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A variational approach to obstacle problems for shearable nonlinearly elastic rods. (English) Zbl 0898.73080
Summary: We use variational methods to study obstacle problems for geometrically exact (Cosserat) theories for the planar deformation of nonlinearly elastic rods. These rods can suffer flexure, extension, and shear. There is a marked difference between the behavior of a shearable and an unshearable rod. The set of admissible deformations is not convex, because of the exact geometry used. We first investigate the fundamental question of describing contact forces, which we necessarily treat as vector-valued Borel measures. Moreover, we introduce techniques for describing point obstacles. Then we prove existence for a very large class of problems. Finally, using nonsmooth analysis for handling the obstacle, we show that the Euler-Lagrange equations are satisfied almost everywhere. These equations provide very detailed structural information about the contact forces.

74S30 Other numerical methods in solid mechanics (MSC2010)
74P10 Optimization of other properties in solid mechanics
74K10 Rods (beams, columns, shafts, arches, rings, etc.)
74A55 Theories of friction (tribology)
74M15 Contact in solid mechanics
49J40 Variational inequalities
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