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Published online 12 December 2005 in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/nme.1567

using second-order cone programming

Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PJ, U.K.

SUMMARY

The formulation of limit analysis by means of the nite element method leads to an optimization

problem with a large number of variables and constraints. Here we present a method for obtaining

strict lower bound solutions using second-order cone programming (SOCP), for which efcient primal-

dual interior-point algorithms have recently been developed. Following a review of previous work, we

provide a brief introduction to SOCP and describe how lower bound limit analysis can be formulated in

this way. Some methods for exploiting the data structure of the problem are also described, including

an efcient strategy for detecting and removing linearly dependent constraints at the assembly stage.

The benets of employing SOCP are then illustrated with numerical examples. Through the use of an

effective algorithm/software, very large optimization problems with up to 700 000 variables are solved

in minutes on a desktop machine. The numerical examples concern plane strain conditions and the

MohrCoulomb criterion, however we show that SOCP can also be applied to any other problem of

lower bound limit analysis involving a yield function with a conic quadratic form (notable examples

being the DruckerPrager criterion in 2D or 3D, and Nielsens criterion for plates). Copyright 2005

John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

KEY WORDS: limit analysis; lower bound; cohesive-frictional; nite element; optimization; conic

programming

1. INTRODUCTION

The theory of classical limit analysis for perfectly plastic structures is based on the lower

and upper bound theorems established by Gvozdev [1] and Drucker et al. [2]. However since

limit analysis is a subset of shakedown analysis, it would be fair to consider Melan [3] as

Correspondence to: C. M. Martin, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford,

OX1 3PJ, U.K.

E-mail: chris.martin@eng.ox.ac.uk

Contract/grant sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC); contract/grant number:

GR/S26897/01

Received 18 April 2005

Revised 24 September 2005

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Accepted 28 September 2005

LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 605

the originator of the lower bound theorem. More theoretical aspects such as duality and large

strains are covered by Kamenjarzh [4], Christiansen [5] and Gao [6].

Together, the bound theorems allow the exact value of the limit load to be bracketed in a

rigorous manner. It is also possible to obtain a direct estimate of the limit load using various

exact methods (typically based on mixed nite elements), though with this approach there is no

obvious estimate of the error involved. In this paper, we focus on the computationally efcient

determination of strict lower bound solutions. In most engineering applications, solutions derived

from the lower bound theorem are particularly valuable because they provide a safe estimate

of the load that will cause collapse.

When the lower bound theorem is implemented via the nite element method, it is usual

to employ a piecewise continuous stress eld in which adjoining elements are separated by

statically admissible discontinuities. These discontinuities introduce additional degrees of free-

dom, giving results that are generally much better than those obtained from a fully continuous

stress eld. Some of the rst analyses of this type were made by Belytschko and Hodge

[7]. They used quadratic stress elements and obtained strict lower bounds for several exam-

ple problems, though sophisticated procedures were needed to ensure that the yield criterion

was satised throughout each element. In subsequent developments by Lysmer [8], Pastor [9]

and Sloan [10], the use of three-node triangles soon became the favoured approach. With this

element the stress components vary linearly, so it is only necessary to enforce the (convex)

yield restriction at the nodes. In the same way, the use of four-node tetrahedra allows a sim-

ple yet rigorous approach to lower bound limit analysis in 3D (see e.g. References [1113]).

If a strict lower bound solution is sought, there is now a strong preference for adopting

piecewise linear stress elds of this type, despite their low order. This preference has been

reinforced by the development of special linear extension elements that allow the construc-

tion of statically and plastically admissible stress elds for unbounded domains. The original

2D extension elements of Pastor [9] have recently been generalized to 3D by Lyamin and

Sloan [14].

In most formulations of nite element limit analysiswhether they are based on the lower

bound, upper bound or exact approachthe nature of the optimization problem is dened by

the yield function. In early works such as those by Maier [15], Lysmer [8], Anderheggen and

Knpfel [16] and Pastor [9], the yield function was linearized and limit analysis was formulated

as a linear programming (LP) problem. This allowed the use of algorithms and codes that were

mature and robust. However, with the size of the optimization problem depending on both

the neness of the discretization and the number of facets used to approximate the yield

surface, even the best available LP algorithms proved to be relatively weak for large problems.

This was overcome, to some extent, by advances in computing power and in large-scale LP

technology. For example Sloan [17] developed an active set LP algorithm specically for

use with his lower and upper bound methods; Andersen and Christiansen [18] solved large

problems by developing a bespoke interior-point algorithm for LP; and recently Pastor et al.

[19] exploited the capabilities of the commercial LP code XA (also based on the interior-point

method).

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

606 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

Over the last decade, the emergence of efcient algorithms for large-scale non-linear pro-

gramming (NLP) has seen a gradual move away from LP-based methods for limit analysis.

Following the pioneering work of Belytschko and Hodge [7] and Gao [20] in the use of

yield functions without linearization, Zouain et al. [21] were possibly the rst who anal-

ysed structures with more than 1000 elements, using an NLP algorithm based on the method

of feasible directions. Andersen et al. [22] and Christiansen and Andersen [23] adopted a

different approach, formulating limit analysis as a problem requiring the minimization of a

sum of norms, and applying an appropriate optimization algorithm based on the interior-point

method [24]. Lyamin and Sloan [12, 25] modied the algorithm in Reference [21] and applied

it to various problems in geomechanics, while Krabbenhoft and Damkilde [26] developed a

new interior-point algorithm, also for use with a general (smooth) non-linear yield function.

Tin-Loi and Ngo [27] employed the general-purpose NLP codes CONOPT and MINOS, how-

ever they did not provide many details about the efciency of their analyses. Recent studies

by Yang et al. [13] and Li and Yu [28] have also adopted NLP-based approaches to limit

analysis.

Summarizing, the method of Andersen and Christiansen seems to be the most effective.

The reason is that they use a highly specialized optimization algorithm [24] that is ideally

suited to the arising problem. On the other hand, their method can only be applied to von

Mises-type yield functions. The development of an algorithm able to handle problems with

any non-linear yield function (even restricted to convexity) is complicated by factors such

as possible non-differentiability, and possible singularity of the Hessian. All of the numerical

examples in References [21, 29, 30] were conned to the von Mises criterion, and it seems

that the substantial modications by Pontes et al. [31] were necessary to handle cones with an

apex. Lyamin and Sloan [12, 25] solved several problems involving cohesive-frictional materials,

but in order to face the issue of non-differentiability they smoothed the MohrCoulomb yield

surface. Krabbenhoft and Damkilde [26] also included a cohesive-frictional example problem,

but they did not discuss how the apex of the yield surface was treated (it appears that they

employed a squared form of the MohrCoulomb criterion, and this is discussed in more detail

in Section 3.5).

The basic purpose of the present paper is to show how lower bound limit analysis of cohesive-

frictional materials can be formulated as a second-order cone programming (SOCP) problem.

