A method of evaluating response of a physical structure to external stimulus includes defining a mesh of finite elements, each defined by edges, for a model of the physical structure. The method includes identifying a governing differential equation and associated complementary functions, which are each associated with a scalar multiplier. The method includes generating an energy optimization model that minimizes a difference between internal and external energies of the finite elements. The internal energy is based on strain energy in a volume defined by the edges of the finite element and resulting from deformations by the complementary functions. The external energy of each finite element is based on external work done by the external stimulus acting on the finite element as deformed by the complementary functions. The method includes solving the energy optimization model for the scalar multipliers and calculating a resulting parameter of interest of the physical structure.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT RIGHTS
 This invention was made with Government support under Prime Contract No. DE-AC07-05-ID14517 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.