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Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222

Explicit eight-noded quadrilateral elements


K.E. Barrett*
Coventry Applied Mathematics And Computation, Mathematics Division, Coventry University, Priory Street,
Coventry CV1 5FB, UK

Abstract

Conditions under which it is possible to determine exact integrals for stiffness matrix entries for an eight-noded
isoparametric plane strain element are investigated. Considerable use has been made of the algebraic manipulation
language MAPLE in obtaining the results. For the eight-noded quadrilateral the determinant of the Jacobian is
a complete cubic plus a single quartic term. Exact integration of the stiffness matrices can be performed when the
determinant of the Jacobian becomes a single linear factor or a product of linear factors. Such decompositions can be
related to the geometry of the element in some cases. If accurate stiffness entries are to be found, 3;3 rather than 2;2
Gauss integration rules should be used.  1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Explicit; Stiffness; Quadrilateral; Element; Isoparametric

1. Introduction

The finite element method has been a standard technique for the numerical analysis of a range of
continuum mechanics problems since the advent of freely available powerful computers in the
mid-1960s. Recent advances in power have placed PCs on the workbench with sophisticated
algebraic manipulating software such as MAPLE and Mathematica as a standard feature. It has
thus become practical to replace some of the numerical approximations in finite element methods
with exact algebraic computations. Previously, numerical methods were used to calculate the
element stiffness, mass, and for flow problems, convective matrix integrals. Complications arise
from two main sources, firstly the large number of integrations that need to be performed and
secondly, in methods which use isoparametric elements, the presence of the determinant of the
Jacobian matrix in the denominator of the stiffness matrix. Throughout this paper the determinant
of the Jacobian will be referred to simply as the Jacobian. If it is possible to use a hybrid
formulation the Jacobian problem can be avoided as many authors have shown.

* Tel. #440203 838 598; fax: #440203 838585.

0168-874X/99/$ see front matter  1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved
PII: S 0 1 6 8 - 8 7 4 X ( 9 8 ) 0 0 0 6 7 - 5
210 K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222

Most emphasis has been placed on the four-node isoparametric planar quadrilateral element.
Articles include those by Babu and Pinder [1], Griffiths [2], Griffiths and Mustoe [3], Hacker and
Schreyer [4], Okabe [5], Rathod [6], Videla et al. [7] and Ye et al. [8]. For these the Jacobian is
either constant or linear in the natural coordinates so the exact stiffness matrices are combinations
of polynomials and logarithms of the element nodal coordinates. Those working on hybrid
elements include Ledvinka [9], Chang et al. [10], Spilker [11] and Tong [12]. Here the integrands
and integrals are polynomials so the integration procedures just have to be efficient. Various
authors have shown that the expressions for the exact values of the integrals have to be evaluated
with care. If this is done they can be computed with greater accuracy and at greater speed than by
using the corresponding traditional Gauss integration procedures.
Little work has been carried out on evaluating the stiffness matrices arising from higher-order
isoparametric planar triangular and quadrilateral elements as, for these, the Jacobian occurs as
a quadratic factor or higher-order polynomial in the denominator. This note shows how some of
the integrals arising from an eight-noded quadrilateral element may be computed exactly.

2. Stiffness matrices for planar isoparametric elements

It will be supposed that the element has n nodes with coordinates (x , y ) i"12n. For the
G G
standard planar elements n"3, 4, 6, 8, 9 corresponding to the 3 and 6 node triangles and the 4,
8 and 9 node quadrilaterals. For isoparametric elements all variables including the coordinates are
written in terms of the shape functions so that

L L
x(s, t)" x N (s, t), y(s, t)" y N (s, t), (1)
G G G G
G G
where (s, t) are the natural coordinates on the element with nodes (s , t ), i"12n and the shape
G G
functions satisfy

N (s , t )"d , (2)
G H H G H
where d is the Kronecker delta.
G H
The Jacobian of the transformation is

