Acta Mechanica

, Volume 230, Issue 11, pp 4077–4107 | Cite as

Geometrically exact shell theory from a hierarchical perspective

  • Robert WinklerEmail author
Open Access
Original Paper


A hierarchic approach for the derivation of an infinite series of nonlinear \(\ell \)th-order shell theories from three-dimensional continuum mechanics based on a polynomial series expansion of the displacement field is recapitulated. Imposing the static constraints that second- and higher-order moments vanish, a ‘first-order’ shell theory is obtained without employing any kinematic constraints or geometric approximations. In particular, it is shown in full generality that, within the same theoretical framework, this static assumption, on the one hand, and a common Reissner–Mindlin-type kinematic assumption, on the other hand, lead to the same theory, for which the attribute geometrically exact is adopted from the literature. This coincidence can be interpreted as a theoretical justification for the heuristic Reissner–Mindlin assumption. Further, the unexpected but unavoidable appearance of transverse moment components (residual drill moments) is addressed and analysed. Feasible assumptions are formulated which allow to separate these drill components from the remaining balance equations without affecting the equilibrium of the standard static variables. This leads to a favourable structure of the component representation of balance equations in the sense that they formally coincide with the ones of linear shear-deformable shell theory. Finally, it is shown that this result affects the interpretation of applied boundary moments.



Open access funding provided by University of Innsbruck and Medical University of Innsbruck.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of MechatronicsUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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