The advantages of this approach include its efciency, and the fact that it can treat a range of

cone-shaped yield restrictions in their native form (yet avoid the usual difculties encountered

when applying general non-linear optimization methods, i.e. yield function non-differentiability

and Hessian singularity). Our description concentrates on the case of the MohrCoulomb cri-

terion in plane strain, however a directly analogous formulation is feasible for a number of

other important yield criteria and problem types, notably the DruckerPrager criterion for 2D

or 3D continua, as well as Nielsens criterion for plates and Ilyushins criterion for shells.

All of these yield restrictions represent second-order cone sets, and thus SOCP is a class of

non-linear optimization that suits perfectly.

Although SOCP has been used in several previous studies involving both shakedown and

limit analysis [3237], these were all restricted to von Mises materials. In fact such problems

can be solved in many other ways, for example by applying an NLP algorithm specialized

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 607

of non-differentiability). The use of SOCP in these earlier works was therefore not essential,

but happened to provide a convenient and efcient way of handling the quadratic constraints

generated by the von Mises criterion. In this paper, the constraints are not simply quadratic

because the formulation encompasses cohesive-frictional materials as well. We aim to show

that SOCP remains a natural choice for solving these more difcult problems, where the yield

function is no longer differentiable everywhere.

The use of an algorithm (and associated software) for SOCP that is considered to represent

the current state of the art proves that our formulation is advantageous. Several numerical

examples, all involving very large optimization problems, are solved with remarkable speed. It

is also noteworthy that these results are obtained without making any changes to the default

settings of the software, and without encountering any computational difculties (e.g. instability

of the interior-point iterations). Additionally, we explore the structure of the equality constraints

generated by the inter-element equilibrium conditions and the stress boundary conditions in

lower bound analysis. By examining when linearly dependent constraints arise, we are able to

identify and remove redundant rows during (rather than after) the assembly of the constraint

matrix, further enhancing efciency and stability. We also outline a method for substantially

reducing the number of variables and constraints, though it appears that this only brings marginal

benets in terms of overall run time.

Finally, a key advantage of our approach is that both SOCP and the interior-point method

are subjects of great interest within the mathematical programming community, and thus re-

lated algorithms are under continuous development. This means that in the future, even more

effective algorithms for SOCP will appear, and the proposed formulation will be even more

attractive.

2. CONIC OPTIMIZATION

A set C is called a cone if x C and 0, x C. Its dual cone C is dened as

xT y 0 x C y C (1)

If C = C then the cone is self-dual. For example the set + = {x : x 0} is a self-dual cone,

as is the quadratic (or second-order) cone, which has the form

C = {x d : x2:d x1 , x1 0} (2)

where x2:d = [x2 . . . xd ]T . Note that any constraint of the form Ax + b cT x + d can be

transformed to a quadratic cone. Another interesting self-dual example is the rotated quadratic

cone

Although this can readily be transformed into a non-rotated quadratic cone of the form (2), it

can also be treated directly in its original form, see Reference [38].

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

608 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

Second-order cone programming (also referred to in the literature as conic quadratic optimiza-

tion) involves an optimization problem of the form

min cT x

s.t. Ax = b (4)

xi Ci i {1, . . . , N}

where xT = [x1T . . . xN

T ] n , x di , A mn , b m , c n and the C are quadratic or

i i

rotated quadratic cones. The dual problem corresponding to (4) is

max bT y

s.t. AT y + s = c (5)

si Ci i {1, . . . , N}

where y m , s n and si di . The optimal point must satisfy the following conditions

[38, 39]:

Ax = b

A y+s=c

T

xi Ci i {1, . . . , N} (6)

si Ci i {1, . . . , N}

Xi Si ei = 0 i {1, . . . , N}

where Xi , Si di di and ei = [1 0 . . . 0]T di . The matrices Xi and Si are given by

mat(Ti xi ) and mat(Ti si ), respectively, where Ti = Idi for a quadratic cone (Ti for a rotated

quadratic cone is given in Reference [38]) and the mat function is dened as

T

u1 u2:d

mat(u) = , u d (7)

u2:d u1 Id1

Equations (6) show that SOCP can be considered a generalization of LP. The primal and

dual equality constraints are the same as in LP, the conic constraints are generalized versions

of the non-negativity constraints in LP (xi 0, si 0), and the complementarity condition is a

generalized version of that in LP (xi si = 0, which corresponds to Ti = 1 and ei = 1).

SOCP also encompasses several important classes of non-linear optimization as special cases.

These include minimization of a sum of norms, convex quadratic programming, and convex

quadratically constrained linear programming. In the latter case, recasting the problem in SOCP

form is particularly advantageous both theoretically [40] and in practice [3237].

As is the case with LP, large-scale SOCP problems can be solved effectively using primal-dual

algorithms based on the interior-point method. Indeed, it has been shown that this approach

retains its theoretical efciency (polynomial time) when it is generalized from LP to SOCP

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 609

[41, 42]. For this reason, interior-point algorithms for SOCP have received considerable attention

in recent years.

At present one of the leading algorithms is that of Andersen et al. [38], which has been

implemented in MOSEK [43] and has proved to be highly robust and efcient in a suite of

independent benchmark tests [44]. Other algorithms/codes for solving SOCP problems include

SeDuMi [45], SDPT3 [46] and the programs developed by Lobo et al. [47] and Kuo and

Mittelmann [48]. It should also be pointed out that algorithms for semidenite programming

(SDP) can solve SOCP problems as a special case, though as mentioned in Reference [47] this

is not the most efcient approach.

We are inclined to share the view of Christiansen and Andersen [23] that it should not

be necessary for experts in continuum mechanics to develop and implement software for opti-

mization, unless the optimization method is a research topic in itself. For specic engineering

applications of SOCP, there can of course be certain advantages in developing a bespoke al-

gorithm (see e.g. Reference [49]). On the other hand, there are obvious benets in employing

mature SOCP solvers that have been developed and implemented by experts in mathematical

programming. In the case of MOSEK, for example, many aspects of the underlying algorithm

have been studied and tested in detail, including:

use of a simple starting point that need not satisfy the equality constraints [38, 50];

robust detection of infeasible problems [38];

choice of the search direction and step size at each iteration, including a customized

adaptation of Mehrotras predictor-corrector [38, 41];

exploitation of problem structure and sparsity when computing the search direction [38];

techniques for handling dense columns [51] and free variables [52].

Consider a rigidperfectly plastic structure V with boundary surface S. Tractions t are prescribed

on St and displacements u on Su , such that St Su = S and St Su = . For conciseness we

will assume for the time being that u = 0 on the whole of Su ; this will not be the case for

problems involving rigid indenters or footings, but these are easily handled as described in

Section 3.4. According to the lower bound theorem, the structure is safe for any stress eld

that is both statically and plastically admissible, i.e. satises internal equilibrium, the stress

boundary conditions and the yield criterion:

div + = 0 in V (8a)

=t

n on St (8b)

0

f () in V (8c)

Here denotes the matrix of the stress tensor (with tensile direct stresses positive), is the

eld of body forces per unit volume (assumed for simplicity to be prescribed), n denotes the

unit outward normal to St , and f is the yield function. In order for the lower bound theorem

to be valid, f must be convex and the associated ow rule (normality) must apply.

