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Isogeometric treatment of large deformation contact and debonding problems with T-splines: a review


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Within a setting where the isogeometric analysis (IGA) has been successful at bringing two different research fields together, i.e. Computer Aided Design (CAD) and numerical analysis, T-spline IGA is applied in this work to frictionless contact and mode-I debonding problems between deformable bodies in the context of large deformations. Based on the concept of IGA, the smooth basis functions are adopted to describe surface geometries and approximate the numerical solutions, leading to higher accuracy in the contact integral evaluation. The isogeometric discretizations are here incorporated into an existing finite element framework by using Bézier extraction, i.e. a linear operator which maps the Bernstein polynomial basis on Bézier elements to the global isogeometric basis. A recently released commercial T-spline plugin for Rhino is herein used to build the analysis models adopted in this study. In such context, the continuum is discretized with cubic T-splines, as well as with Non Uniform Rational B-Splines (NURBS) and Lagrange polynomial elements for comparison purposes, and a Gauss-point-to-surface (GPTS) formulation is combined with the penalty method to treat the contact constraints. The purely geometric enforcement of the non-penetration condition in compression is generalized to encompass both contact and mode-I debonding of interfaces which is approached by means of cohesive zone (CZ) modeling, as commonly done by the scientific community to analyse the progressive damage of materials and interfaces. Based on these models, non-linear relationships between tractions and relative displacements are assumed. These relationships dictate both the work of separation per unit fracture surface and the peak stress that has to be reached for the crack formation. In the generalized GPTS formulation an automatic switching procedure is used to choose between cohesive and contact models, depending on the contact status. Some numerical results are first presented and compared in 2D for varying resolutions of the contact and/or cohesive zone, including frictionless sliding and cohesive debonding, all featuring the competitive accuracy and performance of T-spline IGA. The superior accuracy of T-spline interpolations with respect to NURBS and Lagrange interpolations for a given number of degrees of freedom (Dofs) is always verified. The isogeometric formulation is also extended to 3D bodies, where some examples in large deformations based on T-spline discretizations show an high smoothness of the reaction history curves.

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  • Department of Innovation
    Engineering, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy


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