User login


You are here

Reducing Stiffness of a FE model

Dear All

I am running a model of composite joint to failure in Abaqus. I am using Linear solid elements C3D8 and C3D6. The model contains a composite plate joint to an aluminium plate with a titanium countersunk bolt. I have
modeled all the components of the joint using solid elements. I have also
implemented contact and friction in the model. the joint is fixed at one end and
loaded in tension on the other end.I would like anyone to
help me in reducing the stiffness of the model. The model is being very stiff
compared to the real structure. I am aware of the fact that FEM models are
usually stiffer than the real structure, however my model is too stiff compared
to the real structure.
I am using viscosity to lead to convergence and I am using implicit analysis
in my simulation. My model also has bolt pre-load, contact and friction in the
simulation. I would like anyone to suggest ways to reduce the stiffness of the
model. Please give ideas, how can I reduce the stiffness of the model. Thanking
you in advance.




Dear Maajid


Nice to meet you who have same problem with me.

Please recommend progressive advise.

Thank you all in advance.


I am checking the following contents from ABAQUS manual.
I hope this can help you even a little.

Choosing between full- and reduced-integration elements

Reduced integration uses a lower-order integration to form the element stiffness. The mass matrix and distributed loadings use full integration. Reduced integration reduces running time, especially in three dimensions. For example, element type C3D20 has 27 integration points, while C3D20R has only 8; therefore, element assembly is roughly 3.5 times more costly for C3D20 than for C3D20R.

In Abaqus/Standard you can choose between full or reduced integration for quadrilateral and hexahedral (brick) elements. In Abaqus/Explicit you can choose between full or reduced integration for hexahedral (brick) elements. Only reduced-integration first-order elements are available for quadrilateral elements in Abaqus/Explicit; the elements with reduced integration are also referred to as uniform strain or centroid strain elements with hourglass control.

Second-order reduced-integration elements in Abaqus/Standard generally yield more accurate results than the corresponding fully integrated elements. However, for first-order elements the accuracy achieved with full versus reduced integration is largely dependent on the nature of the problem.


Hourglassing can be a problem with first-order, reduced-integration elements (CPS4R, CAX4R, C3D8R, etc.) in stress/displacement analyses. Since the elements have only one integration point, it is possible for them to distort in such a way that the strains calculated at the integration point are all zero, which, in turn, leads to uncontrolled distortion of the mesh. First-order, reduced-integration elements in Abaqus include hourglass control, but they should be used with reasonably fine meshes. Hourglassing can also be minimized by distributing point loads and boundary conditions over a number of adjacent nodes.

In Abaqus/Standard the second-order reduced-integration elements, with the exception of the 27-node C3D27R and C3D27RH elements, do not have the same difficulty and are recommended in all cases when the solution is expected to be smooth. The C3D27R and C3D27RH elements have three unconstrained, propagating hourglass modes when all 27 nodes are present. These elements should not be used with all 27 nodes, unless they are sufficiently constrained through boundary conditions. First-order elements are recommended when large strains or very high strain gradients are expected.

Shear and volumetric locking

Fully integrated elements in Abaqus/Standard and Abaqus/Explicit do not hourglass but may suffer from “locking” behavior: both shear and volumetric locking. Shear locking occurs in first-order, fully integrated elements (CPS4, CPE4, C3D8, etc.) that are subjected to bending. The numerical formulation of the elements gives rise to shear strains that do not really exist—the so-called parasitic shear. Therefore, these elements are too stiff in bending, in particular if the element length is of the same order of magnitude as or greater than the wall thickness. See “Performance of continuum and shell elements for linear analysis of bending problems,”  Section 2.3.5 of the Abaqus Benchmarks Manual, for further discussion of the bending behavior of solid elements.

Volumetric locking occurs in fully integrated elements when the material behavior is (almost) incompressible. Spurious pressure stresses develop at the integration points, causing an element to behave too stiffly for deformations that should cause no volume changes. If materials are almost incompressible (elastic-plastic materials for which the plastic strains are incompressible), second-order, fully integrated elements start to develop volumetric locking when the plastic strains are on the order of the elastic strains. However, the first-order, fully integrated quadrilaterals and hexahedra use selectively reduced integration (reduced integration on the volumetric terms). Therefore, these elements do not lock with almost incompressible materials. Reduced-integration, second-order elements develop volumetric locking for almost incompressible materials only after significant straining occurs. In this case, volumetric locking is often accompanied by a mode that looks like hourglassing. Frequently, this problem can be avoided by refining the mesh in regions of large plastic strain.

If volumetric locking is suspected, check the pressure stress at the integration points (printed output). If the pressure values show a checkerboard pattern, changing significantly from one integration point to the next, volumetric locking is occurring. Choosing a quilt-style contour plot in the Visualization module of Abaqus/CAE will show the effect.



Subscribe to Comments for "Reducing Stiffness of a FE model"

Recent comments

More comments


Subscribe to Syndicate