All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

David L Littlefield

Advisory Committee Members

Purushotham Bangalore

David Crawford

Robert Dorgan

Eugene Hertel

Dean Sicking

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering


Realistic and accurate modeling of contact for problems involving large deformations and severe distortions presents a host of computational challenges. Due to their natural description of surfaces, Lagrangian finite element methods are traditionally used for problems involving sliding contact. However, problems such as those involving ballistic penetrations, blast-structure interactions, and vehicular crash dynamics, can result in elements developing large aspect ratios, twisting, or even inverting. For this reason, Eulerian, and by extension Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE), methods have become popular. However, additional complexities arise when these methods permit multiple materials to occupy a single finite element. Multi-material Eulerian formulations in computational structural mechanics are traditionally approached using mixed-element thermodynamic and constitutive models. These traditional approaches treat discontinuous pressure and stress fields that exist in elements with material interfaces by using a single approximated pressure and stress field. However, this approximation often has little basis in the physics taking place at the contact boundary and can easily lead to unphysical behavior. This work presents a significant departure from traditional Eulerian contact models by solving the conservation equations separately for each material and then imposing inequality constraints associated with contact to the solutions for each material with the appropriate tractions included. The advantages of this method have been demonstrated with several computational examples. This work concludes by drawing a comparison between the method put forth in this work and traditional treatment of multi-material contact in Eulerian methods.

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