The formulation of a plate finite element with so called ‘physical’ shape functions is revisited. The derivation of the ‘physical’ shape functions is based on Hencky-Bollé theory of moderately thick plates. The considered finite element was assessed in the past, and the tests showed that the solution convergence was achieved in a wide range of thickness to in-plane dimensions ratios. In this paper a holistic correctness assessment is presented, which covers three criteria: the ellipticity, the consistency and the inf-sup conditions. Fulfilment of these criteria assures the existence of a unique solution, and a stable and optimal convergence to the correct solution. The algorithms of the numerical tests for each test case are presented and the tests are performed for the considered formulation. In result it is concluded that the finite element formulation passes every test and therefore is a good choice for modeling plate structural elements regardless of their thickness.
Development of high-performance finite elements for thick, moderately thick, as well as thin shells and plates, was one of the active areas of the finite element technology for 40 years, followed by hundreds of publications. A variety of shell elements exist in the FE codes, but “the best” finite element is still to be discovered. The paper deals with an evaluation of some existing shell finite elements, from the point of view of the third of three requirements to be satisfied by theelement: ellipticity, consistency and inf-sup condition. It is difficult to prove the inf-sup condition analytically, so, a numerical verification is proposed. A set of numerical tests is considered for shell and plate problems. Two norm matrices and a selection of the stiffness matrices (bending, shear and membrane dominated) are analysed. Finite elements from various computer systems can be evaluated and compared with the use of the proposed tests.