Computational Mechanics and Design Group

Department of Civil & Structural Engineering

3D ultimate limit analysis using discontinuity layout optimization


Plastic limit analysis allows the direct evaluation of the collapse load of a body or structure, without the need for intermediate calculation steps. Computational limit analysis methods have successfully been used to obtain bounds on the collapse load for plane strain problems, providing a rapid and robust means of evaluating safety. However, application of limit analysis techniques to three-dimensional problems has been more limited. This is unfortunate since engineers are increasingly seeking to model the real three-dimensional geometry of a given problem, rather than a two-dimensional idealization. During this project, discontinuity layout optimization, a limit analysis procedure successfully applied to numerous plain strain problems, has been used to develop a new three-dimensional limit analysis formulation. Unlike previous similar limit analysis formulations, discontinuity layout optimization is relatively insensitive to the initial layout of elements chosen.  During the course of this research, a number of simple benchmark problems are considered, demonstrating that good results can be obtained even when coarse numerical discretizations are employed. Further information, can be found in the publications below.


The University of Sheffield


(2013). Application of discontinuity layout optimization to three-dimensional plasticity problems. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 469 (2155), (Full Text)., Abstract: A new three-dimensional limit analysis formulation that uses the recently developed discontinuity...