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Introduction to Finite Element Analysis

Explain and use introductory Finite Element Analysis (FEA) concepts underlying the creation of elements to make accurate approximations.

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Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
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Extended Enrollment Available

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Description

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Originally developed for aerospace structural analysis, Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is now a convenient and speedy tool for approximation of the solution to a wide variety of complicated engineering problems across a wide range of industries.  This online, instructor-supported course explains how FEA can produce accurate, reliable approximate solutions, at a small fraction of the cost of more rigorous, closed-form analyses.  It also provides the level of knowledge required to successfully use the FEA software packages currently available.

It is estimated that the course will, in total, require approximately 24 hours of work on the part of the student, over the duration of the six-week course.

The instructor recommends that students purchase Concepts and Applications of Finite Element Analysis, 4th Ed, (2002), by Robert D. Cook et al., John Wiley and Sons, Inc.: New York.

You Will Learn To

  • Provide examples of all the steps necessary to conduct a successful FEA from start to finish
  • Explain the concepts underlying the creation of elements which are used to make accurate approximations
  • Use finite element software for more advanced structural, thermal analysis and basic modal analysis

Who Should Attend
Design, project, mechanical and R&D engineers, and R&D managers

No specific prerequisites exist for this course, though knowledge of linear algebra would be helpful. In addition, the material layout assumes familiarity with some of the concepts of strength of materials and from elementary thermodynamics. Detailed knowledge of these subjects is not necessary, but it would be helpful for the student to have a passing familiarity with concepts such as stress, strain, conductivity, etc.

Computer Usage
The course will be delivered in an online format. In addition, each student will receive access to an educational version of the FEA software, Abaqus, which will be used in this course.  

Please refer to the Abaqus website to ensure that your computer meets the system requirements.

To take this course you should have a personal computer, Web browser, Internet connection, and software to display PDF files (such as Adobe Reader).

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Outline

Module 1: Introduction

  • Overview of FEA, without mathematic examples
  • Definitions
  • Development of equations

 Module 2: Details of the method

  • A complete, start-to-finish, FEA
    • An example, which demonstrates the steps of the method
  • Derivation of the elemental equations

 Module 3: Introduction to Abaqus - a practical, hands-on experience performing FEA:

  • A basic tutorial on the use of the commercially available software
  • Students will work the example of the "details" module, and other tutorials for various analysis types

Module 4 - More advanced topics in element generation

  • Introduction to concepts underlying the creation of "elements" which are used to make the approximation desired. 
    • This module covers the nuts and bolts of the method, which lie in element generation
  • Shear locking
  • Element interpolation

Module 5: Additional Abaqus capabilities

  • Use of the finite element software for more advanced structural, thermal analyses, and basic modal analysis

 Module 6: Practical advice for competent FEA

  • Description of various items of the method to improve an analyst’s competence
  • Tips on how to model various boundary conditions and reduce error
  • Discussion of various other FEA capabilities not covered in other modules
  • Known pitfalls
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Instructor

Scott Steinbrink, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Gannon University

Dr. Scott Steinbrink holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech, as well as Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering. He is currently an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Gannon University, in Erie, PA.

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