Date of Award

Spring 1982

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Engineering Mechanics

Committee Director

Earl A. Thornton

Committee Member

Surendra N. Tiwari

Committee Member

Osama Kandil

Committee Member

Chuh Mei

Committee Member

John H. Heinbockel


An integrated thermal-structural finite element approach for efficient coupling of thermal and structural analysis is presented. New thermal finite elements which yield exact nodal and element temperatures for one-dimensional linear steady-state heat transfer problems are developed. A nodeless variable formulation is used to establish improved thermal finite elements for one-dimensional nonlinear transient and two-dimensional linear transient heat transfer problems. The thermal finite elements provide detailed temperature distributions without using additional element nodes and permit a common discretization with lower order congruent structural finite elements. The accuracy of the integrated approach is evaluated by comparisons with analytical solutions and conventional finite element thermal-structural analyses for a number of academic and more realistic problems. Results indicate that the approach provides a significant improvement in the accuracy and efficiency of thermal-stress analysis for structures with complex temperature distributions.