Application of FEM and Popular software for FEM

Posted by

Application of fem in civil engineering

The present advancements in Finite Element Method is because of Hrennikoff and McHenry. Actually, FEM is extension of stiffness method of structural analysis. The FEM became popular after 1943 especially after development of high-performance computers and processors.

Finite element method will never give exact solution but rather lower bound solutions as it’s an approximate method. Also, it is very interesting to know about finite elements that in finite element method, role of computers is very vital, as for even an analysis of simple bridge FEM needs.

Top 14 software packages for application of Finite element method

  1. MIDAS Civil
  2. Algor
  3. Abaqus
  4. ANSYS
  6. LS-Dyna
  7. MARC
  10. NISA
  11. Pro / Mechanica
  13. CSi Bridge
  14. etabs

    etabs is specially designed for buildings only. etabs is the most popular software package amond building designers. This software is made by CSi America.

  15. SAP 2000

    This software is made for the purpose of bridge design. Again, this software from CSi America.

Points to check before buying FEM Package

  • An FEM Package Should provide all the types of element, like one dimensional element beam, two-dimensional element plates and slabs and three dimensional element like solid.
  • The software package should be having different and vast type of material property inbuilt.
  • Type of analysis should be available such as static linear of non-linear and dynamic analysis should be included in the package.
  • One should also ensure that the software package he has chosen to buy should offer various loading conditions like concentrated load, distribution load, thermal load, and displacement load.

Advantages of Finite element method

  • FEM Software allow to incorporates any type boundary condition
  • With the help of computers, we can model any irregular shape of the model
  • We can impose any type of loading definition on the structure. We can use concentrate or distributed or thermal and even displacement load on our model.

Limitations of FEM Packages

  • We need to use high end compute and software systems to perform the analysis as FEM software are using too much virtual memory (RAM).
  • Analysis is time consuming
  • As FEM Analysis is done on computers so we need to check post processing.

    It is quite simple that if we put garbage in computer input then it will also output the garbage result. (GIGO Concept).

7 Steps of finite element method

Every FEM analysis follows these general steps

  1. Discretize ana select element types
  2. Select a displacement function
  3. Define the strain/displacement and stress/ strain relation
  4. Derive the element stiffness matrix and equations
  5. Assemble the element stiffness equations to obtain the global total equations and introduce boundary condition.
  6. Solve for unknown degrees of freedom or say for displacement (displacements are the primary unknowns)
  7. Solve for element strains and stresses
    1. Interpret the results


      Without use of finite element method, the modern days problems are seeming impossible to solve. Inventions in finite element method are unlocking new doors which are previously even didn’t recognized.

      Some of the best books on Finite Element Method are listed here.

      1. A First Course in the Finite Element method

        Author – Daryl L. Logan

      2. Finite Element Analysis

        Author – S.S.Bhavikatti


      If you have share something more with our readers then please do comment below. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *