1

MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
FEA Solution Procedure
(demonstrated with a 1-D bar
element problem)
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
FEA Procedure for Static Analysis
1. Prepare the FE model
a. discretize (mesh) the structure
b. prescribe loads
c. prescribe supports
2. Perform calculations (solve)
a. generate stiffness matrix (k) for each element
b. connect elements (assemble K)
c. assemble loads (into load vector R)
d. impose supports conditions
e. solve equations (KD=R) for displacements
3. Postprocess
2
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Deflection of a Bar Element
• If we fix the left end of a bar (with constant cross
section) it’s end deflection is given by:
• If the left end is NOT fixed, the relationship
between force and deflection is given by:

P
δ
AE
PL
· δ
( )
( )
2 2 1
1 2 1
F u u
L
AE
F u u
L
AE
· + −
· −

F
2

u
1
u
2

F
1

MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Deflection of a Bar Element
• These two equations can be conveniently expressed in
matrix form as:
• The different parts are known as:
– the elemental stiffness matrix
– the elemental displacement vector
– the elemental force vector
• This form allows us to easily combine the equations from all elements
of a structure.
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
·
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
1
]
1

¸



2
1
2
1
1 1
1 1
F
F
u
u
L
AE
1
]
1

¸



·
1 1
1 1
L
AE
k
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
·
2
1
u
u
d
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
·
2
1
F
F
r
3
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
The 1-D Bar Problem
Calculate:

P
u
1
u
2
u
3
u
4

1
2 3 4
5
E.g.
- deflections,
- strains,
- stresses, and
- internal forces.
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
a. Generate Elemental Equations
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
·
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
1
]
1

¸



1 , 4
1 , 1
4
1
1
1 1
1 1
1 1
F
F
u
u
L
E A
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
·
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
1
]
1

¸



2 , 2
2 , 1
2
1
2
2 2
1 1
1 1
F
F
u
u
L
E A
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
·
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
1
]
1

¸



3 , 3
3 , 2
3
2
3
3 3
1 1
1 1
F
F
u
u
L
E A
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
·
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
1
]
1

¸



5 , 4
5 , 1
4
1
5
5 5
1 1
1 1
F
F
u
u
L
E A
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
·
¹
;
¹
¹
'
¹
1
]
1

¸



4 , 4
4 , 3
4
3
4
4 4
1 1
1 1
F
F
u
u
L
E A
Element number Node number
4
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
b. & c. Combine Equations
The global set of equations is obtained by sum-
ming the equations for each force.
In matrix form, the result is:
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
;
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
'
¹
·
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
;
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
'
¹
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
]
1

¸

+ + − − −
− + −
− + −
− − − + +
P
R
u
u
u
u
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
4
3
2
1
5
5 5
4
4 4
1
1 1
4
4 4
5
5 5
1
1 1
4
4 4
4
4 4
3
3 3
3
3 3
3
3 3
3
3 3
2
2 2
2
2 2
5
5 5
1
1 1
2
2 2
5
5 5
2
2 2
1
1 1
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Combined Equations
The different parts are known as:
- the global stiffness matrix (K)
- the global displacement vector (D)
- the global force vector (R)
I.e.: KD=R
5
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Combined Loads
• Note also that the internal forces are
balanced by the external applied loads and
reactions:
• If there are no external loads on a node,
the internal forces must balance to 0.
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
;
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
'
¹
·
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
;
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
¹
'
¹
+ +
+
+
+ +
P
R
F F F
F F
F F
F F F
0
0
1
5 , 4 4 , 4 1 , 4
4 , 3 3 , 3
3 , 2 2 , 2
5 , 1 2 , 1 1 , 1
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
d. Support Conditions
• In this example we have one support condition:
u
1
= 0.
• If we set u
1
= 0 in the global set of equations, then
the first column of the stiffness matrix is not
necessary, and the bottom 3 equations can be
written as:
¹
¹
¹
;
¹
¹
¹
¹
'
¹
·
¹
¹
¹
;
¹
¹
¹
¹
'
¹
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
]
1

