Nonlinear static isogeometric analysis of arbitrarily curved Kirchhoff-Love shells

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The geometrically rigorous nonlinear analysis of elastic shells is considered in the context of finite, but small, strain theory. The research is focused on the introduction of the full shell metric and examination of its influence on the nonlinear structural response. The exact relation between the reference and equidistant strains is employed and the complete analytic elastic constitutive relation between energetically conjugated forces and strains is derived. Utilizing these strict relations, the geometric stiffness matrix is derived explicitly by the variation of the unknown metric. Moreover, a compact form of this matrix is presented. Despite the linear displacement distribution due to the Kirchhoff-Love hypothesis, a nonlinear strain distribution arises along the shell thickness. This fact is sometimes disregarded for the nonlinear analysis of thin shells based on the initial geometry, thereby ignoring the strong curviness of a shell at some subsequent configuration. We show that the curviness of a shell at each configuration determines the appropriate shell formulation. For shells that become strongly curved at some configurations during deformation, the nonlinear distribution of strain throughout the thickness must be considered in order to obtain accurate results. We investigate four computational models: one based on the full analytical constitutive relation, and three simplified ones. Robustness, accuracy and relative efficiency of the presented formulation are examined via selected numerical experiments. Our main finding is that the employment of the full metric is often required when the complete response of the shells is sought, even for the initially thin shells. Finally, the simplified model that provided the best balance between efficiency and accuracy is suggested for the nonlinear analysis of strongly curved shells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106143
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Analytical constitutive relation
  • Nonlinear analysis
  • Reciprocal shift tensor
  • Strongly curved Kirchhoff-Love shell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


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