living matter lab


me309 - finite element analysis in mechanical design


ellen kuhl thu 1-2pm, durand 217
steve bachmeier mon 1-2pm, terman 104
mandy philippine tue 4-5pm, terman 104
noe esparza wed 4-5pm, terman 104

spring 2009
tue thu 9:30-10:45




the key goal of this class is the fundamental understanding of the finite element method and its application to classical and state-of-the-art design problems. in class, we discuss the basic equations for one-, two-, and three-dimensional scalar- and vector-valued problems, i.e., heat transfer, convection-diffusion, and elasticity. in the hands-on part of the course, we introduce commercial finite element programs and demonstrate how to use ansys in analysing design problems. individual final projects focus on the interplay of analysis and testing in product design and development. to take this course, basic knowledge and general interest in mathematics, strength of materials, structural and solid mechanics, and heat transfer is highly recommended.


  • 50 % homework - 4 homework assignments, 12.5% each
  • 30 % midterm - closed book, closed notes, one single letter format page of notes
  • 20 % project - final homework project


chapters in the syllabus refer to the fish & belytschko textbook "a first course in finite elements".
example of a matlab finite element code for euler bernoulli beams download

day date topic material hw due
tue mar 31 introduction chapter 1 slides slides.ppt
thu apr 02 motivation / direct approach chapter 2 h01
tue apr 07 ansys - introduction (in terman 104) t01 t02 t03
thu apr 09 1d strong and weak forms chapter 3.1,3.2,3.4
tue apr 14 1d model problems chapter 3.5,3.6,3.8
thu apr 16 1d discretization chapter 4 h02 b01 b02 b03 h01
tue apr 21 1d finite elements chapter 5
thu apr 23 multi d strong and weak forms chapter 6
tue apr 28 multi d discretiation / triangles chapter 7.2,7.6
thu apr 30 multi d discretiation / quads chapter 7.4,7.5,7.8 h03 , h03d , h04
tue may 05 multi d fem / linear elasticity chapter 9.1,9.2 h05 h02
thu may 07 multi d fem / linear elasticity chapter 9.3-9.7
tue may 12 multi d fem / heat equation chapter 8 h03
thu may 14 1d structural elements / beams chapter 10.1,10.2 slides
tue may 19 1d structural elements / beams chapter 10.3-10.5 matlab
thu may 21 midterm prep h04
tue may 26 midterm
thu may 28 special topics in finite element analysis slides
tue jun 02 special topics in finite element analysis slides
thu jun 04 no class
fri jun 05 final projects due h05



fish j, belytschko t
a first course in finite elements, john wiley & sons, 2007

cook rd
finite element modeling for stress analysis, john wiley & sons, 1995

buchanan gr
schaum's outline of finite element analysis, mc graw hill, 1994

logan dl
a first course in the finite element method, cengage engineering, 2006