A formulation and experimental verification for a pneumatic finite element

Dale Thomas Berry, Purdue University


Many engineering structures completely surround and enclose gas filled volumes. The enclosed gas adds additional stiffness to the surrounding structure. This thesis shows how to account for this effect by means of an augmented virtual work principle. The additional term augmenting the virtual work equilibrium statement for the structure is the virtual boundary work done by the pressure of the enclosed gas. The augmented equations are discretized using standard finite element methods, and the additional terms are discussed. The resulting "pneumatic" finite element is shown to be analogous to regular structural finite elements. To assess the accuracy and efficiency and also to illustrate the applicability of the present formulation, a series of seven examples was selected. The first three examples demonstrate the behavior of a simple pneumatic cylinder. In two of these examples, the cylinder is attached to a compressed beam-column. In the next two examples, the behavior of the end cap of a partially filled plastic food product container is studied. The numerical results using the pneumatic element compare well with an alternative Rayleigh-Ritz solution of the end cap behavior. The final two examples represent the behavior of a double bellows air spring shock absorber under static isothermal and dynamic adiabatic conditions. For the static isothermal case, an experimental study was performed with results in good agreement with the pneumatic element solutions. For the dynamic adiabatic loading case, the dynamic stiffness of the air spring was predicted using the pneumatic element. The numerical results agree with experimental data published in an air spring application guide. The examples illustrate that the pneumatic element formulation can be applied to the large deflection analysis of structures that enclose gas filled volumes. ^




Major Professor: Henry T. Y. Yang, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Applied Mechanics|Engineering, Aerospace|Engineering, Mechanical

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