Published in Int. Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering Vol. 69 (7), pp. 1521-1551, 2007
This paper extends the capabilities of previous BST and EBST rotation‐free thin shell elements to the analysis of kinked and branching surfaces. The computation of the curvature tensor is first redefined in terms of the angle change between the normals at the adjacent elements. This allows to deal with arbitrary large angles between adjacent elements and to treat kinked surfaces. A relative stiffness between elements is introduced to consider non‐homogeneous surfaces. This idea is latter generalized to deal with branching shells. Several linear and non‐linear examples are presented showing that the formulation leads to the correct results. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.