Integration of B-spline geometry and ANCF finite element analysis
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The goal of this investigation is to introduce a new computer procedure for the integration of B-spline geometry and the absolute nodal coordinate formulation (ANCF) finite element analysis. The procedure is based on developing a linear transformation that can be used to transform systematically the B-spline representation to an ANCF finite element mesh preserving the same geometry and the same degree of continuity. Such a linear transformation that relates the B-spline control points and the finite element position and gradient coordinates will facilitate the integration of computer aided design and analysis (ICADA). While ANCF finite elements automatically ensure the continuity of the position and gradient vectors at the nodal points, the B-spline representation allows for imposing a higher degree of continuity by decreasing the knot multiplicity. As shown in this investigation, a higher degree of continuity can be systematically achieved using ANCF finite elements by imposing linear algebraic constraint equations that can be used to eliminate nodal variables. The analysis presented in this study shows that continuity of the curvature vector and its derivative which corresponds in the cubic B-spline representation to zero knot multiplicity can be systematically achieved using ANCF finite elements. In this special case, as the knot multiplicity reduces to zero, the recurrence B-spline formula causes two segments to automatically blend together forming one cubic segment defined on a larger domain. Similarly in this special case, the algebraic constraint equations required for the C 3 continuity convert two ANCF cubic finite elements to one finite element, demonstrating the strong relationship between the B-spline representation and the ANCF finite element representation. For the same order of interpolation, higher degree of continuity at the finite element interface can lead to a coarser mesh and to a lower dimensional model. Using the B-spline/ANCF finite element transformation developed in this paper, the equations of motion of a finite element mesh that represents exactly the B-spline geometry can be developed. Because of the linearity of the transformation developed in this investigation, all the ANCF finite element desirable features are preserved; including the constant mass matrix that can be used to develop an optimum sparse matrix structure of the nonlinear multibody system dynamic equations.
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