An algorithm for defining load, paths and a load bearing topology in finite element analysis

Kelly, Donald W., Reidsema, Carl A. and Lee, Merrill C. W. (2011) An algorithm for defining load, paths and a load bearing topology in finite element analysis. Engineering Computations, 28 2: 196-214. doi:10.1108/02644401111109231

Author Kelly, Donald W.
Reidsema, Carl A.
Lee, Merrill C. W.
Title An algorithm for defining load, paths and a load bearing topology in finite element analysis
Journal name Engineering Computations   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0264-4401
Publication date 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/02644401111109231
Volume 28
Issue 2
Start page 196
End page 214
Total pages 19
Place of publication W Yorks, United Kingdom
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe a post-processing procedure for defining load paths and a load bearing topology using the stresses from a finite element analysis.
Design/methodology/approach – Cauchy stress vectors and a Runge-Kutta algorithm are used to identify the paths being followed by load components aligned with the coordinate axes. An algorithm is then defined which identifies an efficient topology that will carry the loads by straightening the paths.
Findings – The aim of the algorithm is to provide insight into the way a structure is carrying loads by identifying the material most effective in performing the load transfer. The procedure is applied to a number of structures to demonstrate its applicability to structural design.
Research limitations/implications – The examples demonstrate an insight of structural behavior that is useful at the conceptual stage of the design process. The load paths identify load transfer and warn the designer of the creation of bending moments and the location of features such as holes on the load path. They also demonstrate that the new procedures can provide suggestions for alternate topologies for the load bearing structure.
Originality/value – The load path theory has been published elsewhere. The new work in this paper is the definition of the Runge-Kutta algorithm to define the paths and the algorithm to identify the topology performing the load transfer.
Keyword Loading (physics)
Stress (materials)
Finite element analysis
Structural design
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Mechanical & Mining Engineering Publications
Official 2012 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 26 Sep 2011, 08:40:31 EST by Katie Gollschewski on behalf of School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering