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This thesis presents two new methods in finite elements and isogeometric analysis for structural analysis. The first method proposes an alternative alpha finite element method using triangular elements. In this method, the piecewise constant strain field of linear triangular finite element method models is enhanced by additional strain terms with an adjustable parameter a, which results in an effectively softer stiffness formulation compared to a linear triangular element. In order to avoid the transverse shear locking of Reissner-Mindlin plates analysis the alpha finite element method is coupled with a discrete shear gap technique for triangular elements to significantly improve the accuracy of the standard triangular finite elements.
The basic idea behind this element formulation is to approximate displacements and rotations as in the standard finite element method, but to construct the bending, geometrical and shear strains using node-based smoothing domains. Several numerical examples are presented and show that the alpha FEM gives a good agreement compared to several other methods in the literature.
Second method, isogeometric analysis based on rational splines over hierarchical T-meshes (RHT-splines) is proposed. The RHT-splines are a generalization of Non-Uniform Rational B-splines (NURBS) over hierarchical T-meshes, which is a piecewise bicubic polynomial over a hierarchical
T-mesh. The RHT-splines basis functions not only inherit all the properties of NURBS such as non-negativity, local support and partition of unity but also more importantly as the capability of joining geometric objects without gaps, preserving higher order continuity everywhere and allow local refinement and adaptivity. In order to drive the adaptive refinement, an efficient recovery-based error estimator is employed. For this problem an imaginary surface is defined. The imaginary surface is basically constructed by RHT-splines basis functions which is used for approximation and interpolation functions as well as the construction of the recovered stress components. Numerical investigations prove that the proposed method is capable to obtain results with higher accuracy and convergence rate than NURBS results.

A four-node quadrilateral shell element with smoothed membrane-bending based on Mindlin-Reissner theory is proposed. The element is a combination of a plate bending and membrane element. It is based on mixed interpolation where the bending and membrane stiffness matrices are calculated on the boundaries of the smoothing cells while the shear terms are approximated by independent interpolation functions in natural coordinates. The proposed element is robust, computationally inexpensive and free of locking. Since the integration is done on the element boundaries for the bending and membrane terms, the element is more accurate than the MITC4 element for distorted meshes. This will be demonstrated for several numerical examples.