Finite Element Methods, Basics (MSK250)

Vectors, coordinate system transformations, elements of matrix algebra. The principle of direct equilibrium. Element equation of springs and bars. FE analysis of trusses. Element equation of beams. FE analysis of frames. The principle of Minimum Potential Energy for springs, bars and beams. Elasticity equations for 2D and 3D elements. Isoparametric elements. FE analysis of plane stress problems. Modeling and analysis using computer algorithms in MATLAB & CALFEM. Modeling and analysis using contemporary commercial software (ANSYS).

Course description for study year 2024-2025


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Semester tution start


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NB! This is an elective course and may be cancelled if fewer than 10 students are enrolled by August 20th for the autumn semester.

Main topics of the course include: An Overview of the Finite Element Method- Mathematical Background- Linear Spring Elements-Bar Elements- Trusses- Beams- Frames- The principle of Minimum Potential Energy for 1-D Elements- Elasticity equations for 2-D and 3-D solids- The principle of Minimum Potential Energy for 2-D and 3-D elements- Finite Element modelling of Heat Transfer

Learning outcome

After the completion of the course, the students will have sufficient knowledge and basic understanding of the finite element method. They will be able to analyse 2D and 3D trusses and frames, and plates under in-plane loads. Furthermore, with the use of finite element computer programs, the students will acquire skills in solution of mechanical and structural engineering problems.

Required prerequisite knowledge

BYG140 Structural Mechanics 1

Recommended prerequisites

FYS100 Mechanics, MAT200 Mathematical Methods 2


Written exam and project

Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 7/10 4 Hours Letter grades Valid calculator
Project work 3/10 3 Weeks Letter grades All

Both parts must be passed to obtain an overall pass in the subject.The written exam is conducted with pen and paper. Students do the project work in groups, and submit an individual project assignment. No resit or deferred exam is arranged for the project work. If a student fails the project work, she/he will have to take this part again the next time the subject is lectured.

Coursework requirements

Compulsory assignments

To take exam in this course, 6 out of in total 7 of the compulsory assignments and the project must have been approved.

Compulsory course attendance in Health, Safety and Environment must be completed and approved before access to the laboratory: (Electronic Course in Health, Safety and Environment)

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Dimitrios Pavlou

Coordinator laboratory exercises:

Adugna Deressa Akessa

Head of Department:

Mona Wetrhus Minde

Method of work

4 hours lectures pr week. 2 hours lab work pr week and project work for 3 weeks with tutor 2 hours pr week. The lab work is mandatory.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Finite Element Methods (BIM140_1) 5

Open for

Civil Engineering - Bachelor in Engineering Energy and Petroleum Engineering, Vocational Path - Bachelor in Engineering Mechanical Engineering - Bachelor in Engineering
Admission to Single Courses at the Faculty of Science and Technology
Exchange programme at Faculty of Science and Technology

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


The syllabus can be found in Leganto