, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 201-210
Date: 30 Jul 2010

CAD-integrated analysis of 3-D beams: a surface-integration approach

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Abstract

Most engineering artifacts are designed and analyzed today within a 3-D computer aided design (CAD) environment. However, slender objects such as beams are designed in a 3-D environment, but analyzed using a 1-D beam-element, since their 3-D analysis exhibits locking and/or is computationally inefficient. This process is tedious and error-prone. Here, we propose a dual-representation strategy for designing and analyzing 3-D beams, directly within a 3-D CAD environment. The proposed method exploits classic 1-D beam physics, but is implemented within a 3-D CAD environment by appealing to the divergence theorem. Consequently, the proposed method is numerically and computationally equivalent to classic 1-D beam analysis for uniform cross-section beams. But, more importantly, it closely matches the accuracy of a full-blown 3-D finite element analysis for non-uniform beams.