FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS OF TORSION FOR ARBITRARY CROSS-SECTIONS
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.