Published in Engineering Computations Vol. 20 (5-6), pp. 611-628, 2003
The subject of this paper is the computation of instability points in mechanical problems with the finite element method. The objective is to extend the application of critical point detection methods to problems with inequality constraints originating from damage and contact. A simple bilinear model is considered for the damage problems. A bilateral, frictionless contact formulation is used for the contact problems. Among the critical point detection methods the focus is laid on the critical displacement method and the extended system. At first a possible combination of both methods is evaluated by applying them to damage problems. A prediction method based on the extended system is developed to facilitate the comparison of both methods. Secondly, the extended system is used as a computation method for critical points in two‐dimensional contact problems.