Finite element models can be used to model and predict the hysteresis and energy dissipation exhibited by nonlinear joints in structures. As a result of the nonlinearity, the frequency and damping of a mode is dependent on excitation amplitude, and when the modes remain uncoupled, quasi-static modal analysis has been shown to efficiently predict this behavior. However, in some cases the modes have been observed to couple such that the frequency and damping of one mode is dependent on the amplitude of other modes. To model the interactions between modes, one must integrate the dynamic equations in time, which is several orders of magnitude more expensive than quasi-static analysis. This work explores an alternative where quasi-static forces are applied in the shapes of two or more modes of vibration simultaneously, and the resulting load–displacement curves are used to deduce the effect of other modes on the effective frequency and damping of the mode in question. This methodology is demonstrated on a simple 2D cantilever beam structure with a single bolted joint which exhibits micro-slip nonlinearity over a range of vibration amplitudes. The predicted frequency and damping are compared with those extracted from a few expensive dynamic simulations of the structure, showing that the quasi-static approach produces reasonable albeit highly conservative bounds on the observed dynamics. This framework is also demonstrated on a 3D structure where dynamic simulations are infeasible.
Structural dynamic finite element models typically use multipoint constraints (MPC) to condense the degrees of freedom (DOF) near bolted joints down to a single node, which can then be joined to neighboring structures with linear springs or nonlinear elements. Scalability becomes an issue when multiple joints are present in a system, because each requires its own model to capture the nonlinear behavior. While this increases the computational cost, the larger problem is that the parameters of the joint models are not known, and so one must solve a nonlinear model updating problem with potentially hundreds of unknown variables to fit the model to measurements. Furthermore, traditional MPC approaches are limited in how the flexibility of the interface is treated (i.e. with rigid bar elements the interface has no flexibility). To resolve this shortcoming, this work presents an alternative approach where the contact interface is reduced to a set of modal DOF which retain the flexibility of the interface and are capable of modeling multiple joints simultaneously. Specifically, system-level characteristic constraint (S-CC) reduction is used to reduce the motion at the contact interface to a small number of shapes. To capture the hysteresis and energy dissipation that is present during microslip of joints, a hysteretic element is applied to a small number of the S-CC Shapes. This method is compared against a traditional MPC method (using rigid bar elements) on a two-dimensional finite element model of a cantilever beam with a single joint near the free end. For all methods, a four-parameter Iwan element is applied to the interface DOF to capture how the amplitude dependent modal frequency and damping change with vibration amplitude.