Teaching finite element analysis to second year students

Marshall F. Coyle, Christal G. Keel

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Finite element analysis (FEA) is a powerful analytical tool used to evaluate structural, dynamic, thermal, fluid, and electrical engineering problems. In the past, only specialists with access to mainframes conducted finite element analyses due to the massive processing power required. However, the recent advances in microcomputer technology allow this processing capability to be available to virtually anyone. Engineering students can now solve complex problems that would not be feasible or practical to solve by hand at a much earlier point in the curriculum. Still, a person using FEA software who does not have a clear understanding of the basic engineering concepts could obtain erroneous solutions, leading to a detrimental outcome. This paper discusses the justification for offering FEA to second year students, as opposed to the current fourth-year placement we see most often. Included are examples of exercises that will attempt to reinforce to the student the importance of rigorous attention to the fundamental engineering concepts crucial to any analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9471-9476
Number of pages6
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001
Event2001 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Peppers, Papers, Pueblos and Professors - Albuquerque, NM, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2001Jun 27 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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