A 3D beam-to-beam contact finite element for coupled electric-mechanical fields

D. P. Boso, Przemyslaw Litewka, B. A. Schrefler, P. Wriggers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In this paper the formulation of an electric-mechanical beam-to-beam contact element is presented. Beams with circular cross-sections are assumed to get in contact in a point-wise manner and with clean metallic surfaces. The voltage distribution is influenced by the contact mechanics, since the current flow is constricted to small contacting spots. Therefore, the solution is governed by the contacting areas and hence by the contact forces. As a consequence the problem is semi-coupled with the mechanical field influencing the electric one. The electric-mechanical contact constraints are enforced with the penalty method within the finite element technique. The virtual work equations for the mechanical and electric fields are written and consistently linearized to achieve a good level of computational efficiency with the finite element method. The set of equations is solved with a monolithic approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1800-1815
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 7 2005


  • Beam-to-beam contact
  • Contact mechanics
  • Electric-mechanical coupling
  • Finite element method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computational Mechanics


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