 
*x *x
(s, t) (s, t)
*s *t
J(s, t)" , (3)
*y *y
(s, t) (s, t)
*s *t

with determinant

L L *N *N
det J(s, t)" (x y !x y ) G (s, t) H (s, t). (4)
G H H G *s *t
G H
K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222 211

The inverse of the Jacobian is

   
*s *s *y *x
(s, t) (s, t) (s, t) ! (s, t)
*x *y 1 *t *t
J\(s, t)" " . (5)
*t *t det J(s, t) *y *x
(s, t) (s, t) ! (s, t) (s, t)
*x *y *s *s
The element energy for a linear elastic material with Youngs modulus E and Poissons ratio
l under plane strain conditions is

  
1!l l 0 e
V

E
" [e e c ] l 1!l 0 e dx dy, (6)
 (1!2l)(1#l) V W VW W
 0 0 (1!2l) c
 VW
where
[e e c ],
V W VW
are the strain components. If the nodal displacements in the x and y directions are u and v then

 
*u


e *x
V *v
e " (7)
W *y
c *u *v
VW
#
*y *x
and the element energy is

      
E *u  *v 
" (1!l) #
 (1!2l)(1#l) *x *y


 
*u *v 1 *u *v 
#2l # (1!2l) # dx dy. (8)
*x *y 2 *y *x
For the case where the nodal displacements are given by
L L
u(s, t)" u N (s, t), v(s, t)" v N (s, t), (9)
G G G G
G G
the element energy is

  
L L 1!2l
" A (1!l)u u # v v #B [2lu v #(1!2l)v u ]
 G H G H 2 G H G H G H G H
G H

 
1!2l
#C (1!l)v v # uu , (10)
G H G H 2 G H
212 K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222

where

  
*N *N *N *N *N *N
A " G H dx dy, B " G H dx dy, C " G H dx dy. (11)
G H *x *x G H *x *y G H *y *y
  
In terms of the natural coordinates these integrals are

   
1 *N *y *N *y *N *y *N *y
A " G ! G H ! H ds dt, (12)
G H det J(s, t) *s *t *t *s *s *t *t *s


   
1 *N *y *N *y *N *x *N *x
B " G ! G H ! H ds dt, (13)
G H det J(s, t) *s *t *t *s *t *s *s *t


   
1 *N *x *N *x *N *x *N *x
C " G ! G H ! H ds dt, (14)
G H det J(s, t) *t *s *s *t *t *s *s *t

For the case of the eight-noded quadrilaterals, where the shape functions are trilinear in the natural
coordinates, a typical integral is

 
 P (s, t)
I"  ds dt, (15)
det J(s, t)
R\ Q\
where P is a polynomial of total degree eight in s and t. Such integrals can be integrated exactly in

terms of polynomials, logarithms and dilogarithms for the cases where the Jacobian can be
expressed as a single linear expression in s and t or where it is a product of two or more such linear
expressions.

3. Jacobian as product of linear factors

The standard eight-noded quadrilateral in the computational (s, t) plane has vertices and
midsides given by (!1,!1), (0,!1), (1,!1), (1, 0), (1, 1), (0, 1), (!1, 1) and (!1, 0). If this is
mapped onto a generally placed eight-noded quadrilateral in the x, y plane with nodes
(x , y ), i"1,2,8 the Jacobian of the mapping involves 16 parameters and is typically a complete
G G
cubic in s and t plus an st term, i.e.,

 \G
det J(s, t)" c sGt\G\H#c st, (16)
G \G\H  
G H
where the c are quadratic expressions in the x and y coordinates of the nodes. The Jacobian can
G H
also be expressed in terms of perturbations of the nodes from their standard positions. The
perturbation of node i from its standard position will be denoted by (p , q ). When the perturbations
G G
are zero, det J(s, t)"1. It will be supposed that a preliminary affine transformation has been made
for a generally placed eight-noded quadrilateral so that three of the corner nodes are at the
standard positions (!1,!1), (1,!1) and (!1, 1), reducing the number of parameters to 10. The
K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222 213

Fig. 1. Standard and curvilinear 8-noded quadrilaterals.

