Computing limit loads by minimizing a sum of norms

Knud D. Andersen, Edmund Christiansen, Michael L. Overton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper treats the problem of computing the collapse state in limit analysis for a solid with a quadratic yield condition, such as, for example, the von Mises condition. After discretization with the finite element method, using divergence-free elements for the plastic flow, the kinematic formulation reduces to the problem of minimizing a sum of Euclidean vector norms, subject to a single linear constraint. This is a nonsmooth minimization problem, since many of the norms in the sum may vanish at the optimal point. Recently an efficient solution algorithm has been developed for this particular convex optimization problem in large sparse form. The approach is applied to test problems in limit analysis in two different plane models: plane strain and plates. In the first case more than 80% of the terms in the objective function are zero in the optimal solution, causing extreme ill conditioning. In the second case all terms are nonzero. In both cases the method works very well, and problems are solved which are larger by at least an order of magnitude than previously reported. The relative accuracy for the solution of the discrete problems, measured by duality gap and feasibility, is typically of the order 10-8.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1046-1062
Number of pages17
JournalSIAM Journal on Scientific Computing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1998


  • Finite element method
  • Limit analysis
  • Nonsmooth optimization
  • Plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Computing limit loads by minimizing a sum of norms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this