Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for Design Engineers

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a computer-aided engineering (CAE) tool used to analyze how a design reacts under real-world conditions. Useful in structural, vibration, and thermal analysis, FEA has been widely implemented by automotive companies. It?s used by design engineers as a design tool during the product development process because it allows them to analyze their own designs while they are still in the form of easily modifiable CAD models, providing quick turnaround times and ensuring prompt implementation of analysis results in the design process. While FEA software is readily available, successful use of FEA as a design tool still requires an understanding of FEA basics, familiarity with the FEA process and commonly used modeling techniques, and an appreciation of inherent errors and their effect on the quality of results. When used properly, the FEA becomes a tremendous productivity tool, helping design engineers reduce product development time and cost. Misapplication of FEA, however, may lead to erroneous design decisions, which are very expensive to correct later in the design process.

This on demand course provides the skills necessary for proper use of FEA in the design process and ensures that the powerful tool is implemented in the most efficient and productive way. Participants will begin with the foundational FEA process, observe expert demonstrations showing how FEA is conducted using real models, study different types of typically performed analysis, discuss common misconceptions and errors made, and explore how FEA can be implemented within the design environment. Hands-on exercises focusing on FEA fundamentals, different types of analysis, and proper modeling techniques are included.

All topics are illustrated by hands-on examples using FEA software SolidWorks? Simulation for which participants will be provided a Student License (compatible with Windows 7 SP1, 8.1, 10; IE 10,11; MS Excel and Word 2010, 2013, 2016). Acquired skills, however, are not software specific and no prior exposure to FEA software is required. The eBook, "Engineering Analysis with SolidWorks? Simulation" by Paul Kurowski, will also be included in the course materials.

What Will You Learn

By participating in this on-demand course, you'll be able to:
  • Identify the purpose of using FEA in the design process
  • Identify and avoid errors inherent to FEA results
  • Identify FEA advantages and shortcomings
  • Recognize and avoid common FEA mistakes
  • Produce reliable results on time
  • Interpret and use FEA results
  • Explain an effective approach to FEA project management
  • Ensure quality and cost-effectiveness of FEA projects

Course Information

12.00 Hours
90 Days

Is This Course For You

This course addresses the needs of design engineers using Finite Element Analysis on a new product during the design process. Non-specialized analysts and FEA users, R&D engineers and managers, and project and product engineers can benefit from this introduction to FEA concepts.

Select the Purchase Options tab for details on buying this full course package, the introductory module only, and/or the core modules that build on the introduction. Have colleagues who need this course? See Special Offers to the right.

For an indispensable guide, SAE also offers the book, Finite Element Analysis for Engineers by Dr. Paul Kurowski.

Materials Provided

  • 90 days of online single-user access (from date of purchase) to the eight hour presentation
  • The eBook, Engineering Analysis with SOLIDWORKS® Simulation by Paul Kurowski (always available in mySAE Library)
  • Student license to SOLIDWORKS® 
  • Job aids
  • SOLIDWORKS® models
  • Integrated knowledge checks to reinforce key concepts
  • Follow-up to your content questions
  • 1.2 CEUs*/Certificate of Achievement (upon completion of all course content and a score of 70% or higher on the learning assessment)

*SAE International is authorized by IACET to offer CEUs for this course.

Course Requirements

  • Windows 7, 8, 10 (other operating systems and mobile platforms are not supported but may work)
  • Internet Explorer 11, Mozilla Firefox 37, Google Chrome 42 (other browsers are not supported but may work)
  • Broadband-1Mbps minimum


Module I: Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
  • FEA Definition and Process
  • Discretizing and Characteristics of Finite Elements
  • Degrees of Freedom
  • Common FEA Assumptions
  • Mesh Concerns
  • Discretization Error and the Convergence Process
Module II: Conducting the FEA Process
  • FEA Preparation Using SOLIDWORKS
  • Model Setup
  • Analysis of Displacement, Strain, and Stress Results
  • Analysis of Convergence Results
  • Types of Convergence Analysis
Module III: Avoiding FEA Errors
  • Singularities
  • Verification and Validation of Results
  • Control of Modeling Error
  • Useful Modeling Techniques
  • Types of Boundary Conditions
Module IV: Common Types of FEA
  • Modal Analysis
  • Buckling Analysis
  • Thermal Analysis
Module V: Conducting Nonlinear Analysis
  • Classifications of Nonlinear Behavior
  • Nonlinear Geometry Analysis
  • Nonlinear Material Analysis
  • Contract Stress Analysis
Module VI: Implementation of FEA into the Design Process
  • FEA and the Product Design Process
  • Interfacing between CAD and FEA
  • Project Management of an FEA Project

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