Arc-length-type and energy-type methods are two main strategies used in structural nonlinear tracing analysis, but the former is widely used due to the explicitness and clarity in conception, as well as the convenience and reliability in calculation. It is very important to trace the complete load-deflection path in order to know comprehensively the characteristics of structures subjected to loads. Unfortunately, the nonlinear analysis techniques are only workable for tracing the limit-point-type equilibrium path. For the bifurcation-point-type path, most of them cannot secure a satisfactory result. In this paper, main arc-length-type methods are reviewed and compared, and the possible reasons of failures in tracing analysis are briefly discussed. Some improvements are proposed, a displacement perturbation method and a force perturbation method are presented for tracing the bifurcation-point-type paths. Finally, two examples are analyzed to verify the ideas, and some conclusions are drawn with respect to the arc-length-type methods.
arc-length-type methods limit point bifurcation point displacement perturbation method force perturbation method
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