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Introduction to Dynamics using FEA

Do you know if your model is realistic?
What is the importance of normal modes analysis?
How do you calculate transient and frequency response input parameters effectively?

Get the answers to these questions and more with this industry-leading, code-independent e-learning course.

Introduction to Dynamics using FEA

This 6-session, live online course will cover a range of topics, all aimed at structural designers and engineers who are moving into the area of dynamic analysis, including:

  • Normal Modes Analysis
  • Damping
  • Modal Coordinates
  • Modal effective Mass
  • Transient Response
  • Frequency Response

You can either attend the live sessions or
take the course on-demand at your leisure.

NAFEMS e-learning gives you the best of both worlds, giving you real, practical knowledge that you can use day-to-day to improve your analyses.

What will you learn?

  • The importance of normal modes analysis
  • Techniques for identifying and characterising normal modes
  • Roadmaps for simple and effective calculation of transient and frequency response input parameters
  • A QA checklist covering normal modes and dynamic response analysis
  • Practical hints and tips on all aspects of normal modes and dynamic response analysis

What questions will this course answer?

  • What are the most important dynamic analysis topics?
  • What theoretical background do I need to understand the implications of my analysis?
  • What practical hints and tips do I need to be able to carry out analysis effectively?

Who should attend?

Designers and engineers who are moving into the area of dynamic analysis. Familiarity with FEA is assumed, but no other background knowledge is required.

The objective of this course is to break down any Dynamics problem into clearly defined steps and show how to successfully implement practical solutions using Finite Element Analysis.

Dynamic analysis needs a clear set of objectives and analysis plan to:

  • Predict what natural frequencies will be important
  • Avoid guessing the size or number of time steps in a transient analysis
  • Adopt an accurate and logical method to define frequency response calculation points
  • Make informed decisions on damping
  • Make an engineering assessment – is your model realistic
  • Check the answers – guilty until proven innocent!

This class covers all the FEA solution types required to carry out normal modes and basic frequency response analysis.

The course is completely code independent.

  • A full set of notes in PDF format will be available for download. Each session is presented live and is available for review via a streamable recording.
  • Personal passwords are provided to allow you to access e-learning backup material via our special bulletin board. Reading lists, homework submissions, supplementary data are all stored as files on the bulletin board.
  • Interaction via the bulletin board is strongly encouraged to obtain the most from the e-learning class. Typically the board runs for 4 weeks after the last live class sessions, giving you plenty of time to catch up with homework, review and ask questions.

Note: homework is purely voluntary!

Course Process and Details

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 @ .


Course Program

Note: This is a six-week course. Each session represents one 2-hour session per week.

Session 1 - Background to Dynamics

  • Introductions
  • FEA Overview
  • What are Natural Frequencies, Normal Modes
  • Equation of Motion
  • Undamped Free Vibration
  • Undamped Single Degree of Freedom Systems
  • Undamped Multiple Degrees of Freedom
  • Eigenvector normalization
  • Importance of Mode Identification – use of post-processing
  • Checklist for Normal Modes assessment
  • Homework session 1

Session 2 - Dynamics in FEA

  • Homework Review
  • Eigenvalue Extraction Methods
  • Rigid Body Modes
  • Importance of Mass modeling
  • Accurate Idealization – joints and boundary conditions
  • Meshing quality
  • Typical Errors
  • QA for normal modes analysis
  • Homework session 2

Session 3 - Dynamic Analysis Building Blocks

  • Homework Review
  • Modal Coordinates
  • Introduction to Modal Effective Mass
  • Introduction to Damping
  • Damped, Free vibration
  • Forms of Damping
  • Practical Damping
  • Workshops
  • Homework session 3

Session 4 - Overview of Response Analysis

  • Homework Review
  • Modal and Direct methods
  • Residual Vectors
  • Introduction to Forcing Functions and Damping
  • Damped, Forced vibration
  • Workshops
  • Homework session 4

Session 5 - Transient Analysis

  • Homework Review
  • Transient Analysis background
  • Direct Transient Analysis
  • Direct Transient Examples
  • Accurate time step prediction, results checking, aliasing
  • Modal Transient Analysis
  • Modal Transient Examples
  • Dynamic Base Motion
  • Base Motion Examples
  • Homework session 5

Session 6 - Frequency Response Analysis

  • Homework Review
  • Frequency Response Analysis background
  • Direct Frequency Response
  • Strategy for Frequency Response calculation points
  • Example with Direct Frequency Response Analysis
  • Modal Frequency Response
  • Example with Modal Frequency Response Analysis
  • Checking - importance of peaks and spectral spread
  • Homework session 6



