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Basic Dynamic Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

5-session e-learning course

February 16th - February 23th 2016
 07:00 PST / 10:00 EST / 15:00 GMT / 16:00 CET 

2-week online training course
Three 2.5-hour session the 1st week - Two 2.5-hour session the 2nd week

Engineering Board PDH Credits: 12.5 hours*

Access to recorded sessions is made available immediately after the live session

Course expanded and developed from four sessions to five

Course Overview

Many problems facing designers and engineers are dynamic in nature. The response of a structure cannot be simply assessed using static assumptions.

The nature of the problem may be to understand the resonant frequencies of your design, so that key driving frequencies such as equipment rotational speed, acoustic or external pressure frequencies, ground motion frequency content or vehicle passing frequency.

Your design may face external driving forces from adjacent components; cams, push rods, pistons or from vehicle input sources such as a bumpy road, wave loading, air pressure or inertial forces.

Whatever the nature of the challenge, this objective of this course is to break down the dynamic problem into clearly defined steps, give an overview of the physics involved and show how to successfully implement practical solutions using Finite Element Analysis.

Course Process and Details 

This course is completely code independent. No software is required.

Each topic in the class is treated as a building block and is presented using an overview of the physics and theory involved. The math is kept simple and the emphasis is on practical examples from real life to illustrate the topic. The mapping to Finite Element analysis techniques is shown with numerous workshops. The tutor will be running analysis interactively and involving the students in the process via Q and A periods during each session, follow up emails and a Course Bulletin Board

Students are shown the various approximation methods and how to judge which are acceptable and appropriate for solving a wide range of practical problems. Practical considerations of loadings, boundary conditions, damping and  structural details are shown by numerous examples.

Of equal importance is the assessment and interpretation of results. This starts with ensuring the modal frequencies and mode shapes are feasible and accurate. Techniques are shown to confirm this and to make sure the basic modal response of a design is fully understood. Comparison against test or hand calculations is shown. A range of hints and tips are shown for producing subsequent efficient and accurate response analyses.

Interaction is encouraged throughout the course, with the planning and design of complete Finte Element Analysis projects. Options for mass and stiffness modeling, damping, loads and boundary conditions and solution methods are discussed interactively with the students.  The tutor then runs the analyses using this input and the results are investigated. Using this approach, classic errors are shown and corrected in a real world scenario.

The session covers a wide range of application techniques available and shows typical applications and best practices across industry. The objective is to show students how to assess the nature of the dynamic environment and what tools can be used, together with the scope of the various solutions.

  • Students are welcome to send in problems from Industry and these will be discussed as time permits.
  • Full notes are provided for the students, together with personal passwords for e-learning backup material, bulletin board access, etc.

Supporting Excel Spreadsheets are provided to illustrate the processes and allow experimentation. These are free to the students. Many students have found them useful tools outside of the training course.

Students will join the audio portion of the meetings by utilizing the VoIP (i.e. headset connected to the computer via headphone and microphone jacks) or by calling into a standard toll line. If you are interested in additional pricing to call-in using a toll-free line, please send an email to: e-learning @

Who Should Attend?

This course is aimed at practicing engineers who wish to learn more about how to apply finite element techniques to dynamic analysis in the most effective manner. Ideally a student should have some experience of FEA analysis. The material that is presented is independent of any particular software package, making it ideally suited to current and potential users of all commercial finite element software systems. This course is a must for all engineers aiming to use FEA as a reliable predictive tool for dynamic analysis.

E-learning classes are ideal for companies with a group of engineers requiring training. E-learning classes can be provided to suit your needs and timescale. Contact us to discuss your requirements.

Course Program

Note: Each session represents one 2-hour session each week (Note: Sessions may last for 2.5-3 hours, including the Q&A sessions.) Recordings of each session are made available to course attendees in the event they are unable to participate in one or more of the live meetings, or if they wish to review the material following each session. 

