Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 2021.
Authors: T.-H. Nguyen, R.R. Hiemstra, D. Schillinger.

[arXiv], [doi]

In this paper, we take a fresh look at using spectral analysis for assessing locking phenomena in finite element formulations. We propose to ‘‘measure’’ locking by comparing the difference between eigenvalue and mode error curves computed on coarse meshes with ‘‘asymptotic’’ error curves computed on ‘‘overkill’’ meshes, both plotted with respect to the normalized mode number. To demonstrate the intimate relation between membrane locking and spectral accuracy, we focus on the example of a circular ring discretized with isogeometric curved Euler-Bernoulli beam elements. We show that the transverse-displacement-dominating modes are locking-prone, while the circumferential-displacement-dominating modes are naturally locking-free. We use eigenvalue and mode errors to assess five isogeometric finite element formulations in terms of their locking-related efficiency: the displacement-based formulation with full and reduced integration and three locking-free formulations based on the B-bar, discrete strain gap and Hellinger-Reissner methods. Our study shows that spectral analysis uncovers locking-related effects across the spectrum of eigenvalues and eigenmodes, rigorously characterizing membrane locking in the displacement-based formulation and unlocking in the locking-free formulations.