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  • Hindawi Publishing CorporationMathematical Problems in EngineeringVolume 2007, Article ID 46215, 19 pagesdoi:10.1155/2007/46215

    Research ArticleDeveloping a Formulation Based upon Curvature forAnalysis of Nonprismatic Curved Beams

    H. Saari, M. J. Fadaee, and R. Tabatabaei

    Received 9 January 2007; Accepted 26 March 2007

    Recommended by James Richard Barber

    A new element with three nodal curvatures has been considered for analysis of the non-prismatic curved beams by finite element method. In the formulation developed, theforce-curvature relationships in polar coordinate system have been obtained first, thenthe curvature of the element has been assumed to have a second-order polynomial func-tion form and the radial, tangential displacements, and rotation of the cross section havebeen found as a function of the curvature accounting for the eects of the cross sectionvariation. Moreover, the relationship between nodal curvatures and nodal deformationshas been calculated and used for determining the deformations in terms of curvature atan arbitrary point. The total potential energy has been calculated accounting for bending,shear, and tangential deformations. Invoking the stationary condition of the system, theforce-deformation relationship for the element has been obtained. Using this relation-ship, the stiness matrix and the equivalent fixed loads applying at the nodes have beencomputed. The results obtained have been compared with the results of some other refer-ences through several numerical examples. The comparison indicates that the present for-mulation has enough accuracy in analysis of thin and thick nonprismatic curved beams.

    Copyright 2007 H. Saari et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Cre-ative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, andreproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

    1. Introduction

    Because of much application of curved beams and arches in dierent structures, in recentdecadesmany studies have been conducted for analysis of such beams using finite elementmethods, Marquis and Wang [1], Litewka and Rakowski [2, 3], Friedman and Kosmatka[4]. Finite element analysis of the curved beams using several straight beam elements, orlow-order curved beam elements have been proposed by Mac Neal and Harder [5]; butthe eects of shear and membrane locking exist in their results. Ashwell et al. [6, 7] have

  • 2 Mathematical Problems in Engineering

    analyzed the curved beams using two models; in the first model the radial deformationhas been approximated by a third-order polynomial function, but the tangential deforma-tion by a linear function, and in the second model the shape functions for the cylindricalshell elements have been used in order to determine the deformations of the curved beamelements. Comparing the results of two models has indicated that the second model hasbeen more accurate for thick arches with low displacements. Dawe [8] has introducedeight dierent models using dierent shell element theories. Among the models intro-duced, the results obtained by using high-order shape functions are more accurate eventhough modeling them is more dicult. Krishnan and Suresh [9] have calculated the de-formation of an arch element by static and dynamic analysis of the arch using a pair ofpolynomials of order three that have been guessed, and then they have discussed the errorresulting from eliminating the eect of the shear in determining the natural frequency ofthe arches. Babu and Prathap [10] have introduced the radial and tangential displace-ments and rotation for several models of the thick curved element guessing linear shapefunctions. In these models, the error arising from the shear locking has been emphasized.The relationships for the curved beam element have been determined without the eectof shear using penalty method by Tessler and Spiridigliozzi [11]; but the relationships ofthe proposed model are so complex. Stolarski and Belytschko [12] have considered themembrane locking phenomenon in thin arches with low displacements using high-orderpolynomials. The relationships obtained have a significant error in the analysis of thickarches because of shear and membrane locking.

    In recent years, the locking phenomenon has been paid much attention by researchers.When the element is under bending and elongation of the fibers is restricted, the mem-brane locking will be produced. On the other hand, if in the element formulation, theeects of pure bending are considered without implementing the eects of shear, thenthe shear locking will be existed. Lee and Sin [13] have presented a three-node elementbased upon curvature having constant cross section. They have studied the results of thedeformations for dierent thickness values through numerical examples. The results ob-tained indicate that the shear and membrane locking phenomenon has been reduced sig-nificantly. Raveendranath et al. [14] have introduced a two-node arch element accountingfor shear eects, but they have reported that the results for high thicknesses are with error.In several references ignoring the membrane eects, the eects of shear in static analysisof prismatic curved beams have been discussed (Yang and Sin [15], Sheikh [16]). Chen[17] has studied the eects of shear for loading inside the curved beam plane using cu-bic technique. In the previous studies carried out by Sinaie and the authors of this paper[18] considering the relationships proposed by Lee and Sin [13], the high-order curva-ture shape functions have been used instead of displacement shape functions and then,the force-deformation relationships have been determined. Sinaie et al. [18] have elimi-nated the shear and membrane locking in the relationships proposed by Lee and Sin [13]for prismatic curved beam. In other words, in their work the eects of the shear and tan-gential deformation and also the eect of the bending moment in the calculation of thecurved element with six nodal curvatures for analysis of thin and thick prismatic beamshave been accounted for, which is the main dierence with the method proposed in otherreferences.

  • H. Saari et al. 3





    Figure 2.1. Components of displacement in a typical nonprismatic circular curved beam.

    In the present paper, after finding the curvature-strain relationships and the internalforces in polar coordinate system, guessing a second-order polynomial function for theelement curvature, the shape functions have been determined first. Then, the curvatureat any point of a three-node element has been found based upon the nodes curvatures.Furthermore, the relationship between the nodal curvature and the nodal displacementhas been found accounting for the eects of the cross section variation using a transformmatrix. The ratio of the moment of inertia to the cross sectional area has been consideredas a function of the arch length. Finally, minimizing the total potential energy, the force-deformation relationship and the stiness matrix in local coordinate system have beenfound. Moreover, an algorithm for analyzing the nonprismatic curved beams has beenpresented. At the end, through three numerical examples, the results of using the methodproposed in this work have been compared with the results of (a) using shell elements(b) using prismatic curved beam elements (c) exact solution. It has been indicated thatsince in the proposed element the shear and membrane deformation eects have beenaccounted for, the accuracy for analysis of thin and thick nonprismatic curved beamshas been increased. The simplicity of modeling and high accuracy of the analysis arethe privileges of the proposed method compared to the methods of the other references.In the other methods, the member must be divided into many elements, while in theproposed approach the convergence will be achieved with one or two elements only.

    2. Formulation of the curved element based upon curvature

    The formulation for an element of the nonprismatic curved beam shown in Figure 2.1will be conducted in four steps. The first step is setting up the basic curvature-displace-ment equations for an element of the curved beam in polar coordinate system and de-termining the components of the radial, tangential displacements, and rotation in termsof curvature considering the variation of the cross sectional area; the second step is de-termining the shape functions that state the curvature of any point on the element axisin terms of the curvatures of three nodes adopted, which is done by choosing a second-order function; the third step is finding a relationship between the nodal curvature at thethree nodes and the nodal displacements at two ends of the element; the fourth step iscalculating the total potential energy considering the eects of the internal membrane

  • 4 Mathematical Problems in Engineering

    and shear forces and bending moment. Invoking the stationary condition of the system,the force-displacement relationship, and then, the stiness matrix of the member and theequivalent fixed load vector can be found.

    2.1. The basic curvature equations in polar coordinate system. In Figure 2.1, an ele-ment of nonprismatic circular curved beam having radius R and the arch length L isshown. The displacement components are the radial displacement,W , the tangential dis-placement, U , and the rotation, . The strain-deformation relationships are as follows(Timoshenko and Goodier [19]):

    =U ,sWR

    , (2.1)

    = ,s, (2.2)

    =W ,s + UR, (2.3)

    where is the tangential strain, is the curvature, is the shear strain and the subscript,s indicates the derivative with respect to the arch length.

    The relationship between the internal forces of the element and the strains can bestated as follows

    N = E A ,Mb = E I ,V =G A n ,