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

610 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

t2

2 t1

2 2

1

n n

1 t 1 t

3 3

(a) (b)

Figure 1. Edges in nite element mesh: (a) interior; and (b) exterior on traction boundary St .

In this paper, we concentrate on plane strain conditions; some extensions to other problem

types are briey discussed later in Section 5. Following the approach developed by Lysmer [8]

and further by Pastor [9], the structure is discretized into three-node triangular stress elements.

Each element is associated with its own set of internal stress evaluation points, see Figure 1, and

area co-ordinates (linear shape functions) are used to interpolate the nodal stress components

i = [xx,i yy,i xy,i ]T , i = 1, 2, 3 (9)

Equilibrium within an element is governed by Equation (8a), and this leads to the linear equality

constraints

1

[A1 A2 A3 ] 2 = (10)

3

where

x 1 y2 y3 0 x3 x2

= , A1 =

y 2 0 x3 x2 y2 y3

and A2 and A3 are obtained by cyclic permutation of the subscripts. is the area of the

element.

Equilibrium between two adjacent elements, see Figure 1(a), does not require full continuity

of the stress tensor across the shared edge; it is sufcient to enforce continuity of the

where n is a unit normal to the edge. The advantage of using internal stress

stress vector n,

evaluation points now becomes apparent: the direct stress acting parallel to the edge can be

discontinuous, allowing greater freedom in the choice of a statically admissible stress eld.

Since the stresses vary linearly within each element, continuity of n at both ends of the

shared edge is sufcient to ensure continuity at all points in between. The requisite equality

constraints are linear, and take the form

1

B0 0 B0

0 2

=0 (11)

0 B0 0 B0 1

2

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 611

where

cos 0 sin

B0 =

0 sin cos

The stress boundary conditions (8b) are treated similarly. For the exterior edge shown in

Figure 1(b), the equilibrium constraints are

C0 0 1 t1

= (12)

0 C0 2 t2

With regard to the yield criterion, recall that f is convex, and that simplex stress elements

are being employed (at any point within an element, the interpolated stresses are a convex

combination of the nodal stresses). This conveniently means that if (8c) is satised at every

stress evaluation point, it is automatically satised throughout every element. If higher-order

stress elements are used, special optimization procedures are needed to ensure global compliance

with the yield criterion, and thus a rigorous lower bound solution [7].

Once assembled, the various constraints take the form

A =

B = 0

(13)

C = t

f (i ) 0 i {1, . . . , N}

The development above assumes that the structure V has nite dimensions, but in certain prob-

lems (notably in geomechanics) it is necessary to apply the lower bound theorem over innite

or semi-innite domains. This can be achieved with the use of special extension elements that

permit the stress eld to be continued to innity in a statically and plastically admissible man-

ner. Such elements were rst developed by Pastor [9] for plane strain conditions. Subsequently,

the extension element concept has been generalized and applied to a variety of problems in

both 2D and 3D, notably by Sloan and co-workers. Full details are given by Lyamin and

Sloan [14], though it should be noted that the implementation described in their paper does

not necessarily ensure that the yield criterion is satised throughout the extension eld (see

Appendix A).

For plane strain conditions, the MohrCoulomb yield criterion can be expressed as

(xx yy )2 + 42xy + (xx + yy ) sin 2c cos 0 (14)

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

612 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

where c is the cohesion and is the angle of internal friction. Adopting the notation

2 + s 2 + sin c cos 0

sxx (16)

xy m

By introducing an auxiliary variable, say z, this restriction can be transformed into a linear

equality constraint coupled with a quadratic cone constraint:

z + am = k

(17)

2 + s2 z

sxx xy

where a = sin and k = c cos . Expressed in this way, the yield criterion is now compatible

with the standard SOCP formulation (4). For a purely cohesive material, = 0 and the Mohr

Coulomb criterion reduces to the Tresca criterion.

Note that for plane strain conditions, the MohrCoulomb (Tresca) and DruckerPrager (von

Mises) criteria are equivalent. The corresponding relationship between the two sets of model

parameters is well known, and is given for example on p. 23 of the book by Chen [53].

In the simplest case, lower bound limit analysis involves maximizing a load multiplier that

acts on the whole of the prescribed traction eld, while ensuring that the equilibrium and yield

constraints outlined above are satised. When expressing the optimization problem in SOCP

form, it is convenient in light of (17) to use as the nodal stress components

max

s.t. A s =

B s = 0

C s t = 0 (19)

zi + am, i = k i {1, . . . , N}

2

sxx,i + sxy,i

2 z

i i {1, . . . , N}

where a = sin , k = c cos , N is the number of stress evaluation points and sT = [s1T . . . sN

T ].

Spatial variation of the material parameters is permissible, but within a given element a must

be constant and k can vary at most linearly (otherwise convexity is lost and the yield criterion

may be violated inside the element). In terms of the MohrCoulomb parameters, is required

to be constant within a given element but c can vary linearly. The matrices A , B and C are

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 613

1 1 0

i = Qsi where Q = 1 1 0 (20)

0 0 1

When the objective function consists of a load multiplier, as in (19), it is obviously linear.

More complex situations may involve maximizing the resultant of a surface pressure eld (e.g.

indentation or bearing capacity problems), or optimization with respect to body forces (e.g.

slope stability problems). In all these cases the objective function is again linear, as required

for the use of SOCP. Appropriate modications to the basic structure (19) must also be made

if any extension elements are present.

It is clear that the nite element formulation of the lower bound theorem leads to an

optimization problem that is extremely sparse. Considering the equality constraints in (19), the

number of non-zero elements per column does not exceed six, with the possible exception of the

column corresponding to the load multiplier . This sparsity is very important for the efcient

operation of SOCP algorithms based on the interior-point method. Most modern algorithms

incorporate special routines to ensure that occasional dense columns do not degrade the overall

efciency of the solution process.

We also observe that if a > 0 (i.e. > 0 in terms of MohrCoulomb) then the m variables

and the equality constraints zi + am, i = k can be eliminated from the problem by expressing

each m, i in terms of its respective zi . However, this cannot happen if a = 0 (i.e. = 0); to

obtain the standard SOCP formulation (4) we must retain both the m and z variables, along

with the equality constraints zi = k. This suggests that when = 0 it would possibly be more

efcient to use an NLP algorithm specialized for convex quadratic constraints, in which case

the auxiliary z variables would not be required, though the reduced cost of each iteration could

well be outweighed by an increased number of iterations. This was investigated by the rst

author [32] for some cases of plane stress shakedown analysis using the von Mises criterion,

and in fact better efciency was obtained when the analyses were formulated and solved as

SOCP problems.

