An improved isoparametric transformation for finite element analysis

Michael Anthony Celia, William G. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The standard isoparametric transformation for finite element analysis is shown to be only a special case of a more general transformation which allows for flexibility in locating side and interior element nodes. Side nodes positioned at the same relative distance from corner nodes in both local and global space, and interior nodes positioned such that they do not affect the Jacobian of the co‐ordinate transformation, provide improved accuracy over nodes positioned locally without regard for the global configuration. This concept is demonstrated in the context of two‐dimensional quadratic quadrilateral isoparametrics, but is also applicable to higher orders and dimensions. In the test cases examined, the new formulation provides a reduction in error of up to three orders of magnitude and also provides accurate solutions for nodal placements which are not allowed using the standard transformations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1443-1459
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Numerical Analysis
  • General Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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