the curve, corresponding to the undamaged elements, is almost

identical. The unloading phase begins at 1 N in both cases. The slope of the softening

region is well described, although a slight discrepancy can be observed. The dierence

is due to inertial eects appearing in the dynamic analysis when the cohesive element is

almost completely damaged. In this situation, stiness is very low and the shell element

starts accelerating. As a consequence, inertia forces cause the load factor λ not to reach

zero and the equilibrium curve to drift. If a linear softening behaviour is hypothetically

considered also for the dynamic solution, extending the linear descending part of the curve

until the zero value is reached, the two solutions are nearly coincident.

The results in Figure 2.10 show that the cohesive elements implemented in PyFEM are also

energetically correct, because the area subtended by the curve is equal to the prescribed

fracture toughness GIC .

These results demonstrate that the cohesive constitutive law implemented in PyFEM is

correct and that it provides reliable results.

26 Introduction to Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis and Cohesive Elements

Chapter 3

This chapter presents an overview of the arc-length method and the dierent versions avail-

able in the literature. Firstly, geometrically nonlinear problems are considered, presenting

four arc-length strategies suitable for this class of nonlinearities. Then, problems charac-

terized by material nonlinearties, including strain-softening behaviour, are discussed and a

solution technique involving an energy dissipation constraint is introduced. An overview of

limitations of the current implementations of the arc-length techniques is nally provided.

The arc-length method relies on the idea of introducing a scalar load factor λ, and repre-

senting the applied loads as:

where fext is the vector of applied loads and f̂ is the load pattern, i.e. a vector with the

same aspect of fext , which xes the relationships among the nodal forces.

The nonlinear set of structural equilibrium equations, approximated according to the nite

element method, can be expressed as:

(3.2)

fint a = fext = λf̂

Equilibrium solutions of Eq. (3.2) are usually computed by means of the Newton's method.

The equilibrium path is commonly traced computing equilibrium points for increasing

values of the load factor λ (force-control) or for increasing values of one or more nodal

displacements (displacement-control).

The Newton's method is well suited for many structural problems, however is unable to

trace the complete load-displacement curve when the structural response shows snaps.

In particular, the force-control approach fails when snap-throughs are present and the

displacement-control approach fails in presence of snap-backs. In the former case, the

strategy cannot reach convergence because the load is not monotonically increasing, while

in the latter case convergence is not achieved because the displacement is not monotonically

increasing.

A dierent approach is thus required when snaps are present. In this case, the load factor λ

should be free to increase or decrease during the solution procedure and, as a consequence,

it is not imposed but it is a problem unknown. The presence of an additional unknown with

respect to usual nonlinear analyses makes Eq. (3.2) underdetermined, and one additional

28 The Arc-Length Method

(

fint (a, λ) − λf̂ = 0

(3.3)

g(a, λ) = 0

The augmented system in Eq. (3.3) is usually solved by means of a predictor-corrector

method. The predictor is used to compute an approximate solution which is then iteratively

improved during the corrector. The corrector consists in the iterative solution of Eq. (3.3)

by means of a Newton-like method, adopting the predictor solution as initial guess. In the

iterative process, the following decomposition of the unknowns is adopted:

where ∆a and ∆λ are the total increments at the current step, ∆aj and ∆λj are the

iterative increments at the last iteration j , and da and dλ are the iterative increments

referred to the current iteration (iteration j + 1). The value j = 0 denotes the predictor

solution, while the values j = 1, 2, 3, . . . are referred to the corrector iterations.

A graphical representation of Eq. (3.4) is given in Figure 3.1.

The use of a Newton-like approach always involves a linearisation of Eq. (3.3) in the

neighbourhood of a reference conguration, which usually is the last converged equilibrium

conguration [a0 , λ0 ]. The linearisation process leads to the following linearised system:

(

Kda − dλf̂ = r

(3.5)

hT da + wdλ = −g ∆aj , ∆λj

where:

∂fint ∂g ∂g

K= , hT = , w= (3.6)

∂a ∂a ∂λ

The Arc-Length Method 29

The linearised system in Eq. (3.5) can be rewritten in matrix form as:

K −f̂ da r

= (3.8)

hT w dλ −gj

where the compact notation gj = g(∆aj , ∆λj ) is adopted.

The system in Eq. (3.8) is usually solved by substitution, so that the iterative increments

da and dλ are derived as:

da = aI + dλaII (3.9)

gj +hT a II

dλ = − (3.10)

hT aI + w

where:

The substitution of Eq. (3.10) into Eq. (3.4) allows to determine the total increment of

the current step.

The core of the arc-length method is the constraint equation. Most of the constraints

proposed in literature are suitable for geometrically nonlinear problems. The most popular

examples are the Riks' method, Criseld's method, the cylindrical arc-length and Ramm's

method.

Quite rarely equations have been specically developed to deal with the nonlinearities

generated by strain-softening materials. In these cases, constraint equations are not purely

geometric, but are related to the material properties. An example is given by the dissipated

energy constraint equation.

An overview of the constraint equations is provided in Table 3.1.

Riks g = ∆aT0 da = 0

Geometric Criseld g = ∆aT ∆a + ∆λ2 f̂ T f̂ − ∆l2 = 0

Cylindrical g = ∆aT ∆a − ∆l2 = 0

Ramm g = ∆aTj da = 0

Material Dissipated Energy 1

λ0 ∆aT − ∆λaT0 f̂ − ∆τ = 0

g= 2

In this section four arc-length methods for geometrically nonlinear problems are introduced.

They rely on constraint equations that prescribe norms or geometric relationships among

30 The Arc-Length Method

The basic idea behind Riks' method is that, provided that the step-length is small enough,

an intersection between the equilibrium path and a plane (nearly) orthogonal to it can

always be found.

Riks' method is based on the following constraint equation:

Eq. (3.12) forces the iterative increment da, computed with the corrector, to be orthogonal

to the displacement increment ∆a0 , computed with the predictor. As a consequence, the

new equilibrium point is the intersection between the equilibrium path and the direction

orthogonal to ∆a0 . The geometric interpretation of the method is illustrated in Figure 3.2.

Load

Equilibrium

A

Predictor Iterations

Solution

B

Displacement

To nd the equilibrium solution, an increment along a direction (nearly) tangent to the

equilibrium path is computed with the predictor, then, with the corrector, the iterative

solution is computed along a direction normal to the tangent one.

As far as Eq. (3.12) is linear, the solution of Eq. (3.8) is unique and can be obtained as:

da = aI dλ + aII (3.13)

∆a0 T aII

dλ = − (3.14)

∆aT0 aI

Riks' arc-length is simple, robust, ecient and guarantees the existence of the solution.

On the other hand, it is not suitable to solve problems involving sharp snap-backs. This

weakness follows from the geometric interpretation of the method: when a sharp snap-back

is approached, the procedure may no longer nd an intersection between the path and the

The Arc-Length Method 31

direction normal to the predictor increment. As a consequence, the method does not reach

convergence, and it is likely to reduce the step-length many times, hence leading to two

possible consequences:

a signicant waste of time;

• The analysis fails because the required step length is below the minimum step-length

value.

In addition, the step-length is determined only approximately in the predictor step, which

means that the Riks's method provides poor step-length control capabilities.

Criseld's method, also known as spherical arc-length, relies on the following constraint

equation:

Eq. (3.15) forces the method to converge to the equilibrium solution located at the inter-

section between the equilibrium path and a hypersphere of radius ∆l centred in the last

computed equilibrium point. The geometric interpretation of the method is illustrated in

Figure 3.3.

Load

Equilibrium

Iterations

Displacement

Eq. (3.15) is quadratic in λ, so two roots are computed at each iteration. In particular,

they are:

da = aI dλ + aII (3.16)

p

−a2 ± a22 − 4a1 a3

dλ = (3.17)

2a1

32 The Arc-Length Method

where:

a1 = aTI aI + f̂ T f̂ (3.18a)

T T

a2 = 2(∆aj + aII ) aI + 2∆λj f̂ f̂ (3.18b)

T

a3 = (∆aj + aII ) (∆aj + aII ) + ∆λ2j f̂ T f̂ − ∆l 2

(3.18c)

The presence of two roots determines the need to implement a root selection criterion.

However, it is not always a trivial task, especially in proximity of sharp snap-backs and

highly nonlinear branches.

Criseld's method has the advantage of providing excellent step-length control capabilities,

as it prescribes that the norm of the vector of the increments, [∆a, ∆λ], equals the step-

length value ∆l. As a consequence, this method prevents non-convergence problems in

proximity of sharp snap-backs or when the structural stiness shows abrupt changes. On

the other hand, Eq. (3.17) does not guarantee the existence of the solution, because it

could lead to the computation of two complex roots. In presence of complex roots, a

possible remedy is to reduce the step-length and perform the load step again. However,

this approach often does not solve the problem.

The cylindrical arc-length is a variant of the spherical arc-length. With respect to this latest

method, only the displacement vector is considered in the constraint equation, which reads:

Eq. (3.19) does not provide evident advantages with respect to Eq. (3.15). In addition,

Eq. (3.19) has the same drawbacks of Eq. (3.15) as it concerns a quadratic equation too.

An alternative is the Ramm's method, also known as the updated normal path method.

It is obtained from the linearisation of Eq. (3.19), leading to the following equation:

From a geometric point of view, Eq. (3.20) forces the iterative increment da to be orthog-

onal to the total increment ∆aj , computed from the predictor to the previous iteration.

It means that the vector da must be orthogonal, in every iteration, to a direction which is

dierent from the one of the previous iteration. The normal direction is updated in every

iteration, and this explains why the method is also known as the updated normal path

method.

A graphical interpretation of the Ramm's method is reported in Figure 3.4.

The Arc-Length Method 33

Load

Predictor Equilibrium

Solution Iterations

Displacement

Since Eq. (3.20) is linear, it leads to a unique solution of Eq. (3.8), which is derived as:

da = aI dλ + aII (3.21)

∆l2 − ∆aTj ∆aj − ∆aTj aII

dλ = (3.22)

∆aTj aI

As suggested in [10], noting that ∆l2 ≈ ∆aTj ∆aj , Eq. (3.22) can be approximated as:

da = aI dλ + aII (3.23)

∆aTj aII

dλ = − (3.24)

∆aTj aI

Eq. (3.24) corresponds to the solution derived from the following constraint equation:

Ramm's method is simple, robust, ecient and guarantees the existence of the solution.

In most cases it gives the same solution of Criseld's arc-length. On the other hand, the

step-length is determined only approximately in the predictor step. As a consequence, the

Ramm's method provides poor step-length control capabilities, which can lead to diculties

in tracing the equilibrium path of the structure when the response shows abrupt changes.

34 The Arc-Length Method

earities

The constraint equations discussed so far are not suitable in presence of material strain-

softening behaviour.

In these cases, local softening interfaces resulting in a global softening response can be

identied. These regions are usually referred to as cohesive zones, whose presence may lead

to a negative-denite stiness matrix. Engineering applications involving cohesive zones

are usually characterized by extreme non-smoothness in the structural response caused by

abrupt stiness changes or unstable crack propagation, resulting in a lack of robustness

of standard arc-length approaches. In addition, since the failure zone in a structure with

strain-softening material is often highly localized, global constraint equations, in which all

the degrees of freedom are included, are unable to reach convergence.

A possible solution to this problem is the use of a constraint equation involving only the

displacements of the dominant nodes, i.e. the nodes associated with the failure zone. This

idea leads to the local arc-length method [28]. Although this algorithm is eective, it has

a major drawback: the dominant nodes are problem dependent. It follows that:

• The user must know in advance the area where the crack starts propagating;

• Any node might change its status as the nonlinearities develop in the structure, so a

method to identify the dominant nodes in every load step must be provided;

• The constraint equation becomes problem dependent and the method loses some of

its generality.

related to damage or fracture mechanics [18, 26, 31]. In this case, the diculty is the

identication of a solution parameter, which is a monotonically increasing quantity. An-

other issue is that constraint equations must enable the algorithm to converge always on

the correct solution, i.e. the dissipative one. This feature ensures the avoidance of elastic

unloading solutions.

An arc-length method based on a constraint equation relying on material properties related

to fracture mechanics is proposed in [20, 44]. This method is ecient and robust, allowing

to perform highly nonlinear analyses without suering from the problems caused by the

strain-softening behaviour.

The method makes use of the energy release rate G, dened as:

G = P − V̇ (3.26)

where P is the exerted power and V̇ is the rate of elastic energy.

Introducing the nite element discretization in Eq. (3.26), the approximations of P and V̇

are written as:

1 1

P = λf̂ T ȧ , V̇ = λ̇aT f̂ + λȧT f̂ (3.27)

2 2

The Arc-Length Method 35

Substituting Eq. (3.27) in Eq. (3.26), the nite element approximation of G is obtained

as:

1

λȧT − λ̇aT f̂ (3.28)

G=

2

The propagation of a crack is associated with the dissipation of an amount of energy

τ . Applying a forward Euler discretization to Eq. (3.28), the expression of the energy

dissipated in the current step, ∆τ , is given by:

1

λ0 ∆aT − ∆λaT0 f̂ (3.29)

∆τ =

2

where [a0 , λ0 ] is the last converged equilibrium point.

A constraint equation for an arc-length method may be derived from Eq. (3.29) as:

1

λ0 ∆aT − ∆λaT0 f̂ − ∆τ = 0 (3.30)

g(∆a, ∆λ) =

2

To improve computational eciency, the solution of the augmented system in Eq. (3.8),

obtained adopting Eq. (3.30) as constraint equation, is usually computed by means of the

following expression, which is known as the Sherman-Morrison formula [44]:

(hT dI + gj )dII

da dI 1

= − T (3.31)

dλ −gj h dII − w −hT dI − gj (1 + hT dII − w)

where dI and dII are the solutions of the following linear systems:

The dissipated energy constraint of Eq. (3.30) depends only on the global quantities ∆a,

∆λ and f̂ , on the last converged equilibrium point [a0 , λ0 ] and on ∆τ . Thermodynamic

considerations suggest that the total dissipated energy τ is a monotonically increasing

quantity. The expression of its increment ∆τ depends only on global quantities. These

properties make τ an ideal path parameter for Eq. (3.30). In addition, Eq. (3.30) is linear,

and provides a unique solution.

Since Eq. (3.30) forces the incremental solution to dissipate an amount of energy equal to

∆τ , it ensures that its solution is always dissipative, thus preventing elastic unloading.

Most of the arc-length techniques in the literature are restricted to problems characterized

by the presence of geometrical nonlinearities. On the other hand, relatively few methods

have been developed to deal with material nonlinearities. Among them, the most successful

is the dissipated energy arc-length. Despite being ecient and extremely robust, this

method is characterized by a series of limitations.

In fact, Eq. (3.30) can be used only when energy dissipation occurs, which means that

it cannot be adopted to trace the elastic parts of the equilibrium path. As the initial

behaviour of a structure is always elastic, a force-control approach is necessary to perform

at least the rst few steps of the analysis.

36 The Arc-Length Method

A criterion to switch from force-control to dissipated energy constraint and vice versa is

mandatory. As suggested in [44], a strategy based on the following steps is adopted:

3. If dissipated energy constraint is active and ∆τ < ∆τsback , switch back to the force-

control approach.

where ∆τswitch and ∆τsback are two threshold values dened by the user.

Although the strategy just described is ideally very simple, the implementation of the

switch-back criterion is not straightforward. In fact, when the dissipated energy constraint

is active, the method tries to nd a solution corresponding to the prescribed amount of

dissipated energy ∆τ . If such a solution does not exist the method is likely to reduce

the step-length until ∆τ < ∆τsback , leading to a signicant waste of computational eort.

Otherwise, if such a solution exists, and is located after an elastic part of the equilibrium

path, the method is likely to converge to it approximating the elastic part in a unique load

step. An approximation of the elastic part in a unique step may be avoided only if the

switch-back condition is supported by a control on the norm of the increments, intended

to perform the switch-back when the norm exceeds a prescribed value.

A further drawback of the dissipated energy arc-length is that it introduces three additional

algorithmic parameters that must be given by the user as an input: ∆τswitch , ∆τsback

and the initial step size ∆τ0 that is adopted after the activation of the dissipated energy

constraint.

As a result, the dissipated energy arc-length might be improved eliminating the need for

a double solution strategy, and the switch criteria adopted to perform it.

Aim of the present investigation is the development of a method to be used in the context

of problems involving strain-softening behaviour and satisfying the following requirements:

the solution procedure along the equilibrium path;

• Relying on constraint equation that depend on global quantities (e.g. on the vectors

a, ∆a, f̂ , fint , . . . );

• Being robust despite the strong localization of the crack opening phenomenon;

solutions.

Chapter 4

In this chapter a new family of arc-length methods is introduced: the hybrid-constraint

methods. This approach combines a geometric and a dissipative constraint in a unique

constraint equation, and enables to trace both elastic and dissipative branches adopting a

unique solution strategy.

Firstly, the concept of hybrid-constraint is introduced. Then, the features of the weighting

function adopted in the formulation, and the strategies to compute it are described. Finally,

three hybrid-constraint methods are introduced and the stages of the predictor-corrector

methods they rely on are described.

An overview of the topics discussed in the chapter is shown in Figure 4.1.

Hybrid-Constraint Arc-Length

General Features

Class of Methods

- Hybrid-Riks' Method

Features of the Weighting Function - Hybrid-Ramm's Method

- Hybrid-Crisﬁeld's Method

Weighting Function

Solved by Means of a

Predictor-Corrector Method

Numerical Solution

38 The Hybrid-Constraint Methods

Hybrid-constraint methods are a class of arc-length methods based on a constraint equation

obtained as the weighted sum of a geometric and a dissipative constraint. The general

expression of the hybrid-constraint is:

(4.1)

g(∆a, ∆λ) = 1 − γ c(∆a, ∆λ) + γ h(∆a, ∆λ)

where γ ∈ [0, 1] is a weighting function updated at the end of each step, and:

h(∆a, ∆λ) ⇒ Dissipative Constraint (4.3)

Geometric constraints are those suitable for analyses involving geometric nonlinearities,

such as Riks', Ramm's or Criseld's constraints. Dissipative constraints are those suitable

for analyses involving strain-softening materials, such as the dissipated energy constraint.

The expression in Eq. (4.1) denes a family of constraint equations here denoted as hybrid-

constraint equations. Combining dierent geometric and dissipative constraints, adopting

dierent expressions of the weighting function, or combining more than two constraints, a

wide number of methods could ideally be generated.

The use of a weighted sum implies that neither c(∆a, ∆λ) nor h(∆a, ∆λ) are satised at

the end of the current step, but only the actual constraint equation, Eq. (4.1), is met.

The weighting function γ is fundamental in determining the performance of the method.

The weight γ is exploited to automatically achieve the switch from the geometric constraint

to the dissipative one. This approach eliminates the need for a double solution strategy to

trace elastic and dissipative parts of the equilibrium path.

The weighting function γ should satisfy the following requirements:

• Rapidly grow and approach unity when some energy starts being dissipated;

elastically after a dissipative part.

To assume an adequate value, γ must be sensitive to the damage state of the structure.

As far as a structure always behaves elastically in the neighbourhood of the undeformed

conguration, the analysis is always started setting γ = 0.

function γ

In order to obtain a weighting function sensitive to the damage state of the structure, γ

should depend on quantities related to damage or fracture mechanics. In particular, some

functions of the energy dissipated in the current load step and of the damage variable d

have been considered in the development of the methods.

The Hybrid-Constraint Methods 39

The hybrid-constraint method does not dissipate precisely the amount of energy prescribed

by ∆τ , but is likely to dissipate even less or more energy. As a consequence, it is not

trivial to nd a simple function of the energy dissipated in the current step meeting the

requirement γ ∈ [0, 1]. The implementation of this kind of functions has not led to

satisfactory results, and this approach has been abandoned.

The damage variable d falls in the interval [0, 1] by denition. It follows that it is straight-

forward to create functions of d bounded in this interval and sensitive to the damage state

of the structure.

In the present work, six expressions of γ depending on d have been developed. Let d̃max

denote the vector containing all the values of the damage variables sorted in descending

order, unit values excluded, and d̂max denote the vector containing all the values of the

damage variables sorted in descending order, unit values included. The six expressions of

γ are reported in Table 4.1.

kd̃1:n

max k

1. γ= n

2. γ = d̂1max

3. γ = d̃1max

kd̃1:n

max k

4. γ= nd̃1max

mean(d̃1:n

max )

5. γ= d̃1max

6. γ = mean d̃1:n

max

where d̃i denotes the i-th component of d̃ and d̃i:j denotes the components of d̃ from the

i-th to the j -th.

Expression 1

This expression sets γ equal to the norm of the vector formed by the n highest damage

variables, unit values excluded, divided by n. A suitable choice consists in setting n equal

to the number of integration points present in the each cohesive element. This choice

implies that γ senses an area in the structure with approximately the dimension of one

cohesive element.

Adopting this expression, γ varies slowly and assumes low values (γ = 0.6÷0.8 with n = 2).

The higher is n, the worse is the performance. High values of n make γ vary slower and

assume lower values, as damage propagation is sensed in a smoother way.

Expression 2

This expression sets γ equal to the maximum damage variable present in the cohesive

elements, including unit values.

40 The Hybrid-Constraint Methods

integration point, γ is denitely set to unity for the rest of the analysis. As a consequence,

this expression is acceptable only if a continuous damage propagation occur.

Expression 3

This expression sets γ equal to the maximum damage variable present in the cohesive

elements, excluding unit values.

It provides rapid variations of γ , which assumes high values (γ ≥ 0.9) when damage

propagates. If multiple cohesive zones are present, when all the elements in the cohesive

zone being processed are completely damaged, γ assumes the value of the higher, non unit

damage variable present in the model. In this case two situations can occur:

In the former case, γ becomes null and only the geometric constraint is activated, while in

the latter case γ is set equal to the highest, non unit value of d present in the structure.

This last occurrence may lead to problems in tracing parts of the equilibrium path char-

acterized by elastic unloading if the value of γ remains high.

As far as no energy is dissipated when elastic unloading occurs, this problem is likely to

be solved adopting a weighting function based on dissipated energy.

Expression 4

This expression is the norm of the vector formed by the n highest damage variables, unit

values excluded, divided by the product of n times the maximum component of d̃.

Adopting this expression, γ varies slowly and assumes low values (γ = 0.7 ÷ 0.85 with

n = 2). The higher is n, the worse is the performance. High values of n, make γ vary

slower and assume lower values, as damage propagation is sensed in a smoother way.

Expression 5

This expression is the ratio between the mean of the rst n components of d̃max and the

maximum component of d̃.

Using a low value of n, γ varies rapidly and assumes values higher than 0.9. As n is

increased, γ varies more slowly and assumes lower values. This is due to strain localization

and to the eects of the operation of mean. A suitable choice for n could be to set it equal

to the number of integration points present in the each cohesive element.

Expression 6

This expression is the mean of the rst n components of d̃max . The same considerations

made for expression 5 are still valid, so that also expression 6 provides high values and

rapid variations of γ as far as n is kept small.

The Hybrid-Constraint Methods 41

Conclusions

All the expressions here discussed have been implemented in the three hybrid-constraint

methods presented in the next section and tested on two numerical examples.

Numerical results allowed to identify expression 3 as the more suitable one, resulting in the

most robust algorithms. It provides fast transitions from the geometric to the dissipative

constraint and values of γ close to unity when crack growth occurs.

Good performance, although below that obtained with expression 3, are achieved also with

expressions 1 and 6.

Further considerations suggest that a weighting function based on the damage variables d

implies that at least one cohesive element must always be present in the model.

The scalar parameter Wmem is introduced to enable the user to control the rate of change

of γ .

Wmem can be exploited to make γ vary more slowly. This parameter introduces a memory

eect in the computation of γ . Instead of taking directly the value prescribed by expression

3, γ is combined linearly with its previous value according to:

γ̂ = d̃1max (4.4)

γ t+∆t t

= (1 − Wmem )γ + Wmem γ̂ (4.5)

By default, the parameter Wmem is set to 1 as, usually, its introduction is not wanted. The

user can modify this parameter in the input le, and use it as a further degree of freedom

to adjust the method. Wmem must vary between 0 and 1, and 0.6 ÷ 0.9 proved to be a

suitable range of values for it.

In the present work, three hybrid-constraint methods are proposed based the geometric

constraint equations presented in Section 3.2. Here, they are denoted as:

• Hybrid-Riks' Method

• Hybrid-Ramm's Method

• Hybrid-Criseld's Method

All of these algorithms make use of the constraint of Eq. 3.30 as dissipative constraint.

The numerical strategy to compute the equilibrium points relies on a predictor-corrector

method. Corrector iterations are performed by means of the Newton-Raphson method.

This method is obtained combining the dissipative constraint with Riks' constraint equa-

tion, thus resulting in:

1 1

g(∆a, ∆λ) = (1 − γ) ∆aT0 da + γ λ0 ∆aT f̂ − ∆λaT0 f̂ − ∆τ (4.6)

2 2

42 The Hybrid-Constraint Methods

In the iterative process, the following decomposition of the unknowns is adopted:

Introducing Eq. (4.7) in the linearised system of Eq. (3.5) and adopting Eq. (4.6) as

constraint equation, the following solution is obtained:

da = aI + dλaII (4.8)

b˜2

dλ = − (4.9)

b˜1

where:

−1

aII = K f̂ (4.11)

1 1

b˜1 = (1 − γ) ∆aT0 aI + γ λ0 aTI f̂ − aT0 f̂ (4.12)

2 2

1 1 1

b˜2 = (1 − γ) ∆aT0 aII + γ λ0 ∆aTj f̂ + λ0 aTII f̂ − ∆λj aT0 f̂ − ∆τ (4.13)

2 2 2

It is worth observing that Eq. (4.6) is linear, as it is derived from Eqs. (3.12) and (3.30).

The expression in Eq. (4.6) depends only on two parameters: the weighting function γ

and the step size ∆τ of the dissipative constraint.

With reference to Figure 3.2, the addition of Eq. (3.30) to the Riks's constraint modies

the orientation of the segment AB that intersects the equilibrium path.

This method is obtained combining Ramm's geometric constraint and the dissipated energy

constraint, and results in:

1 1

g ∆a, ∆λ = (1 − γ) ∆aTj da + γ λ0 ∆aT f̂ − ∆λaT0 f̂ − ∆τ (4.14)

2 2

The introduction of Eq. (4.7) in the linearised system of Eq. (3.5), adopting Eq. (4.14) as

constraint equation, yields to the following solution:

da = aI + dλaII (4.15)

b˜2

dλ = − (4.16)

b˜1

where:

The Hybrid-Constraint Methods 43

aII = K−1 f̂ (4.18)

1 1

b˜1 = (1 − γ) ∆aTj aI + γ λ0 aTI f̂ − aT0 f̂ (4.19)

2 2

1 1 1

˜

b2 = (1 − γ) ∆aj aII + γ λ0 ∆aj f̂ + λ0 aTII f̂ − ∆λj aT0 f̂ − ∆τ

T T

(4.20)

2 2 2

Since it is derived from Eqs. (3.25) and (3.30), Eq. (4.14) is linear, and depends only on

the weighting function γ and the step size ∆τ .

With reference to Figure 3.4, the addition of Eq. (3.30) to the Ramm's constraint modies

the orientation of the directions of the iterative increments.

This method is obtained combining Criseld's constraint and the dissipated energy con-

straint. Eq. (4.1) results in:

1 1

g(∆a, ∆λ) = (1 − γ) ∆aT ∆a + ∆λ2 f̂ T f̂ − ∆l2 + γ λ0 ∆aT f̂ − ∆λaT0 f̂ − ∆τ (4.21)

2 2

Substituting Eq. (4.7) in the linearised system in Eq. (3.5) and adopting Eq. (4.21) as

constraint equation, the following solution is derived:

da = aI + dλaII (4.22)

p

−c2 ± c22 − 4c1 c3

dλ = (4.23)

2c1

where:

−1

aII = K f̂ (4.25)

c1 = (1 − γ)a˜1 (4.26)

c2 = (1 − γ)a˜2 + γ b˜2 (4.27)

c3 = (1 − γ)a˜3 + γ b˜3 (4.28)

a˜1 = aTI aI + f̂ T f̂ (4.29)

2 aTI ∆aj + aTI aII + ∆λj f̂ T f̂ (4.30)

a˜2 =

a˜3 = ∆aTj ∆aj + 2aTII ∆aj + aTII aII + ∆λ2j f̂ T f̂ − ∆l 2

(4.31)

1

b˜2 = λ0 aTI − aT0 f̂ (4.32)

2

1

b˜3 = λ0 ∆aTj f̂ + λ0 aTII f̂ − ∆λj aT0 f̂ − ∆τ (4.33)

2

The constraint of Eq. (4.21) is quadratic, as it is derived from the combination of a

44 The Hybrid-Constraint Methods

quadratic and a linear equation. Therefore, two solutions exist, and a root selection crite-

rion is needed (see Section 4.5.1).

The constraint in Eq. (4.21) depends on the weighting function γ and on the two step sizes

∆l and ∆τ .

From a graphical point of view, the addition of the dissipated energy constraint modies

the shape of the hypersphere represented by Eq. (3.15).

Considering for simplicity a 1 d.o.f problem, Eq. (3.15) is the equation of a circumference

of radius ∆l centred in the last computed equilibrium point [a0 , λ0 ]. The hybrid-Criseld's

constraint equation still represents a circumference, but its radius R and the coordinates

of its centre [ac , λc ] follow as:

s 2 2

1 1 γ ˆ 1 1 γ ˆ γ

R= λ0 f + − a0 f + ∆l2 + ∆τ (4.34)

4 2 1−γ 4 2 1−γ 1−γ

h 1 γ 1 γ i

[ac , λc ] = − λ0 fˆ , a0 fˆ (4.35)

4 1−γ 4 1−γ

Both the radius and the coordinates of the centre are function of γ and the last computed

equilibrium point. The radius R depends also on the step sizes ∆l and ∆τ .

In Figure 4.2 the circumferences associated with four values of γ are reported, with ∆l =

0.5, ∆τ = 0.005, a0 = 0.005, λ0 = 1.5, fˆ = 1.

3

Circumference Centre

Domain Circumference

1

∆λ

−1

−2

−3

−7 −6 −5 −4 −3 −2 −1 0 1

∆a

Figure 4.2 shows that, when the value of γ is increased, R increases too. When γ = 0

the circumference is centred in the last equilibrium point and its radius is ∆l, while, when

γ = 1 is approached, R tends to innity and the circumference tends to become a straight

The Hybrid-Constraint Methods 45

line (a hyperplane in multi d.o.f. problems). Depending on the values of a0 , λ0 , γ and ∆l,

the circumferences can intersect in two points, no points or be tangent.

The solution strategy normally adopted in arc-length algorithms is the predictor-corrector

method. This approach consists of two stages: the predictor and the corrector. In this

section the predictor is discussed, while the corrector is discussed in the next one.

The predictor aims to compute an initial guess for the Newton's method, which is used as

the corrector. The choice of the initial guess has a strong inuence on the performance of

Newton's method, because:

• A suitable initial guess guarantees convergence to the sought solution, since the

Newton's method may converge to dierent ones.

predictor solution [40]. Usually, the more complex the strategy, the closer the predictor so-

lution is to the converged one. However, a complex strategy implies a higher computational

eort. It follows that an accurate predictor, despite reducing the number of iterations per-

formed in the corrector, is characterized by a high computational cost, which compensates

all the benets gained using a precise initial guess. As a result, simple strategies, providing

a coarse initial solution, are usually adopted.

In the present work, a secant predictor is implemented in all the hybrid-constraint meth-

ods. This strategy consists in a linear extrapolation of the increments of the unknowns

computed in the previous load step. The predictor solution follows as:

∆at+∆t

0 = ξ∆at (4.36a)

∆λt+∆t

0 = ξ∆λ t

(4.36b)

where, the superscript t denotes the quantities computed in the previous load step, the

superscript t + ∆t denotes those at the current load step, and ξ is a scalar multiplier.

The factor ξ is estimated from the requirement that the number of desired iterations in

the current load step equals Nd . If the number of iterations to satisfy equilibrium in the

previous load increment equals Nt , the estimate of ξ for the current load step is:

N ζ

d

ξ= (4.37)

Nt

where ζ is a parameter to damp or amplify the inuence of the quotient Nd /Nt , and is

normally chosen equal to 1/2. The strategy is extremely ecient from a computational

point of view, and it has been reported to work well [10].

The corrector is the iterative phase of the predictor-corrector methods. Starting from the

initial guess computed in the predictor, a Newton-like method is applied to the augmented

46 The Hybrid-Constraint Methods

Usually, the modied Newton's method is adopted. This method avoids a high number of

assemblies and inversions of the stiness matrix K. In the modied Newton's method, the

stiness matrix is kept constant during the iterative process, so that it is assembled and

inverted only once a step. However, the converge rate of this method is only of the rst

order.

When the modied Newton's method results in a high number of iterations or increment

reductions, the line-search method can be adopted as an alternative to improve convergence

[2, 14].

The full Newton-Raphson method is seldom used with arc-length algorithms, since it is

highly expensive for large problems. However, this is the only method characterized by a

convergence rate of the second order. As a result, despite being very expensive, it requires

fewer iterations to converge.

is made because hybrid-constraint methods are intended to be applied to highly nonlinear

problems. The application of the modied Newton's method to this kind of analyses is likely

to result in a high number of iterations and an excessive number of step size reductions.

To stop the iterative process, a convergence criterion must be adopted. Such criterion

requires that a quantity, e.g. a force or a displacement, must be approximated within a

prescribed tolerance tol. In all the presented algorithms, a global criterion based on the

norm of the residual is adopted. This criterion is resumed as:

krk

< tol (4.38)

k λf̂ k

where the residual r is dened as:

With this criterion, the iterative process is performed until the change in the norm of the

residual, normalized by the norm of the applied load vector, is smaller than the prescribed

convergence tolerance.

When arc-length methods based on a quadratic constraint are adopted, a root selection

scheme is needed to identify which of the two solutions of the quadratic equation must be

kept to prevent the solution to double back. Hereafter, three schemes are discussed:

The rst two methods are widely used in literature [10, 22]. The third method, to the best

of the author's knowledge, is proposed here for the rst time.

The Hybrid-Constraint Methods 47

This is the most popular approach to avoid the doubling back of the solution. The root of

the quadratic equation which gives an incremental displacement ∆a that forms the smallest

angle with the direction of the incremental displacement computed in the previous load

step ∆at is chosen. This criterion can be resumed as:

A graphical representation of the method is illustrated in Figure 4.3, where the superscript

(i) denotes the i-th root of the quadratic equation.

This procedure is ecient, as it requires only two dot products and the comparison between

them.

As reported in [22], this strategy is likely to fail in proximity of sharp snap-backs. In this

case, the root corresponding to the smallest angle may be the one which causes the doubling

back of the solution. As a result, when sharp snap-backs occur, a dierent approach must

be adopted.

In the present work, the increment direction method is used in all the algorithms based on

Criseld's constraint as the standard root selection scheme.

To select the correct solution in the neighbourhood of sharp snap-backs, Criseld and

Hellweg proposed an approach based on the norm of the residual [22]. They realized that

when the increment direction method fails, it selects a root that, despite being associated

with the smallest angle, is characterized by the highest norm of the residual. In such cases,

the root that must be kept is the one associated with the smallest norm of the residual.

This criterion can be resumed as:

k r k= min (4.41)

The lowest residual method xes the weaknesses of the increment direction method. How-

ever, it is computationally more expensive than the latter. It requires the evaluation of

the internal forces of both solutions, the computation of two norms and the comparison

between them.

For eciency, the lowest residual method can be adopted only in the neighbourhood of

48 The Hybrid-Constraint Methods

snap-backs.

Furthermore, the lowest residual method does not work well in the linear parts of the

equilibrium path. In such cases, both the solutions computed by the method are located

on the linear equilibrium path even in the rst iteration, and represent two equilibrium

points. This occurrence is shown in Figure 4.4, where [a0 , λ0 ] denotes the last converged

equilibrium point, and A and B denote the two equilibrium solutions.

Load

Displacement

The norm of the residual is very close to zero in the points A and B. Sometimes, the eect

of numerical rounding may lead to the selection of the root corresponding to the doubling

back of the solution. This phenomenon can repeat several times, leading to a continuous

loading and unloading process, which is clearly not desirable.

Although this method must not be used to trace parts of the equilibrium showing a perfectly

linear behaviour, even very low nonlinearities can be sucient to make it work properly.

A new root selection scheme is proposed here for problems involving energy dissipation.

This scheme relies on the idea that crack growth provides energy dissipation. Thermody-

namic consistency implies that the energy dissipated in the load step ∆τ is positive if the

damage increases or null otherwise:

∆τ = 0 ⇒ No damage (4.43)

with an increment of dissipated energy.

To apply this method, the dissipated energy related to both solutions must be computed.

The expression of the dissipated energies follows as:

1

λ0 ∆aTk − ∆λk aT0 f̂ (4.44)

∆τk = (k = 1, 2)

2

where k is the index of the root of the quadratic equation, and [a0 , λ0 ] is the last converged

The Hybrid-Constraint Methods 49

equilibrium point.

From a numerical point of view, there are two solutions of the quadratic equation along

a dissipative part of the equilibrium path. The rst is associated with an increasing level

of damage and the second to a lower level of damage. The former provides a positive

dissipated energy, the latter a negative one. Since the damage process is irreversible, only

the former is physically meaningful, while the other must be discarded.

Using the dissipated energy increment method, it is very easy to nd the correct root, as

the two solutions of the quadratic equation are associated with values of ∆τ characterized

by dierent signs.

However, solutions providing values of ∆τ with the same sign can be found in the neigh-

bourhood of sharp snap-backs and in presence high nonlinearities. In such cases, it is not

trivial to identify the correct solution based on the value of ∆τ , and a dierent strategy is

needed.

In these cases, the lowest residual method can be adopted without a signicant additional

eort. This strategy implies that the root closest to equilibrium is selected when the correct

solution cannot be chosen by simply looking at the value of ∆τ .

To sum up, the dissipated energy increment method can be implemented as:

if sign(∆τ1 ) 6= sign(∆τ2 ):

Root with ∆τ > 0

elif sign(∆τ1 ) = sign(∆τ2 ):

Lowest residual method

where the superscripts 1 and 2 denote the two roots of the quadratic equation.

The dissipated energy increment method is extremely ecient and guarantees that the

arc-length method converges on a dissipative solution, thus preventing elastic unloading.

However, this root selection scheme can be used only if dissipative phenomena are oc-

curring, and it cannot be adopted when the structure behaves elastically. It follows that

the implementation of a strategy that enables the user to choose when to start using this

method is required.

Two roots with negative ∆τ may arise from the quadratic equation. Both of these solutions

should be discarded, as they violate the second principle of thermodynamics.

The reasons leading to the appearance of such solutions are purely numerical. Restarting

the analysis with dierent algorithmic parameters, usually solves the problem or causes

the roots with negative ∆τ to appear in a dierent area of the equilibrium path.

At the end of each load step, the step size is updated according to:

where, ∆lt denotes the step size at the previous load step, ∆lt+∆t denotes the step size

at the current load step, and ξ is a scalar multiplier. The factor ξ is estimated to meet

the requirement that the number of desired iterations equals Nd in the current load step.

50 The Hybrid-Constraint Methods

Letting Nt denote the number of iterations needed to satisfy equilibrium in the previous

load increment, the estimate of ξ for the current load step follows as:

N ζ

d

ξ= (4.46)

Nt

where ζ is a scalar parameter that damps or amplies the inuence of the quotient Nd /Nt .

The parameter ζ is usually set equal to 1/2.

This strategy is applied to ∆τ in the hybrid-Riks' and hybrid-Ramm's methods, and to

both ∆l and ∆τ in the hybrid-Criseld's method.

When the corrector iterations do not reach convergence within a prescribed number of

iterations itermax , the step size is reduced and the load step is recomputed. The step size

is reduced according to:

where η is a scale factor. By default η is set equal to 0.5 in all the algorithm here presented.

Chapter 5

Implementation of the

Hybrid-Constraint Methods in

PyFEM

In this chapter, the implementation of the hybrid-constraint methods in PyFEM is pre-

sented. For each algorithm, the classes and the related methods are discussed presenting

in details the input parameters and the steps performed in the procedures. Finally, the

implementation of the root selection schemes is discussed.

In the basic version of PyFEM, only the Riks' method and the dissipated energy arc-length

are included. As a consequence, in addition to the three hybrid-constraint methods, also

Criseld's arc-length was added to the solver library of the code. The implementation of

Criseld's method is discussed in Appendix A.

As far as the arc-length methods are solvers, they are located in the block <SolverName>.py

of the structure of PyFEM. This block is reported in Figure 5.1.

All the les in which the methods are implemented are located in the directory solvers

of PyFEM.

52 Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM

The hybrid-Riks's method is implemented in the le WeightedRiks.py, containing the

class WeightedRiks. The following methods are associated with this class:

• run

• printHeader

• printIteration

• printConverged

and printConverged are utility functions that print analysis information on screen.

The method WeightedRiks.run takes the instances globdat and props as an input.

The structure of the method is illustrated in Figure 5.2.

The structure in Figure 5.2 can be outlined by means of following steps:

2. Initialize K and r: assembles the stiness matrix K and computes the residual r to

be used in the rst corrector iteration;

3. Corrector : computes the equilibrium point iteratively, applying Eq. (4.9) until the

condition in Eq. (4.38) is satised;

4. Compute Dissipated Energy : computes the energy dissipated in the current load step;

5. Update Weighting Function : computes the value of γ to be used in the subsequent

load step according to Eq. (4.5);

6. Update Step Size : computes the step size ∆τ and the factor ξ to be used in the next

load step according to Eq. (4.45);

7. Store Results : stores the data related to the new equilibrium point in the instance

globdat;

that terminate the analysis are met. If no conditions are met, another load step is

performed, otherwise the solver sets globdat.active=False and the analysis is

terminated by PyFEM.py.

If the number of corrector iterations needed to converge exceeds the maximum prescribed

number, the step size is reduced according to Eq. (4.47) and the load step is recomputed

adopting the new value of ∆τ .

As Eq. (4.6) is linear, no root selection schemes are needed.

Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM 53

WeightedRiks.py

WeightedRiks

run( props, globdat )

Predictor

Initialize K and r

cut step size

Corrector

Store Results

No

Check Conditions to

Terminate Analysis

Yes

Terminate Analysis

54 Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM

globdat.damageDict

globdat.damage

sort in

ascending order

Store Non Unit

Components

sort( globdat.damage ) Vector d_tilde_max

gamma_hat = d_tilde_max[0]

the new value of gamma

1. The vector globdat.damage, containing the values of all the damage variables

stored in the dictionary globdat.damageDict, is sorted in ascending order;

2. The non unit components of this sorted vector are stored in the vector d̃max ;

3. The quantity γ̂ is computed as the rst component of d̃max according to the expres-

sion 3 illustrated in Section 4.2;

4. The nal value of γ is obtained by means of Eq. (4.5).

The solver WeightedRiks requires the following parameters as an input:

• lam: the initial value of λ, which is used to determine the step size in the rst load

step;

• MaxFactor: the maximum value of the factor ξ introduced in Eq. (4.36);

• MinFactor: the minimum value of ξ ;

• MaxdTau: the maximum value of the step size ∆τ ;

• MindTau: the minimum value of ∆τ ;

• Wmemory: the value of the parameter Wmem ;

• MaxCycle: the maximum number of increments;

• MaxLam: the maximum value of the load factor λ.

The parameters MaxCycle and MaxLam prescribe the conditions to terminate the analysis.

No initial value is requested for ∆τ because it is assumed equal to MaxdTau.

Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM 55

The hybrid-Ramm's method is implemented in the le WeightedHP.py, which contains

the class WeightedHP. The following methods are associated with this class:

• run

• printHeader

• printIteration

• printConverged

and printConverged are utility functions that print analysis information on screen.

The method WeightedHP.run takes the instances globdat and props as an input.

The structure of the method is shown in Figure 5.4.

The structure in Figure 5.4 can be outlined by means of following steps:

2. Initialize K and r: assembles the stiness matrix K and computes the residual r to

be used in the rst corrector iteration;

3. Corrector : the equilibrium point is computed iteratively, applying Eq. (4.16). The

procedure is stopped when the condition in Eq. (4.38) is met;

4. Compute Dissipated Energy : computes the energy dissipated in the current load step;

5. Update Weighting Function : computes the value of γ to be used in the subsequent

load step according to Eq. (4.5);

6. Update Step-Length : computes the step size ∆τ and the factor ξ to be used in the

next load step according to Eq. (4.45);

7. Store Results : the instance globdat is updated storing the data related to the new

equilibrium point in;

are checked. If no conditions are met, another load step is computed, otherwise the

analysis is terminated.

If convergence is not achieved within the prescribed maximum number of iterations, a step

size reduction is performed applying Eq. (4.47) and the load step is recomputed with the

new value of ∆τ .

Since Eq. (4.14) is linear, a root selection scheme is not necessary.

56 Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM

The weighting function γ is computed according to the procedure illustrated in Figure 5.3,

which can be outlined by means of the following steps:

1. The components of the vector globdat.damage, containing the values of all the

damage variables stored in the dictionary globdat.damageDict, are sorted in

ascending order;

2. The non unit components of this sorted vector are stored in d̃max ;

3. The quantity γ̂ is set equal to the rst component of d̃max , according to the expression

3 illustrated in Section 4.2;

• lam: the initial value of λ, which is used to determine the step size in the rst load

step;

The parameters MaxCycle and MaxLam prescribe the conditions to terminate the analysis.

No initial value is requested for ∆τ because it is assumed equal to MaxdTau.

Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM 57

WeightedHP.py

WeightedHP

run( props, globdat )

Predictor

Initialize K and r

cut step size

Corrector

Store Results

No

Check Conditions to

Terminate Analysis

Yes

Terminate Analysis

58 Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM

The hybrid-Criseld's method is implemented in the le WeightedCrisfield.py, which

contains the class WeightedCrisfield. The following methods are associated with this

class:

• run

• printHeader

• printIteration

• printConverged

where run implements the arc-length method and the utility functions printHeader,

printIteration and printConverged print analysis information on screen.

The method WeightedCrisfield.run takes the instances globdat and props as an

input.

The structure of the method is illustrated in Figure 5.5.

The structure in Figure 5.5 can be outlined by means of following steps:

2. Initialize K and r: the stiness matrix K is assembled and the residual r is computed.

These quantities are used in the rst corrector iteration;

3. Corrector : the equilibrium point is computed iteratively applying Eq. (4.23) until

the condition in Eq. (4.38) is satised;

4. Compute Dissipated Energy : the energy dissipated in the current load step is com-

puted;

load step applying Eq. (4.5);

6. Update Step Size : computes the step sizes ∆l and ∆τ and the factor ξ , to be used

in the next load step by means of Eq. (4.45);

7. Store Results : stores the data related to the new equilibrium point in the instance

globdat;

that terminate the analysis are met. If no conditions are met another load step is

performed, otherwise the solver sets globdat.active=False and the analysis is

terminated by PyFEM.py.

If the corrector does not converge within the prescribed maximum number of iterations,

the step sizes are reduced according to Eq. (4.47) and the load step is recomputed adopting

the new values of ∆l and ∆τ .

Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM 59

WeightedCrisﬁeld.py

WeightedCrisﬁeld

run( props, globdat )

Predictor

Initialize K and r cut step size

plotIter Corrector

Store Results

No

Check Conditions to

Terminate Analysis

Yes

Terminate Analysis

60 Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM

As Eq. (4.21) is quadratic, a root selection scheme is necessary. In the present algorithm,

the increment direction method and the dissipated energy increment method are imple-

mented. The scheme to be used is determined by means of the string variable Corrector.

This variable can assume the following two values:

’DissEnergy’ ⇒ Dissipated Energy Increment Method

Further details about the implementation of the root selection scheme are given in Section

5.4.2.

The weighting function γ is updated by means of the procedure illustrated in Figure 5.3,

which can be outlined by means of the following steps:

1. The vector globdat.damage, containing the values of all the damage variables

stored in the dictionary globdat.damageDict, is sorted in ascending order;

2. The non unit components of this sorted vector are stored in the vector d̃max ;

3. The quantity γ̂ is computed as the rst component of d̃max , according to the expres-

sion 3 illustrated in Section 4.2;

The parameters MaxCycle and MaxLam prescribe the conditions to terminate the analysis.

No initial value is requested for ∆τ because it is assumed equal to MaxdTau.

Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM 61

The dissipated energy increment method is useful only when the increment direction

method fails, i.e. in the neighbourhood of high nonlinearities and sharp snap-backs lo-

cated on dissipative parts of the equilibrium path. In presence of strain-softening responses,

these behaviours usually occur when cohesive elements are highly damaged. The hybrid-

constraint methods provide an automatic procedure, based on the value of γ , to switch

from the increment direction method to the dissipated energy increment method and back.

This procedure can be resumed as:

if γ ≤ Wswitch :

Increment direction method

elif γ > Wswitch :

Dissipated energy increment method

Listing 5.1: Automatic switch criterion

where Wswitch is a threshold value set by the user. By default, Wswitch is set to unity,

which means that only the increment direction method is used in the analysis.

This strategy is simple and eective, and enables to use the dissipated energy increment

method only when it is eectively needed.

The implementation of the dissipated energy increment method is graphically illustrated

in Figure 5.6.

Root Selection Scheme

Method Increment Method

Solution 1 Solution 2

Dissipated Energies Have the Same Sign Dissipated Energies Have Diﬀerent Signs

Lowest Residual Method

Dissipated Energy is Kept

62 Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM

2. Compute the dissipated energy associated with the two solutions;

3. Check the sign of the dissipated energies:

(a) If the signs are dierent, the solution with a positive dissipated energy is kept;

(b) If the signs are the same, the lowest residual method is applied and the solution

associated with the lowest norm of the residual is kept.

To monitor the steps in which the algorithm has converged on a solution characterized

by a negative dissipated energy, the function plotIter is introduced. This function is

implemented in the le plotIter.py located in the directory io.

The function plotIter takes the following quantities as an input:

• The load factor at the last converged equilibrium point λ0 ;

• The vector of the current nodal displacements a;

• The increment of the nodal displacements at the last iteration ∆aj ;

• The iterative increments associated with the two roots of the quadratic equation da1 ,

dλ1 and da2 , dλ2 ;

• The string containing the name of the output le for the current load step.

In every corrector iteration, plotIter plots both roots of the quadratic equation on the

load-displacement diagram shown on screen. This feature enables the user to see where

the roots are located.

In addition, in every load step prescribed by the user, this function creates a text le,

here generically referred to as Step<n_step>.dat. This le has the structure shown in

Figure 5.7.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

% Step Iter Solution Displacement Load

58 0 1 2.32808361495 0.508797810819; % Last Equilibrium Solution

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

58 1 2 1.30430063369 0.166467041149; % Solution 2

% Dissipated Energy 1: -1.02209267222

% Dissipated Energy 2: 0.276081553891

% Gamma: 0.997209700631

58 2 2 0.979861308522 0.147334252466; % Solution 2

% Dissipated Energy 1: 0.393590998153

% Dissipated Energy 2: 0.15554419991

% Gamma: 0.997209700631

% Final residual: 5.97298165441e-12

% Dl: 2.0 dTau: 0.4

Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM 63

• Load factor λ0 at the last converged equilibrium point;

• Value of the displacement component monitored in graph on screen at the last con-

verged equilibrium point a0 .

• ID number of the iteration;

• Index k of the root of the quadratic equation;

• Load factor λ associated with the k -th root;

• Value of the displacement component a monitored in graph on screen, associated

with the k -th root.

When plotIter is active, between the lines associated with the dierent iterations, the

solver WeightedCrisfield writes the following data:

• The value of the weighting function γ adopted to perform the load step.

At the end of the le, when convergence is reached, WeightedCrisfiled reports the

following information:

• The norm of the residual at the converged solution;

• The step sizes ∆l and ∆τ adopted to perform the load step.

The user can prescribe in which load steps this function is called by means of the parameter

plotIter. Such parameter can be added to those required by the solver

WeightedCrisfield in the input le according to the following syntax:

where:

Boolean , is a boolean variable that enables to add or not the iterative solutions to the

graph shown on screen;

cycle_in , is the rst load step in which the function plotIter is called;

cycle_fin , is the last increment in which the function plotIter is called.

plotIter aims to improve the user's awareness when convergence is achieved on equi-

librium points associated with a negative dissipated energy. This function provides a tool

that helps the user to understand if such equilibrium points belong to a spurious part of

the equilibrium path or if they can be considered acceptable.

64 Implementation of the Hybrid-Constraint Methods in PyFEM

Chapter 6

Simulations

In this chapter, the performance of the hybrid arc-length methods is demonstrated by

means of numerical examples and compared to those of already existing methods. The

numerical tests presented in this chapter cover a wide range of structural responses, in-

cluding:

Some of the simulations here presented are performed on models characterized by strain-

softening responses that do not exhibit complex behaviours. These analyses are preliminary

tests aiming to prove the eectiveness of the hybrid-constraint algorithms also in presence

of smooth structural responses that do not require the development of specic methods.

Other tests are performed on structures characterized by highly nonlinear responses and

snap-backs, that cause ordinary arc-length strategies to fail.

The aim of the present chapter is to demonstrate the benets provided by the introduction

of the hybrid-constraint methods. Their performances are compared to those of the already

existing arc-lengths in terms of robustness and eciency, where robustness is intended as

the ability of the method not to be subject to a premature end of the simulation due to

convergence issues, and eciency is measured as the CPU time of the analysis.

It has been reported in literature that the Criseld's and the Riks' methods perform well

when the structural response is smooth and dominated by geometric nonlinearities. How-

ever, they are unsuitable to analyse problems in which material nonlinearities prevail [29].

66 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

It is known from the theory that the dissipated energy method provides excellent perfor-

mance when the structural response is dominated by dissipative phenomena and complex

behaviours, but can be inecient in case of smooth responses strongly inuenced by geo-

metric nonlinearities [44].

In this context, the hybrid-constraint methods may bridge the strengths of the already

existing methods, resulting suitable to solve a wider spectrum of problems and providing

satisfactory performance both in case of smooth responses dominated by geometric non-

linearities and complex strain-softening responses characterized by complex phenomena.

For the sake of simplicity, the family of the hybrid-constraint methods is denoted here as

H-family, and the following acronyms are adopted to denote the methods:

HRa ⇒ Hybrid-Ramm's method

HC ⇒ Hybrid-Criseld's method

DE ⇒ Dissipated Energy method

All the analyses are performed adopting a laptop computer SONY VAIO VPCF1, charac-

terized by a processor Intel Core i7 1.73 GHz with 8 cores. The simulations are run using

only 1 core.

In all the numerical examples presented in this chapter, the nite element meshes are

realized adopting four-noded nonlinear shell elements and four-noded cohesive elements.

The element dimension is determined on the basis of a preliminary convergence study.

Furthermore, it is always checked that the dimension of the cohesive elements is adequate

to correctly capture the gradients in the process zone, which is ensured if they are smaller

than the length of the process zone ld , dened as [46]:

EGI

ld = α (6.1)

T2

where α ≈ 0.884.

In all of the analyses, the tolerance adopted in the various algorithms to dene convergence

on equilibrium points is determined by means of preliminary analyses, with the aim of

preventing a premature stop of the simulations and providing sucient precision.

This example is a preliminary test, intended to demonstrate the ability of the H-family

methods to perform analyses on models that are characterized by smooth strain-softening

responses. In particular, the Double Cantilever Beam (DCB) involves the opening of a

continuous mode I crack.

The structural model is reported in Figure 6.1.

The beam is made up of two horizontal parts separated by an interface. The structure is

xed at one side and loaded with two concentrated forces F at the other side, as shown in

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 67

Figure 6.1.

The geometric features of the model are reported in Table 6.1, where a denotes the initial

crack length.

10.0 0.5 1.0

The beam is made of isotropic material with Young's modulus E = 100 MPa and Poisson's

ratio ν = 0.3. A plane strain constitutive law is assumed. The properties of the cohesive

constitutive law are reported in Table 6.2.

1.0 · 10−1 1.0 1.0 · 102

The cohesive zone is dened by the mode I and mode II fracture toughness, GI and GII

respectively, the mode I and mode II tractions corresponding to delamination onset, N

and T respectively, and the penalty stiness kd .

The nite element mesh is shown in Figure 6.2.

Cohesive Elements

The beam is discretized by means of 160 nonlinear shell elements, while 36 cohesive el-

ements are introduced in the interface between the two parts. In the initial crack, no

cohesive elements are present, but the discontinuity between the shell elements is realized

by means of multiple coincident nodes.

68 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

The leftmost nodes of the mesh are xed to meet the boundary conditions, and two nodal

forces are applied at the rightmost upper and lower nodes.

The analyses are performed adopting the parameters reported in Table 6.3, where ∆λ0 ,

∆l0 and ∆τ0 denote the initial value of ∆λ, ∆l and ∆τ .

Method ∆λ0 ∆l0 (mm) ∆lmax (mm) ∆τ0 (Nmm) ∆τmax (Nmm) ξmax Wswitch Wmemory ∆τswitch (Nmm)

HRi 1.0 − − − 1.0 · 10−2 1.0 − 1.0 −

HRa 1.0 − − − 1.0 · 10−2 1.0 − 1.0 −

HC 0.05 0.1 0.1 − 1.0 · 10−2 1.0 1.0 1.0 −

DE 0.2 − − 1.0 · 10−3 2.0 · 10−3 − − − 1.0 · 10−5

Criseld 0.01 0.01 0.1 − − 1.0 − − −

Riks 5.0 − − − − 1.0 − − −

A tolerance tol = 3.0 · 10−2 is set for all the methods. The simulations are terminated

when λ ≥ 30.

The structural response and four deformed congurations are reported in Figure 6.3.

As seen in Figure 6.3, the initial part of the curve describes a purely elastic behaviour (point

A). Here, strain concentration is observed at the crack tip, but no damage occurs. When

the load is further increased, cohesive elements start damaging leading to a pure mode

I fracture. When the load exceeds a critical value (point B), unstable crack propagation

occurs, resulting in a strain-softening behaviour. As far as the crack length increases, the

cohesive elements are progressively damaged, and the structure shows a continuous opening

(points C and D).

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 69

0.25

B

0.2

0.15

Load [N] C

0.1

D

A

0.05

0

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4

Displacement [mm]

The analysis results are presented in Figure 6.4 in terms of vertical displacement of the

upper loaded node versus the applied load for the dierent methods here investigated,

while the comparison between the HRi and the DE arc-lengths is shown in Figure 6.5.

The numerical performances of the methods are presented in Table 6.4 in terms of number of

steps, iterations and step size reductions, CPU time and maximum computed displacement.

70 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

0.25

Crisfield

Riks

Dissipated Energy

Hybrid Crisfield

0.2

Hybrid Riks

Hybrid Ramm

0.15

Load [N]

0.1

0.05

0

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4

Displacement [mm]

No. of Max.

No. of No. of CPU

Method Increm. Disp.

Increm. Iter. Time (s)

Cuts (mm)

HRi 70 193 8 150.196 3.0597

HRa 45 143 6 105.891 1.8598

HC 39 64 0 55.243 1.7729

DE 249 413 1 384.594 2.9793

Riks 110 233 2 192.148 3.9596

Criseld 50 105 4 84.753 0.8982

The gray rows denote that the analysis is terminated due to errors or convergence to spurious

congurations

The results of the analyses are compared in terms of robustness, evaluated on the basis of

the maximum displacement provided by the methods, and eciency.

The DCB is characterized by a smooth strain-softening response which does not feature

highly nonlinear phenomena such as snap-backs. As a consequence, even classic arc-length

methods are suitable to perform this simulation, while the HRa, the HC and the Criseld's

arc-lengths undergo a premature stop of the analysis.

The HRi method is the only algorithm among the H-family to end the analysis. This

solver performs 193 iterations in 70 load steps, requiring 8 increment cuts and providing a

competitive CPU time. After 70 increments, the HRi arc-length converges on a spurious

conguration.

The HRa and HC methods result in a premature stop of the analysis: the HRa arc-length

converges on spurious solutions after 45 load steps, while the HC algorithm stops because of

the computation of complex roots after 39 increments. As a consequence, the HC method

is the least robust of the H-family despite providing the lowest CPU time.

The DE arc-length is the least ecient strategy to analyse the DCB. It shows almost the

same robustness of the HRi method, but requires a small step size to avoid a premature

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 71

0.25

Dissipated Energy

Hybrid Riks

0.2

0.15

Load [N]

0.1

0.05

0

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5

Displacement [mm]

Figure 6.5: DCB: results obtained with the HRi and the DE methods

stop. As a consequence, an extremely high number of iterations and load steps is observed,

and the CPU time is the highest among the six methods investigated. After 249 increments

the DE arc-length converges on a spurious conguration.

According to the data reported in Table 6.4, the Riks' method is the most robust method,

as it reaches the highest value of displacement. This algorithm performs 233 iterations

in 110 load steps, resulting in a low CPU time. Using the Riks' method, the analysis is

terminated after 110 steps because the required step-length is below the minimum value

ξmin = 1.0 · 10−5 .

The Criseld's arc-length is the least robust method, as it provides the lowest value of

maximum displacement. The Criseld's method stops prematurely, after 50 load steps,

because of the arising of complex roots.

Due to the smooth response of the DCB, the Riks' method provides the best performance,

resulting the most robust method and leading to a relatively low CPU time. In this test,

the H-family methods do not provide signicant advantages with respect to the traditional

arc-length strategies. This result is expected, as the DCB provides a smooth response

without highly nonlinear phenomena and characterized by a strong interaction between

geometric and material nonlinearities. However, the HRi arc-length is superior to the DE

method in terms of eciency, leading to a considerable saving of CPU time.

In this example, the simulation of a pull-out test is performed. The analysis involves a

pure mode II fracture in which all the cohesive elements are damaged simultaneously.

The structural model is reported in Figure 6.6.

The structure is composed by three parts that are partially overlapped. The debonding

process develops at the two interfaces between these parts. The structure is loaded by

means of horizontal forces applied at one end of the model, and the applied load is reacted

by the constraints on the other end of the structure. The overlapped area is simply sup-

ported to avoid the arising of peeling stresses and material expansion.

The geometric features of the structure are reported in Table 6.5.

72 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

100.0 2.0 50.0

The three parts of the structure are made of isotropic material characterized by Young's

modulus E = 70000 MPa and null Poisson's ratio. Plane strain conditions are assumed.

Two cohesive zones are introduced at the interfaces between the parts. The properties of

the cohesive zones are reported in Table 6.6.

1.0 · 10−1 3.0 5.0 · 102

Cohesive Elements

The structure is modelled using 150 nonlinear shell elements and 50 cohesive elements.

The external loads are applied to the rightmost nodes of the mesh by means of nodal forces.

The horizontal displacement of the leftmost nodes are xed to react the applied loads. The

supports are realized xing the vertical displacement of the top and bottom nodes in the

central part of the model.

The parameters adopted to perform the analyses are reported in Table 6.7.

A tolerance tol = 6.0 · 10−2 is adopted for the Criseld's and the HC methods, while

tol = 3.0 · 10−2 is set for all the other algorithms.

In Figure 6.8, the structural response and four representative congurations are shown.

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 73

Method ∆λ0 ∆l0 (mm) ∆lmax (mm) ∆τ0 (Nmm) ∆τmax (Nmm) ξmax Wswitch Wmemory ∆τswitch (Nmm)

HRi 5.0 − − − 6.0 · 10−1 1.0 − 1.0 −

HRa 5.0 − − − 6.0 · 10−1 1.0 − 1.0 −

HC 10.0 10.0 10.0 − 2.0 · 10−1 1.0 0.8 0.7 −

DE 5.0 − − 5.0 · 10−2 6.0 · 10−1 − − − 1.0 · 10−6

Criseld 1.0 10.0 10.0 − − 1.0 − − −

Riks 5.0 − − − − 1.0 − − −

70

C

60

B

50

40

Load [N]

D

30

20

A

10

0

0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25

Displacement [mm]

Figure 6.8: Pull-out test: structural response and deformed congurations (displacements

10×)

The structural response of Figure 6.8 is characterized by a sharp snap-back. The initial

behaviour is linear elastic (point A). When the load is increased, all the cohesive elements

start damaging in pure mode II (point B). When the critical load is reached (point C), two

unstable mode II cracks rapidly grow, and the structure shows a strain-softening behaviour

resulting in a snap-back. Complete debonding is reached by means of a linear dissipative

74 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

equilibrium branch (curve C-D). When all the cohesive elements are completely damaged,

the load-carrying capacity of the structure is null and a residual displacement is left.

The analyses are terminated after performing a prescribed number of load steps. When

all the cohesive elements are completely damaged, the structural model becomes singular

and the methods fail to converge. As a consequence, the number of increments is chosen

to stop the simulations before reaching the complete opening of all the cohesive elements.

The results obtained with the dierent solution techniques are shown in Figure 6.9 in terms

of horizontal displacement of the loaded nodes versus the applied nodal force.

70

Crisfield

Riks

60 Dissipated Energy

Hybrid Crisfield

Hybrid Riks

50 Hybrid Ramm

40

Load [N]

30

20

10

0

0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25

Displacement [mm]

In Figure 6.10(a), the comparison is presented between the load-shortening curves obtained

with the HC and the DE methods.

70 70

Dissipated Energy Hybrid Riks

Hybrid Crisfield

60 60

50 50

40 40

Load [N]

Load [N]

30 30

20 20

10 10

0 0

0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25

Displacement [mm] Displacement [mm]

(a) Results obtained with the HC and the DE (b) Discretization provided by the HRi method

methods

Figure 6.10: Pull-out test: results obtained with the HC, the DE and the HRi methods

The performances of the methods are presented in Table 6.8, where the critical loads

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 75

No. of Crit.

No. of No. of CPU

Method Increm. Load

Increm. Iter. Time (s)

Cuts (N)

HRi 21 24 0 25.939∗ 63.5117

HRa 21 23 0 24.966∗ 63.5039

HC 27 27 0 31.613 64.8854

DE 35 37 0 38.664 64.0828

Riks 9 110 10 84.9878 65.2848

Criseld 26 36 1 36.002 64.9872

The gray rows denote that the analysis is terminated because the required step-length is

below the minimum prescribed value

In this test, the results of the simulations are compared in terms of eciency and of quality

of the discretization of the path.

All the methods, apart from the Riks' arc-length, are able to reach the end of the sim-

ulation. In particular, the Riks' method is not able to overcome the snap-back. In the

neighbourhood of the snap-back, this procedure performs several step-length reductions,

and then stops because the solver requires a step size below the minimum prescribed value

ξmin = 1.0 · 10−2 .

The HRi and the HRa methods complete the analysis in few load steps, resulting in the

lowest CPU times. However, they provide a coarse discretization of the ascending part of

the path (see e.g. Figure 6.10(b)). The HC method gives the best performance. Indeed,

this algorithm performs only 27 iterations in 27 increments resulting in a slightly higher

CPU time than the HRi and the HRa arc-lengths, but provides a precise discretization of

the equilibrium path.

On the other hand, the DE arc-length performs a higher number of load steps and itera-

tions, resulting in the longest CPU time among the methods that completed the simulation.

In this example, the Criseld's arc-length is not ecient, as it performs a relevant number

of iterations, yielding to a high CPU time.

by a snap-back, and the H-family algorithms provide excellent performance. The Riks' and

the Criseld's arc-lengths show their weaknesses: the Riks' method is not able to overcome

the snap-back, whereas the Criseld's method provides a high CPU time. The DE method

is the least ecient of the methods that ended the analysis, resulting unsuitable to perform

this simulation.

It is worth noting that the presence of a linear dissipative branch after the snap-back causes

the doubling back of the solution in the Criseld's method if the lowest residual method

is adopted as root selection scheme.

The introduction of the dissipated energy increment method in the HC algorithm com-

pletely solves the problem, providing also a tangible reduction of the CPU time.

76 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

In this test, the delamination of a L-shaped specimen subject to bending is investigated.

This model is not characterized by a severe response, but represents a realistic application

involving delaminations. The structure is shown in Figure 6.11.

A B

constant bending moment in the central part of the structure. A hinge and a support are

introduced to isostatically constrain the structure.

The geometric dimensions of the model are reported in Table 6.9.

1.5 0.5 0.15 0.05 0.5

The specimen is made up of two parts characterized by dierent thickness. The material

is isotropic, and is characterized by a Young's modulus E = 230000 MPa and a Poisson's

ratio ν = 0.25. A plane strain constitutive law is assumed. A cohesive zone is introduced

at the interface between the parts, whose properties are reported in Table 6.10.

1.0 · 10−1 3.0 5.0 · 103

To prevent penetration and damaging due to the shear component of the applied loads, the

cohesive elements marked in Figure 6.11 by the letters A and B, are modied by increasing

the penalty stiness kd , the traction corresponding to the onset of delamination in mode II

T and the mode II fracture toughness GII . The properties of these two cohesive elements

are presented in Table 6.11.

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 77

1.0 · 10−1 3.0 1.0 · 109 300.0 2.3 · 105

Cohesive Elements

In the two parts of the structure, 240 nonlinear shell elements are introduced. The interface

between the two parts is modelled using 60 cohesive elements.

With reference to Figure 6.12, the boundary conditions are applied xing both displace-

ments of the node H, and the horizontal displacement of the node S.

The simulations are performed adopting the parameters reported in Table 6.12.

Method ∆λ0 ∆l0 (mm) ∆lmax (mm) ∆τ0 (Nmm) ∆τmax (Nmm) ξmax Wswitch Wmemory ∆τswitch (Nmm)

HRi 1.0 − − − 3.0 · 10−2 1.0 − 1.0 −

HRa 1.0 − − − 3.0 · 10−2 1.0 − 1.0 −

HC 1.0 1.0 1.0 − 3.0 · 10−2 1.0 1.0 1.0 −

DE 0.1 − − 2.0 · 10−4 3.0 · 10−2 − − − 1.0 · 10−6

Criseld 1.0 1.0 1.0 − − 1.0 − − −

Riks 1.0 − − − − 1.0 − − −

A preliminary investigation suggested the use of a tolerance tol = 5.0 · 10−3 for the Cr-

iseld's, the HC and the Riks' methods, a tolerance tol = 6.0 · 10−2 for the DE arc-length

and a tolerance tol = 3 · 10−2 for the HRi and the HRa methods.

The condition λ ≥ 20 is prescribed to terminate the analyses.

In Figure 6.13, the load-displacement curve is reported together with four deformed con-

gurations.

78 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

45

40

D

35

30

C

25

Load [N]

20

15 B

10

5

A

0

0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12

Displacement [mm]

path. It exhibits an initial linear elastic behaviour (point A) followed by a nonlinear

dissipative part corresponding to the continuous growth of the delamination (points B, C

and D).

The vertical displacement of the node H versus the applied load F is reported in Figure

6.14 for the dierent solution methods.

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 79

45

Crisfield

Riks

40

Dissipated Energy

Hybrid Crisfield

35 Hybrid Riks

Hybrid Ramm

30

25

Load [N] 20

15

10

0

0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12

Displacement [mm]

The results obtained with the HRi and the DE algorithms are shown in Figure 6.15.

45

Dissipated Energy

Hybrid Riks

40

35

30

25

Load [N]

20

15

10

0

0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12

Displacement [mm]

Figure 6.15: L-shaped specimen: results obtained with the HRi and the DE methods

In Table 6.13, the numerical performances of the methods are compared in terms of number

of steps, iterations and step size reductions and CPU time. In the last column of Table 6.13,

the value of the nal displacement of the node S, computed by each method, is reported.

In this example, since almost all the methods reach the end of the analysis, the performance

of the methods is considered only in terms of eciency.

As far as the response of the structure under consideration is relatively simple, excellent

performances are expected from ordinary arc-length methods. The analysis is completed

by all of the algorithms, except Criseld's method.

As expected, the Riks' arc-length provides the best performance. This method ends the

analysis in 75.695 s, performing only 34 load steps and 42 iterations. To avoid a premature

80 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

No. of Final

No. of No. of CPU

Method Increm. Disp.

Increm. Iter. Time (s)

Cuts (mm)

HRi 91 128 0 220.166 0.1096

HRa 93 153 3 260.251 0.1097

HC 110 121 0 232.652 0.1100

DE 102 182 3 302.299 0.1100

Riks 34 42 0 75.695 0.1113

Criseld 12 21 0 35.423 0.0057

The gray rows denote that the analysis is terminated due to convergence on a spurious solution

stop of the simulation, all the other algorithms require a smaller step size, leading to a

higher number of increments and iterations, and resulting in a longer CPU time.

Among the H-family, the HRi method is the most ecient, as it performs the analysis in

220.166 s. The HC arc-length performs 110 load steps in 121 iterations without requiring

any step size reduction. Despite computing a lower number of iterations, the HC method

results in a slightly higher CPU time than the HRi arc-length. The HRa algorithm is the

worst in the H-family. It performs 93 increments in 153 iterations and requires 3 step size

reductions, providing a high CPU time.

The DE method performs 102 load steps in 182 iterations and requires 3 increment cuts,

completing the analysis in 302.299 s, which is the highest CPU time.

The only method undergoing a premature stop of the analysis is Criseld's arc-length,

which converges on a spurious conguration after 12 increments.

In this simulation, as predicted, the Riks' arc-length is the most suitable method due to

the smooth, monotonically increasing structural response. The Riks' method shows an

overwhelming superiority on all the other strategies. Among the H-family algorithms,

the HRi and the HC methods provide similar performance, while the HRa arc-length is

less ecient. All the H-family methods are more ecient than the DE arc-length, which

provides the highest CPU time.

This example conrms that, in case of smooth responses that do not show a high degree of

nonlinearity and snap-backs, the DE method is not ecient, while the H-family algorithms

still provide satisfactory performance.

In this numerical example, a mode I delamination induced by buckling is investigated in

a beam with a centrally located pre-crack of length a. The structural model is shown in

Figure 6.16.

The structure is divided in two parts and is compressed with a force per unit length

of magnitude p. An imperfection with the shape of half of a sine wave and amplitude

A = 0.005 mm is added to induce the crack opening. The model is hinged at the bottom

left corner, and is supported at the bottom right corner.

The geometric features of the structure are reported in Table 6.14.

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 81

5 1 0.1

The two parts of the structure are made of isotropic material with modulus E = 230000 MPa

and Poisson's ratio ν = 0.25. A plane strain constitutive model is adopted. At the inter-

face between the two parts, a cohesive zone is introduced. The cohesive constitutive law

is dened by means of the quantities reported in Table 6.15.

5.0 · 10−3 1.0 5.0 · 103

The numerical model includes 200 nonlinear shell elements and 50 cohesive elements.

The nite element model is compressed by means of horizontal nodal forces applied at the

leftmost and rightmost nodes. With reference to Figure 6.17, the boundary conditions are

applied by xing all the degrees of freedom of the node H and the vertical displacement of

the node S.

The simulations are performed using the parameters reported in Table 6.16.

A tolerance tol = 3.0·10−2 is adopted for the HRi and the HRa methods, and tol = 5.0·10−3

is set for the other algorithms.

The analyses are terminated after a prescribed number of load steps. This number is

determined to end the analyses after the complete opening of the delamination, near a

conguration characterized by a horizontal displacement u = 0.09 mm.

The structural response and four representative congurations are reported in Figure 6.18.

82 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

Method ∆λ0 ∆l0 (mm) ∆lmax (mm) ∆τ0 (Nmm) ∆τmax (Nmm) ξmax Wswitch Wmemory ∆τswitch (Nmm)

HRi 3.0 − − − 1.0 · 10−3 1.0 − 1.0 −

HRa 3.0 − − − 1.0 · 10−3 1.0 − 1.0 −

HC 3.0 3.0 3.0 − 5.0 · 10−4 1.0 0.8 1.0 −

DE 5.0 − − 5.0 · 10−4 2.0 · 10−3 − − − 1.0 · 10−4

Criseld 5.0 5.0 5.0 − − 1.0 − − −

Riks 2.0 − − − − 1.0 − − −

Delamination Buckling

200

B

180

160

140

120

Load [N]

100

C

80

60

40

D

20

A

0

0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025

Displacement [mm]

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 83

The structural response reported in Figure 6.18 exhibits a strain-softening behaviour char-

acterized by an extremely sharp snap-back. The response shows an initial linear elastic

part (point A). When the load is increased, strains concentrate at the tips of the initial

crack. When the critical load is reached (point B), an unstable mode I delamination starts

propagating. Delamination growth results in a progressive reduction of the load-carrying

capacity of the structure. This phenomenon leads to a strain-softening behaviour character-

ized by an extremely sharp snap-back. After crossing the critical point, a linear descending

branch of the path begins. This branch is characterized by a dissipative behaviour caused

by the continuous delamination growth (point C). When most of the cohesive elements are

completely damaged, the structure shows a constant load-carrying capacity, corresponding

to that of the two single parts of the model (point D).

The horizontal displacement u versus the total applied load is reported in Figure 6.19 for

the various numerical methods.

Delamination Buckling

250

Crisfield

Riks

Dissipated Energy

Hybrid Crisfield

200

Hybrid Riks

Hybrid Ramm

150

Load [N]

100

50

0

0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025

Displacement [mm]

In Figure 6.20, the equilibrium paths obtained with the HRa and the DE methods are

shown.

The comparison of the numerical performances of the methods is summarized in Table

6.17. The critical loads computed by the dierent methods are reported in the last column

of Table 6.17.

In this example, it is useful to focus the comparison between the various algorithms in

terms of eciency, intended as the analysis CPU time.

Despite the growth of a delamination, the response of the structure under consideration

is dominated by buckling. It follows that the nonlinearities arising in the simulations are

primarily geometric, and the Riks' and the Criseld's methods are expected to perform

well.

In this test, all the algorithms, except the Criseld's and the HC arc-lengths, complete the

analysis without errors.

As expected, the best performance is provided by the Riks' method. Despite the presence

84 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

Delamination Buckling

250

Dissipated Energy

Hybrid Ramm

200

150

Load [N]

100

50

0

0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025

Displacement [mm]

Figure 6.20: Delamination buckling: results obtained with the HRa and the DE methods

No. of Max.

No. of No. of CPU

Method Increm. Load

Increm. Iter. Time (s)

Cuts (N)

HRi 95 95 0 136.3968 196,5715

HRa 95 95 0 137.5297 196,7529

HC 79 87 0 122.8881 195,9603

DE 55 100 0 115.1555 202,1178

Riks 70 71 0 99.8005 197,8872

Criseld 28 61 2 69.1770 220,4523

The gray rows denote that the analysis is terminated due to errors or to the doubling back of

the solution

of a sharp snap-back, this procedure reaches the end of the analysis in the lowest CPU

time, 99.8005 s, performing only 71 iterations in 70 increments.

The H-family methods and the DE arc-length provide similar CPU times. The HRa and the

HRi arc-lengths demonstrate identical performances. They complete the analysis perform-

ing one iteration per load step. The HC method performs fewer load steps and provides

a slightly lower CPU time, but stops just before the end of the simulation because of the

computation of complex roots.

The DE method completes the analysis in only 115.1555 s, resulting slightly more ecient

than the H-family algorithms.

The Criseld's arc-length is not suitable to perform this simulation. After performing 28

load steps, the adoption of the increment direction method as root selection scheme causes

the doubling back of the solution, and the algorithm cannot overcome the snap-back.

Since the nonlinearities present in this test are essentially geometric, Riks' arc-length is the

most ecient method. On the other hand, the H-family methods and the DE arc-length

provide almost the same performance, resulting in similar CPU times.

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 85

thickness is investigated. The presence of variable thickness leads to a uctuating crack

propagation speed. The aim of the present simulation is to study the performance of the

arc-length methods in presence of a variable crack propagation speed.

The structural model is shown in Figure 6.21.

The structure consists of two horizontal parts separated by an interface. The two parts

are xed at one end and loaded at the other end with two concentrated forces.

The dimensions of the structure are reported in Table 6.18.

5 0.75 1.0 1.5 0.5 1.0

The two parts of the beam are made of isotropic material. A plane strain constitutive

model is adopted. The isotropic material is dened by a Young's modulus E = 70000 MPa

and a Poisson's ratio ν = 0.3. A cohesive zone is introduced at the interface between the

horizontal parts. The properties of the cohesive constitutive law are presented in Table

6.19.

5.0 · 10−1 30.0 1.0 · 104

Table 6.19: Variable thickness DCB: properties of the cohesive constitutive law

86 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

The structure is discretized using 474 nonlinear shell elements and 66 cohesive elements.

The nite element model is loaded by means of two nodal forces applied to the upper

and lower nodes of the left side of the mesh. The boundary conditions are applied by

constraining all the degrees of freedom of the rightmost nodes.

The simulations are performed using the parameters reported in Table 6.20.

Method ∆λ0 ∆l0 (mm) ∆lmax (mm) ∆τ0 (Nmm) ∆τmax (Nmm) ξmax Wswitch Wmemory ∆τswitch (Nmm)

HRi 1.0 − − − 1.0 · 10−1 1.0 − 1.0 −

HRa 1.2 − − − 1.0 · 10−1 1.2 − 1.0 −

HC 1.0 1.0 1.0 − 1.0 · 10−1 1.0 0.8 0.7 −

DE 2.0 − − 1.0 · 10−1 1.0 · 10−1 − − − 1.0 · 10−6

Criseld 1.0 1.0 1.0 − − 1.0 − − −

Riks 1.0 − − − − 1.2 − − −

To avoid a premature stop of the analyses and provide sucient precision, a tolerance

tol = 6.0 · 10−2 is adopted for all the methods.

The analyses are terminated after a prescribed number of load increments. This number

is xed to end the simulations when the vertical displacement of the loaded nodes is close

to 1.8 mm.

The load-displacement curve and the deformed congurations at dierent load levels are

presented in Figure 6.23.

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 87

25

20

15

Load [N]

C

10

D

5

A E

F

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2

Displacement [mm]

Figure 6.23: Variable thickness DCB: structural response and deformed congurations

The equilibrium path in Figure 6.23 is characterized by the presence of alternate ascending

and descending parts separated by snap-backs. The structural behaviour shows an initial

linear elastic part (point A). As the load is increased, the cohesive elements start damaging.

At the critical load (point B), an unstable mode I fracture starts propagating and the

structure shows a strain-softening behaviour. The thickness variation implies the presence

of zones of the model characterized by dierent stiness. When the crack tip is located in

a zone of thickness t1 , which is softer, the structural response results in an ascending part

88 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

of the path (points D and F). On the other hand, when the crack tip is located in a zone of

thickness t2 , which is stier, the crack propagates more rapidly and the equilibrium path

shows a snap-back followed by a descending part (points C and E).

The vertical displacement of the loaded nodes versus the applied force is reported in Figure

6.24 with regard to the results obtained with the dierent solution methods here considered.

25

Crisfield

Riks

Dissipation Based

Hybrid Crisfield

20

Hybrid Riks

Hybrid Ramm

15

Load [N]

10

0

0 0.5 1 1.5 2

Displacement [mm]

The equilibrium paths computed by means of the HC and the DE methods are compared

in Figure 6.25.

25

Dissipated Energy

Hybrid Crisfield

20

15

Load [N]

10

0

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5

Displacement [mm]

Figure 6.25: Variable thickness DCB: results obtained with the HC and the DE methods

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 89

The numerical performances of the methods are presented in Table 6.21 in terms of num-

ber of steps, iterations and step size reductions, and CPU time. The value of the nal

displacement is reported in the last column of Table 6.21.

No. of Final

No. of No. of CPU

Method Increm. Disp.

Increm. Iter. Time (s)

Cuts (mm)

HRi 102 116 0 524.870 1.8030

HRa 84 125 2 546.873 1.9093

HC 103 124 0 552.786 2.0579

DE 80 154 0 629.010 1.8599

Riks 49 117 4 484.759∗ 2.3666

Criseld 58 68 0 305.472 0.1127

The gray rows denote that the analysis is terminated due to the computation of complex roots

This test is characterized by a complex strain-softening response with snap-backs and non-

linear dissipative branches. In this case, the Riks' and the Criseld's arc-lengths are not

supposed to perform well, while the DE method and the H-family algorithms should pro-

vide more appealing performance.

In this example, all the algorithms, apart from the Criseld's arc-length, reach the end of

the simulation. For this reason, the results are analysed in terms of eciency, intended as

the CPU time of the analysis.

The Criseld's method provides the lowest CPU time, but this fact is due to the premature

stop of the simulation caused by the arising of complex roots after 58 increments.

Among the H-family algorithms, the HRi method provides the lowest CPU time, although

performing a high number of load steps. In any case, the HRi method is, in this case,

the most ecient of the class. With respect to the HRi arc-length, the HRa method com-

putes fewer increments but a high number of iterations, providing a longer CPU time. The

HC arc-length is even less ecient than the HRa method, completing the simulation in

552.786 s.

The DE arc-length performs only 80 load steps. However, it requires 154 iterations, pro-

viding the highest CPU time, 629.010 s.

The Riks' method provides the lowest CPU time among the algorithms that complete the

analysis, 484.759 s, performing 117 iterations in 49 load steps and requiring 4 step size re-

ductions. However, Figure 6.24 shows that it is not able to accurately trace the equilibrium

path after the snap-backs. For this reason, the Riks' method is not suitable to analyse this

structural model.

In this test, characterized by a response with snap-backs and highly nonlinear dissipative

branches, the H-family methods, and the HRi arc-length in particular, are the most ap-

pealing algorithms. All of the H-family methods are able to complete the analysis in a

low CPU time and accurately trace the equilibrium path. The DE arc-length results less

ecient than the H-family algorithms, leading to the highest CPU time.

The Riks' and the Criseld's methods are unsuitable to analyse this model: the former

provides a bad quality of the results, the latter leads to a premature stop of the analysis.

90 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

In this test, the opening of a perforated cantilever beam is investigated. The analysis

involves the propagation of a discontinuous mode I fracture, and is characterized by the

alternation of elastic and dissipative behaviours.

The structural model is shown in Figure 6.26.

The beam is made up of two horizontal parts separated by an interface. The interface is

discontinuous, as it is interrupted by the presence of 5 square holes. The structure is xed

at one side and loaded at the other side with two concentrated forces, as shown in Figure

6.26.

The geometric dimensions of the structure are reported in Table 6.22.

80.0 20.0 20.0

The two parts of the beam are made of isotropic material characterized by modulus E =

1000 MPa and Poisson's ratio ν = 0.3. A plane strain constitutive law is assumed. At the

interface between the two parts, a cohesive zone is introduced. The cohesive constitutive

law is characterized by the properties reported in Table 6.23.

1.0 · 10−1 1.0 1.0 · 102

Table 6.23: Perforated cantilever beam: properties of the cohesive constitutive law

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 91

Cohesive Elements

The beam is modelled by means of 288 nonlinear shell elements and 24 cohesive elements.

Six cohesive zones, each containing 4 cohesive elements, are present in the model.

The nite element model is loaded by means of two nodal forces applied to the top and

bottom rightmost nodes of the mesh. The boundary conditions are applied xing all the

degrees of freedom of the leftmost nodes.

The simulations are performed using the parameters reported in Table 6.24.

Method ∆λ0 ∆l0 (mm) ∆lmax (mm) ∆τ0 (Nmm) ∆τmax (Nmm) ξmax Wswitch Wmemory ∆τswitch (Nmm)

HRi 0.2 − − − 4.0 · 10−1 1.0 − 1.0 −

HRa 0.3 − − − 4.0 · 10−1 1.0 − 1.0 −

HC 0.2 2.0 2.0 − 4.0 · 10−1 1.0 0.8 1.0 −

DE 0.2 − − 3.0 · 10−1 3.0 · 10−1 − − − 1.0 · 10−8

Criseld 0.5 0.5 0.5 − − 1.0 − − −

Riks 1.5 − − − − 1.0 − − −

A tolerance value equal to 8.0 · 10−2 is adopted for all the methods, on the basis of a

preliminary analysis.

The condition λ ≥ 20 is prescribed to terminate the analyses.

The structural response and six deformed congurations are shown in Figure 6.28.

92 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

10

B

9

6

Load [N]

4

C

3

2

D E

1 F

A

0

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22

Displacement [mm]

Figure 6.28: Perforated cantilever beam: structural response and deformed congurations

(displacements 5×)

behaviour, showing a high degree of nonlinearity and sharp snap-backs. Each load peak

corresponds to the complete opening of a cohesive zone. Furthermore, the response provides

alternate linear elastic branches and nonlinear dissipative ones. For low values of the

applied loads, the structural behaviour is linear elastic (point A). Increasing the applied

load, a critical point (point B) is approached. When point B is crossed, an unstable mode

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 93

I fracture starts propagating in the rst cohesive zone. Crack propagation results in a

strain-softening behaviour, leading to a descending dissipative equilibrium branch (point

C).

Every time a cohesive zone is completely damaged, an ascending linear elastic part of

the path begins (point D). Along the elastic parts, the structure is progressively loaded

and strain concentration is experienced at the tip of the subsequent cohesive zone. When

the critical load of such cohesive zone is exceeded, an unstable fracture propagates. This

occurrence results in a snap-back and a descending branch in the equilibrium path (point

E).

At the crack opening onset, the applied load provides traction in the rst three interface

elements of the cohesive zone being processed, while the fourth one is compressed. When

these three elements are almost completely damaged, the load is progressively transferred

to the fourth one. The damaging process of this last element results in a secondary snap-

back (point F).

The complexity of this example enables to verify the performance of the H-family methods

in highly nonlinear problems characterized by multiple cohesive zones, alternate elastic and

dissipative parts and sharp snap-backs.

The vertical displacement of the loaded nodes versus the applied force is reported in Fig-

ure 6.29 for all the solution techniques. Highlighted are the points corresponding to the

termination of the analysis with the various methods.

The equilibrium paths obtained by means of the HC and the DE algorithms are reported

in Figure 6.30.

The numerical performances of the methods are compared in Table 6.25, in terms of num-

ber of load steps, iterations and step size reductions, CPU time and number of completely

damaged cohesive elements. In the last column of Table 6.25, the rst critical load com-

puted by each strategy is reported.

94 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

10

Dissipated Energy

9 Hybrid Crisfield

6

Load [N]

0

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22

Displacement [mm]

Figure 6.30: Perforated cantilever beam: results obtained with the HC and the DE methods

No. of

No. of Max.

No. of No. of CPU Dam.

Method Increm. Load

Increm. Iter. Time (s) Coh.

Cuts (N)

Elem.

HRi 85 103 1 200.853 11 9.7529

HRa 42 96 5 161.025 4 9.8707

HC 192 213 0 488.021 16 9.9047

DE 91 301 17 492.603 13 9.7244

Riks 26 315 19 495.476 2 9.9258

Criseld 40 54 1 104.740 0 9.8839

The gray rows denote that the analysis is terminated due to errors or convergence on spurious solutions

In this test, the performances of the algorithms are compared in terms of eciency and

robustness, intended as the number of cohesive elements that are completely damaged

during the analysis.

Since the structural response is characterized by extremely complex phenomena, the Riks'

and the Criseld's methods are not expected to perform well, whereas the DE and the

H-family arc-lengths should provide excellent performances.

None of the methods is able to completely open the beam. However, the analyses performed

with the HC, the HRi and the DE arc-lengths can be considered completed, as the number

of damaged cohesive elements is relatively high.

The most robust method is the HC arc-length, which terminates only after the complete

opening of the rst four cohesive zones and the partial damage of the fth one. This

algorithm is ecient, as it does not provide the highest CPU time despite tracing the

longest equilibrium path. It stops after 192 increments because of the computation of

complex roots. The HRi method leads to the complete damage of 11 cohesive elements.

It performs 85 load steps in 103 iterations, and requires 1 increment cut, providing a low

CPU time. However, after 85 increments it converges on an elastic unloading solution. The

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 95

HRa arc-length is the worst method in the H-family. It converges on an elastic unloading

solution after 42 load steps, when only 4 cohesive elements are completely damaged.

Good robustness properties are observed for the DE arc-length, as it leads to the complete

damage of 13 cohesive elements. However, it is not particularly ecient, as it provides

a CPU time that is slightly higher than the one resulting from the HC method, despite

stopping much earlier. After 91 increments, the DE arc-length fails to converge and stops

because the required step size is below the minimum prescribed value ∆τmin = 1.0 · 10−3 .

The Riks' method is able to cross the rst load peak, leading to the complete damage of

two cohesive elements. However, after 26 increments it fails to converge and stops because

the required step length is below the minimum prescribed value ξmin = 1.0 · 10−3 . Even

the Criseld's method is inadequate for the analysis of this problem as the solution is

interrupted after few increments.

In this simulation, the HC method gives the best results, leading to the complete damage

of the highest number of cohesive elements. In addition, it does not provide an excessively

high CPU time. The DE arc-length is less robust than the HC algorithm, but they provide

similar CPU times. The HRi method is less robust than the HC and the DE arc-lengths,

and completes the analysis in a low CPU time.

In this example, characterized by complex behaviours, the Riks' and the Criseld's methods

show their limits. These two strategies are not suitable to perform this simulation, as they

provide a premature stop of the simulations.

Since this test is characterized by alternate elastic and dissipative parts of the equilibrium

path, it is interesting to discuss the value assumed by the scalar γ (see Eq. 4.5) during

the simulation. The history of the values of γ is reported in Figure 6.31 for the analysis

performed with the HC method.

History of γ

1

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

γ

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0

0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180

Increment

The results illustrate that the parameter γ becomes close to zero in presence of elastic

behaviour and becomes close to unity when dissipative processes occur. The transition of

the weighting function γ from low to high values requires few load steps.

96 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

It follows from Figure 6.31 that, setting Wswitch = 0.8, the HC arc-length traces the

dissipative branches adopting the dissipated energy increment method as root selection

scheme. This result is conrmed in Figure 6.32, where dierent markers are used to denote

the root selection schemes used to compute the equilibrium points.

10

Incr. Dir. Meth.

9 Diss. En. Incr. Meth.

6

Load [N]

0

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22

Displacement [mm]

Adopting the parameters in Table 6.24, the dissipated energy increment method computes

two roots associated with negative dissipated energies for twelve times. As a result, the

two spurious branches circled in Figure 6.33 are traced.

2

1.8

1.6

1.4

1.2

Load [N]

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Displacement [mm]

After computing few spurious equilibrium points, the HC method has always been able to

go back to the equilibrium path and keep on tracing it correctly.

Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations 97

6.8 Conclusions

The numerical examples analysed in this chapter enable to investigate the performance of

the considered methods in a wide range of structural responses.

As expected, the Criseld's and the Riks' methods are the most suitable strategies to

analyse structures characterized by smooth strain-softening responses in which geometric

nonlinearities are dominant. However, when the structural behaviour is characterized by

strong interactions between geometric and material nonlinearities, they usually determine

a premature stop of the simulation or become inecient.

On the other hand, the dissipated energy method demonstrates excellent performance when

the structural behaviour is characterized by a high degree of nonlinearity and is dominated

by material nonlinearities. Nevertheless, this procedure becomes inecient when the re-

sponse is strongly inuenced by geometric nonlinearities.

The hybrid-constraint methods show excellent performance in presence of highly nonlinear

strain-softening responses characterized by material nonlinearities, but perform well also

in case of smooth responses showing both geometric and material nonlinearities. As a

consequence, they turn out to be general purpose methods that can be adopted to solve a

wide range of problems.

To properly choose the algorithm to adopt, with the already existing procedures, the user

must know in advance which kind of response to expect. One of the advantages provided

by the hybrid-constraint arc-lengths is that they do not require preliminary investigations

of the structural behaviour, as they are versatile strategies that provide satisfactory per-

formance both in case of geometric and material nonlinearities. Moreover, they rely on few

algorithmic parameters that can be tuned in few trials.

These considerations suggest that the adoption of the hybrid-constraint methods can sig-

nicantly improve delamination analyses making them faster and easier to perform.

98 Arc-Length Methods: Numerical Simulations

Chapter 7

Continuation Methods

In this chapter, an introduction to continuation methods is given. Firstly, an overview

of continuation methods is provided and the numerical strategies adopted in this work to

compute the critical points and to perform branch switching are discussed. Then, two

new continuation methods are presented. The rst procedure is a modied version of the

well-known Riks' continuation method, the second one is an innovative strategy based on

energy dissipation, and is specically developed for problems involving dissipative strain-

softening responses.

An overview of the topics discussed in the chapter is presented in Figure 7.1.

Continuation Methods

General Features

Numerical Methods

Preliminaries

7.1 Preliminaries

Continuation methods are a class of numerical methods to compute approximate solutions

of a system of parametrized nonlinear equations. A continuation method can be dened

as a procedure which, starting from an initial solution x0 corresponding to a value λ̃0 of

100 Continuation Methods

the parameter λ̃, produces approximations xi of x(λ̃i ) for a sequence of parameter values

λ̃1 , . . . , λ̃N in the interval of denition of the parameter.

Continuation methods have been successfully adopted in the past to perform post-buckling

analyses.

Post-buckling analyses are usually performed by means of a nonlinear simulation realized

with a traditional quasi-static technique (e.g. force-control, displacement-control or arc-

length approaches) on a model perturbed introducing an imperfection with the shape of

the rst buckling mode. This procedure is illustrated in Figure 7.2, where the dashed

line represent the bifurcation diagram of the structure and the solid line is the solution

provided by an arc-length method.

Load

Load

Displacement Displacement

(a) Primary path computed using a perfect model (b) Bifurcation branch traced using a model with

imperfection

As shown in Figure 7.2(a), the primary equilibrium path can be traced by performing a

quasi-static nonlinear analysis on a perfect (without imperfections) model. The introduc-

tion of an imperfection with the shape of the rst buckling mode in the model enables to

trace the bifurcation branch of the rst mode (see Figure 7.2(b)). When the rst critical

load is approached, this strategy helps the structure to naturally proceed along the bifur-

cation branch. However, if a mode corresponding to a higher critical load is adopted as

imperfection, the structure is likely to converge on the branch of rst buckling mode again.

Furthermore, the presence of the imperfection provides a smooth transition from the pri-

mary path to the bifurcation branch and the critical load cannot be identied precisely. It

follows that, usually, this approach does not enable to explore the complete post-buckling

behaviour of the structure and it is not able to accurately predict the critical loads without

separately performing a linear buckling analysis.

Continuation methods enable to detect both limit and bifurcation points of the structure

performing a single quasi-static nonlinear analysis on a perfect model. Moreover, they can

be applied to correctly compute the critical loads and to trace all the desired bifurcation

branches arising from the bifurcation points previously computed. In addition, if a sec-

ondary bifurcation point is detected while a primary bifurcation branch is being traced, the

method is capable of tracing the secondary bifurcation branches arising from this point,

which is impossible with ordinary techniques.

The procedure of post-buckling analyses performed with continuation methods is illus-

trated in Figure 7.3, where the bifurcation diagram of the structure is reported in dashed

Continuation Methods 101

lines, the solid lines denote the solution provided by the continuation method and the black

dots mark the critical points.

Load

Load

Displacement Displacement

(a) Primary path and critical point computation (b) Continuation on bifurcation branches

Firstly, the continuation method traces the primary equilibrium path and computes the

critical points as shown in Figure 7.3(a). Then, the method traces the bifurcation branches

starting from the bifurcation points previously computed, as reported in Figure 7.3(b).

This strategy provides a precise computation of the critical loads and the bifurcation

branches arise directly from the bifurcation points.

To introduce the continuation methods, consider the nonlinear equations governing the

equilibrium of the structure:

The idea behind continuation is that the system in Eq. (7.1) denes implicitly a curve

c of solution points that can be continuously parametrized by means of a parameter λ̃.

Dierent solutions are obtained depending on the value assumed by the parameter. Given

an initial point [a0 , λ0 ] on a solution branch, corresponding to an initial value λ̃0 of the

parameter λ̃, the continuation problem is to calculate the branch c(λ̃), which consists in

computing further solutions on the equilibrium branch until one reaches a target point.

the load factor λ (force-control approach) or the displacements of a subset of nodes

(displacement-control approach), which dene the surfaces λ = constant and ai = constant

respectively. These parametrizations fail at least in the neighbourhood of turning points,

where the surfaces become tangent to the equilibrium path and do not dene intersections

with it. Such situations are illustrated in Figure 7.4.

If the parametrization describes a surface that is always nearly orthogonal to the equilib-

rium path, an intersection between the surface and the path itself is always ensured, as

shown in Figure 7.5.

This kind of parametrization can be achieved using the arc-length of the curve s as solution

parameter [36]. Introducing a parametrization based on s, the load factor λ becomes an

additional unknown and a scalar constraint equation must be added to Eq. (7.1). The

102 Continuation Methods

Load

Load

Displacement Displacement

Load

Displacement

(

fint (a) − λf̂ = 0

H= (7.2)

g(a, λ, s) = 0

Starting from the initial solution [a0 , λ0 ], the equilibrium path c(s) may be regarded as

the solution of the initial value problem obtained by dierentiating the augmented system

in Eq. (7.2) with respect to s:

dH(c) 0

c = 0, k c0 k= 1, c(0) = [a0 , λ0 ] (7.3)

dc

where ( )0 denotes dierentiation with respect to the path parameter s.

Methods for the numerical solution of the initial value problems, such as predictor-corrector,

can be used to solve Eq. (7.3). They enable to integrate the dierential problem coarsely;

then they locally solve H(c(s)) = 0 using an iterative method as a stabilizer.

It is worth observing that predictor-corrector continuation methods are considerably dier-

ent if compared to the methods for the numerical integration of initial value problems, also

called predictor-corrector methods. Despite the similarity of these strategies, the corrector

process in the continuation methods thrives on the powerful contractive properties of the

solution set H−1 (0) for iterative methods such as Newton's method [3]. This property is not

Continuation Methods 103

valid for solution curves of general initial value problems, in fact their corrector processes

converge in the limit only to an approximating point, the approximating quality of which

depends on the step size.

The dierentiation process leads to the appearance of the derivatives with respect to the

parameter s, which is one of the main dierences between arc-length techniques and con-

tinuation methods. Furthermore, it is an essential feature of continuation methods, which

allows to easily compute critical points along the equilibrium path and to trace bifurcation

branches starting from these points. The solution of a linear system used to compute the

derivatives, and an eigenvalue decomposition of the stiness matrix performed to detect

critical points require an additional computational eort, that reduce the eciency of con-

tinuation methods with respect to their arc-length counterpart.

For this reason, although continuation methods may represent a breakthrough in post-

buckling analyses, they are not appealing if the aim of the simulation is merely the com-

putation of the nonlinear equilibrium path.

The development of a continuation algorithm to trace complete bifurcation diagrams of a

structure should consider:

• A method to detect and compute critical points, able to distinguish between limit

points and bifurcation points;

using dierent constraint equations. The performance of the method can be modied

by adopting dierent strategies to perform the predictor or the corrector. In addition, a

consistent number of procedures can be adopted to perform branch switching or to detect

critical points. As a result, it is possible to create a wide range of methods characterized

by dierent performance.

Further details about continuation methods can found in [3, 34, 40].

In this section theoretical and implementative aspects of critical points are discussed. The

strategies adopted in the present work for their detection and computation are presented.

Further information about critical points can be found in [40].

Critical points are equilibrium points in which the tangent stiness matrix K becomes

singular.

According to the theory of stability of conservative systems, the stability of an equilibrium

conguration is ensured when the quadratic form Q is positive denite, where Q is dened

as:

1

Q(a) = aT Ka (7.4)

2

Otherwise, the equilibrium conguration is unstable if Q is indenite. The transition

state between a stable and an unstable equilibrium conguration is characterized by the

appearance of a singularity in the stiness matrix. It follows that critical points mark the

stability limits of the equilibrium path.

104 Continuation Methods

The k -th critical point can be dened by means of the following generalized eigenvalue

problem:

(K − ωk I)vk = 0 (7.5)

where ωk is the k-th eigenvalue of the stiness matrix, I is the identity matrix and vk is

the k-th eigenvector of the stiness matrix.

The eigenvalues ωk are supposed to be arranged according to the sequence

ω1 5 ω2 5 · · · 5 ωN (7.6)

where N is the dimension of the stiness matrix.

When the critical state is reached, one or more eigenvalues ωk in the sequence of Eq. (7.6)

are zero.

Critical points can be divided into limit points and bifurcation points. In particular:

T

f̂ vk = 0 , Bifurcation Point (7.7b)

The condition in Eq. (7.7a) states that in the neighbourhood of a limit point the load

does not vary with respect to the path parameter, which means that limit points represent

equilibrium congurations in which the applied loads reach a local maximum or minimum.

Usually, limit points separate stable and unstable equilibria, although this is not a rule.

The presence of a limit point is usually associated with that of a snap-through, which

causes large deformations into a dierent stable conguration that is not adjacent to the

original one. In the neighbourhood of limit points a unique branch exists, so that no further

branches can be traced.

A bifurcation point is characterized by the existence of multiple equilibrium congurations

in the neighbourhood of the bifurcation point itself. Each of these solutions belongs to a

dierent equilibrium branch. Every branch is characterized by a dierent tangent, and the

bifurcation point is located at the intersection of the branches. The condition in Eq. (7.7b)

states that the equilibrium conguration associated with the k -th eigenvector is orthogonal

to the vector of the applied loads f̂ . The resulting work is consequently null.

Bifurcations can be preliminarily divided into:

• Multiple Bifurcation : the critical state is characterized by multiple null eigenvalues.

The stiness parameter is a scalar quantity that can be adopted to detect limit points [7]

and is dened as:

da T

dλ |0 f̂

Sp = (7.8)

da T

dλ f̂

where the index 0 indicates the initial state.

The current stiness parameter represents a relative measure of the incremental stiness in

the direction in which the solution is moving [7]. During the incremental solution process,

Continuation Methods 105

the stiness parameter can be easily computed substituting increments to derivatives. The

incremental expression of Sp reads:

1 T

∆λ0 ∆a0 f̂ ∆λj ∆aT0 f̂

Sp = 1

= (7.9)

T ∆λ0 ∆aTj f̂

∆λj ∆aj f̂

where ∆a0 and ∆λ0 are the increments computed in the rst load step and ∆aj and ∆λj

the total increments computed in the current load step.

From Eq. (7.9) follows that the initial value of Sp is unity. If the structure becomes 'softer'

than the initial system, i.e. if ∆aj > ∆a0 and ∆λj < ∆λ0 , Sp is less than unity. On the

other hand, if the structure has a stiening response, i.e. if ∆aj < ∆a0 and ∆λj > ∆λ0 ,

Sp becomes greater than unity. Furthermore, the current stiness parameter is positive on

stable equilibrium branches and negative on unstable branches.

An important feature of the stiness parameter is that at limit points it satises the

following condition:

Sp = 0 (7.10)

while at bifurcation points results:

Sp 6= 0 (7.11)

The condition in Eq. (7.10) is never met in practice, as the continuation procedure com-

putes only discrete equilibrium points. Nevertheless, limit points usually mark the transi-

tion between stable and unstable branches, and are detected by:

This criterion is simple and robust, and enables to distinguish bifurcation points from limit

points clearly.

Many strategies have been developed to detect and compute critical points [40, 41].

The strategy presented in this section is based on the sign of the eigenvalues of the tangent

stiness matrix.

The tangent stiness matrix K of a structure is positive denite in the initial undeformed

state. As the load is increased, in proximity of a critical state, the eigenvalues of K tend

to become lower. When a critical point is reached, at least one the eigenvalues becomes

null. If the critical point is crossed, the null eigenvalues become negative. The more the

load is increased, the more all the eigenvalues of K are shifted towards negative values.

If more than one critical point is sought during the analysis, the continuation method should

be able to monitor the sign of the lowest positive eigenvalue. Each time the lowest positive

eigenvalue undergoes a change of sign a critical point is detected. Since the eigenvalues ω

can only move towards negative values as the applied load is increased, a general approach

106 Continuation Methods

where Npos is the number of positive eigenvalues of the tangent stiness matrix K.

This strategy is simple and does not require to look for the new lowest positive eigenvalues

every time a critical point is crossed. In addition, this procedure is also fast, as it requires

only to count the positive eigenvalues of K.

Once a critical point is detected, a criterion must be applied to nd out if it is a limit

or a bifurcation point. In the present work, this distinction is performed by means of a

criterion based on the sign of the stiness parameter. This criterion can be resumed as:

if sign(Sp (si )) 6= sign(Sp (si−1 )):

Limit Point

else:

Bifurcation Point

Listing 7.1: Critical Points Distinction

where si−1 is the value of the path parameter s in the equilibrium point computed before

crossing the critical point. The criterion in Listing 7.1 is based on the fact that the stiness

parameter undergoes a change of sign when a limit point is crossed. So, if the sign of Sp

changes, the critical point is a limit point, otherwise it is a bifurcation point.

Once the critical point is classied, an approximation of the critical state must be com-

puted. In continuation methods, bifurcation points are adopted as initial solutions to trace

bifurcation branches and, as a consequence, they must be computed accurately. On the

other hand, the accuracy of limit points computation does not inuence any other result,

and a rough approximation is acceptable.

Let si−1 and si denote the values of the path parameter s in the converged equilib-

rium points before and after the critical point respectively, and let [a(si−1 ), λ(si−1 )] and

[a(si ), λ(si )] denote these two equilibrium points.

Limit points are determined by means of a linear approximation seeking for the zero

of Sp (s). Given the quantities Sp (si−1 ), Sp (si ), ∆λ = (λ(si ) − λ(si−1 )) and ∆a =

(a(si ) − a(si−1 )), the linear approximation follows as:

Sp (s) = Sp (si−1 ) + (λ(s) − λ(si−1 )) (7.15a)

∆λ

∆a

a(s) = a(si−1 ) + (λ(s) − λ(si−1 )) (7.15b)

∆λ

Setting Sp (s) = 0 in Eq. (7.15a), the critical load λ(s∗ ) = λ∗ is derived as:

∆λ

λ∗ = λ(si−1 ) − Sp (si−1 ) (7.16)

(Sp (si ) − Sp (si−1 ))

Substituting Eq. (7.16) into Eq. (7.15b), the approximation of the structural conguration

at the critical point a(s∗ ) = a∗ is obtained as:

∆a ∗

a∗ = a(si−1 ) +

(λ − λ(si−1 )) (7.17)

∆λ

This strategy is extremely fast and provides sucient precision for the purpose of the

method.

