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How To - Model with Finite Elements

Due to the evolving nature of the engineering analysis and simulation market this publication no longer represents current best practice and has been archived. The document may be of historical interest and is therefore still available for purchase.

In these ‘How to….’ books, theory, and jargon are kept to a minimum. The authors have endeavoured to ensure the correctness of statements presented as fact, although simplicity has often required that exceptions to rules be omitted. In the application of the finite element method, there are many grey areas where the opinions of experienced practitioners vary. The opinions of software vendors are naturally coloured by their commercial interests. While the authors have aspired to be impartial, some of the booklets contents reflect their opinions as users of commercial software. For ease of reading the border between fact and opinion is not clearly delineated, but it is hoped that the context will distinguish between the two.

The last two decades have seen major changes in the application of the finite element method. During the seventies, the range of elements and their performance was improved. Application of the method was still fairly new and the learning curve was steep. Much of the change, particularly in the functionality of programs, was influenced by responses from the growing number of users. The advances in the eighties were greatly influenced by the increasing power and the reducing cost of computers, and the development of computer graphics. Development of solution techniques slowed, but powerful graphics based techniques for the modelling of complex structures were developed. Computer power hungry techniques for the solution of nonlinear problems became a practical reality. Development in the nineties has been dominated by the automation of the modelling process, involving adaptive mesh refinement and design optimization. These have led to a return to the theory to establish error estimating techniques and the development of p-type elements.

This set of books is mainly a snapshot in time, although there is some reference to the development of the method where it influences current practice and some prediction of future trends.


  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Idealisation
  • Analysis Type
  • Materials
  • Geometry
  • Supports
  • Loading
  • Solution Optimisation
  • Frame Example
  • Axi-symmetric Example
  • 3D Shell Examples
  • 3D Solid Examples
  • References
  • Appendix A

Document Details

AuthorsBaguley. D Hose. D
Date 1st July 1997


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