Analyzing Thin Structures Efficiently - Lesson 2

Structures whose thickness is significantly less than the other two dimensions are referred to as thin structures and analyzing such structures poses some challenges. In this video, we address these challenges by discussing how to efficiently model thin structures as surface bodies and how to use shell elements to mesh them. Nodes of shell elements, in additional to having translational degrees of freedom, have three rotational degrees of freedom. This allows them to have both membrane and bending behavior. In addition, they have several attributes such as thickness, offset, local coordinate system, and more. In this walkthrough workshop, we discuss each of these attributes in detail, as well as some tips and tricks to keep in mind when using shell elements. 

Video Highlights

0:56 - Designation of "thin" geometry

2:19 - Introduction to shell elements

3:42 - Through-thickness stresses of shell elements

4:27 - Shell element coordinate system

6:15 - Specifying shell thickness and offset

9:16 - Demonstration using Midsurface Tool in SpaceClaim

10:15 - Demonstration using Shared Topology in SpaceClaim

13:04 - Demonstration using Element Orientation in Mechanical

15:31 - Demonstration defining contact between solid and surface bodies in Mechanical

17:52 - Treatment of Fixed Support for solid vs. shell bodies

18:22 - Considerations of Pressure loading on shell bodies

20:57 - Demonstration of Membrane and Bending Stress output in Mechanical

Simulation Files

Download the accompanying geometry and archived files here. Download Ansys Student for free here.