Which shape functions are used by RFEM 5 for 1.) solid elements and 2.) shell elements? Are they linear or quadratic shape functions?


Generally, the identical bilinear approach functions with 2, 3, or 4 boundary nodes are to be used, depending on which element you prefer, but there are differences in the quadrature. The differences in the quadrature are as follows:

Elastic calculation:


Truss: analytically 2 nodes 3 degrees of freedom
Beam: analytically 2 nodes 6 degrees of freedom
Surface (plate): analytically (LYNN-DHILLON-Element)

Surface (wall): Quadrangular Gauss quadrature 2x2, triangular selective quadrature (epsilon_x; epsilon_y; gamma_xy)
Solid: Gauss quadrature 2x2


Nonlinear calculation (for example, plasticity, and so on):



2-point Gauss quadrature in the longitudinal direction of the member

across the cross-section Gauss quadrature 2x2 

Surface (plate):

in the element surface: quadrangular Gauss quadrature 2x2 , triangular 3-point Gauss quadrature

per thickness 9-point Gauss-Lobatto quadrature

Wall - quadrangular Gauss quadrature 2x2 , triangular 3-point Gauss quadrature 
Solid - 14-point reduced Gauss quadrature (equivalent to the 3x3x3 Gaus quadrature)


FE Elements Plasticity

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