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Finite Element Analysis In A Mechanics Course Sequence

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.502.1 - 6.502.9



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Paper Authors

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Vince Prantil

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Joseph Musto

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William Howard

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Finite element analysis has evolved from a specialized task to a mainstream design tool over the past decade due to faster and cheaper computer hardware and user-friendly software. As a result, teaching the finite element method to a greater number of undergraduate students has become a priority for many engineering departments. At Milwaukee School of Engineering, a finite element analysis course in the Mechanical Engineering department has been redesigned to take advantage of PC-based FE and solid modeling software, while providing a solid introduction to finite element theory. The course covers element formulations for 1-D spring and 2-D truss, beam, and triangular structural plate elements by direct equilibrium and energy methods. A simple heat transfer element is also considered. Lab exercises are designed to complement the lecture material, and the project culminates in a design project. Solid modeling software is introduced during the course, and is used by the students to make quick design iterations for their projects. This course will be required for all mechanical engineering students at Milwaukee School of Engineering within two years. Therefore, topics typically included in other mechanics courses (energy methods, stress concentrations, failure criteria, torsion of non-circular shafts, etc.) can be incorporated into this course where appropriate. The authors discuss plans for the integration of the course into the required mechanics course sequence, as well as opportunities for inclusion of finite element analysis in subsequent courses.

Prantil, V., & Musto, J., & Howard, W. (2001, June), Finite Element Analysis In A Mechanics Course Sequence Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9276

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