## FEA in One Dimension: One Dimensional Quadratic Elements

### One Dimensional Quadratic Elements

In the previous section, the domain of a one-dimensional problem was discretized using piecewise linear functions. Another approximation is the C0 piecewise quadratic interpolation functions, where on each element, the displacement is quadratic. If one wishes to obtain better accuracy, either a finer mesh of linear elements is to be used, or quadratic elements are to be used instead of the linear elements (Figure 5).

To define a quadratic one dimensional element, an additional inner node is introduced. Similar to the linear elements, the displacement function is continuous across nodes but not differentiable at the boundaries between elements. In general, the quadratic form of the displacement is:

Figure 6 shows the displacement function of a quadratic element with three nodes. An alternative form of the displacement is:

where , , and are the displacements of the nodes 1, 2, and 3, while , and , and are the shape functions associated with these nodes (Figure 6). , , and are the generalized degrees of freedom of the element while , , and are the nodal degrees of freedom. To find the shape functions , , and , the following three equations are solved:

Therefore,

Therefore, the displacement function in terms of the nodal degrees of freedom has the form:

Rearranging:

Therefore, the shape functions are:

It can be checked that the sum of the shape functions is always equal to 1, which allows for the rigid-body motion or constant displacement of an element to be modelled (Why?). The local stiffness matrix and the local nodal forces vectors can be established similar to the previous section. First, the following matrices are defined:

then the displacement , , and can be written in terms of the nodal degrees of freedom vector as follows:

If is Youngâ€™s modulus and is the cross sectional area of the element, then the local stiffness matrix of the element is a matrix and has the form:

If and are constant, then has the form:

The nodal forces vector is a 3 dimensional vector and has the form:

where is the distributed load per unit length acting on the element. If is constant, then the nodal forces vector have the form:

View Mathematica Code

Eq1 = u /. X1 -> 0;

Eq2 = u /. X1 -> L/2;

Eq3 = u /. X1 -> L;

a = Solve[{Eq1 == u1, Eq2 == u2, Eq3 == u3}, {a0, a1, a2}]

u = u /. a[[1]]

N1 = FullSimplify[Coefficient[u, u1]]

N2 = FullSimplify[Coefficient[u, u2]]

N3 = FullSimplify[Coefficient[u, u3]]

B = {{D[N1, X1], D[N2, X1], D[N3, X1]}};

B // MatrixForm

Transpose[B] // MatrixForm

K = EA*Integrate[Transpose[B].B, {X1, 0, L}];

K // MatrixForm

Nn = {{N1, N2, N3}};

fe = Integrate[p*Transpose[Nn], {X1, 0, L}];

fe // MatrixForm

### Problems

For a quadratic one dimensional element of length L, find the nodal forces vector if a distributed horizontal load of (load per unit length) is applied on the element.

Using two quadratic one dimensional elements and the virtual work method, find the displacement of the nodes and the stress within each element of the following problem assuming , , , and units. Compare with the exact solution and the solution using four linear elements shown above.