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The Finite Element Method, 2nd Edition by S. Quek, G.R. Liu

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Chapter 9

FEM for 3D Solid Elements

9.1 Introduction

A three-dimensional (3D) solid element can be considered to be the most general of all solid finite elements because the field variables are described fully in terms of all three physical coordinates: x, y, and z. An example of a 3D solid structure under loading is shown in Figure 9.1, where the force vectors are described arbitrarily in any spatial direction. A 3D solid can also have any arbitrary shape, material properties, and boundary conditions in space. As such, there are a total of six possible stress components, three normal and three shear, that need to be taken into consideration. Typically, a 3D solid element can be tetrahedron or hexahedron in shape with either flat or curved surfaces. ...

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