An important advantage of using SOCP is that when > 0, the singular apex point of the

MohrCoulomb yield function in (14) poses no difculty. By contrast, general NLP algorithms

such as those employed by Lyamin and Sloan [12] and Krabbenhoft and Damkilde [26] require

the yield function to be twice continuously differentiable, so that calculations involving its

gradient and Hessian can be performed. In Reference [12] a hyperbolic approximation was

used to smooth the MohrCoulomb yield surface (internally) in the vicinity of the apex. On

the other hand, in Reference [26] there was no discussion of smoothing since these authors

implemented the squared form of (14), namely

(xx yy )2 + 42xy (2c cos (xx + yy ) sin )2 0 (21)

Although this solves the problem of non-differentiability, we now have a non-linear inequality

constraint g()0 where g is non-convex, except when = 0. If the additional (linear) inequal-

ity constraint xx + yy 2c cot is applied when > 0, which it should be in any case to

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

614 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

exclude physically meaningless stress states, then the two restrictions together dene a convex

set. However, the gradient of the squared yield function in (21) vanishes where the inequalities

intersect, so no reasonable constraint qualication (needed to establish the KarushKuhnTucker

conditions, see e.g. Reference [54]) is satised at the apex point xx = yy = c cot , xy = 0.

Moreover, the Hessian of the squared yield function is not positive denite, and this may have

important consequences for the efcient computation of the search direction at each iteration.

This whole issue is complicated, but it would seem that considerable caution is needed if a

derived yield criterion such as (21) is employed.

Another feature of the (original) MohrCoulomb yield function in (14) is that its Hessian

is singular. While this is not an issue for SOCP algorithms, it is inconvenient for general

NLP algorithms since the block diagonal matrix of Hessians (one for each yield constraint)

needs to be inverted at each iteration. To allow this to be done efciently, it is common

practice to regularize each Hessian by adding a small positive multiple of either the identity

matrix [12, 26] or some other perturbation matrix [31]. In choosing the small multiple there is

obviously a tradeoff between the stability of the inversion and the accuracy of the calculated

search direction. Although simple strategies such as those employed in References [12, 26, 31]

appear to perform satisfactorily in practice, it is also possible for the perturbations to be adapted

dynamically (in relation to the current values of the primal and dual variables) to achieve a

balance between stability and accuracy. These issues were examined by Mszros [55] when

investigating the analogous singularity problems that arise in interior-point algorithms when

free variables are present.

In this section we consider some characteristic features of lower bound limit analysis using

nite elements, and discuss how these can be exploited to improve the efciency of the

optimization process. These techniques are by no means specic to SOCP, and could also be

used to advantage in LP- and general NLP-based formulations.

It is usual for optimization software to carry out a presolve procedure before entering the main

solution algorithm. Some objectives of the presolve phase are to reduce the size of the problem

by eliminating redundant variables and/or constraints, to identify inconsistent constraints (in

which case the problem is trivially infeasible), and to improve the scaling of the problem. As

a result, the optimization can potentially become faster and more stable.

When the matrix of equality constraintsdenoted A in (4)is analysed during presolve, it

is relatively easy to detect and remove obvious redundancies such as zero rows, or rows that

are multiples of other rows [56]. The detection and removal of hidden linear dependencies is

more difcult. This is still desirable, however, since in most optimization algorithms (interior-

point and otherwise) the linear system used to determine the search direction becomes singular

if A does not have full row rank. If dependent rows are present and they are not removed, the

effectiveness of the optimization will depend to a large extent on the ability of the software to

nd (or approximate) the solution of a semidenite linear system at each iteration. Even if the

code has been designed to do this, the presolve routine should still endeavour to remove as

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 615

3 3

4 2 4 2

1 n

t 1 n

t

12 12

(a) (b)

(b) case giving linear dependency.

many dependencies as possible. Tests conducted by Andersen and Andersen [56] have indicated

that the removal of dependent rows during presolve can provide substantial net savings in

solution time, as well as better stability during the main optimization phase.

In previous work on lower bound limit analysis using nite elements, the topic of linearly

dependent constraints has received very little attention. Lyamin and Sloan [12] mention that,

as part of their presolve routine, they factor the square matrix AAT . If any diagonal element is

zero (to within some tolerance) they eliminate the respective row, recalculate AAT and repeat

the factorization. In other studies it appears that no particular effort has been made to detect

and remove dependent rows, even though it could be very benecial to do so [56].

We now describe a method for avoiding redundant constraints, without the need to check

the assembled constraint matrix A for hidden dependencies. The rst step is to identify the

precise conditions that lead to linearly dependent constraints in lower bound limit analysis.

This motivates a simple procedure for detecting and removing dependent rows while A is

being assembled, with the result that it has full row rank from the outset (there are no

dependencies for the presolve routine to nd). The computational cost of this procedure is

absolutely negligible.

4.1.1. Interior nodes. Figure 2(a) shows an interior node of the mesh belonging to N = 4

elements. From (11), (19) and (20), the conditions for inter-element equilibrium between two

sequential stress evaluation points i, j are:

cos ij cos ij sin ij cos ij cos ij sin ij si 0

= (22)

sin ij sin ij cos ij sin ij sin ij cos ij sj 0

This pair of equations can be transformed into various alternative forms, including

1 cos 2ij sin 2ij 1 cos 2ij sin 2ij si 0

= (23)

0 sin 2ij cos 2ij 0 sin 2ij cos 2ij sj 0

and

cos 2ij 1 0 cos 2ij 1 0 si 0

= (24)

sin 2ij 0 1 sin 2ij 0 1 sj 0

Version (23) has a transparent physical interpretation, namely continuity of the normal and

shear stresses nn and nt across the shared edge, though (24) is more convenient for the

development below (it also provides slightly better sparsity).

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616 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

Consider all constraints of the form (24) derived from the N = 4 shared edges in

Figure 2(a). The only other equality constraints involving the N sets of stress variables are

those related to equilibrium within the N elements. It can be demonstratedthough a formal

proof is tediousthat provided the mesh is free of degenerate elements having zero area, there

is never any dependency between the inter-element and intra-element equilibrium constraints.

Since the latter are themselves independent, we can isolate the former and perform a purely

local check for dependency. Dening

I I 0 0 a12 a12 0 0

node

0 I 0 a23 a23 0

I 0 s

=0 (26)

0 0 I I 0 0 a34 a34 nodem

I 0 0 I a41 0 0 a41

where

m = [m, 1 . . . m, 4 ]T

and the identity blocks I have dimension 2 2. Applying Gaussian elimination gives

I I 0 0 a12 a12 0 0

0 I I 0 a23 snode

0 a23 0

=0 (27)

0 0 I I 0 0 a34 a34 nodem

0 0 0 0 a12 a41 a23 a12 a34 a23 a41 a34

Analogous matrices are obtained for other values of N . By inspection, the rst 2(N 1) rows

of the reduced system are independent, and furthermore these rows are independent from the

nal two. This implies that linear dependence, if any, can only exist between the nal two

rows. It is easy to verify that for the case where a quadrilateral is divided into four triangles

by its diagonals, i.e.

there is always dependence. This case is illustrated in Figure 2(b). In Appendix B we prove that

the conditions (28) are the only ones under which a redundant equality constraint is generated

at an interior node, assuming no degenerate triangles are present. This turns out to be quite a

common conguration when structured meshes are employed in lower bound limit analysis, not

only for benchmarks such as those in Sections 6.1 and 6.2, but also for engineering applications

(see e.g. References [57, 58]). On the other hand, an unstructured mesh is unlikely to give rise

to any dependencies, at least at interior nodes.

