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A New Approach to Obtaining Closed-Form Solutions for Higher Order Tetrahedral Finite Elements Using Modern Computer Algebra Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Sara E. McCaslin

University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, TX

Panos S. Shiakolas, Brian H. Dennis, Kent L. Lawrence

University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX

Paper No. DETC2011-48406, pp. 225-231; 7 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 31st Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5479-2
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Closed-form solutions for straight-sided tetrahedral element stiffness matrices used in finite element analysis have been proven more efficient than numerically integrated solutions. These closed-form solutions are symbolically integrated using computer algebra systems such as Mathematica or Maple. However, even with memory and processing speed available on desktop computers today, major hindrances exist when attempting to symbolically evaluate the stiffness matrices for high order elements. This research proposes a new approach to obtaining closed-form solutions. Results are presented that demonstrate the feasibility of obtaining the stiffness matrices for high order tetrahedral elements through p-level 9 by use of parallel processing tools in Mathematica 7. Comparisons are made between serial and parallel approaches based on memory required to generate a solution. The serial approach requires more memory and can only generate closed-form solutions up to 7th order. The parallel processing approach presented requires less memory and can generate solutions up to 9th order.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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