A simple FEM Beam Element with an Arbitrary Number of Cracks
To fulfil safety requirements the changes in the static and/or dynamic behaviour of the structure must be analysed with great care. These changes are often caused by local reduction of the stiffness of the structure caused by the irregularities in the structure, as for example cracks. In simple structures such analysis can be performed directly, by solving equations of motion, but for more complex structures a different approach, usually numerical, must be applied. The problem of crack implementation into the structure behaviour has been studied by many authors who have usually modelled the crack as a massless rotational spring of suitable stiffness placed at the beam at the location where the crack occurs. Recently, the numerical procedure for the computation of the stiffness matrix for a beam element with a single transverse crack has been replaced with the element stiffness matrix written in fully symbolic form. A detailed comparison of the results obtained by using 200 2D finite elements with those obtained with a single cracked beam element has confirmed the usefulness of such element.
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