This paper presents a simple, nonlinear triangular plate finite element developed for analyzing elastic-plastic, large-displacement behavior of shell type automobile structural components. The element is derived from Lagrange's strain-displacement relations. By being a plate element, the interpolation functions for the in-plane and the out-of-plane displacements are uncoupled. The element employs linear functions for the in-plane displacements and a quadratic function for the out-of-plane displacement. The material of the element is assumed to follow the von Mises yield criterion and the Prandtl-Reuss flow rule. The incremental stiffness matrices are obtained from the principle of virtual work. Four examples are furnished to demonstrate the versatility and accuracy of the presented simple plate element in modeling structures of automobile applications. © 1979.
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