boundary conditions

Alternative definitions (0), class: vernacular (1.0)
Term: boundary conditions

Boundary conditions are constraints--e.g. displacements, forces, pressures, velocities, temperatures, etc.--imposed on the edges or surfaces of a system. They are used to solve mathematical models of physical systems, including those used in computational methods like finite element analysis.


A cantilever beam has clamped-free boundary conditions at its ends. The other boundary conditions change its behavior: gravity loading or another downward force applied to the top surface causes bending, whereas a compressive axial load at the free end can lead to buckling.

Created 2023.04.10
Last Modified 2023.04.10
Contributed by Smiles Fox

Boundary conditions are also the parts that we "know" about the structural response of a system and thus these conditions enable the otherwise ill-condition computation of the structural response of a structure. Moreover, boundary conditions, like rotation-free but translation-restrained supports, can be applied to the interior nodes or edges of a structural system too, not only to the edges. This depends on the choice of discretization of the system. Think of a cantilevering slab supported by a wall within. - Peaceful Panda 2023.04.18

try to focus on describing boundary conditions rather than what they cause in the examples (i.e., remove stuff about buckling etc) - Radiance Panther 2023.04.12