¸

+ + −
− + −
− +
P u
u
u
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
0
0
0
0
4
3
2
5
5 5
4
4 4
1
1 1
4
4 4
4
4 4
4
4 4
3
3 3
3
3 3
3
3 3
3
3 3
2
2 2
6
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Support Conditions
• As well, the reaction at the boundary can
be solved using the top row equation:
• But this must be done after u
2
, u
3
and u
4
have been calculated.
1
4
3
2
5
5 5
1
1 1
2
2 2
0 R
u
u
u
L
E A
L
E A
L
E A
·
¹
¹
¹
;
¹
¹
¹
¹
'
¹
− − −
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
e. Solving for Deflections
• The global matrices (with boundary
condition rows/columns removed) are
solved for deflections (U).
U=K
-1
F
• In practice, the computer does not actually
calculate K
-1
, but solves for U directly,
using some technique such as Guassian
Elimination.
7
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
3.a. Solving for Strain
• Once we know the deflections, we can
calculate the strain for each element.
• In a one dimensional problem, the strain is
given by:
• For the bar,
dx
du
· ε
L
u u
1 2

· ε
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
3.b. Stress and Internal Force
• Below the yield stress, for a one-
dimensional problem, stress is given by:
• The force in each bar can be calculated by:
or by:
ε σ E ·
A F σ ·
L
u u AE
F
) (
1 2

·
8
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
What about Planar (2-D) problems?
• The equation for a bar element with an arbitrary
orientation in planar space is obtained by
transforming the local element coordinate system
to the global coordinate system.
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
What about Planar (2-D) problems?
• Mathematically this is done by multiplying
the elemental stiffness equation by a
rotation matrix:
9
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Varying cross-section
• A bar element with varying cross-section does
not have constant strain, therefore δ=PL/AE can
not be used.
• We could develop a new equation for a bar with
non-uniform cross-section, but instead, we ap-
proximate the solution with a set of constant
cross-section bar elements.
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Distributed Load
• A bar element with distributed loading does not
have constant strain. (δ=PL/AE can not be used.)
• We could develop a new equation for a bar with
distributed loading, but in the Finite Element
Method, we approximate the solution with a set
of bar elements with loaded nodes in between.
10
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Formal Procedure for
Bar and Beam Elements
Another way to calculate the
stiffness matrix!
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Bar Element – Formal Method
• We have shown how to obtain the
elemental stiffness equations for a bar
element using the direct method. We can
also obtain these equations through a more
general, formal procedure.
11
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Bar Element – Formal Method
For most elements a general formula is used
to calculate k,
where B is the “strain-displacement matrix”
and E is the “material property matrix.”
To obtain B for a bar, we must first find u(x).
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Bar Element – Formal Method
• Let us assume that
(This is correct for a bar with constant cross-section and
no distributed loads.)
• N is called the shape function matrix.
12
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Bar Element – Formal Method
• The axial strain is given by:
• Thus ε
x
= (u
2
-u
1
)/L.
• E is simply the elastic modulus E (a scalar)
• dV is A dx, thus
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Beam Element – Direct Method
• We start with the shape functions.
13
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Beam Element – Direct Method
• There are two degrees of freedom (dis-
placements) at each node: v and θ
z
. Each
shape function corresponds to one dis-
placement equal to one and all the others
equal to zero.
• Note that everything we do in this course
assumes that the displacements are small.
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Beam Element – Direct Method
• Using standard beam deflection formulae and
statics, we solve for one column of k at a time.
• E.g., to solve for column 1 of k:
14
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Beam Element – Direct Method
The result is:
which operates on d = [v
1
, θ
z1
, v
2
, θ
z2
]
T
.
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Beam Element – Formal Method
• The formal beam element stiffness matrix
derivation is much the same as the bar element
stiffness matrix derivation. We start with the
formula:
• The commonality is that d
T
kd/2 gives the strain
energy.
15
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Beam Element – Formal Method
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Beam Element – Formal Method
• Stress is given by:
I My
x
/ · σ
16
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Beam Element w/Axial Stiffness
• If we combine the above bar and beam
stiffness matrices, we get a general beam
stiffness matrix with axial stiffness.
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Uniformly Distributed Loads
can be represented by equivalent loads at
intermediate nodes. Axially:
17
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Uniformly Distributed Loads
Laterally:
MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
Orientating Element in 3-D Space
• Transformation matrices are used to transform
the equations in the element coordinate system
to the global coordinate system, as was shown
for the bar element in 2-D planar space.

