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DM 812 – Finite Element Analysis for Design Engineers

A course on Finite Element Analysis (FEA) as a productivity tool. Topics covered include FEA powers and shortcomings, avoiding common pitfalls and misconceptions, alternate and preferred modelling approaches, reliability of results, integrating FEA with other Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools and finally streamlining FEA and CAD with FEA oriented Solid Modelling practices.

Course Leader: Paul Kurowski, Western Engineering

Course Overview

The course is intended for engineers who wish to use the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) as one of their design tools, and for engineering managers in charge of FEA related projects. Course Participants will learn how to turn FEA into a productivity tool by:

  • Understanding powers and shortcomings of FEA
  • Avoiding common pitfalls and misconceptions of FEA
  • Selecting software best suited for the analyzed products
  • Selecting preferable modeling approaches
  • Producing reliable results on time
  • Integrating FEA with CAD and other CAE tools
  • Streamlining CAD and FEA by implementing FEA oriented Solid Modeling practices
  • Ensuring quality and cost-effectiveness of in-house and contracted out FEA projects

All course topics are illustrated with hands-on examples using FEA software: COSMOSWorks, COSMOSDesignSTAR and COSMOSMotion. However, acquired skills are not software specific and no prior exposure to the family of COSMOS analysis products is required.

Course Objectives

The principal course objective is to turn FEA into productivity tool by providing course participants with skills necessary to perform time efficient and cost-effective FEA concurrently with product design process and to supervise in-house FEA activities. This objective is achieved by combining lecture with hands-on exercises. Hands-on exercises range from analysis of simple but illustrative models highlighting FEA fundamentals to more complex assignments which can be customized to meet specific needs of students’ industry.

Activities and Schedule

Content of this course requires that participants have access to a lab-top computer each day of each module. As students will need to bring a lap-top to the course. Directions will be provided to down-load software which must be loaded prior to course start.

Module 1

Day 1
  • FEA process
  • Design and types of finite elements
  • Modeling and discretization errors
  • Convergence process
  • Modeling techniques
  • Practice problems
Day 2
  • Finite element mesh
  • Modeling techniques
  • Verification and validation of FEA results
  • Practice problems
Day 3
  • Types of finite element analyses
  • Modal analysis
  • Linear buckling analysis
  • Nonlinear geometry analysis
  • Nonlinear material analysis
  • Practice problems
  • Test 1
  • Assignment

Module 2

Day 4
  • Nonlinear buckling analysis
  • Thermal analysis
  • Thermal stress analysis
  • Practice problems
Day 5
  • Vibration analysis
  • Modal superposition analysis
  • Time response analysis
  • Frequency response
  • Practice problems
  • Test 2
Day 6
  • Preparing CAD geometry for FEA
  • CAD data exchange between different CAD and FEA systems
  • Implementation of FEA into design process
  • FEA project management
  • Common FEA traps and misconceptions
  • Practice problems
  • Review
  • Final examination

Course Evaluation

  • 30% – Tests (15% each)
  • 30% – Assignment (in-between modules)
  • 40% – Final examination

Required Textbook

Kurowski, P., Engineering Analysis with SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2017, SDC Publications,

Available as an eBook through Apple iBooks or as hardcopy through Amazon Canada. Just follow “Purchase Option” on the above link.

Biography of Course Leader

Paul Kurowski, P.Eng.

Paul Kurowski is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Western University. He obtained his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics from Warsaw Technical University. He completed postdoctoral work at Kyoto University. Dr. Kurowski is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, at the University of Western Ontario. His teaching includes Finite Element Analysis, Product Design, Kinematics and Dynamics of Machines and Mechanical Vibrations. His interests focus on Computer Aided Engineering methods used as tools of product design.

Dr. Kurowski has published many technical papers and taught professional development seminars for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO), the Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), Rand Worldwide, SolidWorks Corporation and others.