1 x 120-minute lecture weekly
1 x 240-minute project work fortnightly
Enrolment not permitted
1 of MATH4701, MATH7701 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
Basic knowledge of vectors, tensors and matrices; differential and partial differential equations; solid mechanics; scientific programming skills. Students undertaking the one year honours programs should check to make sure they have the appropriate background from their undergraduate degree/s.
Topic description

Fundamental concepts and mathematical background. Variational principles and general procedure of the finite element analysis; standard element shape functions. Formulation of one- and two-dimensional problems. Vector and tensor analysis. Computer program development. Introduction to some advanced finite element modelling, such as mixed and penalty methods; transient problems; isoparametric finite elements; grid generation; adaptive mesh refinement; applications to computational solid and fluid dynamics using software such as MSC Nastran and Ansys.

Educational aims

The topic aims to ensure that the students have a basic understanding of the following:

  • Variational formulation of boundary value problems
  • Discretisation of the problem
  • Choosing basis functions
  • Assembling the matrix form of the problem
  • Solving a sparse matrix
  • Applications of software such as MSC Nastran and Ansys
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the fundamental mathematical and physical basis of FEM
  2. Establish FEM models from practical problems and deal with boundary conditions along with external forces
  3. Use computer programs to solve prototype problems using FEM
  4. Describe the limitations of standard FEM for complex systems and anticipate the advanced techniques that can be applied

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.