List of all ME courses

List of all MATS courses

3 Credits
Available Spring term

ME 420 or 520 or equivalent
Brian Bay
 308 Dearborn Hall

Course Description

Application of modern finite element code in the analysis of complex mechanical engineering systems. Extensive use of engineering workstations. Lec/lab.


  • Trusses
  • 3D problems
  • Beams
  • Shells
  • Plane stress (strain), thermal stress
  • Modal and transient analysis
  • Axisymmetry

Learning Outcomes

The student, upon successful completion of this course, will be able to:

  1. Use commercial Finite Element Analysis software as part of the mechanical component analysis process.
  2. Illustrate the role of shape functions in calculation of the stiffness matrix for planar elements of arbitrary shape.
  3. Analyze the role of material properties in the development of element stiffness matrices.
  4. Illustrate flaws associated with common low-order elements, and outline modifications used to improve element behavior.
  5. Diagram assembly elements into a global stiffness matrix and apply both essential and natural boundary conditions.
  6. Illustrate simple model systems from strong form, weak form, and potential energy minimization perspectives.