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Structural Engineering and Mechanics
  Volume 27, Number 6, December10 2007, pages 713-739

Symbolic computation and differential quadrature method - A boon to engineering analysis
S. Rajasekaran

    Nowadays computers can perform symbolic computations in addition to mere number crunching operations for which they were originally designed. Symbolic computation opens up exciting possibilities in Structural Mechanics and engineering. Classical areas have been increasingly neglected due to the advent of computers as well as general purpose finite element software. But now, classical analysis has reemerged as an attractive computer option due to the capabilities of symbolic computation. The repetitive cycles of simultaneous . equation sets required by the finite element technique can be eliminated by solving a single set in symbolic form, thus generating a truly closed-form solution. This consequently saves in data preparation, storage and execution time. The power of Symbolic computation is demonstrated by six examples by applying symbolic computation 1) to solve coupled shear wall 2) to generate beam element matrices 3) to find the natural frequency of a shear frame using transfer matrix method 4) to find the stresses of a plate subjected to in-plane loading using Levy?s approach 5) to draw the influence surface for deflection of an isotropic plate simply supported on all sides 6) to get dynamic equilibrium equations from Lagrange equation. This paper also presents yet another computationally efficient and accurate numerical method which is based on the concept of derivative of a function expressed as a weighted linear sum of the function values at all the mesh points. Again this method is applied to solve the problems of 1) coupled shear wall 2) lateral buckling of thin-walled beams due to moment gradient 3) buckling of a column and 4) static and buckling analysis of circular plates of uniform or non-uniform thickness. The numerical results obtained are compared with those available in existing literature in order to verify their accuracy.
Key Words
    symbolic computation (Computer Algebra); coupled shear wall; natural frequency; flexural stiffness; geometric stiffness; mass matrix; differential quadrature; mesh points.
S. Rajasekaran; Infrastructure Engineering, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore - 641004, Taminadu, India

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