Energy-conservation error due to use of green-naghdi objective stress rate in commercial finite-element codes and its compensation

Zdeňek P. Bažant*, Jan Vorel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The objective stress rates used in most commercial finite element programs are the Jaumann rate of Kirchhoff stress, Jaumann rates of Cauchy stress, or Green-Naghdi rate. The last two were long ago shown not to be associated by work with any finite strain tensor, and the first has often been combined with tangential moduli not associated by work. The error in energy conservation was thought to be negligible, but recently, several papers presented examples of structures with high volume compressibility or a high degree of orthotropy in which the use of commercial software with the Jaumann rate of Cauchy or Kirchhoff stress leads to major errors in energy conservation, on the order of 25-100%. The present paper focuses on the Green-Naghdi rate, which is used in the explicit nonlinear algorithms of commercial software, e.g., in subroutine VUMAT of ABAQUS. This rate can also lead to major violations of energy conservation (or work conjugacy) - not only because of high compressibility or pronounced orthotropy but also because of large material rotations. This fact is first demonstrated analytically. Then an example of a notched steel cylinder made of steel and undergoing compression with the formation of a plastic shear band is simulated numerically by subroutine VUMAT in ABAQUS. It is found that the energy conservation error of the Green-Naghdi rate exceeds 5% or 30% when the specimen shortens by 26% or 38%, respectively. Revisions in commercial software are needed but, even in their absence, correct results can be obtained with the existing software. To this end, the appropriate transformation of tangential moduli, to be implemented in the user's material subroutine, is derived.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021008
JournalJournal of Applied Mechanics, Transactions ASME
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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