FAQ 002960 EN-US


Markus Baumgärtel Calculation RFEM RSTAB

Which shape function is used in RFEM?


The finite element types used in RFEM are given in the following table. They are chosen automatically
by the program according to the situation.

Element Type Element description

1D: beam element element with rotational degrees of freedom

2D: plate element Lynn–Dhillon; MITC3; MITC4 – used in case of nonlinear calculation
2D: wall element with stabilized zero energy modes
2D: shell element shell element = plate element + wall element

3D:  solid element element with rotational degrees of freedom; element without rotational degrees of freedom (with or without extra shape functions)
gas element
contact element

Integration Procedure

For members, analytical integration is used for linear cases, while in the nonlinear setting the two
point Gauss quadrature is used along the beam. For nonlinear cases the following integration rule
is used in the cross-section: 2×2 Gauss quadrature for quadrangles and 4-point selective reduced
integration rule for triangles (3 points for 𝜖x, 𝜖y and 1 point for 𝛾xy).

In plate elements, analytical integration is used whenever possible (in Lynn–Dhillon element or in
a triangular element). In other cases, a 2×2 composite Gauss quadrature is used in the element
plane (quadrangles). In solids, a 2×2×2 composite Gauss quadrature is used in hexahedrons.
Reduced one point integration is used for some particular terms to avoid numerical problems.

Let us focus on integration in plates with respect to their thickness, which is based on the Gauss–Lobatto quadrature. The Gauss–Lobatto quadrature is a Gauss quadrature in which boundary points
are forced to also be integration points, which allows an exact evaluation of stresses on layer
interfaces in case of multilayered plates. In case of linear calculation, three integration points are
used per layer. In nonlinear calculation, nine integration points are used in the plate (nonlinear
calculation allows one layer only).


Shape function Finite Element

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RFEM Main Program
RFEM 5.xx

Main Program

Structural engineering software for finite element analysis (FEA) of planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, members (beams), solids and contact elements

Price of First License
3,540.00 USD
RSTAB Main Program
RSTAB 8.xx

Main Program

The structural engineering software for design of frame, beam and truss structures, performing linear and nonlinear calculations of internal forces, deformations, and support reactions

Price of First License
2,550.00 USD