Development of a Global/Local Approach and a Geometrically Non-linear Local Panel Analysis for Structural Design

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Virginia Tech

A computationally efficient analysis capability for the geometrically non-linear response of compressively loaded prismatic plate structures was developed. Both a "full" finite strip solution procedure and a "reduced" solution procedure were implemented in a FORTRAN 90 computer code, and comparisons were made with results available in the technical literature. Both the full and reduced solution procedures were demonstrated to provide accurate results for displacement and strain quantities through moderately large post-buckling loads. The full method is a non-linear finite strip analysis of the semi-analytical, multi-term type. Individual finite strips are modeled as balanced and symmetric laminated composite materials which are assumed to behave orthotropically in bending, and the structure is loaded in uniaxial or biaxial compression. The loaded ends of the structure are assumed to be simply supported, and geometric shape imperfections may be modeled. The reduced solution method makes use of a reduced basis technique in conjunction with the full finite strip analysis. Here, the potentially large set of non-linear algebraic equations produced by the finite strip method are replaced by a small set of system equations. In the present implementation, the basis vectors consist of successive derivatives of the non-linear solution vector with respect to a loading parameter.

Depending on the nature of the problem, the reduced solution procedure is capable of computational savings of up to 60%+ compared to the full finite strip method. The reduced method is most effective in reducing the computational cost of the full method when the most significant portion of the cost of the full method is factorization of the assembled system matrices. The robustness and efficiency of the reduced solution procedure was found to be sensitive to the user specified error norm which is used during the reduced solution procedure to determine when to generate new sets of basis vectors.

In parallel with this effort, a new method for performing global/local design optimization of large complex structures (such as aircraft wings or fuselages) was developed. A simple and flexible interface between the global and local design levels was constructed using response surface methodology. The interface is constructed so as to minimize the changes required in either the global design code or the local design codes(s). Proper coupling is maintained between the global and local design levels via a "weight constraint" and the transfer of global stiffness information to the local level. The method was verified using a simple isotropic global wing model and the local panel design code PASCO.

non-linear analysis, postbuckling, stiffened panels, design optimization