The ASME Special Working Group on Computational Modeling for Explicit Dynamics was founded in August 2008 for the purpose of creating a quantitative guidance document for the development of finite element models used to analyze energy-limited events using explicit dynamics software. This document will be referenced in the ASME Code Section III, Division 3 and the next revision of NRC Regulatory Guide 7.6 as a means by which the quality of a finite element model may be judged. One portion of the document will be devoted to a series of element convergence studies that can aid designers in establishing the mesh refinement requirements necessary to achieve accurate results for a variety of different element types in regions of high plastic strain. These convergence studies will also aid reviewers in evaluating the quality of a finite element model and the apparent accuracy of its results.

In this paper, the authors present the results of a convergence study for an impulsively loaded propped cantilever beam constructed of LS-DYNA thick shell elements using both reduced and selectively reduced integration. A large load is applied to produce large deformations and large plastic strains in the beam. The deformation and plastic strain results are then compared to similar results obtained using thin shell elements and hexahedral elements for the beam mesh.

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