DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU


Module Specifications

Archived Version 2016 - 2017

Module Title Finite Element Analysis
Module Code MM421
School School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr Bryan Mac DonaldOffice NumberS380
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module introduces engineering students to the finite element method. It illustrates how finite element methods may be used as part of the engineering design cycle. The focus of this module is on relatively simple linear finite element analyses for stress analysis problems. A theoretical understanding of simple 1D and beam finite element analyses is covered for infinitesimal strain. Hands on experience is covered via practical case studies and using a commercially available FE software.

Learning Outcomes

1. Explain the mathematical methods used to formulate a finite element analysis.
2. Be able to formulate and solve a finite element analysis for a simple 1-D stress analysis problem.
3. Be able to formulate and solve a finite element analysis for a beam analysis problem.
4. Use a commercially available FE software to solve linear (infinitesimal strain) stress analysis problems.
5. Critically assess the results and accuracy from a FE analysis.
6. Explain how FEA fits into the engineering design process and be able to apply it appropriately.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture363 Formal 1 hour lectures per week
Laboratory36Studio Work - Learning to use FEA software 3 hours per week
Directed learning12Weekly assigned tasks - homework
Independent Study101Student Indepedant learning time
Total Workload: 185

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

What is the finite element method, Why is it used, how does FEA fit into the design process

Review of Stress Analysis
Units and dimensional analysis, material properties, stress and strain, yielding and plastic deformation

Overview of FE theory
Changing a physical model to a mathematical model, direct methods, minimum potential energy methods.

Practical FE procedures
Element selection, material model selection, geometry considerations, loading considerations, use of appropriate boundary conditions

Elements & Shape Functions
1-D linear truss elements, 1-D quadratic truss elements, 2-D Truss Elements, 1-D and 2-D beam elements.

Material Models
Linear elastic models

Modelling & Meshing
Truss & beam assumptions, planar assumptions, thin shell assumptions, simplification using symmetry, defeaturing, model cleanup after CAD translation, meshing considerations, mesh convergence

Boundary Conditions & Loads
Overview of static loads and appropriate boundary conditions, implications of assuming static loads.

Solution of the Problem
Practical and theoretical overview of linear static solutions

Post Processing & Validation
Overview of different methods for presentation/analysis of results, model verification and validation.

Case Studies
All of the above are illustrated with the assistance of case studies carried out during laboratory sessions and via project work using ANSYS FE software.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment40% Examination Weight60%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Bryan, J Mac Donald,: 2007, Practical Stress Analysis with Finite Elements, 10, Glasnevin Publishing, Dublin, Ireland, 978-0955578106
  • M. J. Fagan: 1992, Finite element analysis: Theory and Practice, Prentice-Hall, England, 978-0582022478
  • Saeed Moaveni: 0, Finite Element Analysis Theory and Application with ANSYS: Theory and Applications with ANSYS, Pearson, Upper Saddle River, N.J., 978-0132416511
Other Resources

639, Website, University of Alberta, 0, Ansys on-line Tutorials, http://www.mece.ualberta.ca/Tutorials/ansys/,
Programme or List of Programmes
BMEDB.Eng. in Biomedical Engineering
CAMB.Eng. Mechanical & Manufacturing Eng
CAMCGCert CA Mechanical & Manufacturing Eng
CAMGGDip C.A. Mechanical & Manufacturing Eng
CAMMMSc. C.A. Mechanical & Manufacturing Eng
ECSAStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
ECSAOStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
IFPCMEPG International Foundation Cert:MMME
IFPSCMPre MEng Intl Foun Prog SS Mec & Man E
MMMEMEng in Mechanical and Manufacturing Eng
MMQAQualifier A MEng in Mechanical & Manufac
MMQBQualifier B for MEng. Mech & Manu Eng.