Asee peer logo

Ansys Macros For Illustrating Concepts In Mechanical Engineering Courses

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Computed Simulation and Animation

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.206.1 - 10.206.19



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

John Baker

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

ANSYS Macros for Illustrating Concepts in Mechanical Engineering Courses

John R. Baker Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Kentucky


Finite element analysis (FEA) is a widely used tool in structural analysis. Because of advances in graphics and animation capabilities, commercial FEA programs can be of great benefit in aiding students in understanding concepts in many undergraduate engineering courses. However, although software vendors have made great strides in enhancing the user-friendliness of commercial codes, proper use of complex FEA software still requires significant training and experience. There is typically not time to instruct students in use of FEA software, or in FEA theory, in courses which are not specifically FEA courses. This work builds on previously reported work, and describes a number of macros that have been developed which automate modeling procedures using the FEA code, ANSYS, to easily produce results, and high-level graphical representations of results, related to a range of topics in structural mechanics. Macros have been developed that illustrate concepts in courses such as statics, dynamics, solid mechanics, machine design, and vibrations, with minimal input from the user. No FEA theoretical background is required to use the macros. They can be used by students in stand-alone assignments, or by instructors in in-class demos. Some examples of results that can be generated and graphically depicted are stress contours due to beam bending, stress contours illustrating the stress concentration in the fillet region in a loaded bar with a step diameter change, animated structural vibration mode shapes, and plots of displacement and velocity of a projectile versus time. Inexperienced users can also easily display numerical results in tables generated by the software. Nonlinear solutions can be generated, for instance, in large deflection beam bending problems, to illustrate the fact that standard textbook solutions are only valid within some operating range.

I. Introduction

ANSYS is a widely-used software tool for structural, thermal, and fluid flow analysis. Many universities include use of ANSYS1-6, or a similar finite element package, to some extent in their mechanical engineering curricula. However, a significant amount of time is needed to learn to use a complex finite element package, such as ANSYS. Therefore, it is not practical to expect students to use ANSYS in a course, unless a course in which they learn to use ANSYS is a prerequisite, or else specific ANSYS tutorials for a certain type of analysis are provided. In previous work6, incorporation of ANSYS in a range of courses, such as a fluid mechanics course, a heat transfer course, and a vibrations course, was described. The student assignments described in this previous work were tailored toward specific analysis for the students. An outgrowth from that experience is the effort “Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Baker, J. (2005, June), Ansys Macros For Illustrating Concepts In Mechanical Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14792

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015