Today finite element method is a well established tool in engineering analysis and design. Though there are many two and three dimensional finite elements available, it is rare that a single element performs satisfactorily in majority of practical problems. The present work deals with the development of 4-node quadrilateral element using extended Lagrange interpolation functions. The classical univariate Lagrange interpolation is well developed for 1-D and is used for obtaining shape functions. We propose a new approach to extend the Lagrange interpolation to several variables. When variables are more than one the method also gives the set of feasible bubble functions. We use the two to generate shape function for the 4-node arbitrary quadrilateral. It will require the incorporation of the condition of rigid body motion, constant strain and Navier equation by imposing necessary constraints. The procedure obviates the need for isoparametric transformation since interpolation functions are generated for arbitrary quadrilateral shapes. While generating the element stiffness matrix, integration can be carried out to the accuracy desired by dividing the quadrilateral into triangles. To validate the performance of the element which we call EXLQUAD4, we conduct several pathological tests available in the literature. EXLQUAD4 predicts both stresses and displacements accurately at every point in the element in all the constant stress fields. In tests involving higher order stress fields the element is assured to converge in the limit of discretisation. A method thus becomes available to generate shape functions directly for arbitrary quadrilateral. The method is applicable also for hexahedra. The approach should find use for development of finite elements for use with other field equations also.

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