SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 10.00
ECTS Credit Points 5.00
Module Code MHH723509
Module Leader Andrew Cowell
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Mechanical Engineering
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Computer Aided Engineering

Summary of Content

The aim of this module is to enhance the students' Finite Element Analysis knowledge developed as part of the Computer Aided Engineering module, and through the use of commercial software expose the student to suitable methods for application of this analysis method. This will encompass both static and dynamic analysis and a comparison of two dimensional and three dimensional analysis methods.


The teaching syllabus will cover the following areas: Finite Element Process: Review of Displacement/Shape functions, equivalent nodal loading, stiffness matrix, stiffness matrix assembly, solution method. Modelling Methodology: Idealisation, element selection, loading, boundary conditions, symmetry, load cases. Import of 3D models from appropriate parametric modelling software. Static Analysis: Small displacement linear elastic solution of beam and planar/axisymmetric structures. Small displacement linear elastic analysis of simple 3D models. Dynamic Analysis: Eigenvalue (normal modes) solution of beam and planar structures. Forced vibration analysis of simple 3D models. Explicit Dynamic Analysis: Analysis of dynamic contact and collision problems. Determination of critical time step and the relationship to material properties. Analysis Validation: Convergence, mesh refinement, nodal/element results, results processing.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the student should be able to:1. Describe and examine the procedure required of the finite element process, including, but not limited to, planar element formulations and system matrices and their application.2. Apply the principles of modelling to a simple component, including for example, a linear elastic static analysis of a component; a normal modes dynamic analysis of a component.3. Understand the requirements for validation and correctly validate the model and its analysis results.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The University 'Strategy for Learning' documentation has informed the learning and teaching strategy for this module. This is a practical module, but the teaching strategy ensures that the underlying theory required to understand the outputs from Finite Element Analysis software is integral to the presentation of the material. This is important in ensuring that the skills developed can be applied to the solving of real world problems. Each teaching session combines a lecture period where key aspects are communicated to the students, followed by a consolidation period where a practical operation is completed to reinforce the relevant aspects of the learning outcomes, and finally a period of directed learning where the students are expected to complete independent exercises further consolidating the required learning outcomes. Formative feedback will be given throughout the consolidation period. The module content is made accessible to all through support from GCULearn, including, in addition to the core course content, notices regarding relevant professional body talks in the local area. In addition, the teaching is supported by an extensive database of additional learning materials made available by the software supplier to further enhance the students' opportunities for independent learning. The software is made available in laboratories with enhanced hardware to improve the student experience, but is also made available campus-wide for flexible learning opportunities through the Application Jukebox software. The assessments are designed to expose the students to real world problems from international examples of engineering problems that can be solved using the Finite Element Method preparing them for their practice of this method in employment. At all stages, the importance of validating their results is emphasised to reinforce the importance of professional responsibility in ensuring that only valid assumptions and results are presented. Feedback on assessments will be provided electronically through GCU Learn, either using the Grade Centre or by the email facility.

Indicative Reading

Chen, X. and Liu, Y., Finite Element Modeling and Simulation with ANSYS Workbench, ISBN 978-1-4398-7384-7, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 2015. Hellen, T.K. and Becker, A.A., Finite Element Analysis for Engineers - A Primer, ISBN 978-1-874376-98-9, NAFEMS, 2013. Logan, D.L., A First Course in the Finite Element Method, Fifth Edition, SI (prepared by K.K. Chaudhry), Cengage Learning, 2012. ANSYS Case Studies,

Transferrable Skills

D1 Specialist knowledge and application. D2 Critical thinking and problem solving. D3 Critical analysis. D4 Communication skills, written, oral and listening. D5 Numeracy. D7 Computer literacy. D8 Self-confidence, self-discipline & self-reliance (independent working). D10 Creativity, innovation & independent thinking. D15 Ability to prioritise tasks and time management (organising and planning work). D17 Presentation skills.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (PT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 9.00
Practicals (FT) 12.00
Lectures (FT) 6.00
Independent Learning (PT) 73.00
Lectures (PT) 6.00
Independent Learning (FT) 73.00
Assessment (PT) 9.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 60.00 n/a Static Analysis of an Engineering Construction (1500 words)
Coursework 2 n/a 40.00 n/a Dynamic Analysis of an Engineering Object (1000 words)