Jacobian for such a transformation is a constant so does not affect the difficulty of computing an
entry in the stiffness matrix. This case is illustrated in Fig. 1. In this section geometrical constraints
will be established for the cases where the Jacobian can be expressed as a product of up to four
linear factors.

3.1. Linear Jacobian

The Jacobian reduces to a single linear factor when the quadratic, cubic and quartic terms are
zero. First the transformation
p "p !p #a , q "q !q #b , p "p !p #a , q "q !q #b
                   
(17)
is introduced. The quartic and cubic terms are zero and the quadratic terms can be zero when
a "b "a "b "0, (18)
   
(cf. [13]). For this case
p #p "p #p , q #q "q #q , (19)
       
i.e. the movement of the midpoints of the line joining nodes 2 and 4 and the line joining nodes 6 and
8 have to be the same. The extra conditions for the quadratic terms to be zero are
p q !p q "0, p q !p q "0, p q !p q "0. (20)
           
There are four cases

1. p "p "p "0 midside nodes can move in vertical direction.


  
2. p "q "p "q "0 two or more points are fixed.
   
3. p "q "0, p O0, q "(q /p )p one point and one ratio fixed.
      
4. p O0, q "(q /p )p , q "(q /p )p two ratios fixed.
        
214 K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222

Geometrically, the perturbations of the nodes are parallel to each other. The Jacobian is

det J(s, t)"(1#p #q )#(p #q !2p )s#(p #q !2q )t. (21)
           
The perturbations have to be constrained so that the Jacobian remains positive as s and t each vary
between plus and minus one.

3.2. Quadratic is a product of two linear factors

The Jacobian reduces to a quadratic and is not linear when

1. a "b "a "b "0 and not all of p q !p q , p q !p q , p q !p q are zero.


               
2. b O0, a "(a /b )b , p "(a /b )q , p "(a /b )q , p "(a /b )q and not all of a , b ,
                  
a b #b are zero.
  
3. b "0, a O0, q "q "q "0.
    
4. b "0, a "0, b O0, p "(a /b )q , p "(a /b )q , p "(a /b )q .
              
5. b "0, a "0, b "0, a O0, q "q "q "0.
      
The Jacobian can also be written as the quadratic form


s
1
det J(s, t)" [s t 1]A t , (22)
2
1

where the matrix A involves quantities which are quadratic in the nodal coordinates. The quadratic
Jacobian reduces to a product of one or two linear factors, in this case two, if and only if the matrix
A of the quadratic form has a zero determinant (cf. [14], [15], p. 82.). In terms of the ps and qs the
determinant is a polynomial of total degree 6 with any given p or q occurring to no more than
G G
degree 3. Any one variable may be solved in terms of the others, the resulting solution being
generally extremely complex. Some simple cases are

1. p "p "p "q "0, p "p , q "q .


       
2. q "q "q "0, a "a "0, q "q .
      
3. a "b "0, p "(a /b )q , p "(a /b )q , p "(a /b )q , q q "!2b .
                

3.3. Three linear factors

If the Jacobian is a product of three linear factors there can be no term in st. The coefficient is

c "[( p !p ) (q #2q !2q )#(p !p ) (2q !2q !q )


            
#p (!q !q #q #q )]"0. (23)
    
The Jacobian reduces to a complete cubic containing 10 types of terms involving the ten
perturbation parameters. A product of three linear factors contains seven parameters so there will
K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222 215

be three additional constraints on the perturbations. If the cubic Jacobian

Jc(s, t)"c #c s#c t#c s#c st#c t#c s#c st#c st#c t, (24)
         
factorises as

Jc(s, t)"(1#u s#u t) (w #w s#w t#w s#w st#w t), (25)


       
then matching coefficients term by term, the lowest-order terms first, gives

w "c , w "c !u c , w "c !u c ,


         
w "c !u c #u c , w "c !u c #u c ,
           
w "c !u c !u c #2u u c . (26)
        
The remaining coefficients satisfy

c "u (c !u c #u c ),
      
c "u c #u c !2u u c !u c #3u u c ,
            
c "u c #u c !2u u c !u c #3u u c ,
            
c "u (c !u c #u c ). (27)
      
The first and last of these are cubic equations for u and u and the middle two are constraints on
 
the remaining coefficients. The remaining constraint is that

Jc(s, t)
Jq(s, t)" (28)
1#u s#u t
 
should break down into two linear factors. The condition for this was given earlier.
Cases where the Jacobian is a product of three linear factors in s only include

1. a "a "b "p "p "0, q "2q .


      
2. a "b "0, a "(p /q )b , q "(2b #p q )/p , p "8q !4q , p "(p #4q )p /8q .
                  

3.4. Four linear factors

As the Jacobian is a complete cubic plus a term in st it could reduce, in special cases, to
a product of four or fewer linear factors. If the Jacobian has four linear factors it can be written as

det J(s,t)"(1#a s#b t)(1#a s#b t)(1#a s#b t)(1#a s#b t), (29)
       
216 K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222

where a and b involve quadratics in the perturbations of the nodes from their standard positions.
G G
As the general Jacobian has no term in s or t
a a a a "b b b b "0. (30)
       
Without loss of generality, there are either only three linear factors or a "b "0. In the case, with
 
four factors, the Jacobian is
det J(s, t)"(1#a s#b t)(1#a s)(1#a s#b t)(1#b t). (31)
     
As, for the general problem, the coefficients of st and st are also zero
a a a b "b a b b "0. (32)
       
Without loss of generality, there are three linear factors or a "b "0 with the Jacobian becoming
 
det J(s, t)"(1#a s)(1#a s)(1#b t)(1#b t). (33)
   
Note that this expression has no terms which are cubic in s or t. If the Jacobian is a product of four
linear functions of s and t the integrand in I can be written as a polynomial in s and t plus
G
a constant multiple of
(1#as)(1#bt)
. (34)
(1#a s)(1#a s)(1#b t)(1#b t)
   
It is easy to show, in terms of the coefficients in the Jacobian, that the conditions for reduction to
a product of four linear factors are
c c !c c "0,
       
c c !c c "0, c c !c c "0,
                (35)
c "0, c "0,
   
c c !c c "0.
       
The last four of these conditions are quartic in the node perturbations and are difficult to solve in
general. In a recent paper, Yuan et al. [16] have shown how to represent a general isoparametric
quadrilateral in terms of 12 parameters, 10 of which correspond to areas. With the use of this
notation the previous equations become, respectively, linear and quadratic in these areas and in
some cases may be solved. The various known areas are next expressed as quadratics in the nodal
perturbations and again Eq. (35) can sometimes be solved.

4. Exact evaluation of stiffness integrals

A typical contribution to the stiffness matrix involves an integral of the form

 
  P (s, t)
I"  ds dt, (36)
det J(s, t)
R\ Q\
K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222 217

where P is a polynomial of degree 8 in two variables and det J(s, t) is a complete polynomial plus

an st term. For the cases where the Jacobian is a product of four or fewer linear factors this
integral can be evaluated as a polynomial part plus either

1.

 
 e #f s  e #f t
I "   ds   dt, (37)
 g #h s#j s g #h t#j t
Q\    R\   
when the Jacobian has four linear factors, or
2.

 
  ds dt
I " , (38)
 (1#a s#b t)(1#a s#b t)(1#a s#b t)
Q\ R\      
when the Jacobian has three or fewer linear factors.

All the integrals I are standard, results being given in terms of trigonometric, hyperbolic or

logarithmic functions. The integrals I can be written as a cyclic sum of terms of the form


 
 b ln(a s!b #1)  ln(1#es)
J"    ds" ds
(a b s!a b s!b #b )(a b s!a b s!b #b ) (1#fs)(1#gs)
Q\             Q\
. (39)

For the case of general e, f and g the integral takes the value

   
 ln(1#es) 1 (1!g)(e!f )
I" ds" ln(1!e)ln
(1#fs)(1#gs) f!g (1!f )(e!g)
Q\

     
(1#f )(e!g) (1!g)e (1!f )e
#ln(1#e)ln #dilog !dilog
(e!f )(1#g) e!g e!f

   
(1#f )e (1#g)e
#dilog !dilog . (40)
e!f e!g

Simpler results arise when any two or more of e, f and g are equal or any one or more are zero.

5. Numerical examples

5.1. Linear Jacobian

For the case where the node movements are vertical with

p "0, p "0, p "0, p "0, p "0, q "0, q "2q , q "q , q "0, (41)
          
218 K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222

the Jacobian is a linear expression in q , viz.,



J(s, t)"1#q #q s. (42)
   
The element is distorted to a trapezium with all midside nodes being centrally placed. An exact
evaluation of a typical entry in the stiffness matrix gives

1
A " (!17q!6q!180q!120q #6(3q#20)(q #1)ln(1#q )). (43)
  90q       

Use of the 2;2 Gauss rule gives

1 2q#6q#27q #30
A Kg (q )"    . (44)
    9 (q#6q #6)
 
Use of the 3;3 Gauss rule gives

1 49q#282q#824q#1560q #1040
A Kg (q )"     . (45)
    90 (q #2)(q#10q #10)
  
The values of g , g and A are given in the table for q "0,!1 and 1. The 2;2 point Gauss rule
    
is in error by 2% when the element is not distorted and by 20% when the element is distorted to
a trapezium with one vertical side twice its previous length with a central position for the midside
node. The 3;3 Gauss rule and the exact result are virtually identical over the whole range as Fig. 2
shows.

Fig. 2. Exact, 2;2 and 3;3 gauss rules for linear Jacobian.
K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222 219

5.2. Quadratic Jacobian

A set of nodal perturbations which give a quadratic Jacobian are

p ", p "0, p "0, p ", p "0,


      
q "!q , q "2q , q "0, q "0, (46)
     
where the Jacobian is

J(s, t)"(1!s)(1#q #q s). (47)


    
The standard element is transformed into one where the right-hand vertical edge is changed in
length with the midside node still being centrally placed. The top and bottom edges become curved
and the left-hand edge remains unchanged. The exact, 2;2 and 3;3 Gauss rules give for A
 
1
A (q )" (!2457q!3918q!7220q!8840q!6240q!1920q
   15(3q #2)q      
 
#(1726q#734q #124)q ln(3)
  
#2(q #1)(113q#700q#1580q#1680q #960)ln(1#q )), (48)
     
2 124q#390q#357q #144
A (q )Kg (q )"    , (49)
     99 q#6q #6
 
1 4537q#21748q#35824q#26160q #8240
A (q )Kg (q )"     . (50)
     765 (q #2)(q#10q #10)
  
The exact and 3;3 Gauss rule give close agreement as before as the values in the table and a graph
of the behaviour on q from !1 to 1 show.


