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A geometrical inclusion-matrix model for the finite element analysis of concrete at multiple scales
(2003)

This paper introduces a method to generate adequate inclusion-matrix geometries of concrete in two and three dimensions, which are independent of any specific numerical discretization. The article starts with an analysis on shapes of natural aggregates and discusses corresponding mathematical realizations. As a first prototype a two-dimensional generation of a mesoscale model is introduced. Particle size distribution functions are analysed and prepared for simulating an adequate three-dimensional representation of the aggregates within a concrete structure. A sample geometry of a three-dimensional test cube is generated and the finite element analysis of its heterogeneous geometry by a uniform mesh is presented. Concluding, aspects of a multiscale analysis are discussed and possible enhancements are proposed.

In this paper an adaptive heterogeneous multiscale model, which couples two substructures with different length scales into one numerical model is introduced for the simulation of damage in concrete. In the presented approach the initiation, propagation and coalescence of microcracks is simulated using a mesoscale model, which explicitly represents the heterogeneous material structure of concrete. The mesoscale model is restricted to the damaged parts of the structure, whereas the undamaged regions are simulated on the macroscale. As a result an adaptive enlargement of the mesoscale model during the simulation is necessary. In the first part of the paper the generation of the heterogeneous mesoscopic structure of concrete, the finite element discretization of the mesoscale model, the applied isotropic damage model and the cohesive zone model are briefly introduced. Furthermore the mesoscale simulation of a uniaxial tension test of a concrete prism is presented and own obtained numerical results are compared to experimental results. The second part is focused on the adaptive heterogeneous multiscale approach. Indicators for the model adaptation and for the coupling between the different numerical models will be introduced. The transfer from the macroscale to the mesoscale and the adaptive enlargement of the mesoscale substructure will be presented in detail. A nonlinear simulation of a realistic structure using an adaptive heterogeneous multiscale model is presented at the end of the paper to show the applicability of the proposed approach to large-scale structures.

The present paper is part of a comprehensive approach of grid-based modelling. This approach includes geometrical modelling by pixel or voxel models, advanced multiphase B-spline finite elements of variable order and fast iterative solver methods based on the multigrid method. So far, we have only presented these grid-based methods in connection with linear elastic analysis of heterogeneous materials. Damage simulation demands further considerations. The direct stress solution of standard bilinear finite elements is severly defective, especially along material interfaces. Besides achieving objective constitutive modelling, various nonlocal formulations are applied to improve the stress solution. Such a corrective data processing can either refer to input data in terms of Young's modulus or to the attained finite element stress solution, as well as to a combination of both. A damage-controlled sequentially linear analysis is applied in connection with an isotropic damage law. Essentially by a high resolution of the heterogeneous solid, local isotropic damage on the material subscale allows to simulate complex damage topologies such as cracks. Therefore anisotropic degradation of a material sample can be simulated. Based on an effectively secantial global stiffness the analysis is numerically stable. The iteration step size is controlled for an adequate simulation of the damage path. This requires many steps, but in the iterative solution process each new step starts with the solution of the prior step. Therefore this method is quite effective. The present paper provides an introduction of the proposed concept for a stable simulation of damage in heterogeneous solids.

Damping in Bolted Joints
(2013)

With the help of modern CAE-based simulation processes, it is possible to predict the dynamic behavior of fatigue strength problems in order to improve products of many industries, e.g. the building, the machine construction or the automotive industry. Amongst others, it can be used to improve the acoustic design of automobiles in an early development stage.
Nowadays, the acoustics of automobiles plays a crucial role in the process of vehicle development. Because of the advanced demand of comfort and due to statutory rules the manufacturers are faced with the challenge of optimizing their car’s sound emissions. The optimization includes not only the reduction of noises. Lately with the trend to hybrid and electric cars, it has been shown that vehicles can become too quiet. Thus, the prediction of structural and acoustic properties based on FE-simulations is becoming increasingly important before any experimental prototype is examined. With the state of the art, qualitative comparisons between different implementations are possible. However, an accurate and reliable quantitative prediction is still a challenge.
One aspect in the context of increasing the prediction quality of acoustic (or general oscillating) problems - especially in power-trains of automobiles - is the more accurate implementation of damping in joint structures. While material damping occurs globally and homogenous in a structural system, the damping due to joints is a very local problem, since energy is especially dissipated in the vicinity of joints.
This paper focusses on experimental and numerical studies performed on a single (extracted) screw connection. Starting with experimental studies that are used to identify the underlying physical model of the energy loss, the locally influencing parameters (e.g. the damping factor) should be identified. In contrast to similar research projects, the approach tends to a more local consideration within the joint interface. Tangential stiffness and energy loss within the interface are spatially distributed and interactions between the influencing parameters are regarded. As a result, the damping matrix is no longer proportional to mass or stiffness matrix, since it is composed of the global material damping and the local joint damping. With this new approach, the prediction quality can be increased, since the local distribution of the physical parameters within the joint interface corresponds much closer to the reality.

The extended finite element method (XFEM) offers an elegant tool to model material discontinuities and cracks within a regular mesh, so that the element edges do not necessarily coincide with the discontinuities. This allows the modeling of propagating cracks without the requirement to adapt the mesh incrementally. Using a regular mesh offers the advantage, that simple refinement strategies based on the quadtree data structure can be used to refine the mesh in regions, that require a high mesh density. An additional benefit of the XFEM is, that the transmission of cohesive forces through a crack can be modeled in a straightforward way without introducing additional interface elements. Finally different criteria for the determination of the crack propagation angle are investigated and applied to numerical tests of cracked concrete specimens, which are compared with experimental results.

In nonlinear simulations the loading is, in general, applied in an incremental way. Path-following algorithms are used to trace the equilibrium path during the failure process. Standard displacement controlled solution strategies fail if snap-back phenomena occur. In this contribution, a path-following algorithm based on the dissipation of the inelastic energy is presented which allows for the simulation of snap-backs. Since the constraint is defined in terms of the internal energy, the algorithm is not restricted to continuum damage models. Furthermore, no a priori knowledge about the final damage distribution is required. The performance of the proposed algorithm is illustrated using nonlinear mesoscale simulations.

The present article proposes an alternative way to compute the torsional stiffness based on three-dimensional continuum mechanics instead of applying a specific theory of torsion. A thin, representative beam slice is discretized by solid finite elements. Adequate boundary conditions and coupling conditions are integrated into the numerical model to obtain a proper answer on the torsion behaviour, thus on shear center, shear stress and torsional stiffness. This finite element approach only includes general assumptions of beam torsion which are independent of cross-section geometry. These assumptions essentially are: no in-plane deformation, constant torsion and free warping. Thus it is possible to achieve numerical solutions of high accuracy for arbitrary cross-sections. Due to the direct link to three-dimensional continuum mechanics, it is possible to extend the range of torsion analysis to sections which are composed of different materials or even to heterogeneous beams on a high scale of resolution. A brief study follows to validate the implementation and results are compared to analytical solutions.

The design and application of high performance materials demands extensive knowledge of the materials damage behavior, which significantly depends on the meso- and microstructural complexity. Numerical simulations of crack growth on multiple length scales are promising tools to understand the damage phenomena in complex materials. In polycrystalline materials it has been observed that the grain boundary decohesion is one important mechanism that leads to micro crack initiation. Following this observation the paper presents a polycrystal mesoscale model consisting of grains with orthotropic material behavior and cohesive interfaces along grain boundaries, which is able to reproduce the crack initiation and propagation along grain boundaries in polycrystalline materials. With respect to the importance of modeling the geometry of the grain structure an advanced Voronoi algorithm is proposed to generate realistic polycrystalline material structures based on measured grain size distribution. The polycrystal model is applied to investigate the crack initiation and propagation in statically loaded representative volume elements of aluminum on the mesoscale without the necessity of initial damage definition. Future research work is planned to include the mesoscale model into a multiscale model for the damage analysis in polycrystalline materials.

A fast solver method called the multigrid preconditioned conjugate gradient method is proposed for the mechanical analysis of heterogeneous materials on the mesoscale. Even small samples of a heterogeneous material such as concrete show a complex geometry of different phases. These materials can be modelled by projection onto a uniform, orthogonal grid of elements. As one major problem the possible resolution of the concrete specimen is generally restricted due to (a) computation times and even more critical (b) memory demand. Iterative solvers can be based on a local element-based formulation while orthogonal grids consist of geometrical identical elements. The element-based formulation is short and transparent, and therefore efficient in implementation. A variation of the material properties in elements or integration points is possible. The multigrid method is a fast iterative solver method, where ideally the computational effort only increases linear with problem size. This is an optimal property which is almost reached in the implementation presented here. In fact no other method is known which scales better than linear. Therefore the multigrid method gains in importance the larger the problem becomes. But for heterogeneous models with very large ratios of Young's moduli the multigrid method considerably slows down by a constant factor. Such large ratios occur in certain heterogeneous solids, as well as in the damage analysis of solids. As solution to this problem the multigrid preconditioned conjugate gradient method is proposed. A benchmark highlights the multigrid preconditioned conjugate gradient method as the method of choice for very large ratio's of Young's modulus. A proposed modified multigrid cycle shows good results, in the application as stand-alone solver or as preconditioner.

Advanced finite elements are proposed for the mechanical analysis of heterogeneous materials. The approximation quality of these finite elements can be controlled by a variable order of B-spline shape functions. An element-based formulation is developed such that the finite element problem can iteratively be solved without storing a global stiffness matrix. This memory saving allows for an essential increase of problem size. The heterogeneous material is modelled by projection onto a uniform, orthogonal grid of elements. Conventional, strictly grid-based finite element models show severe oscillating defects in the stress solutions at material interfaces. This problem is cured by the extension to multiphase finite elements. This concept enables to define a heterogeneous material distribution within the finite element. This is possible by a variable number of integration points to each of which individual material properties can be assigned. Based on an interpolation of material properties at nodes and further smooth interpolation within the finite elements, a continuous material function is established. With both, continuous B-spline shape function and continuous material function, also the stress solution will be continuous in the domain. The inaccuracy implied by the continuous material field is by far less defective than the prior oscillating behaviour of stresses. One- and two-dimensional numerical examples are presented.