Finite Element Analysis for solids course (U of Edinburgh)

As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, which you can read it here, the University of Edinburgh offered us four courses during our third semester.  In this blog, I will write about the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) course. As I did not have any experience with the FEA before during my undergraduate degree, I was always wondering what the FEA is and what`s the fire application for it. In this blog, I will briefly present my experience with the FEA course at the University of Edinburgh last semester.

Finite Element Analysis is basically a numerical method for solving engineering problems; the main engineering areas that use FEA are the structural analysis, heat transfer and fluids. The main concept of the FEA is to divide the domain of your geometry of study into simpler parts which are called subdomains, then to write a global system of equations with each subdomain represented by a set of equations. This global system of equations has some techniques to be solved based on some initial values of the original problem to end up with a numerical solution.

FEA can be a useful and critical tool in fire safety applications, for instance, using the correct FEA software to conduct heat transfer analysis, is an effective way to determine the temperature development of a specific structural element during a fire. Usually, the heat transfer analysis is done with stress analysis to understand the mechanical response of the element in the case of fire. After doing the heat-stress analysis, the fire engineer will have most of the information needed to find the best protection for this structural element. Doing such analysis will highly support the design and the risk analysis decisions.

During our course, we were taught how the FEA software works theoretically and then we had hands-on tutorials on Abaqus software which is one of the main FEA software packages. At the end of the course, we have to make a small individual project to analyze a simple structural element using Abaqus, which effectively enhanced our understanding to the software and will definitely help us later to independently investigate any FEA software needed in our professional career. In this photo, you can see Pasquale happy after getting some good results using Abaqus during our trials at the university of Edinburgh`s computer labs.

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Many thanks are given to the course’s teachers prof. Pankaj and prof. Karamanos, who spare no effort with us last semester.

**To read about the fire lab course (which was also one of the courses offered at the university of Edinburgh during the third semester) please press here

 

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