A new symmetric contact element stiffness matrix for frictional contact problems

S. H. Ju, J. J. Stone, R. E. Rowlands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


A new contact element based on the penalty function method has been developed for frictional contact problems in Finite Element Analysis (FEA). The novel advantage of this new algorithm is that the contact element stiffness matrix is symmetric, even for frictional contact problems with a large sliding mode. This element can satisfactorily simulate sticking, sliding and separation modes in frictional contact analyses. The results using this new element are virtually identical to those obtained using conventional unsymmetrical contact element stiffness matrices. However, FEA using this new contact element requires only half the computing time and half the storage space of those using unsymmetrical contact elements. Such computational efficiency renders this element highly suitable for three-dimensional FEA or those involving multiple discrete contacting surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-301
Number of pages13
JournalComputers and Structures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Jan 17

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications

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