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Enhancement of a Finite Element Analysis Course for Structural Engineering

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Modeling and Simulation

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Shahnam Navaee Georgia Southern University

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Dr. Navaee is currently a Full Professor in the Civil Engineering and Construction Management Department in the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Information Technology at Georgia Southern University. Dr. Navaee received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University in 1980 and 1983, and his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University in 1989.

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Junsuk Kang Georgia Southern University

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Dr. Junsuk Kang earned his Ph.D. degree in Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at Auburn University, AL, USA in 2007. He obtained his master’s degree in Structural Engineering from Korea University, South Korea, in 2000 and his Bachelor’s degree was in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Korea University, South Korea, in 1998. Prior to entering PhD study, Dr. Kang worked as a Senior Civil Engineer in Hong Kong site and Seoul Headquarter of Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd. during 2000- 2002. After his PhD study, he had taken many projects supported by ALDOT and Air Force Research Laboratory as a research associate at Auburn University during 2007 – 2011. Dr. Junsuk Kang has taught Structures courses in the Department of Civil Engineering and Construction Management at Georgia Southern University as an assistant professor since 2012.

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In this paper the enhancement of an introductory Finite Element course in the newly established Civil Engineering and Construction Management Department at Georgia Southern University is discussed. Typically in an Introductory Finite Element course offered in many engineering schools, a simple less elaborate FE package is used to deliver the course concepts. In the newly developed course discussed in the paper, a state-of-the-art commercial software package is planned to be utilized to further enhance the marketability of the students upon graduation. Along with this choice comes the challenge of developing suitable tutorials and examples to familiarize the students with various important tools and special features of this sophisticate package in the minimum amount of time possible. The submitted paper explores one possible strategy to accomplish this task. This course is designed for exploring the civil engineering applications focusing specifically on analysis of structural components, rather than solving problems related to other fields such as fluid mechanics or heat transfer. The planned projects in the course explore strategies in analyzing a variety of structural members such as trusses, beams, frames, as well as other solid continuums. The course is expected to complement other structural engineering related courses delivered in the curriculum such as Structural Analysis and Advanced Structural Analysis. Solutions of problems obtained in this course using the FE package can be compared and contrasted against the results from other classical methods discussed in these courses. Some of these methods include: Slope-Deflection Method, Moment Distribution Method, and Matrix Stiffness Method. These comparisons further enhance the knowledge of the students in area of structures and provide them with new perspectives. Several prepared example problems for the course are included in the paper to further illustrate the value of the project. Each of these examples is selected for a unique purpose, covering specific topics, and illustrating important principles. Collection of the prepared course examples such as the ones included in this paper will provide the students with the strong foundation in the areas of analysis of structures, preparing them well for their future studies and for pursuing rewarding professional careers.

Navaee, S., & Kang, J. (2016, June), Enhancement of a Finite Element Analysis Course for Structural Engineering Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26685

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