Distortional eigenmodes and homogeneous solutions for semi-discretized thin-walled beams

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2011



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The classical Vlasov theory for torsional analysis of thin-walled beams with open and closed cross-sections can be generalized by including distortional displacement fields. We show that the determination of adequate distortional displacement fields for generalized beam theory (GBT) can be found as part of a semi-discretization process. In this process the cross-section is discretized into finite cross-section elements and the axial variation of the displacement functions are solutions to the established coupled fourth order differential equations of GBT. We use a novel finite-element-based displacement approach in combination with a weak formulation of the shear constraints and constrained wall widths. The weak formulation of the shear constraints enables analysis of both open and closed cell cross-sections by allowing constant shear flow. We use variational analysis to establish and clearly identify the homogeneous differential equations, the eigenmodes, and the related homogeneous solutions. The distortional equations are solved by reduction of order and solution of the related eigenvalue problem of double size as in non-proportionally damped structural dynamic analysis. The full homogeneous solution is given as well as transformations between different degree of freedom spaces. This new approach is a considerable theoretical improvement, since the obtained GBT equations found by discretization of the cross-section are now solved analytically and the formulation is valid without special attention also for closed single or multi cell cross-sections. Further more the found eigenvalues have clear mechanical meaning, since they represent the attenuation of the distortional eigenmodes and may be used in the automatic meshing of approximate distortional beam elements. The magnitude of the eigenvalues thus also gives the natural ordering of the modes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThin-Walled Structures
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)691-707
StatePublished - 2011
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 22


  • GBT, Generalized beam theory, Warping, Distortion, Verallgemeinerte Technische Biegetheorie, Thin-walled beams, Semi-discretization, Beam theory, VTB
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