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ME40057: Finite element analysis

[Page last updated: 03 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Mechanical Engineering
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework 1 -Theoretical Finite Element Analysis (CW 35%)
  • Coursework 2 - Practical Finite Element Analysis (CW 65%)
Supplementary Assessment:
ME40057 Reassessment Coursework (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: After taking this unit the student should be able to: Understand the mathematical formulation of the finite element method when applied to linear problems. Use a commercially available finite-element package to analyse linear stress-strain problems in solid bodies. Critically assess the approximate solutions so produced. Use a commercially available element package to model linear and nonlinear static problems.

Aims: To develop the students' appreciation of the mathematical basis of the finite-element method. To develop the critical use of commercial finite-element software. To develop finite element methods for the study of vibrations.

Skills: Facilitated - intellectual, practical, key

Content: Introduction to finite elements as applied to a continuum; displacement formulation. shape functions; numerical integration; Hands-on use of a commercially available finite element package to solve problems in linear and nonlinear stress analysis. Pre and post processing. Model definition of 1D, 2D, 3D representations, symmetry, choice of element type, mesh density requirements. Model validation by comparison with exact analytical solution. Examples in linear and nonlinear analysis.

Programme availability:

ME40057 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • UEME-AFM04 : MEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering (Year 4)
  • UEME-AKM04 : MEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 5)
  • UEME-AFM16 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering (Year 4)
  • UEME-AKM16 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 5)
  • UEME-AFM38 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Manufacturing and Management (Year 4)
  • UEME-AKM38 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Manufacturing and Management with Year long work placement (Year 5)
  • UEME-AFM47 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical with Automotive Engineering (Year 4)
  • UEME-AKM47 : MEng(Hons) Mechanical with Automotive Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 5)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.