To avoid introducing linearly dependent rows into the constraint matrix, the key is to assemble

the inter-element equilibrium equations by traversing the mesh from node to node, rather than

edge to edge. Whenever an interior node shared by four elements is encountered, it is simply

a matter of checking whether the other conditions in (28) are both satised. If the conditions

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LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 617

180 180

dependency: (a) N = 1; (b) N = 2; and (c) N = 3.

for dependency are conrmed, only seven of the eight inter-element equilibrium equations

are independent, and one can be omitted from the assembly (though of course the choice

is not arbitrary). The obvious benet of this approach is that we never have to search the

fully assembled constraint matrix for hidden dependencies during presolve. A similarly efcient

strategy can be developed for 3D problems.

4.1.2. Exterior nodes. It is easy to show that a node on the displacement boundary Su can

never be responsible for a dependency. However, for nodes on the traction boundary St there

are three congurations that lead to linearly dependent (or possibly inconsistent) constraints.

These are shown in Figure 3. Some instances of dependency-generating exterior nodes, for both

N = 1 and 2, can be seen on the boundaries of the unstructured meshes in Figures 5(b) and

8, though there are no such cases on the boundaries of the structured meshes in Figures 5(a)

and 6. The detection of dependency (or infeasibility) is as simple and cheap for a node on St

as it is for an interior node; again the key is to assemble the equilibrium constraints node by

node, rather than edge by edge.

We now touch briey on another issue related to the presolve phase, namely the elimination

of certain variables with a view to reducing the size of the problem. In LP it is only the free

(unbounded) variables that can be eliminated, otherwise the standard form of the non-negativity

constraints is lost. In the same way, when lower bound limit analysis is cast as a standard

SOCP problem in (19), only the m variables can be substituted out of the problem without

disrupting the simple structure of the quadratic cone constraints. (In general NLP formulations,

the desire to preserve the uniformity and sparsity of the non-linear yield constraints would

impose a similar restriction.) As noted in Section 3.4, the m variables are eliminated anyway

when > 0; they only remain when = 0.

In general it can be counterproductive to eliminate free variables from a large, sparse op-

timization problem because of excessive ll-in. This, however, is a consequence of the global

Gaussian elimination performed on the full constraint matrix. Here we outline a local reduction

technique that allows a large proportion (though not all) of the m variables to be eliminated,

with only a mild loss of sparsity. Consider once more the equality constraints associated with

a node where N elements meet. We note that with the conditions for inter-element equilibrium

expressed in the form (23), the second equation does not involve m, i or m, j . This makes it

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

618 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

simple to express m, 2 . . . m, N in terms of just the s variables and m, 1 as follows:

m,2:N = Rsnode (29)

where

snode = [sxx,1 sxy,1 . . . sxx,N sxy,N m, 1 ]T 2N +1

stress variables, and (N 1) of the 2N equality constraints. At an exterior node on St , we can

again eliminate (N 1) of the 3N stress variables, along with (N 1) of the 2(N + 1) equality

constraints. (In either case there may still be a dependency among the remaining equality

constraints, allowing one to be eliminated as discussed above.) The drawback of this process

is that the constraint matrix becomes denser, with the degree of ll-in depending on the value

of N. Some tests on typical problems have shown that the speed of the optimization can be

improved, but the difference is not very noteworthy (less than 10%). This type of elimination

could be more protable for algorithms that cannot handle a large number of free variables

successfully.

In closing, we re-emphasize that this reduction strategy is only protable when = 0 and the

m variables are genuinely free, i.e. not participating (even indirectly) in any yield constraint.

If the strategy were applied to a problem where > 0, it would be necessary to retain the

equality constraints zi + am, i = k in (19), instead of using them to eliminate all of the m, i

trivially. So in practice we would not have removed any rows from the constraint matrix, and

despite the removal of some columns, the remaining ones would have become much denser.

The present formulation of lower bound limit analysis can readily be extended to continuum

problems in 3D, employing four-node tetrahedral stress elements [12, 13] in conjunction with

the cohesive-frictional yield criterion of Drucker and Prager [59]. With notation

J2 + am k 0 (31)

where J2 = 21 sij sij is the second invariant of the deviatoric stress tensor and a, k are material

parameters (when a = 0 the von Mises criterion is recovered). Following the approach used in

Section 3.3, restriction (31) can be transformed into a linear equality constraint coupled with

a quadratic cone constraint:

z + am = k

(32)

y z

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LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 619

1 1/2 0 0 0 sxx

0 3/2 0 0 0 syy

y=

0 0 1 0 0

sxy (33)

0 0 0 1 0 sxz

0 0 0 0 1 syz

Specialization to plane strain or plane stress is straightforward. In general we can apply SOCP

to any problem of limit (or shakedown) analysis involving a yield criterion of the form

T M + qT k 0 (34)

was used in References [3237] to solve various problems involving the von Mises criterion,

for which q = 0 and (34) reduces to a quadratic constraint. However no analyses with pressure-

dependent yield criteria such as (14) and (31) were performed in these earlier works.

Nielsens criterion [60] is widely used in the calculation of limit loads for plate bending

problems (e.g. plastic design of reinforced concrete slabs). In Reference [26] the benchmark

problem of a clamped square plate under uniform pressure was solved using triangular plate

elements and a general NLP algorithm. It is also possible to express and solve this problem in

SOCP form, thus overcoming the issues related to non-convexity analogous to those discussed

in Section 3.5. The Nielsen criterion has the general form

+

Mpx Mxx Mpx

+

Mpy Myy Mpy

(35)

+ +

2

Mxy (Mpx Mxx )(Mpy Myy )

2

Mxy (Mpx + Mxx )(Mpy + Myy )

where Mpx + , M + are the positive yielding moments and M , M the negative ones. In fact

py px py

this restriction is the intersection of two rotated quadratic cones, which can be seen if we set

+ +

2X = Mpx Mxx

+ +

2Y = Mpy Myy

+

+ (36)

2X = Mpx + Mpx 2X

+

+

2Y = Mpy + Mpy 2Y

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620 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

Finally we obtain a system compatible with the standard SOCP formulation (4), containing two

linear equality constraints and two rotated quadratic cone constraints:

+ +

2X + 2X = Mpx + Mpx

+ +

2Y + 2Y = Mpy + Mpy

2

Mxy 2X + Y + (37)

2

Mxy 2X Y

X+ , X , Y + , Y 0

6. NUMERICAL EXAMPLES

The example problems below are all well known plane strain benchmarks in the area of limit

analysis. The MohrCoulomb criterion is employed throughout. For brevity we focus on the

lower bound solutions and the efciency with which they were obtained, without entering into

detailed interpretation or discussion of the respective stress elds, or a detailed interpretation

of the dual variables.

The computations were performed on a Dell Pentium IV machine (2.66 GHz CPU, 2 GB

RAM) in the Windows XP environment, using the conic interior-point optimizer of the MOSEK

package [38, 43] mentioned in Section 2.3. For all analyses the default convergence tolerances

of the software were retained. The input data les were prepared using an extended version

of the standard MPS format. The reported CPU times refer to the time actually spent on the

interior-point iterations, i.e. they exclude the time taken to read the data le and execute the

presolve routine (which spends most of its time reordering the rows of the constraint matrix).

The presolve typically required about 30% of the CPU time needed for the main optimization

phase, except for the nest mesh for the thick cylinder problem (Section 6.2) where the presolve

took slightly longer than the optimization. Note that since all linearly dependent constraints

were detected and removed a priori using the technique described in Section 4.1, it was possible

to disable the corresponding aspect of MOSEKs presolve procedure.

Figure 4 shows a slotted plane strain block under uniform tension. This problem has been

studied extensively, for example in References [15, 18, 2224] where mixed elements were

used, and in Reference [26] where strict lower bounds were obtained using three-node triangular

stress elements with discontinuities (as used here). The problem has also been studied using

displacement elements of various orders [27]. In all of these cases the analysis was limited to

purely cohesive material (c = 1, = 0). Here we also present results for a unit cohesion and

friction angles of 15 and 30 .

We rst considered various N N meshes of squares subdivided into four triangles, modelling

only the upper right quarter of the structure because of the horizontal and vertical symmetry, as

shown in Figure 5(a). Details of the meshes used, and the sizes of the resulting optimization

problems, are given in Table I. For the analyses with = 0, the reduction procedure described

in Section 4.2 was employed; this resulted in the elimination of around 80% of the m variables

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LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 621

p p

L

xy = yy = 0

xx = xy = 0

L/2

xx = p, xy = 0

xy = 0

L/2

(a) xy = 0 (b)

Figure 5. Meshes for upper right quarter of block with thin symmetric cuts: (a) structured with

N = 4; and (b) unstructured with h/L = 0.075.

Table I. Results for block with thin symmetric cuts (structured meshes).

=0 = 15 = 30

p/c CPU (s) p/c CPU (s) p/c CPU (s)

N NE NVS (error %) (iter) (error %) (iter) (error %) (iter)

(0.40) (13) (1.12) (14) (2.81) (16)

8 256 2304 1.13050 0.2 0.95730 0.2 0.72036 0.2

(0.09) (15) (0.33) (20) (1.36) (20)

10 400 3600 1.13088 0.3 0.95836 0.3 0.72266 0.3

(0.06) (18) (0.22) (19) (1.04) (24)

20 1600 14 400 1.13138 1.9 0.95975 1.6 0.72608 2.6

(0.01) (19) (0.08) (22) (0.58) (30)

30 3600 32 400 1.13147 6.9 0.96008 5.1 0.72735 6.1

(0.01) (23) (0.04) (23) (0.40) (28)

50 10 000 90 000 1.13152 27.3 0.96029 19.7 0.72844 25.4

(0.00) (24) (0.02) (24) (0.25) (31)

100 40 000 360 000 1.13154 200.4 0.96042 125.4 0.72925 165.8

(0.00) (27) (0.01) (28) (0.14) (36)

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622 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

Table II. Results for block with thin symmetric cuts (unstructured meshes).

=0 = 15 = 30

h/L NE p/c error % p/c error % p/c error %

0.025 3624 1.13101 0.05 0.95972 0.08 0.72269 1.04

0.0075 40 751 1.13131 0.02 0.96006 0.05 0.72808 0.30

NE = no. of elements.

(the exact gure depends on N ) or about 25% of the total stress variable count NVS. We also

generated three unstructured meshes using GiD [61], one of which is shown in Figure 5(b).

These meshes were designed to have element counts corresponding approximately to those of

the structured meshes with N = 10, 30 and 100.

Since no exact solution is available, when evaluating the error entries in Tables I and II we

took the correct results to be the values obtained from Richardson extrapolation applied to

the results from the nest three structured meshes (N = 30, 50, 100). This gave the following

estimates:

Note how an increase in leads to a drop in capacity, since the structure is in tension. The

results for structured meshes (Table I) conrm that, as expected, the limit load is approached

monotonically from below as N is increased. However, the level of underestimation with

respect to the (extrapolated) correct solution becomes greater as increases. When = 0 it

is interesting that, in relation to the use of mixed elements [5, 18, 2224], the lower bound

method seems to give results that come much closer to the (extrapolated) correct solution.

This was also noted and discussed by Krabbenhoft and Damkilde [26]. Incidentally, for equal

values of N , our lower bound results when = 0 are (with one minor exception in the nal

digit) identical to those obtained in Reference [26], though N = 38 was the nest discretization

considered there. The results for unstructured meshes (Table II) are only slightly inferior to

those obtained from the structured meshes with a comparable number of elements. Thus the

good performance observed in this example is not dependent on a special pattern of elements.

Finally, we see in Table I that the number of iterations required for the solution of the SOCP

problems is generally in the range 1530, which is characteristic of algorithms based on the

interior-point method.

Another well known test problem [12, 26] is that of a thick cylinder of cohesive-frictional

soil subjected to uniform internal pressure. The analytical solution for the collapse load is

often attributed to Yu [62], but it was actually derived much earlier by Nadai [63, p. 465].

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LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 623

2a

2b

Mesh NE NVS p/c Error % CPU (s) Iter

10 30 1200 10 800 0.53547 0.39 0.8 10

20 60 4800 43 200 0.53703 0.10 2.7 8

40 120 19 200 172 800 0.53741 0.03 16.6 9

80 240 76 800 691 200 0.53748 0.02 95.4 10

When > 0 and the external pressure is zero, the limit load is

b ( 1)/

p = c cot 1 (38)

a

where = tan2 (/4 + /2) and a and b are the inner and outer radii. For the case b/a = 1.5,

c = 1 and = 30 the same parameters as those considered in Reference [12]the exact

solution is p = 0.53758.

After taking advantage of the horizontal and vertical symmetry, several structured meshes

were employed, the coarsest of which is shown in Figure 6. The mesh was rened uniformly,

so that the innermost quadrilateral cells remained approximately square. Each quadrilateral cell

was divided into four triangular elements by intersecting the two diagonals. The nest mesh

contained 64 times as many elements (and hence variables) as the nest meshes considered in

References [12, 26].

The results are given in Table III. Although this benchmark is not a difcult test, it does serve

to demonstrate how the use of SOCP allows us to optimize huge problems (nearly 700 000

variables for the nest mesh) and thus approach the exact solution very closely in modest

CPU times. What is most noteworthy is the small number of iterations, even in relation to the

previous example. By contrast, the iteration counts in both [12, 26] seem to increase with the

size of the mesh for this problem.

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624 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

5.5 5.5

p 2.5 p

2.5 50

100

The plane strain test problem in Figure 7 has been studied by Zouain et al. [30], who used

mixed six-node triangular elements with continuous quadratic displacements and discontinuous

stresses. Within each of their elements the deviatoric stresses varied linearly, but the mean

stress was constant. The limit loads obtained (using the von Mises criterion) were 1.052y for

an initial mesh of 716 elements, and 1.035y for an improved mesh after renement. In terms

of the Tresca criterion, these results correspond to 1.822c and 1.793c, respectively (cf. 2c for a

block with no holes). Obviously it is not possible to make a direct comparison between Zouain

et al.s discretization and ours; even with the same mesh, the number of variables would be

different (seven per element in their case, nine in ours). However a common point is that in

both cases there is a cost of three yield constraints per element.

