Computational Mechanics module (CE40007)

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Many aspects of structural analysis and behaviour of materials can be dealt with by hand calculations – or the equivalent calculations conducted using a computer. However, where there is a high level of complexity, or where high accuracy is critical, computational mechanics methods become useful. This module examines these methods – in particular, the finite element method (FEM) – from basic principles. It will also further develop your skills in using the MATLAB coding package.

In this module you will develop understanding of the theoretical background to the FEM, as well as detailed knowledge of concepts and principles that underly commercial FEM software. You will also learn about the advantages, limitations and possible pitfalls of the numerical methods when applied to engineering problems, as well as the importance of verification and validation of FEM simulation results.

Topics include:

  • Energy methods, including the linear-elastic problem, the virtual work principle, and equilibrium formulation in weak form.
  • The FEM for linear elastic structural analyses: general background to the FEM method and FE formulation of 2D plane stresses.
  • Development of simple FE programs using MATLAB.
  • Introduction to plasticity, and how elasto-plastic behaviour can be dealt with by the FEM.


This module is available on following courses: