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High performance 3-node shell element for linear and geometrically nonlinear analysis of composite laminates

Rama, Gil; Marinković, Dragan; Zehn, Manfred

FG Strukturmechanik und Strukturberechnung

Thin-walled structures hold primacy among modern engineering structures. All the advantages offered by the curved geometry and thinness of the walls come even more to the fore when combined with exquisite properties of fiber-reinforced composite laminates. Directionally dependant material properties open vast possibilities for tailoring global structural properties and, therewith, optimization. Successful design of such structures calls for high performance shell type finite elements. This paper presents a linear triangular shell element based on the equivalent single-layer approach and the first-order shear deformation theory. The shear locking effect is resolved by the descrete shear gap (DSG) approach combined with the cell smoothing technique. To improve the element performance with respect to the membrane behavior, the assumed natural deviatoric strains (ANDES) formulation is applied, with necessary modifications to meet the requirements of curved structures with anisotropic material properties. Geometric nonlinearities are addressed by the co-rotational formulation. Examples demonstrate the element applicability and performance.