Mixed Kirchhoff stress–displacement–pressure formulations for incompressible hyperelasticity

Patrick E. Farrell, Luis F. Gatica, Bishnu P. Lamichhane, Ricardo Oyarzúa, Ricardo Ruiz-Baier

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The numerical approximation of hyperelasticity must address nonlinear constitutive laws, geometric nonlinearities associated with large strains and deformations, the imposition of the incompressibility of the solid, and the solution of large linear systems arising from the discretisation of 3D problems in complex geometries. We adapt the three-field formulation for nearly incompressible hyperelasticity introduced in Chavan et al. (2007) to the fully incompressible case. The mixed formulation is of Hu–Washizu type and it differs from other approaches in that we use the Kirchhoff stress, displacement, and pressure as principal unknowns. We also discuss the solvability of the linearised problem restricted to neo-Hookean materials, illustrating the interplay between the coupling blocks. We construct a family of mixed finite element schemes (with different polynomial degrees) for simplicial meshes and verify its error decay through computational tests. We also propose a new augmented Lagrangian preconditioner that improves convergence properties of iterative solvers. The numerical performance of the family of mixed methods is assessed with benchmark solutions, and the applicability of the formulation is further tested in a model of cardiac biomechanics using orthotropic strain energy densities. The proposed methods are advantageous in terms of physical fidelity (as the Kirchhoff stress can be approximated with arbitrary accuracy and no locking is observed) and convergence (the discretisation and the preconditioners are robust and computationally efficient, and they compare favourably at least with respect to classical displacement–pressure schemes).

Original languageEnglish
Article number113562
Number of pages24
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • Augmented Lagrangian preconditioning
  • Incompressible hyperelasticity
  • Kirchhoff stress formulation
  • Mixed finite element methods

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