Understanding the Finite Element Method

From “The Efficient Engineer”. ( YouTube / Nebula )

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The finite element method is a powerful numerical technique that is used in all major engineering industries – in this video we’ll explore how it works.

We’ll look at why it’s useful to split the body being analysed into small elements and the different elements types that can be used. We’ll also cover the key concept behind the finite element method, which is the stiffness matrix, including how the element stiffness matrices are derived, using techniques like the Galerkin method of weighted residuals. Once we have the element stiffness matrices we can assemble them into a global stiffness matrix that describes how the body will displace for a set of applied loads and boundary conditions.

FEM is a complex topic, and this video is really just an introduction. For those of you who would like to explore the topic in more detail, I recommend the book Fundamentals of Finite Element Analysis by David Hutton.

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