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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 907620, 8 pages
Research Article

Multibody Finite Element Method and Application in Hydraulic Structure Analysis

College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower, Hohai University, Xikang Road, Nanjing 210098, China

Received 18 September 2014; Accepted 15 December 2014

Academic Editor: Chenfeng Li

Copyright © 2015 Chao Su et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Multibody finite element method is proposed for analysis of contact problems in hydraulic structure. This method is based on the block theory of discontinuous deformation analysis (DDA) method and combines advantages of finite element method (FEM) and the displacement compatibility equation in classical elastic mechanics. Each single block is analyzed using FEM in corresponding local coordinate system and all contacting blocks need to satisfy the displacement compatibility requirement between any two blocks in a blocky system. It is proved that this method is very efficient and practical to overcome the limitations in DDA method when tackling contact problems, such as the overlap problem and the equal strain assumption. In this paper, detailed theoretical basis and formulations are given. Two numerical examples are performed to verify the proposed method successfully. Furthermore, this method is adopted to study the stability issues of underground houses of a large hydropower station.