Many real-world engineering structures are too complex for their behaviour to be understood using an ‘exact’ analytical or theoretical method alone. Therefore, in practice we often use approximate numerical or simulation-based tools for structural analysis, of which Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is the most established.
The Finite Element Method (FEM) unlocks the ability for engineers to predict the performance of complex structures in detail, including their deformations and stresses generated by mechanical loads, and their free and forced vibration. However, the predictions obtained from these simulations are only as reliable as the data used to generate them, and this is limited by necessary simplifications and assumptions. A skilled FE analyst understands the assumptions and limitations of the method, and they can make best use of the range of commercial FEA software packages available by drawing on an understanding of the theory behind the simulations.
This module is aimed at providing the requisite background theory and practical experience of solving problems using the Finite Element Method. It provides fundamental knowledge and an understanding of the technique of FEM, equipping students with tools to analyse engineering structures problems using FEM and typical commercial FEA packages.