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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: ENG3141 Module Title: FINITE ELEMENTS METHODS
Module Provider: Civil, Chemical & Enviromental Eng Short Name: ENG3141
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: MULLORD P Dr (C, C & E Eng)
Number of credits: 10 Number of ECTS credits: 5
Module Availability
Autumn/Spring Semester
Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)


Unseen examination






Four assignments (different each year) using commercial software.




Qualifying Condition(s) 


An overall mark of 40% is required to pass the module.


Module Overview
A level HE3 finite element course for civil engineers.
Completion of the progress requirements of Level HE2.
Module Aims
To give students sufficient understanding of basic concepts of finite elements such that, given a commercial package, they should be able to understand the documentation and use the program in a safe and practical manner.
Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:





·         Propose an appropriate numerical model to solve a given engineering problem.



·         Analyse structural behaviour for a wide variety of loads and structural forms.



·         Inspect the results of a numerical model and identify artefacts and errors.



·         Test numerical models against closed form solutions.



·         Assess the accuracy and sensitivity of finite element models.



Module Content

Mathematical background



Shape function interpolation.  Approximation via energy and virtual work.  Co-ordinate transformation and the Jacobian equations. Numerical integration.  Matrix notation.



Variational crimes



Incompatible shape functions and reduced integration.  Mechanisms and element locking.  Element tests.



Plane stress elements



Linear and quadratic elements.



Solid elements



Solid element types.



Bending elements



Beam, plate and shell elements.

Stability, dynamic and non-linear analysis

Material and geometric non-linearity.  Bifurcation and limit point buckling: eigenvalue solutions, incremental solutions,  Dynamics: eigenvalue solutions, incremental solutions, modal reduction.



Discrete elements and contact problems



Theory and use of discrete elements, contact problems



Practical work



Various exercises and case studies
Methods of Teaching/Learning

Autumn semester: 14 hours of lectures, 6 hours of tutorial classes, and 30 hours independent learning.



Spring semester: 14 hours of lectures, 6 hours of tutorial classes, and 30 hours independent learning.



Total student learning time 100 hours.
Selected Texts/Journals

Essential reading





Required reading





Recommended background reading


NAFEMS, A Finite Element Primer, National Engineering Laboratory, 1986.  (ISBN 09036 40171)


Buchanan GR, Finite Element Analysis, McGraw Hill (Schaum's Outline Series), 1995.  (ISBN 00700 87148)


Dawe, DJ. Matrix and Finite Element Displacement Analysis of Structures, Clarendon Press, Oxford , 1983.


Cook, RD, Finite Element Modelling for Stress Analysis, Wiley, Chichester , 1995.



Last Updated
15 October 2009