Weak Boundary Condition Enforcement for Linear Kirchhoff-Love Shells: Formulation, Error Analysis, and Verification

by   Joseph Benzaken, et al.

Stable and accurate modeling of thin shells requires proper enforcement of all types of boundary conditions. Unfortunately, for Kirchhoff-Love shells, strong enforcement of Dirichlet boundary conditions is difficult because both functional and derivative boundary conditions must be applied. A popular alternative is to employ Nitsche's method to weakly enforce all boundary conditions. However, while many Nitsche-based formulations have been proposed in the literature, they lack comprehensive error analyses and verifications. In fact, existing formulations are variationally inconsistent and yield sub-optimal convergence rates when used with common boundary condition specifications. In this paper, we present a novel Nitsche-based formulation for the linear Kirchhoff-Love shell that is provably stable and optimally convergent for general sets of admissible boundary conditions. To arrive at our formulation, we first present a framework for constructing Nitsche's method for any abstract variational constrained minimization problem. We then apply this framework to the linear Kirchhoff-Love shell and, for the particular case of NURBS-based isogeometric analysis, we prove that the resulting formulation yields optimal convergence rates in both the shell energy norm and the standard L^2-norm. In the process, we derive the Euler-Lagrange equations for general sets of admissible boundary conditions and show that the Euler-Lagrange boundary conditions typically presented in the literature is incorrect. We verify our formulation by manufacturing solutions for a new shell obstacle course that encompasses flat, parabolic, hyperbolic, and elliptic geometric configurations. These manufactured solutions allow us to robustly measure the error across the entire shell in contrast with current best practices where displacement and stress errors are only measured at specific locations.



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