Deflection of a Bar Element • If we fix the left end of a bar (with constant cross section) it’s end deflection is given by: δ= PL AE δ P • If the left end is NOT fixed. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 2 . the relationship between force and deflection is given by: AE (u1 − u 2 ) = F1 L u1 AE (− u1 + u2 ) = F2 F1 L MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis u2 F2 Deflection of a Bar Element • These two equations can be conveniently expressed in matrix form as: AE  1 − 1 u1   F1   =  L  − 1 1  u2  F2    • The different parts are known as: – the elemental stiffness matrix – the elemental displacement vector – the elemental force vector k= AE  1 − 1 L − 1 1    u  d =  1 u2   F1  r=   F2  • This form allows us to easily combine the equations from all elements of a structure.

deflections. Generate Elemental Equations A1 E1  1 − 1  u1   F1. u1 u2 1 2 3 5 4 u3 u4 P Calculate: . 3    A5 E5  1 − 1 u1   F1.5   =  L5  − 1 1  u4  F4 .2    = L2 − 1 1  u2   F2 . MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis a.internal forces.4  3 .strains.2    Element number A4 E4 L4  1 − 1 u3   F3.1    Node number A3 E3  1 − 1 u2  F2 .The 1-D Bar Problem E.3   =  L3  − 1 1  u3  F3.5    MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis A2 E2  1 − 1 u1   F1.1   =  L1 − 1 1  u4  F4 . and . 4  − 1 1  u  =  F     4   4 .stresses.g. . .

Combine Equations The global set of equations is obtained by summing the equations for each force. the result is:  A1 E1 A2 E2 A5 E5  L + L + L 2 5  1 A2 E2  −  L2  0    − A1 E1 − A5 E5  L1 L5  A2 E2 L2 A2 E2 A3 E3 + L2 L3 A3 E3 − L3 − 0 0 A3 E3 L3 A3 E3 A4 E 4 + L3 L4 A4 E4 − L4 −    u1   R1      0   u2   0   u  =  0  A4 E4 −  3   L4   u4   P      A1 E1 A4 E4 A5 E5  + + L1 L4 L5   − A1 E1 A5 E5 − L1 L5 MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis Combined Equations The different parts are known as: .the global displacement vector (D) .e.: KD=R MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 4 . & c.the global force vector (R) I.b. In matrix form.the global stiffness matrix (K) .

• If we set u1= 0 in the global set of equations. 4   0   F4. 2 2 .1 + F4.5   R1   F +F  0      2. the internal forces must balance to 0. 4 + F4. 2 + F1.1 + F1. then the first column of the stiffness matrix is not necessary. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis d. 5   P      • If there are no external loads on a node.3  =  F3. 3 + F3. and the bottom 3 equations can be written as:  A2 E2 A3E3 +  L3  L2 A3E3  −  L3   0   A3E3 L3 A3E3 A4E4 + L3 L4 AE − 4 4 L4 −    u2   0  A4 E4 u  =  0  −  3    L4     A1E1 A4 E4 A5E5  u4   P  + +  L1 L4 L5   0 MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 5 .Combined Loads • Note also that the internal forces are balanced by the external applied loads and reactions:  F1. Support Conditions • In this example we have one support condition: u1= 0.

MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis e. Solving for Deflections • The global matrices (with boundary condition rows/columns removed) are solved for deflections (U). u3 and u4 have been calculated. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 6 .Support Conditions • As well. the computer does not actually calculate K-1 . but solves for U directly. U=K-1F • In practice. using some technique such as Guassian Elimination. the reaction at the boundary can be solved using the top row equation: − A2 E2 L2 u2  AE AE   0 − 1 1 − 5 5 u3  = R1 L1 L5   u4  • But this must be done after u2.

Stress and Internal Force • Below the yield stress.3. ε= u2 − u1 L MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 3. the strain is given by: du ε= dx • For the bar.a. for a onedimensional problem. stress is given by: σ = Eε • The force in each bar can be calculated by: F = σA or by: F= AE (u2 − u1 ) L MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 7 .b. Solving for Strain • Once we know the deflections. we can calculate the strain for each element. • In a one dimensional problem.

What about Planar (2-D) problems? • The equation for a bar element with an arbitrary orientation in planar space is obtained by transforming the local element coordinate system to the global coordinate system. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis What about Planar (2-D) problems? • Mathematically this is done by multiplying the elemental stiffness equation by a rotation matrix: MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 8 .

we approximate the solution with a set of constant cross-section bar elements. we approximate the solution with a set of bar elements with loaded nodes in between. • We could develop a new equation for a bar with non-uniform cross-section. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis Distributed Load • A bar element with distributed loading does not have constant strain. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 9 . therefore δ=PL/AE can not be used. but instead. but in the Finite Element Method.) • We could develop a new equation for a bar with distributed loading.Varying cross-section • A bar element with varying cross-section does not have constant strain. (δ=PL/AE can not be used.

We can also obtain these equations through a more general.Formal Procedure for Bar and Beam Elements Another way to calculate the stiffness matrix! MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis Bar Element – Formal Method • We have shown how to obtain the elemental stiffness equations for a bar element using the direct method. formal procedure. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 10 .

where B is the “strain-displacement matrix” and E is the “material property matrix.) • N is called the shape function matrix.Bar Element – Formal Method For most elements a general formula is used to calculate k. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis Bar Element – Formal Method • Let us assume that (This is correct for a bar with constant cross-section and no distributed loads. we must first find u(x). MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 11 .” To obtain B for a bar.

MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 12 .Bar Element – Formal Method • The axial strain is given by: • Thus εx = (u2-u1)/L. thus MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis Beam Element – Direct Method • We start with the shape functions. • E is simply the elastic modulus E (a scalar) • dV is A dx.

to solve for column 1 of k: MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 13 . • Note that everything we do in this course assumes that the displacements are small.g. • E. we solve for one column of k at a time. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis Beam Element – Direct Method • Using standard beam deflection formulae and statics..Beam Element – Direct Method • There are two degrees of freedom (displacements) at each node: v and θz. Each shape function corresponds to one displacement equal to one and all the others equal to zero.

We start with the formula: • The commonality is that dTkd/2 gives the strain energy. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis Beam Element – Formal Method • The formal beam element stiffness matrix derivation is much the same as the bar element stiffness matrix derivation.Beam Element – Direct Method The result is: which operates on d = [v1. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 14 . v2. θz1. θz2]T.

Beam Element – Formal Method MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis Beam Element – Formal Method • Stress is given by: σ x = My / I MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 15 .

we get a general beam stiffness matrix with axial stiffness. Axially: MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 16 .Beam Element w/Axial Stiffness • If we combine the above bar and beam stiffness matrices. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis Uniformly Distributed Loads can be represented by equivalent loads at intermediate nodes.

Uniformly Distributed Loads Laterally: MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis Orientating Element in 3-D Space • Transformation matrices are used to transform the equations in the element coordinate system to the global coordinate system. MEEM4405 Introduction to Finite Element Analysis 17 . as was shown for the bar element in 2-D planar space.

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