Continuation Methods 107

In order to obtain higher accuracy, bifurcation points are computed by means of an iterative

procedure.

Let x̃ and x̃0 denote the following vectors:

0

a 0 a

x̃ = , x̃ = (7.18)

λ λ0

The iterative procedure is based on the polynomial approximation of the critical point

x̃(s∗ ), and seeks the zero of ωk (s). The polynomial approximation is obtained introducing

a series expansion of ωk (s):

where si corresponds to the value of the path parameter at the converged equilibrium

solution before the critical point.

A rst estimate σ̃ ∗ of the critical state x̃∗ = x̃(s∗ ), relative to the point x̃(si ), is given by:

where:

ωk (si )

∆s∗ = (s∗ − si ) = − (7.21)

ωk0 (si )

and:

ω(si ) − ω(si−1 )

ω 0 (si ) ∼

= (7.22)

(si − si−1 )

If the approximation σ̃ corresponding to one of these two estimates of ∆s∗ is not satisfac-

tory, a new estimate is constructed relative to a point which is closer to the critical state.

Such a point can be computed as:

where η is a scale factor. To obtain high accuracy, in the present work, the value η = 0.1 is

adopted. Although this value may lead to a slow convergence, it improves the robustness

of the procedure and guarantees that convergence is always approached moving from the

equilibrium point x̃(si ) towards the critical point x̃(s∗ ).

When the new value of ωk , corresponding to the point x̃(si+1 ), is computed, a new estimate

of ∆s∗ and σ̃ ∗ is obtained. After the computation of the new approximation, the process

can be repeated and so on. If ∆s∗ approaches zero in the subsequent steps, the procedure is

convergent. According to the convergence criteria adopted in the present work, convergence

is achieved when:

∗

∆s

∆s0 ≤ tol∆s

(7.24)

where ∆s0 is the step-length adopted to start the analysis. To obtain an accurate solution,

a close tolerance value, tol∆s = 5 · 10−3 , is set by default in the algorithms proposed in

this work.

Numerical tests showed that, if one of the equilibrium points x̃(si−1 ) and x̃(si ) is close

enough to the bifurcation point, the iterative procedure might lead to a poor approximation

108 Continuation Methods

in the former case and to a high number of iterations in the latter case. To prevent these

undesirable occurrences, a preliminary check is made on x̃(si−1 ) and x̃(si ) to verify if they

approximate the critical state with sucient accuracy. One of the equilibrium solutions

x̃(si−1 ) and x̃(si ) can be adopted as critical point if satises the following condition:

∗

∆s ωk (s̄)

∆s0 ≤ tol∆s ∨ ωk (s0 ) ≤ tolω

(7.25)

In addition, numerical tests showed that sometimes, although the bifurcation point esti-

mate σ̃ ∗ is close to the exact bifurcation point x̃∗ , but the convergence criterion is not

already satised, convergence may become extremely low, requiring a high number of iter-

ations to gain negligible improvements in the approximation accuracy. To prevent this kind

of behaviour a maximum number of iterations is set. If convergence is not reached within

this number of iterations, σ̃ ∗ is set equal to the last computed approximation. In all the

performed numerical tests, the adoption of this non converged solution provided sucient

accuracy and did not compromise the functionality of the branch switching algorithm.

The application of continuation methods to nite element models containing cohesive el-

ements can result in the appearance of major problems when performing critical points

detection.

These problems are related to the fact that, when a cohesive element is damaging, it pro-

vides a negative denite elemental tangent stiness matrix, which is likely to introduce

negative eigenvalues in the global stiness matrix K. Since critical points are detected by

monitoring the number of positive eigenvalues, every time a cohesive element gets damaged,

spurious bifurcation points are likely to be identied.

If the structure is subject to small deformations which do not produce damage, this problem

does not occur. Often, this is the case of the primary equilibrium path. Otherwise, if

deformation are large enough to damage some cohesive elements, spurious critical points

are likely to be found. This is usually the case of bifurcation branches, where many spurious

secondary bifurcation points are usually computed.

Branch switching methods are used to compute an initial solution to start the continuation

procedure on bifurcation branches. This solution is dened by means of the quantities a0 ,

λ0 , a00 and λ00 . An extensive review of branch switching methods is reported in [41]. In

this section, two branch switching algorithms are described, the Normal Vector and the

Eigenvector Injection methods.

The normal vector method relies on the idea of computing an initial solution on the bi-

furcation branch moving along a direction normal to the primary path in the bifurcation

point.

Continuation Methods 109

v

ã = (7.26)

0

where v is the eigenvector of K associated with the eigenvalue that underwent a change

of sign.

An eective choice for the normal vector n is given by:

0

x̃ ∗ + µ1 ã

n= (7.27)

| x̃0 ∗ + µ1 ã |

where:

0

µ1 = −(ãT x̃ ∗ )−1 (7.28)

The initial solution on the bifurcation path can be obtained as:

where the initial step-length ∆s is computed as:

k a∗ k

∆s = (7.30)

τ̃

where τ̃ is a scale factor prescribed by the user.

Once the initial solution x̃0 is determined, the tangent vector x̃0 is computed in this point

and the continuation process is started.

The method relies on the idea of perturbing the structural conguration at the critical

state with the eigenvector vk corresponding to the eigenvalue ωk (s∗ ) = 0 [47].

The perturbation is introduced according to:

vk

a0 = a∗ + ξ (7.31)

k vk k

where ξ is a scale factor dened as:

k a∗ k

ξ=± (7.32)

τ̃

where τ̃ is a scalar variable prescribed by the user and is referred to as buckling mode scale

factor, while the sign of ξ determines which side of the bifurcation branch is traced.

The initial solution is completed by:

λ0 = λ∗ (7.33)

The tangent vector in [a0 , λ0 ] is approximated as:

vk

a00 = sign(ξ) (7.34)

k vk k

λ00 = 0 (7.35)

110 Continuation Methods

In the eigenvector injection method, the buckling mode scale factor τ̃ plays a key role.

To achieve branch switching, an appropriate value of τ̃ must be introduced. As reported

in [47], if the value assigned to τ̃ is too small, the eigenvector injection method is likely

to diverge, whereas if the value of τ̃ is too large, the perturbation is so small that the

continuation process is likely to converge on the primary path again. It follows that the

value of τ̃ must be tuned so that the magnitude of the perturbation is adequate to make

the continuation method converge on the desired bifurcation branch.

The values of τ̃ suitable to reach convergence depend on the problem at hand and on

the bifurcation branch that is analysed. No global rules exist to correctly tune the value

of τ̃ , and a trial and error strategy must be adopted. As a consequence, the program

implementing the branch switching algorithm must be able to restart the analysis of the

bifurcation branch with a dierent τ̃ . Once the range of the suitable values of τ̃ is reached,

dierent values of this parameter only inuence the rate of convergence of the iterative

process. Usually, suitable values of τ̃ fall in the range 10 ÷ 100.

When cohesive elements are present in the model, close equilibrium congurations charac-

terized by a dierent damage state may exist. When this situation occurs, dierent values

of τ̃ may lead the continuation method to jump on one of these alternative congurations.

These congurations are evidently spurious, as they cause the structure to suddenly assume

a displacement conguration far from that proper of the buckling mode being considered.

As a result, in presence of cohesive elements, more trials might be necessary to determine

a suitable value of τ̃ .

The modied Riks' continuation method is a modied version of the popular Riks' contin-

uation method relying on a constraint equation concerning exclusively the displacement

vector a and its derivative a0 .

This algorithm is based on a geometric constraint equation and is not thought to solve

delamination problems dominated by material nonlinearities.

The original Riks' continuation method [36] is based on the following constraint equation

parametrized with respect to the arc-length of the curve s:

0

g(a, λ, s) = a1T (a − a1 ) + λ01 (λ − λ1 ) − (s − s1 ) = 0 (7.36)

where [a1 , λ1 ] and [a01 , λ01 ] denote a point on the path and its tangent respectively, s1 the

value of the arc-length at this point and [a, λ] an arbitrary point on the surface dened by

the constraint equation.

The Riks' continuation method often causes the doubling back of the solution, even when

simple elastic models are analysed. An insight into the problem unveiled that this phe-

nomenon is caused by the terms of Eq. (7.36) concerning the load factor.

To solve this issue, a new continuation method is developed based on a constraint equation

in which these terms are dropped.

Neglecting the terms related to the load factor, the constraint equation of Eq. (7.36)

becomes:

0

g(a, s) = a1T (a − a1 ) − (s − s1 ) = 0 (7.37)

Continuation Methods 111

The total increments of the unknown quantities, ∆a and ∆λ, can be decomposed as:

The predictor solution is computed according to:

∆λ0 = λ1 + ∆sλ01 (7.39b)

The corrector is performed applying the Newton's method to the augmented system in Eq.

(7.2), where Eq. (7.37) is introduced as constraint equation:

(

Kda − f̂ dλ = r

(7.40)

a01 ∆a = ∆s

where r is the residual at the end of the j-th iteration, and is dened as:

Substituting Eq. (7.38) in Eq. (7.40), the iterative increments da and dλ are obtained by

means of the following expressions:

0T

∆s − a1 (∆aj + aII )

dλ = 0 (7.42b)

a1T aI

0

An insight in the terms constituting Eq. (7.42) reveals that ∆s ≈ a1T ∆aj , so that it can

be simplied as:

0T

a1 aII

dλ = − 0 (7.43b)

a1T aI

Eq. (7.43b) closely resembles the expression of dλ in the Riks' arc-length method reported

in Eq. (3.14). The only dierence between these two expressions is that the displacement

increment of the predictor step ∆a1 in Eq. (3.14) is replaced in Eq. (7.43b) by the

derivative of the displacement vector in the last converged equilibrium point a01 .

Eq. (7.43b) suggests that the constraint equation in Eq. (7.37), can be rewritten as:

0

a1T da = 0 (7.44)

Eq. (7.44) denes a hyperplane in the subspace of displacements. This hyperplane is

normal to the vector a01 , which is tangent to the above mentioned subspace. Furthermore,

Eq. (7.44) can be thought as the projection of Eq. (7.36) on the subspace of displacements.

112 Continuation Methods

When convergence is reached, the tangent vector [a0 , λ0 ] is computed. This vector is ob-

tained by solving a linear system arising from the dierentiation of Eq. (7.40) with respect

to s. The linear system is derived as:

(

Ka0 − f̂ λ0 = 0

0 (7.45)

a1T a0 − 1 = 0

As reported in [34], the vector [a0 , λ0 ] xes the direction of the tangent vector, but not its

sign. As a consequence, a criterion to x the sign of the tangent vector must be introduced.

Some criteria adopted in the past are proposed in [34].

In the present work, a dierent criterion is adopted, and it is based on the following

quantity:

∆aT a0

Dot = (7.46)

k ∆aT a0 k

This criterion states that:

if Dot < 0:

a0 = −a0

λ0 = −λ0

Listing 7.2: Tangent Sign Criterion

The criterion in Listing 7.2 forces the tangent vector [a0 , λ0 ] to point towards the direction

that forms an angle smaller than 90◦ with the last computed displacement increment ∆a.

This criterion closely resembles the increment direction method presented in Section 4.5

for the arc-length algorithms.

Critical points are detected by checking the occurrence of the following condition:

For ease of computation, the condition in Eq. (7.47) is transformed into:

where Npos is the number of positive eigenvalues of the matrix K.

When a bifurcation point is identied, the corresponding state is determined by means of

the iterative procedure described in Section 7.2.

A drawback of the method is that the step-length is determined only approximately in

the predictor. As a consequence, it is dicult to precisely control the step-length and

the procedure may provide a bad discretization of the equilibrium path. The geometric

interpretation of Eq. 7.44 suggests that in the neighbourhood of sharp snap-backs the

method may fail to converge to an equilibrium solution as the intersection between the

path and the surface represented by the constraint may not exist.

For the reasons pointed out in Section 3.3, common continuation methods, based on geo-

metric constraint equations, may result inadequate to study the post-buckling behaviour

of structures subject to strain-softening responses and involving cohesive elements. To

Continuation Methods 113

To this aim, a continuation method based on energy dissipation is introduced in this sec-

tion. To the best of the author's knowledge, this continuation method is presented here

for the rst time, and this kind of procedure cannot be found in literature.

The method makes use of the energy release rate G. The nite element approximation of

G is obtained as:

1

λȧT − λ̇aT f̂ (7.49)

G=

2

where the symbol (˙) stands for the derivative with respect to the time, d(dt) .

The propagation of a crack is associated with the dissipation of an amount of energy τ .

Let [a1 , λ1 ] and [ȧ1 , λ̇1 ] denote a point on the path and its derivative with respect to the

time respectively, and τ1 the energy dissipated in the analysis up to that point. Applying

a forward Euler discretization to Eq. (7.49), the expression of the energy dissipated in the

current step, ∆τ , is obtained as:

1

λ1 ∆aT − ∆λaT1 f̂ (7.50)

∆τ = (τ − τ1 ) =

2

From Eq. (7.50), a constraint equation for a continuation method can be derived as:

1

λ1 ∆aT − ∆λaT1 f̂ − (τ − τ1 ) = 0 (7.51)

g(∆a, ∆λ) =

2

The parameter controlling Eq. (7.51) is the dissipated energy τ . The constraint equation

in Eq. (7.51) forces the energy dissipated in the current load step to be equal to (τ − τ1 ).

The continuation procedure is performed by means of a predictor-corrector method.

Introducing the decomposition of Eq. (7.38), the predictor step is computed according to:

∆λ0 = λ1 + ∆τ λ01 (7.52b)

In the corrector, the application of the Newton's method to the augmented system in Eq.

(7.2), introducing Eq. (7.51) as constraint equation, leads to the solution of the following

linearised system:

(

Kda − f̂ dλ = r

1 1 T

(7.53)

2 λ1 ∆a − 2 a1 ∆λ = ∆τ

After the substitution of Eq. (7.38) into Eq. (7.53), the linearised system can be repre-

sented in matrix form as:

K −f̂ da r

= (7.54)

hT w dλ −g1

The iterative increments da and dλ are computed from Eq. (7.54) applying the Sherman-

Morrison formula [44]:

(hT dI + g1 )dII

da dI 1

= − T (7.55)

dλ −g1 h dII − w −hT dI − g1 (1 + hT dII − w)

114 Continuation Methods

where the terms dI and dII are the solutions of the following linear systems:

When convergence is reached, the tangent vector [a0 , λ0 ] is obtained as the solution of the

following linear system:

(

Ka0 − f̂ λ0 = 0

1 0T 1 0 T

(7.57)

2 λ1 a f̂ − 2 λ a f̂ − 1 = 0

The system in Eq. (7.57) arises from the dierentiation of Eq. (7.53) with respect to τ .

The sign of the tangent vector is xed adopting the criterion in Listing 7.2

Critical points are identied by checking the occurrence of the following condition:

For ease of computation, the condition in Eq. (7.58) is turned into:

where Npos is the number of positive eigenvalues of the tangent stiness matrix.

This strategy based on the dissipated energy constraint works only when a certain amount

of energy is being dissipated. If the structural response is elastic, no energy is dissipated and

the constraint equation of Eq. (7.51) is not able to converge to an equilibrium solution.

As a consequence, a dierent strategy must be applied to trace the elastic parts of the

equilibrium paths.

In the present work, the dissipated energy continuation method adopts the equations of the

modied Riks' continuation method to analyse elastic branches. When energy dissipation

occurs, branch continuation and critical points detection are performed by means of the

dissipative equations arising from the dissipated energy constraint, whereas, when the

structure behaves elastically, they are performed by means of modied Riks' continuation

method.

The adoption of these two strategies leads to the presence of a double parametrization, as

the modied Riks' continuation method is parametrized with respect to the arc-length s,

and the dissipated energy constraint equation relies on the parameter τ .

The switch between the two strategies is accomplished by means of two dissipated energy

threshold values: ∆τswitch and ∆τsback . The analysis is started adopting the modied Riks'

continuation method to trace the rst load steps, which are always elastic. When the energy

dissipated in the current step exceeds ∆τswitch , the solution strategy is switched from

the modied Riks' continuation method to the dissipative method. When the dissipative

method is active, if the energy dissipated in the current step falls below ∆τsback , the solution

strategy is switched back to the modied Riks' continuation method.

This switch criterion is resumed as:

if ∆τ ≥ ∆τswitch :

Dissipative Method

elif ∆τ < ∆τsback :

Modified Riks’ Continuation Method

Listing 7.3: Switch Criterion

Continuation Methods 115

Drawbacks of this method are the adoption of two solution strategies and the need for a

criterion to switch from one strategy to the other. Furthermore, the procedure relies on

two dierent parameters. The presence of a double parametrization may lead to problems

in the computation of critical points. In fact, if a critical point is detected between two

equilibrium points that are computed by means of dierent strategies (e.g. one adopting

the modied Riks' continuation method and the other adopting the dissipative procedure),

the algorithm is likely to compute an erroneous critical point.

116 Continuation Methods

Chapter 8

Implementation of Continuation

Methods in PyFEM

In this chapter the implementation of the continuation methods is discussed with regard

to the modied Riks' and the dissipated energy versions of the method.

For each procedure, the classes and the related methods are presented in details and the

working of the algorithm is described.

As the modied Riks' continuation method is a solver, it is located in the block <SolverName>.py

of the PyFEM's architecture. This block is illustrated in Figure 5.1.

The implementation of the modied Riks' continuation method regards the two following

les:

RiksBranchContinuation.

The class RiksContinuation is implemented in the le RiksContinuation.py in

the directory solvers. This class contains the following methods:

printIteration and printConverged, which are used to plot the critical points and

to print analysis information, and the method sign which implements the sign function.

The architecture of RiksContinuation.py is illustrated in Figure 8.1.

118 Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM

RiksContinuation.py

RiksContinuation

RiksContinuation.run(props, globdat)

Predictor

Corrector

Store Results

Tangent Computation

- Check Tangent Vector Sign

- Compute N_pos CriticalPointsComputation

- Compute Stiffness Parameter

- Estimate Critical Point

Update Step-Length

the Analysis

RiksBranchContinuation

Terminate Analysis

Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM 119

The method RiksContinuation.run performs branch continuation and critical points

detection on the primary equilibrium path, according to the following steps:

2. Corrector : solves the system in Eq. (7.40) by means of the Newton-Raphson method.

Convergence is reached when the norm of the residual (error) falls below a pre-

scribed tolerance (tol);

3. Store Results : updates the instance globdat storing the data associated with the

equilibrium point determined in the corrector;

4. Tangent Computation : computes the tangent vector solving the linear system in Eq.

(7.45), and determines its sign adopting the criterion resumed in Listing 7.2;

number of positive eigenvalues Npos and the stiness parameter Sp in the equilibrium

point determined in the corrector, and gives a rst estimate of the critical point;

6. Store Eigenproblem Results : stores the variables computed in the step Critical Points

Detection for their use in the subsequent step;

7. Update Step-Length : updates the step-length ∆s according to the procedure de-

scribed in Section 4.6;

that terminate the analysis are met. If no conditions are satised another load step

is performed, otherwise the analysis is terminated.

In the Critical Points Detection step, if the new value of Npos is lower than its previous

value, a critical point is detected between the two last computed equilibrium points. When

a critical point is detected, the function CriticalPointsComputation is called to

compute the critical point.

When the conditions to terminate the analysis are met, before ending the analysis, if

at least one bifurcation point is detected, RiksContinuation.run initializes the class

RiksBranchContinuation which enables to trace bifurcation branches.

The method CriticalPointsComputation is implemented to compute the critical

points according to the criteria and the procedures described in Section 7.2.

The structure of CriticalPointsComputation is illustrated in Figure 8.2.

The method performs a check of the sign of the stiness parameters Sp and Sp_old

relative to the equilibrium points before and after the critical point:

• If the signs of the stiness parameters are dierent, the critical point is a limit point,

and is approximated by means of a linear interpolation;

• If the signs of the stiness parameters are the same, the critical point is a bifurcation

point.

120 Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM

if sign(Sp) != sign(Sp_old) :

Stiﬀness Parammeter Sp Limit Point

if sign(Sp) == sign(Sp_old) :

Bifurcation Point

else :

|Ds_crit/Ds_0| < toll_Ds : |Ds_crit/Ds_0| < toll_Ds :

in the Equilibrium Point in the Equilibrium Point Iterative Procedure

After It Before It

globdat.CriticalPoints

<analysisName>CritPoints.dat

Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM 121

7.2. Denoting with si−1 and si the values of the arc-length associated with the equilibrium

points before and after the bifurcation, the following steps are implemented:

1. If |ωk (si−1 )| < |ωk (si )|, and ωk (si−1 ) satises the condition in Eq. (7.25), the bifur-

cation point is set equal to the equilibrium point associated with si−1 ;

2. If |ωk (si−1 )| > |ωk (si )|, and ωk (si ) satises the condition in Eq. (7.25), the bifurca-

tion point is set equal to the equilibrium point associated with si ;

3. If the previous conditions are not met, the iterative procedure described in Section

7.2 is entered.

If the iterative procedure is not entered, the data related to the bifurcation point are taken

from the initial estimate computed during the Critical Point Detection step performed by

RiksContinuation.run.

If the critical point is a bifurcation point, the related data are stored into the dictionary

globdat.CriticalPoints. This dictionary is a database which stores the data related

to the bifurcation points by means of the following items:

• nCr: a scalar representing the total number of critical points detected during the

analysis;

• nBif: a scalar representing the total number of bifurcation points detected during

the analysis;

point;

bifurcation point;

point;

tion point;

0

• lamDotCrit: a vector containing the critical load factor derivative λ ∗ at each

computed bifurcation point;

0

• aDotCrit: an array containing the critical displacements derivative a ∗ at each

computed bifurcation point;

• v: an array containing the buckling mode associated with the critical point (if the

critical point makes the eigenvalue ωk vanish, v is the k-th eigenvector vk of K);

arise from the eigenvalue problem at each computed bifurcation point;

• Lambda: an array containing the vector with the eigenvalues of K at each bifurcation

point;

122 Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM

globdat.damageDict associated with the damage state of the structure at each

bifurcation point;

globdat.deltaMaxDict associated with the damage state of the structure at each

bifurcation point.

a result, when bifurcation branches are traced, the analysis can be restarted from the

bifurcation points after tracing the whole primary equilibrium path.

a le here generally referred to as <analysisName>CritPoints.dat, where

<analysisName> is the name of the analysis input le.