5.3. Cubic Jacobian

A set of nodal perturbations which give a tri-linear Jacobian are

p ", p "0, p "0, p ", p "0, q "0, q "2q , q "0,


          
q "0. (51)

The Jacobian is the cubic

J(s, t)"(1!s)(1#q s#q s). (52)


    
For this case the midside nodes on the top and bottom edges are moved the same amount of  to

the right, the bottom edge remaining straight and the top edge becoming curved. The top
right-hand corner is moved vertically a distance 2q and the midside node on the right stays at the

220 K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222

centre point of its edge. The exact values of A and 2;2 and 3;3 Gauss point approximations
 
are
1
A "! (!11q#83q #40)ln(q #1)
  30(3q #1)q   
 

 
1 q 1
! (2(q !8)(12q!q #5)arctanh 3 
30(3q #1)    (a (a


 
q 1
#2(q !8)(12q!q #5)arctanh  !(2346q#954q #124)ln(3)
   (a (a  

#2502q#954q #40), a"q!8q , (53)


   
2 3q!22q!15q !144
A Kg (q )"    , (54)
    33 q!6q !18
 
1 136q!1343q!4534q!14560q !20600
A Kg (q )"     . (55)
    765 3q!30q !50
 
Values for q "0, !1 and 1 are shown in Table 1. Fig. 3 shows again the inaccuracy of the 2;2

rule and the good agreement between the exact value and the 3;3 rule.

5.4. Quartic Jacobian

Examples where the Jacobian reduces to a quartic form can be constructed by the previously
described algorithm. The particular case where the nodal perturbations are
2q
p "!  , p "2p , p "4p , p "p , p "0,
 1#2q       

4q#3 6!3q #2q
q "  , q "  , q "4q , q "q , (56)
 1#2q  1#2q    
 
leads to the Jacobian
(1#3s#3s)(1!4tq)
J(s, t)" . (57)
1#2q

This corresponds to a valid element provided
!(q (. (58)
  
Stiffness matrices involve the integral

 
R  1#2q
I(q )"  ds dt
 (1#3s#3s)(1!4tq)
R\ Q\ 

 
(3 1#2q
" (arctan(3(3)#p) (1#2q )ln  . (59)
9q  1!2q
 
K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222 221

Table 1
Exact and approximate values for stiffness entries

Jacobian q 2;2 rule 3;3 rule Exact



Linear 0 0.555556 0.577778 0.577778
!1 0.777778 0.788889 0.788889
1 0.555556 0.662257 0.662414
Quadratic 0 0.484848 0.538562 0.540931
!1 1.070707 0.905882 0.863246
1 1.577312 2.002469 2.035897
Cubic 0 0.484848 0.538562 0.540931
!1 0.848485 0.699346 0.685898
1 0.469038 0.694355 0.713507
q

Quartic 0 8.000000 4.327869 5.606922
 15.652174 8.670310 11.279902

! 3.130435 1.734062 2.255998


Fig. 3. Exact, 2;2 and 3;3 gauss rules for cubic Jacobian.

The two and three point Gauss rules give


1#2q
I(q )Kg (q )"24 , (60)
   (3!4q)

88 (15!16q)(1#2q )
I(q )Kg (q )"  . (61)
   61 (5!12q)

Values at q "0,  and ! are given in Table 1. The poor agreement may be noted.
  
222 K.E. Barrett / Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 31 (1999) 209222

6. Conclusions

The algebraic manipulation language MAPLE has been used to investigate the explicit calcu-
lation of contributions to stiffness matrices for an isoparametric eight-noded quadrilateral element.
For such elements the Jacobian is a complete cubic plus a single quartic term in the computational
coordinates and it is not always possible to give explicit expressions for the stiffness matrix entries.
It has been shown that is possible to find, in principle, the stiffness matrices when the Jacobian is
either a linear expression in the computational coordinates or a product of up to four such linear
expressions. In the latter case the integrals are sometimes given in terms of dilogarithms as well as
polynomials and logarithms. Simple algebraic constraints have been presented for the case where
the Jacobian becomes degenerate. In some cases these conditions have been related to simple
geometric properties of the element. In some typical cases it has been shown that 3;3 Gauss
integration gives accurate estimates of the exact stiffness matrix entries and that 2;2 Gauss
integration can give errors exceeding 20% for quite moderate element distortions.

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