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An isogeometric Reissner-Mindlin shell derived from the continuum theory is presented. The geometry is described by NURBS surfaces. The kinematic description of the employed shell theory requires the interpolation of the director vector and of a local basis system. Hence, the definition of nodal basis systems at the control points is necessary for the proposed formulation. The control points are in general not located on the shell reference surface and thus, several choices for the nodal values are possible. The proposed new method uses the higher continuity of the geometrical description to calculate nodal basis system and director vectors which lead to geometrical exact interpolated values thereof. Thus, the initial director vector coincides with the normal vector even for the coarsest mesh. In addition to that a more accurate interpolation of the current director and its variation is proposed. Instead of the interpolation of nodal director vectors the new approach interpolates nodal rotations. Account is taken for the discrepancy between interpolated basis systems and the individual nodal basis systems with an additional transformation. The exact evaluation of the initial director vector along with the interpolation of the nodal rotations lead to a shell formulation which yields precise results even for coarse meshes. The convergence behavior is shown to be correct for k-refinement allowing the use of coarse meshes with high orders of NURBS basis functions. This is potentially advantageous for applications with high numerical effort per integration point. The geometrically nonlinear formulation accounts for large rotations. The consistent tangent matrix is derived. Various standard benchmark examples show the superior accuracy of the presented shell formulation. A new benchmark designed to test the convergence behavior for free form surfaces is presented. Despite the higher numerical effort per integration point the improved accuracy yields considerable savings in computation cost for a predefined error bound.

This work presents a framework for the computation of complex geometries containing intersections of multiple patches with Reissner-Mindlin shell elements. The main objective is to provide an isogeometric finite element implementation which neither requires drilling rotation stabilization, nor user interaction to quantify the number of rotational degrees of freedom for every node. For this purpose, the following set of methods is presented. Control points with corresponding physical location are assigned to one common node for the finite element solution. A nodal basis system in every control point is defined, which ensures an exact interpolation of the director vector throughout the whole domain. A distinction criterion for the automatic quantification of rotational degrees of freedom for every node is presented. An isogeometric Reissner-Mindlin shell formulation is enhanced to handle geometries with kinks and allowing for arbitrary intersections of patches. The parametrization of adjacent patches along the interface has to be conforming. The shell formulation is derived from the continuum theory and uses a rotational update scheme for the current director vector. The nonlinear kinematic allows the computation of large deformations and large rotations. Two concepts for the description of rotations are presented. The first one uses an interpolation which is commonly used in standard Lagrange-based shell element formulations. The second scheme uses a more elaborate concept proposed by the authors in prior work, which increases the accuracy for arbitrary curved geometries. Numerical examples show the high accuracy and robustness of both concepts. The applicability of the proposed framework is demonstrated.

In this contribution a mortar-type method for the coupling of non-conforming NURBS surface patches is proposed. The connection of non-conforming patches with shared degrees of freedom requires mutual refinement, which propagates throughout the whole patch due to the tensor-product structure of NURBS surfaces. Thus, methods to handle non-conforming meshes are essential in NURBS-based isogeometric analysis. The main objective of this work is to provide a simple and efficient way to couple the individual patches of complex geometrical models without altering the variational formulation. The deformations of the interface control points of adjacent patches are interrelated with a master-slave relation. This relation is established numerically using the weak form of the equality of mutual deformations along the interface. With the help of this relation the interface degrees of freedom of the slave patch can be condensated out of the system. A natural connection of the patches is attained without additional terms in the weak form. The proposed method is also applicable for nonlinear computations without further measures. Linear and geometrical nonlinear examples show the high accuracy and robustness of the new method. A comparison to reference results and to computations with the Lagrange multiplier method is given.