FEM for Civil Engineers

Budapest University of Technology and Economics
04/09/2023 to 22/01/2024

Course Description

The goal of the subject is to present the theoretical bases of the finite element method and its practical application to typical structural engineering problems. The classic approach to the finite element method will be followed in presenting the basic idea of the method, the element types, the applied interpolation functions, the various matrices and the basic steps of their construction, the resulting system of equation and the solution techniques of it. All these will be demonstrated and practiced through examples, showing how the various structure types (trusses, beams, frames, plates, shells, 3D solids) can be analysed. An introduction to nonlinearities from various sources will be given, with special focus on the effect and handling of geometric nonlinearity. Beside the static problems, the application of the finite element method to some heat transfer problems of the structural engineering practice will also be discussed

Time format




knows the differential equations of basic engineering structures,
familiar with the vectors and matrices used in the FEM,
knows the calculation methods of the typical shape functions of 1-, 2- and 3-dimensional elements.
familiar with the specific characteristics of the finite element models of trusses, beams, plates, shells and solid elements,
familiar with the physical meaning of certain elements of the stiffness matrix,
familiar with the formulation of boundary value problem in a mechanical problem,
knows the variational formulation of mechanical problems,
understands the methodology on how the geometric nonlinearity is taken into account,
knows the meaning of the vectors and matrices occurring in stationary heat transfer problems,
knows the meaning of the vectors and matrices occurring in transient heat transfer problems,
produces the base function of an element according to the required continuity condition,
selects the required steps for the calculation of an arbitrary entry of he stiffness matrix of a finite element,
constructs the boundary conditions according to behaviour of the mechanical model,
during a numerical analysis chooses appropriate element with respect to the mechanical problem,
during a numerical analysis chooses the relevant parameters for the mechanical problem,
interprets the results of the finite element analysis of a heat transfer problem,
works together with the tutor/lecturer and the fellow students while learning,
endeavors to discover and routinely use the tools necessary to the problem solving of structural mechanical problems,
endeavors to the precise and error-free problem solving,
aspires to prepare a well-organized documentation in writings, and pursues the precise self-expression in oral communication,
independently carries out the conceptual and numerical analysis of structural engineering problems, based on the literature,
is open to accept well-founded critical comments.




56 h / 14 weeks



Validation mode

Oral examination

Maximum number of students


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Budapest University of Technology and Economics


Faculty of Civil Engineering


Department of Structural Mechanics

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