Vol. 8, No. 5-7, 2013

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On successive differentiations of the rotation tensor: An application to nonlinear beam elements

Teodoro Merlini and Marco Morandini

Vol. 8 (2013), No. 5-7, 305–340

Successive differentiations of the rotation tensor are characterized by successive differential rotation vectors. Useful expressions of the differential rotation vectors for differentiations up to third order are derived. In the context of the exponential parameterization, explicit expressions for the differential maps (the maps providing the differential rotation vectors from the differentials of the parameters chosen) are obtained by resorting to an original infinite family of recursive subexponential maps. Useful properties of the mapping tensors are discussed.

The formulation is appropriate for nonlinear problems of computational solid mechanics, when spatial, incremental, and virtual variations of particle orientations must be dealt with together. As an application, the classical problem of modeling space-curved slender beams by finite elements is considered. The variational formulation and the nonlinear interpolation of the orientations, together with the relevant linearizations, consistently exploit the proposed differentiations and lead to an objective beam element. Two test cases are discussed.

finite rotation differentiations, exponential map, rotation differential maps, space-curved slender beams, orientation interpolation, nonlinear beam elements
Received: 27 November 2012
Revised: 1 March 2013
Accepted: 1 March 2013
Published: 18 November 2013
Teodoro Merlini
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Aerospaziali
Politecnico di Milano
Campus Bovisa
via La Masa 34
20156 Milano
Marco Morandini
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Aerospaziali
Politecnico di Milano
Campus Bovisa
via La Masa 34
20156 Milano