For our analyses we employed unstructured meshes created by GiD [61], using settings hgen

and hc to control the element sizes in general and on the circumference of the two holes. The

coarsest mesh (see Figure 8 and Table IV ) consisted of 604 elements and gave a limit load

of 1.783c, which is 0.56% lower than the rened value of Zouain et al. [30]. For the second

analysis, the value of hgen was reduced substantially (Mesh 2), but the result was almost the

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LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 625

=0 = 30

Mesh hgen hc NE p/c CPU (s) iter p/c CPU (s) iter

2 2.0 0.6 2996 1.7840 5.6 19 1.0464 4.0 20

3 2.0 0.1 4406 1.8087 5.7 17 1.0555 5.2 21

4 1.0 0.1 12 738 1.8089 28.2 22 1.0562 21.8 23

NE = no. of elements.

same. However, when the value of hc was also reduced to give more elements in the vicinity

of the holes (Mesh 3), the limit load increased to 1.809c. Although this is a strict lower

bound solution, it is interesting to note that it is 0.89% higher than Zouain et al.s rened

value, possibly because in their analyses the mean stress was constrained to be constant in

each element. The nal analysis with Mesh 4 again conrmed that reducing hgen was not very

productive; to improve the solution further it would have been necessary to place even more

elements near the holes. Results for the same four meshes, but with material properties c = 1

and = 30 , are also given in Table IV. These exhibit similar trends to the purely cohesive

case in terms of convergence, iteration count and CPU time.

On weightless MohrCoulomb soil (c0, 0, = 0) in the absence of surcharge, the bearing

capacity of a rigid, symmetrically loaded strip footing of width B is given by

Q

= cNc (39)

B

where Q is the limit load (force per unit length) and Nc is a dimensionless bearing capacity

factor that depends on . Exact values of Nc can be determined using the well-known equation

of Prandtl [64]:

Nc = e tan tan2 + 1 cot (40)

4 2

Note that if = 0 then Nc = 2+. Another fundamental case is that of weighty cohesionless soil

(c = 0, > 0, > 0) with no surcharge; the bearing capacity is then traditionally expressed as

Q 1

= BN (41)

B 2

where N is another dimensionless factor that depends on . At present there is no analyti-

cal solution for N , but it can be evaluated using a variety of numerical methods. To assist

with benchmarking exercises such as this, the second author has recently published a selec-

tion of high-precision N values for both smooth and rough footings [65]. These numbers (for

= 5 , 10 , . . . , 45 ) were obtained using the method of stress characteristics, though they have

now been checked using an alternative technique (RungeKutta integration of the governing

ordinary differential equations), and also formally conrmed as exact plasticity solutions [66].

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626 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

B/2 9.5B

extension boundary

in the finest mesh

dummy node

unidirectional extension element

Generally speaking, bearing capacity problems pose a difcult test for nite element methods

because of the singularities at the edges of the footing. In order to obtain good lower bound

solutions, particularly with a piecewise linear stress eld, it is desirable to have a very ne

fan of elements at the singular point (see e.g. Reference [12]). For our analyses, GiD [61] was

used to generate three semi-structured meshes based on the scheme shown in Figure 9, with

the lines of the fan continuing to the borders of the mesh. In the nest mesh, the fan was

divided into 80 elements at the singular point. As in Reference [12] we employed extension

elements (though incorporating the correction given in Appendix A) to model the semi-innite

soil domain. To maximize the compressive bearing capacity, the integral of the (tensile) vertical

stress yy over the width of the footing was minimized.

In the initial set of analyses, Meshes 13 were used to determine lower bound solutions

for the bearing capacity factors Nc ( = 0, 35 ) and N ( = 35 ). The footing was assumed

to be rough, i.e. no constraint was placed on xy on the relevant portion of the boundary.

Table V shows how the results compare with the respective exact solutions: Nc = 5.142, 46.12

and N = 34.48. Clearly the N problem is the most difcult of the three, needing the nest

mesh to obtain a lower bound that comes within 1% of the exact value.

Further analyses were devoted to the evaluation of lower bounds on N for various friction

angles, considering footings both smooth (xy = 0) and rough (xy unconstrained). The results

obtained using the nest discretization (Mesh 3) are reported in Table VI. In all but four

cases (all involving rough footings) the underestimation with respect to the exact solution is

less than 1%. Results from a similar series of analyses have recently been reported by Hjiaj

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LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 627

=0 = 35 = 35

Nc CPU (s) Nc CPU (s) N CPU (s)

Mesh NE (error %) (iter) (error %) (iter) (error %) (iter)

(0.54) (21) (2.40) (25) (14.83) (28)

2 6111 5.135 12.8 45.68 22.5 33.18 13.5

(0.13) (22) (0.96) (48) (3.77) (30)

3 24 163 5.141 59.2 46.07 97.1 34.23 98.0

(0.01) (22) (0.12) (41) (0.71) (42)

NE = no. of elements.

Smooth Rough

N CPU (s) N CPU (s) Exact values

( ) (error %) (iter) (error %) (iter) smooth rough

(0.37) (24) (1.30) (22)

10 0.2800 67.5 0.4273 66.7 0.2809 0.4332

(0.31) (29) (1.36) (27)

15 0.6973 75.1 1.166 67.4 0.6991 1.181

(0.26) (32) (1.26) (29)

20 1.575 76.4 2.811 74.7 1.579 2.839

(0.26) (32) (0.98) (32)

25 3.452 91.6 6.447 76.5 3.461 6.491

(0.27) (37) (0.69) (33)

30 7.630 83.1 14.67 83.6 7.653 14.75

(0.30) (36) (0.55) (36)

35 17.51 91.9 34.23 98.0 17.58 34.48

(0.37) (39) (0.71) (42)

40 42.97 91.8 84.73 103.9 43.19 85.57

(0.51) (40) (0.98) (45)

45 116.8 96.2 231.4 115.6 117.6 234.2

(0.68) (42) (1.22) (50)

et al. [67]. If the two sets of lower bound N values are compared, ours are lower for small

, but become higher as increases. However several of the lower bound solutions of Hjiaj et

al. lie above the exact values, and even (in two cases) above upper bound solutions obtained

by the authors [68]. These discrepancies are apparently attributable to the procedure used by

Hjiaj et al. to smooth the apex of the yield surface. Although no details were given in the

original paper [67], this procedure involved the introduction of a non-zero cohesion (Lyamin,

personal communication, 2005). As has been noted already, an advantage of using SOCP is

that no such ad hoc modication of the true yield function is required.

It is noteworthy in both Tables V and VI that as the friction angle increases, the itera-

tion counts gradually become larger than those in the previous examples. Problems involving

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628 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

singular

point

Figure 10. Mesh near edge of strip footing, showing principal stresses (all compressive) at

element centroids (Mesh 2, rough footing, c = 1, = 35 , = 0).

bearing capacity, especially the evaluation of N for high friction angles, appear to be the most

challenging of the test cases considered in this paper. The use of quite slender elements in the

vicinity of the singular point, see Figure 10, would be expected to give entries in the constraint

matrix whose magnitudes vary considerably. However, post-analysis checks have shown that

the satisfaction of the equality constraints is equally good when compared with analyses using

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 629

unstructured meshes where no elements are slender (as in Figure 5(b) for example). It is also of

interest to perform a post-analysis check on the satisfaction of the yield criterion when slender

elements are present. The contour plot of the value of the yield function (16) in Figure 11

conrms the behaviour expected from an interior-point algorithm: during the nal iterations the

solution comes very close to the boundary dened by the active yield constraints, but always

remains plastically admissible (f 0).

