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Lying by Approximation by Paul D. Gessler, Christopher Papadopoulos, Vincent C. Prantil

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Copyright © 2013 by Morgan & Claypool
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in
any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other except for brief quotations
in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Lying by Approximation: e Truth about Finite Element Analysis
Vincent C. Prantil, Christopher Papadopoulos, and Paul D. Gessler
www.morganclaypool.com
ISBN: 9781627052351 paperback
ISBN: 9781627052368 ebook
DOI 10.2200/S00503ED1V01Y201305ENG023
A Publication in the Morgan & Claypool Publishers series
SYNTHESIS LECTURES ON ENGINEERING
Lecture #23
Series ISSN
Synthesis Lectures on Engineering
Print 1939-5221 Electronic 1939-523X
ANSYS, Inc. has granted permission for use of the screenshots of ANSYS software results used in this book.
ANSYS, ANSYS Mechanical, ANSYS Multiphysics, Workbench, and any and all ANSYS, Inc. product and
service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of ANSYS, Inc. or its subsidiaries located in the United
States or other countries. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Lying by Approximation
e Truth about Finite Element Analysis
Vincent C. Prantil
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Christopher Papadopoulos
University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez
Paul D. Gessler
Graduate Student, Marquette University
SYNTHESIS LECTURES ON ENGINEERING #23
C
M
&
cLaypoolMorgan publishers
&
ABSTRACT
In teaching an introduction to the finite element method at the undergraduate level, a prudent
mix of theory and applications is often sought. In many cases, analysts use the finite element
method to perform parametric studies on potential designs to size parts, weed out less desirable
design scenarios, and predict system behavior under load. In this book, we discuss common pit-
falls encountered by many finite element analysts, in particular, students encountering the method
for the first time. We present a variety of simple problems in axial, bending, torsion, and shear
loading that combine the students’ knowledge of theoretical mechanics, numerical methods, and
approximations particular to the finite element method itself. We also present case studies in
which analyses are coupled with experiments to emphasize validation, illustrate where interpre-
tations of numerical results can be misleading, and what can be done to allay such tendencies.
Challenges in presenting the necessary mix of theory and applications in a typical undergraduate
course are discussed. We also discuss a list of tips and rules of thumb for applying the method in
practice.
KEYWORDS
finite element method, finite element analysis, numerical methods, computational
analysis, engineering mechanics, mathematical modeling, modeling approximation

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