PSE Competencies addressed by this training course

IDCompetence Statement
DVkn1State Newton's 2nd Law or, equivalently, the d'Alembert Force Method.
DVkn2Define the relationships amongst instantaneous acceleration, velocity and distance.
DVkn3Define the basic equation for Kinetic Energy.
DVkn7State the Mass Moment of Inertia in general and define it for a circular cylindrical rod rotating about an end.
DVkn9Define the terms frequency, period, phase angle, and amplitude for a harmonic time signal
DVkn10State the typical matrix structure of the discrete differential equation system for linear MDOF systems
DVkn11Define the terms free and forced vibration
DVkn12State typical values for damping in various engineering structures.
DVco5Explain the term Instantaneous Centre of Zero Velocity.
DVco9Explain the term Conservative Forces, Potential, and Strain energy
DVco12Explain the use of physical, analytical and mathematical models in a structural dynamics modelling process.
DVco13Discuss the full discrete linear differential Equation of Motion in matrix terms and explain the terms Free Response and No Damping.
DVco14Explain the derivation of the General Matrix Eigenvalue Problem (characteristic equation) from the Equation of Motion.
DVco15Explain different physical forms of Dynamic Loading (Excitation) in a Force Response analysis.
DVco16Explain Harmonic, Periodic, Transient, and Random time response.
DVco18Explain steady-state response for harmonic excitation.
DVco19Explain the term complex Frequency-Response Function, Magnification Factor, and Phase Angle in relation to frequency ratio and damping.
DVco20Discuss the term Natural Frequency in relation to a continuum and a discretized system.
DVco21Discuss the phenomenon of Resonance.
DVco22Explain the terms Mode Shape/Eigenvector, Modal Mass, Modal Damping, and Modal Stiffness Factors.
DVco25Discuss the characteristics of mass and damping matrices.
DVco26Describe the difference between Viscous, Dry-Friction (Coulomb), and Hysteretic Damping.
DVco27Describe the effect of damping on natural frequencies and resonance.
DVco28Describe Free Vibration of undamped and damped systems.
DVco29Explain the Logarithmic Decrement Method.
DVco30Discuss the concept of mass and stiffness proportional (Rayleigh) damping.
DVco33Discuss the steady state and total response of a damped system subjected to harmonic excitation.
DVco34Describe the terms Intertia force, Damping force and Stiffness force.
DVco35Discuss the integral equation for element mass, highlighting the variables which it is dependent upon.
DVco37Describe the terms Lumped mass matrix and Consistent mass matrix and identify which formulation is appropriate to elements being used.
DVco38Discuss various strategies for extraction of eigenvalues and mode shapes, including Lanczos and Subspace Iteration.
DVco39Discuss how the solution of the Free Vibration Problem depends upon a truncation of range of natural frequencies and mode shapes.
DVco40Explain methods to compare Experimental with Analytical Modal Analysis data (e.g., MAC, COMAC).
DVco42Explain why in a free vibration problem, an analysis system may report 6 frequencies of small magnitude.
DVco45Contrast Modal Superposition and Direct Time Integration methods for transient response analysis.
DVco47Contrast mesh density requirements in static and dynamic problems.
DVco48Discuss why joints can prove to be problematic in a dynamic analysis.
Dvco53Discuss frequency range obtainable by FE modal analysis.
DVap1Employ Free Body Diagrams effectively, showing initial and final conditions where appropriate.
DVap3Employ a range of post-solution checks to determine the integrity of dynamic FEA results.
DVap5Employ an analysis system for the determination of natural frequencies and mode shapes.
DVap6Employ an analysis system for the determination of steady state response and frequency response function for a periodic excitation
DVap11Employ an analysis system for the determination of dynamic stresses, where appropriate.
DVap13Illustrate the approximate nature of finite element analysis, through dynamic examples chosen from your industry sector.
DVan1Analyse the results from dynamic analyses and determine whether they are consistent with assumptions made and the objectives of the analysis.
DVan2Analyse the results from and modelling for dynamic analyses by comparing measured modal data (EMA) with those obtained from FE analytical modal analysis.
DVsy1Prepare a dynamic analysis specification, highlighting any assumptions relating to geometry, mass distribution, loads, boundary conditions, damping, and material properties.
DVsy2Plan a dynamic analysis, specifying necessary resources and timescale.
DVsy3Prepare quality assurance procedures for dynamic finite element analysis activities within an organisation.
DVsy4Specify ancillary Pilot Studies and complementary Experimental Studies, where appropriate.
DVev1Select appropriate idealisation(s) for components / structures, which are consistent with the objectives of the dynamic analyses.
DVev2Assess the significance of neglecting any feature or detail in any dynamic idealisation.
DVev3Assess the significance of simplifying geometry, material models, mass, loads or boundary conditions and damping assumptions on a dynamic analysis.
DVap7Employ an analysis system for the determination of transient response in a range of linear and nonlinear systems.
DVap8Employ an analysis system for the determination of seismic response in a range of linear and nonlinear systems.


Event Type eLearning
Member Price £354.57 | $458.00 | €421.74
Non-member Price £524.88 | $678.00 | €624.31
Tutor: Tony Abbey


Start Date End Date Location

Session Times

Introduction to Dynamics using FEA

Six-Session Online Training Course

2.5/3 hours per session
PDH Credits - 15

Attend the live sessions, or view the recordings at your convenience.

Not Available to Attend this Time?

Would you like us to notify you when the next course is open for enrollment? If so, add yourself to the eLearning Waitlist

Please click here to view the FAQ section, or if you need to contact NAFEMS about this course.

Engineering Board PDH Credits

*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)

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) 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 (10+), please send an email to e-learning @ in advance for group discounts.

For NAFEMS cancellation and transfer policy, click here.