CEME 7402 - Finite Element Theory & Practice

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

The objective of this course is to provide students with a thorough understanding of the theory and application of computer methods of structural analysis that includes the Finite Element Method. Topics include basic concepts of elasticity; formulation of different finite elements for plane stress, plane strain, axisymmetric, 3D, shell and plate bending problems. Students will develop their own computer program and will also use commercial software for analysing structures.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CEME 7402
    Course Finite Element Theory & Practice
    Coordinating Unit School of Civil, Environmental & Mining Eng
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week plus computer sessions, consultations and directed study
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites C&ENVENG 7020 or CEME 7301
    Assumed Knowledge Numerical method and computer program (Fortram/ Matlab)
    Restrictions Available to MEng in AeroEng, ChemEng, C&EEng, Civ&StrEng, El&ElEng, EngMaths, MechanEng or MechatEng; MEng(Adv) in AeroEng, ChemEng (all specialisations), C&EEng, Civ&StrEng, ElEng, MechanEng, MechatEng, Sens Syst&Sig Proc or Telecom students only
    Assessment Homework assignments, project work, quizzes and examination - further details at beginning of Semester
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Giang Nguyen

    Contact details:
    Office: Room N155a, Engineering North Building, North Terrace Campus
    Email: g.nguyen@adelaide.edu.au
    Phone: +61 8 8313 2259
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to: 
    Understand the fundamental concepts and theories of the Finite Element Methods for analysis of 2D and 3D problems in engineering, including structures such as beams, trusses, 2D plane stress/strain and axisymmetric problems, plates and shells and 3D solids;

    Apply these concepts and theories of the Finite Element Methods in performing hand calculations as well as using computer programs for structural analysis of the above problems, and assess the potential errors and accuracy of Finite Element solutions;

    Demonstrate ability in developing computer programs for skeletal structures, continuum 2D/3D problems and plate and shells;

    Use commercially available software to analyse continuum as well as skeletal structures;

    Demonstrate ability in problem identification, formulation and its solution for relevant structures and solid mechanics problems;

    Demonstrate ability to manage tasks related to home assignments within the allocated time to meet submission deadlines;

    Demonstrate ability to work professionally with other students for group projects on 1) Development and validation of a generalised computer program, 2) Analysis of structures using commercially available software;

    Apply life long learning skills.

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer. The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency:
    1.1   1.2   1.3   1.4   1.5   2.1   2.2   2.3   2.4   3.1   3.2   3.3   3.5   3.6  
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Lecture Slides (Powerpoint) & video recordings of lectures: To be available on MyUni.
    Lecture Notes & recommended books: To be available on MyUni.
    Computer Software: To be available on CADS.
    Recommended Resources
    Structural Analysis with the Finite Element Method - Linear Statics, Vol 1 & Vol 2, Eugenio Oñate, Springer (accessible from UoA online library).Concepts
    and Application of Finite Element Applications, 4th Edition, R.D. Cook,
    D.S. Malkus, M.E. Plesha and R.J. Witt, John WileyTheory of Elasticity, 3rd Edition, S.P. Timoshenko and J.N. Goodier, McGraw-HillTheory of Plates and Shells, 2nd Edition, S.P. Timoshenko and S. Woinowsky Krieger, McGraw-Hill
    Online Learning
    Online learning on MyUni includes:
    1. Lecture slides (Powerpoint), lecture recordings and other online resources.
    2. Homework assignments: questions, submissions and solutions (after marking).
    3. Details of group project.
    4. Communication with students.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    1. Lecture recordings avalailable on MyUni: fundamental theory will be presented, followed by examples to illustrate how the theory can be applied to solving practical engineering problems. Students are expected to learn concepts and theories from lecture recordings and recommended resources, followed by the applications in structural analysis through worked examples (video recorded and available on MyUni).
    2. Workshops (face to face & online) & Drop-in consultations will be used to help reinforce the understanding of the fundamentals, practice problem solving skills, and answer questions related to assignments and group project.
    3. Computer sessions: learning commercial software and using them for group projects.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a general guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements. This can vary significantly from one student to another.
    1. Self learning using MyUni resources (lecture recordings, worked examples, recommended resources...): 3-5 hours/week x 12 weeks = 36-60 hours.
    2. Workshops (contact hours): 2 hours/week x 11 weeks = 22 hours
    3. Drop-in consultation (contact hour): 1-2 hours/week x 11 weeks = 11-22 hours
    4. Assignments (independent study): 2-5 hours x 6 assignments = 12-30 hours
    5. Computer Sessions (contact hours): 6 hours
    6. Group project (independent study): 7-15 hours
    7. Mid-semester quiz: 2 hours
    8. Exam: 3 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    The learning activities cover the following lectures:

    Course information
    1. Lecture 1: Introduction to the FEM
    2. Lecture 2: Theory of elasticity - Part I: stress, strain, constitutive relationships
    3. Lecture 3: Theory of elasticity - Part II: energy principles
    4. Lecture 4: Continuum problems & 2D triangular elements
    5. Lecture 5: Rectangular Elements & Numerical Integrations
    6. Lecture 6: Isoparametric elements
    7. Lecture 7: Beam and plate bending elements
    8. Lecture 8: Shell elements
    9. Lecture 9: Computer implementation
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Up to date details can be found on MyUni.
    1. Homework assignments (individual): ~15%
    2. Group Project (group): ~25%
    3. Mid-semester quiz (individual, open book): ~10%
    4. Final Exam (individual, open book): ~50%
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Consistent with the School policy, in order to pass the course, students must obtain at least 40% in the examination, in addition to obtaining 50% or more of the total marks available for the Course. If the exam hurdle is not met students will receive a course result of the lesser of their calculated grade and the nominal grade of 45 (Fail). In addition, and in accordance with modified arrangements for coursework assessment policy, students must complete all assignments and group projects to be eligible for an Additional Assessment. Requests for exemption from coursework components will only be considered when presented on an Exemption from Attendance Form. All exemption requests must be made by the end of Week 3 of Semester. Exemptions will not be considered for exams or in-class quizzes.
    Assessment Detail
    1 Quiz: worth 10% of your final mark
    • Online & Open book: Time and date will be announced later.
    • Submission by scanning and uploading pdf files (30 mins are allocated for downloading, scanning & uploading).

    4-5 Assignments:
    • Worth 15% of your final mark (3%-4% each).
    • Homework problems will be uploaded on MyUni from Week 2.

    1 Project (group of max 4 students): Worth 25% of your final mark
    • Development of a computer program (Fortran/Matlab) for analysing a structure in combination with the use of a computer software for
    analysing different structures.
    • Project problem will be uploaded on MyUni later.

    Final Examination: Worth 50% of the final mark
    • At least 40% marks in the final exam is required to pass this course.
    • Open book & Covering all the materials.

    You must obtain at least 40% in the final examination and 50% overall to pass the course.

    Full worked solutions to past examinations will not be provided. The exam format and syllabus have changed significantly in the last 5 years.
    Digital submissions should be submitted by the appropriate MyUni portal for the particular assessment. Further information will be provided through the course’s MyUni website. Late submissions will not be accepted in all but the most exceptional circumstances. There will be a loss of 10% of the marks obtained if the late submission is less than 24h late, 20% if the late submission is between 24 and 48h late and so on. Extensions will only be granted in special circumstances (e.g. illness) and must be sought for each assessment task individually. Extensions will not be granted less than 24h before the deadline for a given task, with the exception of a medical certificate. No  submissions will be accepted after 7 days of the due date unless an extension has been formally granted.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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