When at least one bifurcation point is detected, the method RiksContinuation.run

initializes the class RiksBranchContinuation. This class is contained in the le

RiksBranchContinuation.py in the directory utils. The class

RiksBranchContinuation performs the continuation procedure on bifurcation branches.

In addition, it detects and computes the secondary critical points, and traces the secondary

bifurcation branches.

The class RiksBranchContinuation contains the following methods:

• run: enables to set up the analysis of the bifurcation branches and performs branch

continuation and secondary critical points detection;

curve plotted on screen, writes the plotted equilibrium point to a text le and writes

the .vtu and .pvd les containing the contour data of the structure;

the critical points on the graph shown on screen.

printIteration and printConverged, which are used to plot the critical points on

the graph plotted on screen and to print analysis informations, and the method sign

which implements the sign function.

The architecture of RiksBranchContinuation.py is illustrated in Figure 8.3.

Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM 123

RiksBranchContinuation.py

RiksBranchContinuation

RiksBranchContinuation.run( props, globdat, ... )

analysis and Create Vector bif

for i in bif :

to Adopt as Imperfection

- NormalVect

- EigInjection

Branch Continuation

- Predictor

- Corrector

- Tangent Computation

- Critical Point Detection

- Critical Point Computation Using

the Function CriticalPointsComputation

- Step-Length Update

BranchPlot

of the Bifurcation Branch

<analysisName>Branch<i>_<ind>.dat

qual = 1

If Results Quality

is Satisfactory

qual = 0 With Diﬀerent

Parameters

If Secondary Bifurcation

Points Are Detected

branch = 1

124 Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM

The continuation process on bifurcation branches starts when RiksContinuation.run

calls the method RiksBranchContinuation.run. This method takes the following

quantities as an input:

• The string SwitchMethod which prescribes the branch switching method to adopt;

• The value of the boolean variable branch, which enables to change some features

of the method when secondary bifurcation branches are traced (branch = 1 traces

secondary bifurcation branches);

• The maximum number of increments prescribed in the input le of the analysis;

The method run is based on two nested for loops. The outer loop is performed on the

bifurcation points, and it is based on the index i. The inner loop is performed on the

elements of the vector [1, −1], and it is based on the index k.

The inner loop works like a sign function. Multiplying the perturbation introduced in

the branch switching algorithm by k = 1 or k = −1, the direction of the perturbation is

changed. This procedure enables to trace both sides of the bifurcation branch.

The method run works like an interactive program, and asks the user to enter the following

inputs in order to set up the analysis:

• Indices of the bifurcation points to be analysed (this feature enables to trace the

bifurcation branches associated only with some of the computed bifurcation points);

These quantities entered by the user are used to create a vector called bif. The vector

bif has as many components as is the number of the bifurcation branches to trace. The

components of bif are the indexes entered by the user in the second input request. In the

outer loop, the index i is set equal to the components of the vector bif.

When the outer loop is entered, the program asks the user to enter two more quantities:

• The index of the buckling mode to use as imperfection (only when the eigenvector

injection method is used as branch switching algorithm).

Finally, the program asks the user to enter the number of load steps to perform along the

side of the branch that is going to be traced.

When all the requested quantities are provided by the user, the analysis is restarted from

Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM 125

the i-th bifurcation point. The data corresponding to this bifurcation point are loaded

from the dictionary globdat.CriticalPoints.

The continuation process starts with the computation of an initial solution on the branch

by means of the branch switching algorithm. In RiksBranchContinuation both the

branch switching methods described in Section 7.3 are implemented. The branch switching

method used in the analysis is prescribed in the input le of the analysis by means of the

string parameter SwitchMethod. Two string values can be assigned to SwitchMethod:

Once the initial solution is computed, a while loop is entered to perform the continuation

procedure. Every cycle in the while loop performs a load step. The loop is exited only

when the number of performed cycles equals the prescribed number of load steps, or when

the number of step-length reductions exceeds a prescribed number. This last condition was

introduced to prevent the analysis from a high number of step-length reductions, which

would result in a signicant waste of time. The maximum number of step-length reductions

is set to 4 by default.

In the while loop, the continuation process is performed adopting exactly the same strat-

egy described for the method RiksContinuation.run, which results in the following

steps:

1. Predictor

2. Corrector

3. Store Results

4. Tangent Computation

5. Critical Points Detection

6. Store Eigenproblem Results

7. Update Step-Length

Bifurcation branch analyses lead to results that may strongly depend on the value of the

buckling mode scale factor τ̃ . If the adopted value of τ̃ is not appropriate for the bifurcation

branch under consideration, the solution procedure may either converge on the primary

equilibrium path or diverge.

For this reason, RiksBranchContinuation contains a feature that makes it possible to

repeat the analysis of the bifurcation branch adopting a dierent value of τ̃ , performing a

dierent number of load steps and adopting a dierent buckling mode as imperfection.

This feature is interactive. At the end of the branch analysis the user is asked to enter the

value of the boolean variable qual:

• If the user enters 1, the analysis of the bifurcation branch is repeated and the new

analysis parameters are requested;

• If the user enters 0, the analysis goes forward, and the analysis parameters to compute

the next bifurcation branch must be provided.

126 Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM

If secondary bifurcation points are detected and the user sets qual = 0, before tracing a

new bifurcation branch, RiksBranchContinuation sets branch = 1 and the analysis

of secondary bifurcation branches arising from the analysed primary bifurcation branch is

started.

To analyse secondary bifurcation branches, the function RiksBranchContinuation is

called recursively.

Secondary critical points computation is performed by means of the function

CriticalPointsComputation. This function is called every time the new value of

Npos is lower than the previous one. The data related to secondary bifurcation points are

stored into a dictionary called globdat.SecondaryCriticalPoints. This dictionary

has the same structure of globdat.CriticalPoints. The data stored in

globdat.SecondaryCriticalPoints completely dene the critical state and it is

used to restart the analysis when secondary bifurcation branches are traced.

In addition, CriticalPointsComputation writes the critical loads λ∗ to a le. The

le name here is generally referred to as

<analysisName>CritPointsBranch<i>_<ind>.dat, where <analysisName> is

the name of the analysis input le, while ind = 1 if k = 1 and ind = 2 if k = −1.

After updating the step-length, RiksBranchContinuation calls the function

BranchPlot which plots the bifurcation branch on the graph plotted on screen, and

writes the plotted data to a text le. The text le is called

<analysisName>Branch<i>_<ind>.dat if primary bifurcation branches are being

traced, and <analysisName>SecondaryBranch<i>_<ind>.dat if secondary bifur-

cation branches are analysed, where <analysisName> is the name of the analysis input

le, while ind = 1 if k = 1 and ind = 2 if k = −1. In addition, BranchPlot creates the

.vtu and .pvd les containing the contour data of the bifurcation branch analysis.

The solution strategies adopted to implement the method have some limitations. Firstly,

it is assumed that the eigenvalues of K are all well separated, meaning that multiple or

clustered bifurcations cannot be handled.

Another limit is that the adoption of the eigenvector injection branch switching algorithm

does not enable to trace the bifurcation branches of a buckling mode introducing an initial

imperfection with the shape of a dierent mode. The modied Riks' continuation method

converges always to the bifurcation branch associated with the buckling mode introduced

as imperfection. This fact is explained by the constraint equation (7.44), which concerns

only displacements and not the load factor increment ∆λ. As a consequence, the load

factor λ is free to grow indenitely, while the displacement increment is bounded by Eq.

(7.44). The method is more likely to let λ grow to the critical load associated with the

mode used as imperfection rather than letting the structure undergo a large displacement

to match the shape of a dierent mode.

Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM 127

Method

The dissipated energy continuation method is a solver and is located in the block

<SolverName>.py of the PyFEM's architecture, which is reported in Figure 5.1.

This algorithm is implemented in the two following les:

DissEnBranchContinuation.

The class DissEnContinuation is implemented in the le DissEnContinuation.py

located in the directory solvers. This class contains the following methods:

The class DissEnContinuation contains also the utility methods getData2, printHeader,

printIteration and printConverged, which are used to plot the critical points on

the graph plotted on screen and to print analysis information, and the method sign which

implements the sign function.

The architecture of DissEnContinuation.py is illustrated in Figure 8.4.

The method DissEnContinuation.run performs branch continuation and critical points

detection on the primary equilibrium path. It is based on the following steps:

1. Predictor : performs the predictor step according to Eq. (7.52) or Eq. (7.39);

2. Corrector : solves the system in Eq. (7.53) or Eq. (7.40) using the Newton-Raphson

method. Convergence is achieved when the norm of the residual (error) is below

the prescribed tolerance (tol);

3. Store Results : updates the instance globdat storing the data associated with the

equilibrium point computed in the corrector;

4. Compute Dissipate Energy : determines the amount of energy dissipated in the current

step;

5. Tangent Computation : computes the tangent vector solving the linear system in Eq.

(7.57) or in Eq. (7.45) and xes its sign using the criterion reported in Listing 7.2;

the number of positive eigenvalues Npos and the stiness parameter Sp in the equi-

librium point provided by the corrector, and generates a rst estimate of the critical

point;

128 Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM

7. Store Eigenproblem Results : stores the variables computed in the step Critical Points

Detection for their use in the subsequent step;

8. Update Method : determines the method to be used in the subsequent step and up-

dates the step-length;

prescribed to terminate the analysis are satised. If no conditions are met another

load step is performed, otherwise the analysis is terminated.

The equations adopted to perform the steps Predictor, Corrector, Tangent Computation

and Update Method vary according to the solution strategy that is activated. These equa-

tions can be either those proper of the modied Riks' continuation method, or those derived

from Eq. (7.51).

In the Critical Points Detection step, a critical point is detected between the two last com-

puted equilibrium points when the new value of Npos is lower than the one at the previous

step. When a critical point is detected, the function CriticalPointsComputation is

called to compute the critical point.

In the step Method Update, the switch criterion reported in Listing 7.3 is applied. The

method is set by means of the string variable method. The variable method can assume

only two values, corresponding to the two available solution strategies:

’RiksContinuation’ and ’nrg-controlled’.

The analysis is started setting method = ’RiksContinuation’ by default. When

the dissipated energy exceeds the threshold value ∆τswitch , prescribed in the variable

SwitchEnergy, the algorithm sets method = ’nrg-controlled’. When the dis-

sipative method is active and the dissipated energy falls below the threshold value ∆τsback ,

prescribed in the variable SwitchbackEnergy, the algorithm sets

method = ’RiksContinuation’.

After setting the method for the subsequent step, the step-length is updated according to

the strategy described in Section 4.6. When the equations of the modied Riks' method

are active, the step-length ∆s is updated, whereas, if the dissipative method is active, the

algorithm updates the step size ∆τ .

When the conditions to terminate the analysis are met, before ending the analysis, if at least

one bifurcation point is detected, DissEnContinuation initializes the class contained

in DissEnBranchContinuation.py, which enables to trace bifurcation branches.

The method CriticalPointsComputation is called to compute the critical points.

The structure of the function CriticalPointsComputation implemented in

DissEnContinuation is identical to the one illustrated in Figure 8.2 for the modied

Riks' continuation method.

The only dierence between the functions CriticalPointsComputation implemented

in RiksContinuation and DissEnContinuation is that in the latter, if method is

set to ’nrg-controlled’, the convergence criterion in Eq. (7.24) reads:

∗

∆τ

∆τ0 < tol∆s

(8.1)

Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM 129

parameter τ at bifurcation points are stored into a vector marked with the label tau.

When at least one bifurcation point is detected, before ending the analysis, the method

DissEnContinuation.run initializes the class DissEnBranchContinuation con-

tained in the le DissEnBranchContinuation.py located in the directory utils.

This class performs branch continuation on bifurcation branches, secondary critical points

computation and enables to trace secondary bifurcation branches.

The class DissEnBranchContinuation contains the following methods:

• run: sets the analysis of bifurcation branches up and provides branch continuation

and secondary critical points detection;

• BranchPlot: adds the bifurcation branches to the graph plotted on screen, writes

the plotted data to a text le and writes the .vtu and .pvd les containing the

contour data of the structure;

the graph generated on screen.

The class DissEnContinuation contains also the utility methods getData2, printHeader,

printIteration and printConverged, which are used to plot the critical points on

the graph and to print analysis informations, and the method sign that implements the

sign function.

The architecture of DissEnBranchContinuation.py is identical to the one illustrated

in Figure 8.3 for the class RiksBranchContinuation.

The method run of the class DissEnBranchContinuation takes the following quan-

tities as an input:

• The threshold value ∆τswitch to perform the switch to the dissipative method;

adopt;

• The value of the boolean variable branch, which enables to change some features

of the method when secondary bifurcation branches are traced (branch = 1 traces

secondary bifurcation branches);

130 Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM

• The maximum number of increments prescribed in the input le of the analysis;

actly in the same way. The only dierence between them is that

DissEnBranchContinuation performs branch continuation adopting the double so-

lution strategy based on the modied Riks' continuation method and on the dissipative

method. As a consequence, DissEnBranchContinuation contains in the branch con-

tinuation block, reported in Figure 8.3, the equations of both strategies. In addition, before

realizing a new load step, DissEnBranchContinuation performs the Method Update

step described for the method DissEnContinuation.run.

The computation of the secondary critical points is performed by means of the method

CriticalPointsComputation. This function is called every time the new value of

Npos is lower than its previous value. The data related to secondary bifurcation points are

stored into a dictionary called globdat.SecondaryCriticalPoints. This dictionary

has the same structure of globdat.CriticalPoints. The data stored in

globdat.SecondaryCriticalPoints completely dene the critical state and is used

to restart the analysis when secondary bifurcation branches are traced.

In addition, CriticalPointsComputation writes the critical loads λ∗ to a le here

generally referred to as

<analysisName>CritPointsBranch<i>_<ind>.dat, where <analysisName> is

the name of the analysis input le, while ind = 1 if k = 1 and ind = 2 if k = −1.

After updating the step-length, DissEnBranchContinuation calls the function

BranchPlot. This function plots the bifurcation branch on the graph shown on screen,

and writes the plotted data to a text le. The text le is called

<analysisName>Branch<i>_<ind>.dat if primary bifurcation branches are being

traced, and <analysisName>SecondaryBranch<i>_<ind>.dat if secondary bifur-

cation branches are being traced, where <analysisName> is the name of the analysis

input le, while ind = 1 if k = 1 and ind = 2 if k = −1. In addition, BranchPlot creates

the .vtu and .pvd les containing the contour data of the bifurcation branch analysis.

Due to the solution procedures implemented in the algorithm, this method has some lim-

itations. In particular, the strategy adopted to perform critical points detection assumes

that the eigenvalues of K are well separated, which implies that the procedure cannot

handle multiple or clustered bifurcations.

Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM 131

DissEnContinuation.py

DissEnContinuation

DissEnContinuation.run(props, globdat)

Predictor

Corrector

Store Results

Tangent Computation

- Check Tangent Vector Sign

- Compute Eigenvalues of K

- Compute N_pos CriticalPointsComputation

- Compute Stiffness Parameter

- Estimate Critical Point

Method Update

if dissnrg > SwitchEnergy else:

the Analysis

DissEnBranchContinuation

Terminate Analysis

132 Implementation of Continuation Methods in PyFEM

Chapter 9

Simulations

In this chapter, the performance of the continuation methods developed in Chapter 8 are

demonstrated by means of numerical examples. Firstly, two tests are presented to validate

the modied Riks' continuation method. Then, two examples are performed to compare

the performance of the two methods here developed.

In the rst part of the chapter, two examples are presented to validate the modied Riks'

continuation method. The tests are performed on elastic models characterized by the

following types of bifurcation points [40]:

• Supercritical bifurcation point : both sides of the bifurcation branch are locally stable

equilibrium paths characterized by increasing values of the load factor λ;

stable solutions corresponding to decreasing values of the load factor λ.

In the second part of the chapter, two numerical examples demonstrate the ability of the

proposed continuation methods to trace the bifurcation diagram of structures undergoing

delamination phenomena. The simulations are performed on models containing cohesive

elements and characterized by damage processes in their post-buckling response.

The methods are compared in terms of:

• CPU time;

It is worth noting that the ability of the methods to trace the bifurcation branches without

diverging or jumping on spurious congurations depends on the choice of the parameter

τ̃ . Suitable values of this parameter are sought applying a trial and error strategy. If

134 Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations

the continuation method is suitable to analyse the problem under consideration, τ̃ can be

chosen in a wide range of values and few trials are necessary.

When considering the CPU time, it should be taken into account that the algorithms are

interactive, and the simulation time is inuenced by the user.

Since the modied Riks' continuation method is based on a geometric constraint, it is

expected to perform well when the post-buckling response is dominated by geometric non-

linearities. On the other hand, the dissipated energy continuation method relies on a

dissipative constraint, and it is expected to be more adequate when the post-buckling

response is inuenced by dissipative phenomena or nonlinear strain-softening behaviours.

For the sake of simplicity, the continuation methods are denoted here as:

DE-CM ⇒ Dissipated energy continuation method.

A laptop computer SONY VAIO VPCF1, characterized by a processor Intel Core i7 1.73

GHz with 8 cores, is adopted to perform all the analyses. Only 1 core is used to run the

simulations.

The nite element meshes are realized using four-noded nonlinear shell elements and four-

noded cohesive elements.

A preliminary convergence study is performed to determine the dimension of the elements.

The length of the cohesive elements is assigned in order to be smaller than the length of

the process zone ld dened in Eq. (6.1).

The tolerance adopted to prescribe convergence on the equilibrium solutions and on the

critical points results from a preliminary study, and is chosen to provide sucient accuracy

and prevent the premature end of the simulations.

The modied Riks' continuation method is validated by means of two examples: the Euler

buckling of a cantilever beam and the buckling of a 1 DOF truss-spring system.

Euler Buckling

In this example, the Euler buckling of a cantilever beam is analysed. From a theoretical

point of view, the structural behaviour is characterized by a supercritical bifurcation point.

The structure is shown in Figure 9.1.

Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations 135

The beam is xed at the left side and is axially compressed at the right end by means of

two concentrated forces F .

The geometric features of the structure are reported in Table 9.1.

l (mm) h (mm)

10 1

The beam is made of isotropic material characterized by a Young's modulus E = 230000 MPa

and a Poisson's ratio ν = 0.25. A plane strain constitutive law is adopted.

The nite element mesh is reported in Figure 9.2, and consists of 10 nonlinear shell ele-

ments.

The boundary conditions are applied xing all the degrees of freedom of the leftmost

nodes, while the structure is loaded by means of two compressive nodal forces applied at

the rightmost nodes.

The analysis performed on the perfect model by means of the modied Riks' continuation

method is compared to the solutions provided by Criseld's arc-length. The geometry of

the models is perturbed by adding imperfections with the shape of the rst buckling mode.

As far as the Criseld's method cannot trace all the bifurcation branches in a single run,

two simulations are performed where the imperfection is introduced with opposite signs.

The analysis results are shown in Figure 9.3.

Euler Buckling

1500

1000

Load [N]

500

Crisfield

Riks Continuation

0

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Displacement [mm]

Figure 9.3 shows the horizontal displacement u of the bottom right node versus the total

applied load 2F . The results provided by the two strategies are identical, demonstrating

the correct implementation of the modied Riks' method and its ability to trace stable

bifurcation branches arising from supercritical bifurcation points.

136 Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations

In this example, the buckling of a 1 DOF model formed by a rigid truss and a linear spring

is analysed. The response is characterized by an unstable bifurcation branch arising from

a subcritical bifurcation point. The structural model is reported in Figure 9.4.

stiness kG = 100 Nmm−1 . The truss is hinged at the left end and compressed by a unit

force P applied at the right end. The spring is connected to the right end of the truss and

is free to translate horizontally, providing only a vertical reaction.

For this problem the analytical solution can be easily derived. In particular, the load P is

related to the deection angle θ by:

P ∗ = P (0) = kg l (9.2)

The nite element model is realized by means of a truss element with unit cross section

and a linear spring element. To simulate a rigid truss, the modulus is taken equal to

E = 5 · 109 MPa.

The constraints are applied xing all the displacements of the left node of the truss and

the vertical displacement of the upper node of the spring. The model is loaded by means

of a horizontal nodal force applied at the right node of the truss.

The results obtained with the modied Riks' continuation method on a perfect model are

compared to the analytical solution of the problem in Figure 9.5.

Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations 137

1500

Analytical Solution

Riks Continuation

1000

500

Load [N]

0

−500

−1000

−3 −2 −1 0 1 2 3

Deflection θ [rad]

The numerical results obtained by means of the modied Riks' continuation method are

identical to the analytical ones, demonstrating that the algorithm is implemented correctly

and that it is able to trace unstable bifurcation branches arising from subcritical bifurcation

points.

The performance of the two new continuation methods presented in this work are compared

by means of two numerical tests on models containing cohesive elements and characterized

by post-buckling responses involving material damage. The rst example concerns a beam

with an embedded cohesive layer, while, in the second one, an arch with an embedded

cohesive layer is analysed. In both cases the bifurcation diagram of the structure is traced.

In this example, the bifurcation diagram of a beam with an embedded cohesive layer is

traced. In the bifurcation diagram, the branches associated with the rst four buckling

modes are sought. The structural model is shown in Figure 9.6.

crack of length a is present in the central part of the beam. The structure is hinged at

the bottom left vertex and supported at the bottom right one. A compressive force per

unit length of magnitude p is applied at the two ends of the structure. The geometric

dimensions of the beam are reported in Table 9.2.

The two parts of the structure are made of isotropic material characterized by a Young's

modulus E = 230000 MPa and a Poisson's ratio ν = 0.25. A plane strain constitutive law

138 Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations

5 3 0.2

is assumed. A cohesive zone is introduced at the interface between the two parts. The

properties of the cohesive constitutive law are reported in Table 9.3.