Session Basic Dynamics FEA 1 

  • Finite Element Analysis Overview
  • Introduction to Dynamics
  • FEA Basic Principals
  • Undamped Single Degree of Freedom Systems
  • Equation of Motion and Normal Modes
  • Mapping to FEA with basic elements
  • Extending to Multiple Degrees of Freedom
  • Eigenvalue extraction, background and FEA implementation
  • Importance of Mode Identification – use of post processing
  • Examples with a range of structures, 1D to 3D.
  • Homework 

Session Basic Dynamics FEA 2 

  • Homework Review
  • Importance of Mass modelling
  • Introduction to Modal Effective Mass
  • Meshing quality
  • Rigid Body Modes
  • Typical Errors
  • QA for normal modes analysis
  • Forensic workshops on models with errors
  • Modal Correlation
  • Reduction Methods
  • Examples
  • Homework

Session Basic Dynamics FEA 3 

  • Homework Review
  • Overview of Response Analysis 
  • Modal and direct methods
  • Introduction to Forcing Functions and Damping
  • Damped, Forced Single Degrees of Freedom
  • Equation of Motion revisited
  • Mapping to FEA with Basic elements
  • Extending to Multiple Degrees of Freedom
  • Examples
  • Homework

Session Basic Dynamics FEA 4 

  • Homework Review
  • Transient Analysis background
  • Workshops with Transient Analysis
  • Accurate time step prediction, results checking, aliasing
  • Managing a large Transient Analysis
  • Frequency Response Analysis background
  • Workshops with Frequency Response Analysis
  • Checking Frequency response, importance of peaks and spectral spread
  • Managing a large Frequency Response Analysis
  • Examples
  • Homework

Session Basic Dynamics FEA 5 

  • content tbc

Feedback from former Dynamic Finite Element Analysis e-Learning students:

"This course did everything right. From organization to presentation to interaction, this is a good model for what online training should be."


"Tony's command over the subject and excellent teaching skills made this course worthwhile."


"Super! Doesn't get better than this. Good idea to start having e-Learning courses."


"I'm really happy not to pay a big fraction of my annual training budget to airlines and hotels. A BIG plus to e-learning."


Special Note(s):

Telephony surcharges may apply for attendees who are located outside of North America, South America and Europe. These surcharges are related to individuals who join the audio portion of the web-meeting by calling in to the provided toll/toll-free teleconferencing lines. We have made a VoIP option available so anyone attending the class can join using a headset (headphones w/ microphone) connected to the computer. There is no associated surcharge to utilize the VoIP option, and is actually encouraged to ensure NAFEMS is able to keep the e-Learning course fees as low as possible. Please send an email to the e-Learning coordinator (e-learning @ ) to determine if these surcharges may apply to your specific case. 

Just as with a live face-to-face training course, each registration only covers one person. If you plan to register a large group (5+), please send an email to e-learning @ in advance for group discounts.

Related News:

Review the NAFEMS "Introductory Dynamic FE Analysis " webinar presented by Tony Abbey on April 2nd, 2009.

The purpose of this webinar is to provide some technical content to the NAFEMS community, and to introduce the Dynamic FE Analysis e-Learning course listed on this page.

For more information, please email e-learning @ .


Event Type: Course
Location: e-Learning Online
Date: February 16, 2016

Dates don't work for you? 

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Course Tutor:
Tony Abbey 

Tony Abbey - NAFEMS Tutor

Read Tony Abbey's bio on the NAFEMS tutors page

Tuesday February 16th

Session 2
Wednesday February 17th

Session 3
Friday February 19th

Session 4
Monday February 22nd

Session 5 
Tuesday February 23rd

If you are unable to commit to the course until one or two sessions are completed, that is no problem. You can review sessions prior to your joining by streaming on-line. 

*It is your individual responsibility to check whether these e-learning courses satisfy the criteria set-out by your state engineering board. NAFEMS does not guarantee that your individual board will accept these courses for PDH credit, but we believe that the courses comply with regulations in most US states (except Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, and New York, where providors are required to be pre-approved).