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ME 612 Finite Element Methods for Mechanical Design II

Catalog Description

ME 612 Finite Element Methods for Mechanical Design II (3). Prerequisite: ME 512. Use of general purpose software for practical structural, thermal, and fluid design applications, including nonlinear and transient effects. Advanced modeling techniques, analysis guidelines, with emphasis on interpretation of results.

Prerequisites by Topic

Introduction to finite elements.


R.D. Cook, D.S. Malkus, M.E. Plesha and R.J. Witt, Concepts and Applications of Finite Element Analysis, 4th edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2002. Additional reference materials are provided to supplement the text.


R.D. Bradshaw, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

Course Learning Outcomes

To enhance the student's ability to apply finite element techniques to structural and thermal problems encountered in engineering practice. This course focuses primarily on advanced solution methods, nonlinear phenomena (material properties, geometry changes, contact analysis), stability and transient analysis.

Topics Covered

  1. Review of basic finite element analysis concepts (3 classes).
  2. Design optimization (3 classes).
  3. Submodeling (3 classes).
  4. 3-D and advanced beam analysis (3 classes).
  5. Analysis guidelines (4 classes).
  6. Coupling and constraint equations (2 classes).
  7. Galerkin's method and Newton-Raphson method (3 classes).
  8. Coordinate systems, load histories and load cases in ANSYS (2 classes).
  9. Large displacement analysis (3 classes).
  10. Eigenvalue and nonlinear buckling analysis (3 classes).
  11. Analysis with plasticity / other material nonlinearities (3 classes).
  12. Analysis with contact elements (3 classes).
  13. Transient structural / thermal analysis (3 classes).
  14. Project presentations and discussion (2 classes).
  15. Examinations (2 classes and 2½ hours).

Computer Use

Use of ANSYS finite element analysis software.

Laboratory Projects

Various in-class and homework projects are assigned in the areas of structural mechanics, dynamics and thermal analysis. Each student will also work in a group of 2 3 students on a large (4-6 week) project. This will be on a topic of their choosing (negotiated with the instructor) and is expected to demonstrate their capability using several of the advanced methods presented throughout the course.

Class/Laboratory Schedule

Three 50 minute sessions per week devoted to lecture, discussion, problem solving, and design activities.


Homework 25%, midterm exams 30%, group project 20%, final exam 25%.

Graduate Requirements

The group project performed by graduate students will be such that the instructor considers it to be at an advanced level of difficulty.

Professional Component Contribution

Engineering science: 1 credit, engineering design: 2 credits.

Relationship to Program Outcomes

This course supports Mechanical Engineering program objectives by developing:

  • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to identify, formulate and solve problems in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern tools necessary for the practice of mechanical engineering.

Prepared by R.D. Bradshaw, May 2005

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