Arc-length and explicit methods for static analysis of prestressed concrete members

Bulent Mercan, Henryk K. Stolarski, Arturo E. Schultz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper compares the arc-length and explicit dynamic solution methods for nonlinear finite element analysis of prestressed concrete members subjected to monotonically increasing loads. The investigations have been conducted using an L-shaped, prestressed concrete spandrel beam, selected as a highly nonlinear problem from the literature to give insight into the advantages and disadvantages of these two solution methods. Convergence problems, computational effort, and quality of the results were investigated using the commercial finite element package ABAQUS. The work in this paper demonstrates that a static analysis procedure, based on the arc-length method, provides more accurate results if it is able to converge on the solution. However, it experiences convergence problems depending upon the choice of mesh configuration and the selection of concrete post-cracking response parameters. The explicit dynamic solution procedure appears to be more robust than the arc-length method in the sense that it provides acceptable solutions in cases when the arc-length approach fails, however solution accuracy may be slightly lower and computational effort may be significantly larger. Furthermore, prestressing forces must be introduced into the finite element model in different ways for the explicit dynamic and arc-length solution procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-37
Number of pages21
JournalComputers and Concrete
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 Techno-Press, Ltd.


  • Arc-length method
  • Concrete
  • Cracking
  • Explicit dynamic method
  • Finite element analysis
  • Prestressed
  • Riks method
  • Tension stiffening


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