This article is the second in a series that will attempt to introduce some of the rich and complex theory that forms the foundation of the finite element method of analysis (FEM). The focus for this article is on beam formulations which in the author’s opinion constitute the vast majority of FEM analysis conducted by practicing structural engineers. Although the current discussions will be limited to 2D Bernoulli Euler beam formulations, several topics that play a role in more advanced applications will be introduced. With a much clearer understanding of the limitations and key assumptions underlying beam formulations, it is the author’s hope that practitioners will become more sophisticated users of commercial FEM software in regards to beam and frame analysis.
Primera structural expert Eduardo DeSantiago wrote the first white paper in the series that attempts to introduce some of the rich and complex theory that forms the foundation of the finite element method of analysis, click here to read the first paper. Intended for young engineers, he hopes that his articles will stir an interest in developing a more fundamental understanding of the method if it doesn’t already exist. The ideas to be presented have been developed through several years of graduate study, research, and teaching in finite element analysis. Many of the topics to be covered come directly from graduate courses taught on FEM at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Read Part 2 – 2D Beam Formulations here.