In engineering problems of continuum in nature, the field variable (such as displacement, potential, pressure, velocity and temperature) possesses infinitely many values because it is a continuous function of generic point in the body or solution domain. Hence, the problem becomes one with an infinite number of unknowns. The discretization procedure reduces the problem to one of a finite number of unknowns by dividing the solution domain into elements. Then the unknown field variable is expressed in terms of assumed approximating functions within each element. Approximating functions (or interpolating functions) are defined in terms of values of the field variables at specified nodes or nodal points. Nodes usually lie on ...

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