5.0 · 10−3 1.0 5 · 103

Table 9.3: Beam with embedded cohesive layer: properties of the cohesive constitutive law

The cohesive zone is dened by the mode I and mode II fracture toughness, GI and GII

respectively, the mode I and mode II tractions corresponding to delamination onset, N

and T respectively, and the penalty stiness kd .

The nite element mesh is reported in Figure 9.7.

Figure 9.7: Beam with embedded cohesive layer: nite element mesh

The structure is modelled adopting 200 nonlinear shell elements and 20 cohesive elements.

With reference to Figure 9.7, the boundary conditions are applied constraining all the

degrees of freedom of the node H, and the vertical displacement of the node S. The load is

introduced with nodal forces at the two ends.

In all the simulations, the eigenvector injection method is adopted to realize branch switch-

ing. The parameters adopted to perform the analyses are reported in Table 9.4.

Method ∆s0 (mm) ∆sM ax (mm) ∆τ0 (Nmm) ∆τM ax (Nmm) ∆τswitch (Nmm) tol tol∆s

MR-CM 5 5 − − − 10−2

1.0 · 1.0 · 10−1

DE-CM 5 5 1.0 · 10−3 5.0 · 10−3 2.0 · 10−4 1.0 · 10−2 1.0 · 10−1

The initial part of the analysis is dedicated to the computation of the primary path.

Starting from the undeformed conguration, the algorithm computes equilibrium points

associated with increasing values of the path parameter. When the number of positive

eigenvalues of the tangent stiness matrix decreases, a critical point is computed, as re-

ported in Figure 9.8(a). After the computation of a critical point, the algorithm keeps on

tracing the primary path starting from the last computed equilibrium point. During this

process all the other critical points are determined (see Figure 9.8(b)).

Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations 139

Bifurcation Diagram of a Beam with Embedded Cohesive Layer Bifurcation Diagram of a Beam with Embedded Cohesive Layer

300 300

250 250

200 200

Load [N]

Load [N]

150 150

100 100

50 50

0 0

0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025 0.03 0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025 0.03

Displacement u [mm] Displacement u [mm]

(a) Detection of the rst critical point (b) Complete primary path

300

250

200

Load [N]

150

100

50

0

0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025 0.03

Displacement u [mm]

(a) Positive side of the rst bifurcation branch (b) Positive side of the rst branch

Bifurcation Diagram of a Beam with Embedded Cohesive Layer

300

250

200

Load [N]

150

100

50

0

0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025 0.03

Displacement u [mm]

(c) Complete bifurcation branch (d) Negative side of the rst branch

Figure 9.9: Beam with embedded cohesive layer: rst bifurcation branch

After tracing the primary path, the algorithm traces the bifurcation branches. The two

sides of each branch, associated with dierent signs of the imperfection, are traced sep-

arately. Firstly, the side associated with a positive imperfection is traced, as shown in

Figures 9.9(a)- 9.9(b). When the user is satised with the quality of the results, the other

side of the branch is traced, as illustrated in Figures 9.9(c)- 9.9(d). These procedure is

140 Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations

300

250

200

Load [N]

150

100

50

0

0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025 0.03

Displacement u [mm]

(a) Positive side of the fourth bifurcation branch (b) Positive side of the fourth branch

300

250

200

Load [N]

150

100

50

0

0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025 0.03

Displacement u [mm]

(c) Complete bifurcation diagram (d) Negative side of the fourth branch

Figure 9.10: Beam with embedded cohesive layer: fourth bifurcation branch

The bifurcation diagram obtained from the analysis is reported in Figure 9.11 in terms of

the horizontal displacement u versus the total applied load.

300

F

250

200

D E

Load [N]

150

100

C

50 B

A

0

0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025 0.03

Displacement u [mm]

Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations 141

The bifurcation diagram shows a linear primary path corresponding to the shortening of

the structure (curve A-F). Four bifurcation points are identied (points B, C, D and E).

The bifurcation branches are all nonlinear and lead to the damage of the cohesive elements.

In Figure 9.12 the nal congurations computed along the bifurcation branches are shown.

Figure 9.12: Beam with embedded cohesive layer: deformed congurations along the bi-

furcation branches (displacements 5×)

In the buckling modes 1, 2 and 4, geometric nonlinearities dominate the structural response

and the cohesive elements are progressively damaged mainly in mode II. In buckling mode

3, the structure is subject to a mode I delamination and the structural behaviour is strongly

inuenced also by material nonlinearities.

In Figure 9.13, the bifurcation branch of the third buckling mode computed with the

dissipated energy continuation method is compared to the solution provided by Riks' arc-

length on a model perturbed using an imperfection with the shape of the third buckling

mode.

The critical load computed by the continuation method is higher than the one computed

by the Riks' method. In fact, the introduction of an imperfection in the model results in

a reduction of the load-carrying capacity of the structure. The greater is the imperfection,

the more the critical load is reduced.

The bifurcation diagrams provided by the two methods are presented in Figure 9.14 in

terms of the horizontal shortening u versus the total applied load.

142 Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations

180

DissEn Continuation

Riks

160

140

120

100

Load [N]

80

60

40

20

0

0 0.002 0.004 0.006 0.008 0.01 0.012 0.014 0.016 0.018 0.02

Displacement u [mm]

300

DissEn Continuation

ModRiks Continuation

250

200

Load [N]

150

100

50

0

0 0.005 0.01 0.015 0.02 0.025 0.03 0.035 0.04 0.045 0.05

Displacement u [mm]

The results obtained with the two continuation methods are very similar.

The computational performance of the algorithms are summarized in Table 9.5 in terms

of number of increments, number of iterations and CPU time. The values of τ̃ adopted to

trace the branches are reported in brackets.

No. of

No. of No. of No. of No. of CPU

Incr. Tot. No. Tot. No.

Method Incr. Incr. Incr. Incr. time

Prim. of Incr. of Iter.

Branch 1 Branch 2 Branch 3 Branch 4 (s)

Path

31

MR-CM 15 40 (10) 22 (10) 38 (20) 146 150 827.168

(30/50)

DE-CM 10 18 (10) 90 (10) 35 (50) 40 (20) 193 332 1185.878

Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations 143

In this test, the MR-CM is the most ecient algorithm, providing a CPU time much lower

than the one obtained with the DE-CM.

If more increments are performed on the bifurcation branches, both algorithms show con-

vergence on spurious congurations or divergence.

The MR-CM traces the branches associated with the rst four bifurcation points without

encountering problems even when large displacements arise. However, the MR-CM pro-

vides very large increments because of the diculty to control the step-length. On the

other hand, the DE-CM provides an excellent step-length control, which enables to trace

all the bifurcation branches precisely. However, when all the cohesive elements are almost

completely damaged, the DE-CM is no longer able to nd a dissipative equilibrium solu-

tion, and either diverges or jumps on spurious congurations. As a result, the DE-CM

traces only the dissipative part of the bifurcation branches using the strategy based on the

dissipated energy constraint, and stops before performing the switch-back to the strategy

based on the MR-CM.

The critical values of λ are listed in Table 9.6 for both algorithms.

1 10.4856330507 10.4856330380

2 20.3797062034 20.3797066065

3 41.8817833740 41.9247183109

4 51.0584924901 55.9227558275

Table 9.6: Beam with embedded cohesive layer: values of λ at critical points

The two methods compute similar critical loads. However, the error between the two

approximations grows when higher buckling modes are considered. It follows that, the

higher is the buckling mode, the less precise is the approximation.

In both methods, some trials are necessary to nd a value of τ̃ that enables to realize branch

switching and follow the bifurcation branch until the end of the analysis. If unsuitable

values of τ̃ are adopted, the solution shows the tendency to jump on spurious congurations

or diverge after few increments.

The branches arising from bifurcation points 1, 2 and 4 are dominated by buckling and lead

to a slow, progressive damage of the cohesive elements by means of shear deformations.

To trace these branches, a suitable value of τ̃ is found easily with the MR-CM, while more

trials are necessary with the DE-CM. In addition, the DE-CM often shows the tendency to

either converge to spurious congurations dominated by dissipative phenomena, or diverge.

In the branch arising from bifurcation point 3, damage inuences the structural behaviour

more strongly, as the growth of a mode I delamination is provided. In this case, very few

trials are necessary to nd a suitable value of τ̃ with the DE-CM, while more trials are

necessary with the MR-CM.

These considerations suggest that, when the structural response is dominated by dissipative

behaviours, τ̃ can be chosen in a relatively wide range of values with the DE-CM, while,

with the MR-CM, the value of τ̃ can be chosen in a tight interval. Opposite considerations

are valid when the response is dominated by geometric nonlinearities.

Since the response of the model is dominated by geometric nonlinearities and is not char-

acterized by complex behaviours, the MR-CM provides the best performance.

144 Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations

The MR-CM is able to reach congurations characterized by large displacements and pro-

vides a low CPU time. However, it leads to a coarser discretization of the path, if compared

to the DE-CM. The DE-CM shows better performance when the structural response is

dominated by damage, and always provides an accurate discretization of the equilibrium

paths. However, it is inecient to analyse this structural model, as it results in a high

CPU time.

With both methods, some trials are necessary before nding a value of τ̃ that enables to

trace the complete branch without converging on spurious congurations or diverge.

The two strategies provide similar approximations of the critical points.

In this example, the bifurcation diagram of an arch with an embedded cohesive layer is

traced. The aim of the analysis is to trace the bifurcation diagram of the structure and to

detect the rst two critical points, which are a bifurcation point and a limit point. The

structural model is shown in Figure 9.15.

The structure consists of two parts separated by an interface and xed at both ends. The

arch is loaded at the upper and lower edges by means of two radial loads per unit length

of magnitude p.

The dimensions of the model are reported in Table 9.7.

10 45 0.1

The material adopted for the two parts of the arch is isotropic, and is characterized by a

Young's modulus E = 230000 MPa and a Poisson's ratio ν = 0.25. Plane strain conditions

are assumed. A cohesive zone is introduced at the interface between such parts.

The cohesive zone is dened by the quantities reported in Table 9.8.

The nite elements mesh is reported in Figure 9.16.

Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations 145

5.0 · 10−1 15.0 5 · 104

Table 9.8: Arch with embedded cohesive layer: properties of the cohesive constitutive law

Cohesive Elements

Figure 9.16: Arch with embedded cohesive layer: nite element mesh

The structure is discretized by means of 100 nonlinear shell elements and 50 cohesive

elements.

The load is applied on the nodes lying on the upper and lower edges of the model by

means of radial nodal forces. The boundary conditions are applied xing all the degrees

of freedom of the nodes belonging to the left and right ends of the structure.

Branch switching is achieved by means of the eigenvector injection method. The analyses

are performed using the parameters reported in Table 9.9.

Method ∆s0 (mm) ∆sM ax (mm) ∆τ0 (Nmm) ∆τM ax (Nmm) ∆τswitch (Nmm) tol tol∆s

MR-CM 0.02 0.02 − − − 10−2

5.0 · 1.0 · 10−1

DE-CM 0.05 0.05 1.0 · 10−3 5.0 · 10−3 2.0 · 10−4 5.0 · 10 −2 1.0 · 10−1

The bifurcation diagram of the structure is reported in Figure 9.17 in terms of the vertical

displacement of the node V, shown in Figure 9.16, versus the nodal force applied at the

same node.

0.45

C D E

0.4

0.35 B

0.3

F

Load [N]

0.25

0.2

0.15

0.1

0.05

A

0

0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12

Displacement v [mm]

The bifurcation diagram is characterized by a nonlinear primary path (curve A-E) cul-

146 Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations

minating in a limit point (point D). The damage process starts occurring just before the

limit point (point C). Along the primary path, a bifurcation point is identied (point B).

The bifurcation branch associated with it (curve B-F) is characterized by the progressive

failure of almost all the cohesive elements.

Along the primary path and the bifurcation branch, the damage process of the cohesive

elements strongly inuences the structural response, and both geometric and material non-

linearities are present. The cohesive elements are damaged mainly in mode II.

The curves traced by the two continuation methods are extremely similar.

In Figure 9.18, the bifurcation diagrams obtained with the two continuation methods are

compared to the results provided by Riks' arc-length.

0.45

0.4

0.35

0.3

0.25

Load [N]

0.2

0.15

0.1

0.05

Diss En Continuation

Riks Arc−Length

0

0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12

Displacement v [mm]

Figure 9.18: Arch with embedded cohesive layer: comparison between continuation method

and Riks' method

Regarding the Riks' method, the primary path is obtained performing a simulation on

a perfect model, whereas, to trace the bifurcation branch, the analysis is performed on

a model perturbed with the rst buckling mode scaled by a factor 0.005. The results

obtained with the Riks' method perfectly agree with those of the DE-CM on the primary

path. However, the arc-length procedure leads to a smooth transition on the bifurcation

branch and does not provide a precise estimate of the critical load. Moreover, Riks' arc-

length stops prematurely after performing few load steps on the bifurcation branch.

The nal equilibrium congurations computed on the primary path and on the bifurcation

branch are shown in Figure 9.19.

The analyses results obtained by means of the two continuation methods are reported in

Figure 9.20 in terms of vertical displacement of the node V versus the nodal force applied

at the same node.

Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations 147

Figure 9.19: Arch with embedded cohesive layer: nal congurations on the primary path

and on the bifurcation branch (displacements 2×)

0.45

0.4

0.35

0.3

Load [N]

0.25

0.2

0.15

0.1

ModRiks Continuation

0

0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12

Displacement v [mm]

The computational performance of the two procedures are summarized in Table 9.10. The

procedures are compared in terms of number of increments, number of iterations and CPU

time, and the values of τ̃ adopted to trace the bifurcation branch are reported in brackets.

No. of No. of

CPU

Incr. Incr. Tot. No. Tot. No.

Method time

Prim. Bif. of Incr. of Iter.

(s)

Path Branch

MR-CM 47 160 (20) 207 445 521.657

DE-CM 47 160 (30) 207 276 444.315

In this test, the DE-CM provides the lowest CPU time. Since dissipative phenomena have

a strong inuence on the response along the bifurcation branch, the DE-CM is more e-

cient than the MR-CM on this part of the path, resulting in a 17% lower analysis time.

None of the algorithms encounter problems in tracing the part of the primary path rep-

resented in Figure 9.18. However, if the analysis is continued beyond the limit point, all

the methods, including Riks' arc-length, go through some convergence problems. These

148 Continuation Methods: Numerical Simulations

diculties are related to the sudden softening of the structure caused by the damaging

of almost all the cohesive elements at the same time. When this situation occurs, all the

methods need a high number of iterations to converge, and many step-length reductions

are performed. As a consequence, the analysis continues with a small step-length that

produces, in each load step, negligible changes in the structural conguration.

As regards the bifurcation branch, the continuation process is stopped after 80 increments,

but more load steps can be computed without problems.

The values of λ at the critical points are listed in Table 9.11 for both procedures.

Bifurcation 0.373549985377 0.373552953309

Limit 0.444501477983 0.444357124684

Table 9.11: Arch with embedded cohesive layer: values of λ at critical points

The critical loads computed by the two methods are extremely similar. However, the

discrepancy between the values in Table 9.11 suggests that the strategy adopted to compute

the bifurcation points leads to a precise approximation, whereas the linear interpolation

used to compute the limit points provides lower accuracy.

Both continuation methods provide a suitable discretization of the equilibrium path and

require very few trials to nd a suitable value of τ̃ to achieve branch switching. It follows

that τ̃ can be chosen in a wide range of values for this simulation. While performing

continuation on the bifurcation branch, no jumps on spurious congurations occur.

In this numerical example, both the MR-CM and the DE-CM demonstrate satisfactory

performance. They compute a limit point and a bifurcation point giving suciently precise

approximations of the critical loads, they easily trace the bifurcation branch and they

accurately trace all the parts of the bifurcation diagram. However, since the bifurcation

branch and the nal part of the primary path are dominated by material nonlinearities,

the DE-CM results more ecient, providing the lowest CPU time.

Chapter 10

Concluding Remarks

The work has regarded the development and the implementation of a new family of arc-

length techniques, the hybrid-constraint methods, and two novel continuation methods for

the numerical solution of problems involving delaminations.

The hybrid-constraint methods rely on the idea of combining geometric and dissipative

constraint equations by means of a weighted sum. The value of the weight is function of

the damage state of the structure and is updated at every load step.

Regarding this class of methods, three algorithms have been proposed and implemented

in the nite element code PyFEM. Results were presented for a wide set of problems to

establish the potentialities of the methods in dierent situations. In particular, some of

the problems were dominated by geometric nonlinearities, while others by material nonlin-

earities. The numerical tests demonstrated that the hybrid-constraint provide satisfactory

performance in presence of smooth responses dominated by geometric nonlinearities and

excellent performance in presence of nonlinear strain-softening behaviours characterized

by material nonlinearities. With respect to the already existing arc-length techniques, the

hybrid-constraint methods are then suitable to analyse a wider range of problems, resulting

general purpose strategies. It follows that these new procedures can be adopted even when

the user does not have any previous knowledge of the structural response. This is a rele-

vant advantage, as the user does not need to perform preliminary analyses to determine

the most suitable solver to perform the simulation. Furthermore, the hybrid-constraint

arc-lengths depend on few algorithmic parameters that can be easily tuned. These charac-

teristics suggest that the hybrid-constraint methods may provide relevant benets in the

analysis of delaminations.

In addition, a new root selection scheme, the dissipated energy increment method, is de-

veloped for arc-length methods relying on a quadratic constraint. The idea behind this

procedure is to select the root associated with energy dissipation. This strategy is ecient

and prevents elastic unloading solutions, but can be adopted only to trace the dissipative

parts of the equilibrium path. Nevertheless, the dissipated energy increment method may

be subject to numerical problems in presence of highly nonlinear phenomena.

A second part of the work regarded the development of two novel continuation methods

to study the post-buckling behaviour of structural models involving cohesive elements. To

the best of the author's knowledge, these strategies cannot be found in literature. They

enable to trace the complete bifurcation diagram of the structure, including primary and

secondary bifurcation branches and to compute the critical points of the equilibrium path

(bifurcation and limit points).

The rst procedure is a modied version of the Riks' continuation method. This strat-

150 Concluding Remarks

egy relies on a modied constraint equation in which the terms related to the load factor

are neglected to prevent the doubling back of the solution. This new algorithm provides

excellent performance when the post-buckling behaviour is dominated by geometric non-

linearities and is not subject to the doubling back of the solution. However, it does not

provide a precise step-length control, and sometimes it may result in a bad discretization

of the equilibrium path.

To overcome these limitations, another procedure, based on the dissipated energy con-

straint equation, is developed. This technique is an innovative continuation method specif-

ically developed to study post-buckling behaviours dominated by dissipative phenomena.

It provides excellent performance when the structural response is strongly inuenced by

material nonlinearities and leads to a precise discretization of the dissipative equilibrium

paths. As the dissipated energy constraint works only when a certain amount of energy

is being dissipated, a dierent strategy is necessary to trace the elastic parts of the bifur-

cation diagram. This task is accomplished adopting the equations of the modied Riks'

continuation method, and a scheme to switch from the elastic strategy to the dissipative

one and vice-versa is required.

The hybrid-constraint formulation is a generic approach. As a consequence, it is interest-

ing to investigate the performance of hybrid-constraint methods dierent from those here

presented.

In the present formulation, an expression of the weighting function based on the damage

variables of the cohesive elements is adopted. This expression limits the applicability of the

hybrid-constraint methods to problems involving cohesive elements. Dening the weight-

ing function by means of a more general quantity, the applicability of the hybrid-constraint

methods would be extended to dierent types of simulations (e.g. VCCT, plasticity, pro-

gressive failure analysis).

As regards continuation methods, an open issue concerns the arising of spurious critical

points due to the presence of the cohesive elements. The damage process of the cohesive

elements introduces negative eigenvalues in the tangent stiness matrix. As far as the

critical points are detected monitoring the change of sign of the eigenvalues, the presence

of damaging cohesive elements is likely to generate spurious bifurcation points.

Appendix A

In this appendix the implementation of Criseld's arc-length is discussed in terms of the

classes and of the related methods, describing the input parameters of the algorithm and

the steps of the procedure.

Criseld's method is implemented in the le CrisfieldSolver.py, which contains the

class CrisfieldSolver. The following methods are associated with this class:

• run

• printHeader

• printIteration

• printConverged

and printConverged are utility functions that print analysis information on screen.

The method CrisfieldSolver.run takes the instances globdat and props as an

input.

The structure of the method is illustrated in Figure A.1.

152 Implementation of Criseld's Method

CrisﬁeldSolver.py

CrisﬁeldSolver

run( props, globdat )

Predictor

cut step-length

Corrector

Store Results

Update Step-Length

Check Conditions to

Terminate Analysis

Terminate Analysis

2. Initialize K and r: assembles the stiness matrix K and computes the residual r to

be used in the rst corrector iteration;

3. Corrector : computes the equilibrium point iteratively, applying Eq. (3.18) until the

condition in Eq. (4.38) is satised;

4. Store Results : stores the data related to the new equilibrium point in the instance

globdat;

5. Update Step-Length : computes the step-length ∆l and the factor ξ to be used in the

next load step according to Eq. (4.45);

Implementation of Criseld's Method 153

that terminate the analysis is satised. If no conditions are met another load step is

performed, otherwise the solver sets globdat.active=False and the analysis is

terminated by PyFEM.py.

If the number of corrector iterations needed to converge exceeds the maximum prescribed

number, the step-length is reduced according to Eq. (4.47) and the load step is recomputed

adopting the new value of ∆l.

In the corrector, both the increment direction method and the lowest residual method are

implemented as root selection schemes. The scheme to adopt in the analysis is prescribed

by means of the string variable Corrector. This variable can assume the following two

values:

’Residual’ ⇒ Lowest Residual Method

The variable Corrector is set by default to ’Direction’ and can be modied by the

user in the input le. Since, no methods to switch from one scheme to the other are

implemented, a unique root selection scheme can be adopted for the whole analysis.

The solver CrisfielSolver requires the following parameters as an input:

• Corrector: the string which sets the root selection scheme to adopt;

The parameters MaxCycle and MaxLam prescribe the conditions to terminate the analysis.

154 Implementation of Criseld's Method

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