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# The Finite Element Method (FEM)

2016)

## Naresh Gaj, M.Sc. , B.Eng (Civil)

Department of Bioresource Engineering
17th March, 2016
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## Numerical technique used for solving Partial

Differential Equations (PDEs)

## PDEs are equations that contain unknown

multivariable functions and their partial
derivatives

## Engineering and physical processes

heat flow,
structural mechanics,
fluid flow,
electrostatics

## FEM Why is it important?

Solution to Partial Differential
Equations are complicated by:
a) Irregular geometry

b) Variability in materials

## FEM History and

Development
Two lines of ancestry (Zienkiewicz,
2004):
1) Engineering systems assembled from
simple components
Stiffness method (19th Century)
2) Purely mathematical reasoning to
solve differential equations
Finite difference method (Richardson, 1910)
Relaxation method (Southwell, 1940)
Stress Analysis (Courant*, 1943)
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## FEM History and

Development
FEM was born when these 2 lines
merged
At Boeing by M.J. Turner in the 1950s
successfully analyzed physical model
of an aeroplane wing
Published paper by R.W. Clough in 1960
Adoption of FEM to other branches in
Civil Engineering by O.C. Zienkiewicz
from the 1960s onwards

FEM Synopsis
Idealization

FE
A

Discretization

FE
M

Formulation of
Stiffness Matrix

Meshing

F=Ku
Direct Stiffness Method

Solution of
Equations

Post Processing

## Finite Element Analysis

3D Stress Plot
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FEM Synopsis
Systematic Solution
Large number of equations

FEM Codes
Commercial or Open Access

## Popular Commercial Codes

ANSYS
ABAQUS
NASTRAN
COMSOL
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FEM Applications
Primary applications
Engineering
Civil, Mechanical, Aeronautical,
Electrical, Chemical, Environmental etc.

## Secondary (spin-off) applications

Medicine
Orthopaedic, Orthodontics, Biomedical,
Medical equipment and implants etc.
Tertiary applications (1D space + time)
Economics and Finance
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Summary
FEM is a numerical technique used to
solve PDEs.
Developed in the 1950s for use in the
Aerospace Industry
Part of a broader analytical process
called FEA and relies on the use of
commercial software
Primary application in engineering,

References
ABAQUS. (1978). Abaqus/Standard Retrieved 12 December, 2015, from
http://www.3ds.com/products-services/simulia/products/abaqus/abaqusstandard/
Achdou, Y. and Pironneau, O. (2005). Computational methods for option pricing.
Frontiers in Applied Mathematics, Society for Industrial and Applied
Clough, R.W (1960). The finite element in plane stress analysis. In: Proceedings of the
2nd ASCE Conference on Electronic Computation, Pittsburgh, PA.
COMSOL Multiphysics. (2012). COMSOL Multiphysics: User's Guide. USA: COMSOL.
Courant, R. (1943). Variational methods for the solution of problems of equilibrium
and vibration. Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. 49:123.
Southwell, R.V. (1940) Relaxation Methods in Engineering Science. Oxford University
Press: Oxford.
Turner, M.J., Clough, R.W., Martin, H.C., and Topp, L.J. (1956). Stiffness and deflection
analysis of complex structures. Journal of Aerosol Science, 23:805823.
Zienkiewicz, O. C. (2004). The birth of the finite element method and of
computational mechanics. International Journal For Numerical Methods in
Engineering, 60(1), 3-10. doi: 10.1002/nme.951
Zienkiewicz, O. C., Taylor, R. L., and Zhu, J. Z. (2013). Finite element method its basis
and fundamentals. Amsterdam; Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Zohdi, T. I. (2015). A Finite Element Primer for Beginners: The Basics. New York:
Springer.
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References (graphics)
http://www.nenastran.com/fea/images/Cessna_withFEA.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lwBVvc4Gghg/U2Z9-8cmlHI/AAAAAAAAAxk/0xPH0-IDmNE/s
1600/ImmagineGeologia.jpeg
http://www.smcontact.fr/IMG/jpg/car.jpg
rtial-Differential-Equations-tn953.jpg
http://www.boeing.com/resources/boeingdotcom/history/images/707_3.jpg
http://community.dur.ac.uk/~des0www4/cal/dams/conc/grav2.gif
http://www.automotioncomponents.co.uk/img/products/large/l1771r.jpg
http://www.geuz.org/gmsh/gallery/piston.png
https://hnagibdotcom1.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/screen-shot-2015-01-03-at-5
-48-19-pm.png?w=800&h=567&crop=1
https://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/jessicaz/publication/heart/heart_bound.bmp
https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTLCoswQTn5XPPd45Gm
ZfMjCXgZ9vWVxX-f4SaxpoS1C8dA8_7O

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Acknowledgements
Many thanks to: