Finite elements in space and time for the analysis of generalised visco-elastic materials
Numerical analysis of linear visco-elastic materials requires robust and stable methods to integrate partial differential equations in both space and time. In this paper, symmetric space-time finite element operators are derived for the first time for elementary linear elastic spring and linear viscous dashpot. These can thereafter be assembled in parallel and in series to simulate an arbitrarily complex linear visco-elastic behaviour. The flexibility of the proposed method allows the formulation of the behaviour, which closely reflects physical processes. An efficient algorithm is proposed to use the generated elementary matrices in a way that is comparable with finite difference schemes, in terms of both processor and memory costs. This unconditionally stable and convergent procedure is equally valid for space domains in which geometry or material properties evolve with time. Copyright (c) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.