Towards Efficient Adaptive Structural Analysis in Engineering Design

Daniel Rypl, Bořek Patzák

Department of Mechanics
Faculty of Civil Engineering
Czech Technical University in Prague
Thákurova 7, 166 29 Prague, Czech Republic


Nowadays, the use of adaptive strategies for the analysis of structural problems is quite routine in the academic area. However, application of adaptive approaches in civil engineering design offices is far from common. As a consequence, the analyst has no assessment of the accuracy of the obtained approximate solution of the investigated problem. This may potentially lead to unsatisfactory design not only from the economical point of view but also from the point of the safety of the whole structure or its part. This paper proposes a simple and straightforward approach how to make adaptive analysis accessible also for practical civil engineering offices. The basic idea of this load case oriented adaptivity is to perform (preferably in parallel) sequential adaptive finite element analyses of individual load cases, results of which are stored on a common reference mesh. This computational scheme requires only minimal modification of design approaches currently used by most civil engineering design offices while providing comprehensive estimate of the error of the computed solutions without enormous increase of computational costs. The paper also deals with interesting issues concerning the convergence of the adaptive analysis to the solution of required accuracy and the treatment of singularities. The proposed strategy is demonstrated on a simple example using a pilot implementation based on academic software.