Three-dimensional beam element for pre- and post-buckling analysis of thin-walled beams in multibody systems

J. B. Jonker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
77 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a three-dimensional beam element for stability analysis of elastic thin-walled open-section beams in multibody systems. The beam model is based on the generalized strain beam formulation. In this formulation, a set of independent deformation modes is defined which are related to dual stress resultants in a co-rotational frame. The deformation modes are characterized by generalized strains or deformations, expressed as analytical functions of the nodal coordinates referred to the global coordinate system. A nonlinear theory of non-uniform torsion of open-section beams is adopted for the derivation of the elastic and geometric stiffness matrices. Both torsional-related warping and Wagner’s stiffening torques are taken into account. Second order approximations for the axial elongation and bending curvatures are included by additional second order terms in the expressions for the deformations. The model allows to study the buckling and post-buckling behaviour of asymmetric thin-walled beams with open cross-section that can undergo moderately large twist rotations. The inertia properties of the beam are described using both consistent and lumped mass formulations. The latter is used to model rotary and warping inertias of the beam cross-section. Some validation examples illustrate the accuracy and computational efficiency of the new beam element in the analysis of the buckling and post-buckling behaviour of thin-walled beams under various loads and (quasi)static boundary conditions. Finally, applications to multibody problems are presented, including the stability analysis of an elementary two-flexure cross-hinge mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-93
Number of pages35
JournalMultibody system dynamics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Geometrically nonlinear
  • Open section
  • Pre- and post-buckling
  • Spacar
  • Thin-walled beam element
  • Warping
  • Deformation modes


Dive into the research topics of 'Three-dimensional beam element for pre- and post-buckling analysis of thin-walled beams in multibody systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this