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A Designer's Guide to Finite Element Analysis - available online, and free.

The attraction of the mathematical approach to the finite element method is its independence of application areas, at least as far as the theory is concerned. There are two shortcomings, however. In the first place, the mathematics can be scary. In the second place, FEA's utility lies in its practical applications.

A purely "practical" approach to FEA can remedy both of these, but tends to require you to know the physics pretty well. And this can be daunting for the beginner.

This book uses jargon-free language to steer a middle path. It provides references that the interested reader can use to dig further, and is supported by tutorials illustrating the concepts discussed in the text.

To make the most of this book you should be an engineering student, in your third or final year of Mechanical Engineering. You should have access to licenses of HyperWorks, to the Altair website, and to an instructor who can guide you through your chosen projects or assignments.

The book can also be useful to working engineers faced with using FEA for a project on short notice. The solved examples presented as videos with voice-over narration can be downloaded - for free. The book is available both online and from Altair India. The PDF version is free: for printed versions, contact Altair India to check the price.

Areas covered include

  • the history and backdrop to the method
  • areas of applicability and areas where it's not applicable
  • relevant concepts in solid mechanics, such as indeterminacy, constitutive equations and conservation
  • relevant terms in continuum mechanics, such as stress tensors and invariants
  • the physics and mechanics of static and dynamic stress analysis, covering concepts like mode shapes and frequency-response functions
  • relevant terms and concepts in heat transfer, fatigue and fracture
  • a review of the necessary theory and terms in differential calculus
  • the different categories of non-linear models
  • the role of Fourier Transforms (and the FFT) in engineering design
  • derivation of the matrix equations
  • types of elements and sources of error
  • the typical and recommended sequence of steps ("workflow") in creating a finite element model
  • a discussion on the use of HyperMesh and Radioss
  • techniques in verification and validation

Printed book from Altair


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