Efficient finite element modelling of helical strand cables utilising periodicity

Dominic Smith, Lee Cunningham, Tony Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper proposes a repeated unit cell (RUC) FE modelling strategy for multilayered helical strand cables subject to tensile loading and bending with an initial tensile load. The approach utilises the axial periodicity in helical structures to reduce computational domain to two cable periods. A novel mesh creation method allowing the exact geometry of helical strands to be discretised into solid elements while maintaining flat end surfaces is proposed. Periodic boundary conditions (PBC) allowing for geometric and material nonlinearity are used to implement cyclic loads to study hysteresis in single and multilayered cables. Comparisons made to existing experimental and analytical results validate the models ability to capture hysteresis due to plasticity and geometric effects such as the stick–slip transition in bending. Examination of the cross-sectional stress distribution shows plasticity initiates at contact points at loads which are 25% of the load at which the cable tensile response deviates from linearity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108792
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Sciences
Early online date12 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • cables
  • contact modelling
  • multiscale
  • repeated unit cell

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Energy


Dive into the research topics of 'Efficient finite element modelling of helical strand cables utilising periodicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this