7. CONCLUSIONS

A formulation of lower bound limit analysis using second-order cone programming (SOCP)

has been presented. Although the approach is restricted to yield criteria that can be expressed

in a conic quadratic form, this includes a variety of the most popular yield functions such as

MohrCoulomb in plane strain, DruckerPrager (consequently von Mises) in 2D or 3D, and

the Nielsen criterion for plates. For this initial study, attention has been focused on cohesive

and cohesive-frictional problems in plane strain.

By applying an efcient algorithm based on the interior-point method, we have demonstrated

that the use of SOCP for limit analysis is highly advantageous from the aspects of both speed

and stability. The ability to solve problems of unprecedented size means that we can adopt ex-

tremely ne discretizations, and thus obtain strict lower bounds that approximate the true limit

load very closely. The simplicity of the SOCP-based formulation is another signicant advan-

tage. Once a nite element mesh has been prepared, it is quite straightforward to assemble the

optimization data (objective function, linear equality constraints, quadratic cone constraints) and

export them in a standard format; the problem can then be solved using any suitable algorithm

for SOCP optimization. For this study we have used the commercial program MOSEK, but a

number of other effective SOCP codes are available, including several in the public domain.

To obtain even better efciency, some strategies for exploiting the data structure associated

with the inter-element and boundary equilibrium constraints have been suggested. In particular,

the conditions that give rise to linearly dependent constraints have been carefully investigated,

leading to a novel method for detecting and eliminating any redundant rows of the constraint

matrix at the assembly stage. For problems involving purely cohesive (Tresca or von Mises) ma-

terial, a method for eliminating a large proportion of the free variables has also been developed,

though this does not appear to be very protable as far as overall efciency is concerned.

As a general conclusion, SOCP is a powerful (and still developing) technique for non-

linear optimization that allows us to obtain accurate solutions to difcult problems in classical

plasticity involving the respective class of yield functions. Upper bound limit analysis can also

be formulated as an SOCP problem, and this is a topic of ongoing work [68] that includes the

development and application of higher-order elements for the displacement eld.

Consider the bidirectional extension element and the generic cone-shaped yield surface f () = 0

shown in Figure A1 (the horizontal and vertical axes of the stress space notionally refer to

the spherical and deviatoric components of ). The usual linear variation of the stresses within

the triangular element is continued into the extension sector bounded by edges 21 projected

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

630 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

1 0

f 2

2 1 1

1

3 extension 2

zone F( 2) 0

2

2

3

f( ) 0

and 23 projected, i.e. the shape functions perform both interpolation and extrapolation of the

nodal stresses i . According to Lyamin and Sloan [14], the following yield constraints should

be enforced:

f (2 ) 0 (A1a)

f (1 2 ) 0 (A1b)

f (3 2 ) 0 (A1c)

It is clear from Figure A1, however, that (A1b) and (A1c) are not sufciently restrictive. For

example, the stress point 1 lies inside the dotted surface f ( 2 ) = 0, and hence satises

(A1b), yet it lies outside the actual yield surface f () = 0. Even if the additional constraint

f (1 )0 were imposed, this would still not be sufcient; for example the stress point 1

is itself acceptable, but evidently along the projection of edge 21 there would be linearly

extrapolated stress states that violate yield.

The correct procedure for constraining the slave stress points 1 and 3 is to translate the

apex of the yield surfacenot the origin of the stress spaceto the master stress point 2 .

A convenient way of doing this is to dene a new function F that excludes any constant term

from f , i.e.

f () = F () k (A2)

where k0. For a valid extension, it can be seen from Figure A1 that the slave stress points 1

and 3 must lie on or inside the dashed surface F ( 2 ) = 0, so the correct yield constraints

are:

f (2 ) 0 (A3a)

F (1 2 ) 0 (A3b)

F (3 2 ) 0 (A3c)

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

LOWER BOUND LIMIT ANALYSIS USING SOCP 631

This technique was originally suggested by Pastor [9]. Similar arguments can be used to formu-

late the correct yield constraints for unidirectional extension elements (referring to Figure 19(a)

in Reference [14], the condition f (1 2 ) = 0 should be F (1 2 ) = 0). Without the ap-

propriate corrections, the use of extension elements as described in Reference [14] may lead

to stress elds that are not plastically admissible. The only exception is the special case of a

cohesionless material, where the apex of the yield surface and the origin of the stress space

coincide, such that k = 0 and f () = F ().

Assuming no degenerate elements are present, none of the terms a12 a41 , a23 a12 , etc. in

(27) is equal to 0. Hence the nal two rows of the matrix in (27) are linearly dependent if

and only if all sequential 2 2 submatrices have zero determinant, i.e.

cos 2 cos 2

jk ij cos 2kl cos 2j k

= 0 j {1, . . . , N} (B1)

sin 2j k sin 2ij sin 2kl sin 2j k

where

j 1 for 1<j N j +1 for 1j <N

i = m(j ) = , k = n(j ) =

N for j = 1 1 for j = N

The sequence of stress evaluation points is shown in Figure B1. The determinant leads to the

relation

sin(2j k 2ij ) + sin(2kl 2j k ) + sin(2ij 2kl ) = 0 (B2)

which simplies to

4 sin(j k ij ) sin(kl j k ) sin(kl ij ) = 0 (B3)

Considering that [0, 2), at least one of the arguments in (B3) must be equal to either zero

(impossible since it implies degeneracy) or . If N = 3, all three arguments refer to the angle

N

1 l

k

j n

i t

jk

Figure B1. Interior node belonging to N elements: sequence of stress evaluation points.

Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Numer. Meth. Engng 2006; 66:604634

632 A. MAKRODIMOPOULOS AND C. M. MARTIN

change between consecutive edges, and if any of these angle changes is then degeneracy

is implied. We conclude that an interior node with N = 3 can never generate a dependency. If

N 4 then the rst two arguments j k ij and kl j k refer to the angle change between

consecutive edges, whereas the nal argument kl ij refers to the angle change between

edges that are two apart. Only in the latter case is it possible to have an angle change of

without degeneracy. So the only valid solution to (B3) is

|kl ij | = (B4)

and thus in view of (B1) we must have

|n(j )n(n(j )) m(j )j | = j {1, . . . , N} (B5)

It is clear that this equation can only hold for all j under special circumstances, namely

when N = 4 and the junction has been created by the intersection of two straight lines. We

have therefore established that conditions (28) are the only ones under which an interior node

generates a linearly dependent equality constraint.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The second author worked on this paper while visiting the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems at

the University of Western Australia, established and supported under the Australian Research Councils

Research Centres Program. The nancial support arranged by Professor Mark Randolph is gratefully

acknowledged.

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