Finite Element Principles and Practices
University of California at San Diego Extension Course
UCSD, La Jolla, San Diego, CA
Course Number: AMES-40094, Date: 10/02/03-12/4/03. Location: Rm. UNEX 134, UCSD La Jolla Campus. Time: 6:30-9:30 AM. 
Instructor: Sam Kassegne, PhD, PE


Lecture Outlines

Text Book and References


Final Project Description

Previous Projects

About the Instructor

How to Enroll: 

Send E-mail:

Useful Tips in General FE Analysis

Tips in FE software development

Some Q and A on Computational Mechanics, FE Theory and Numerical Modeling

Comprehensive FEM Links.



Course Introduction - Updated 2003:

The Finite Element Method (FEM) is a versatile and powerful analytical tool that has wide applications in a multitude of physical problems such as stress analysis, fluid flow, heat transfer, acoustics, aero-elasticity, microfluidics, MEMS, electrical and magnetic fields, electrostatic coupling and others.

The major focus of the course is to provide graduate students and working professionals with an understanding of the basic principles upon which FEM is based and also educate the participant on how FEM could effectively be used to understand the behavior and response of his/her physical models to external effects such as heat, stress, shock, vibration, magnetic field etc.   Instruction focuses on applying FEM to a broad variety of physical problems that illustrate its principles and are not complicated by the geometry of the problem under consideration. Students of this class are required to obtain a copy of ANSYS/ED, an educational version of ANSYS finite element software that runs on a PC/Laptop or have access to other commercial FE software packages.

Participants are also required to carry out a class project that involves creating, running, and writing a report on the results of the modeling effort. Ideally, the project will be related to the participant's work or illustrates novel and new application of FE Analysis.

Students are also encouraged to bring their laptops to class as we will do modeling of realistic problems in class in almost all the lecture sessions. 

New This Year (2003):  

Invited Lecture: Dr. Petr Krysl - Assistant Professor at CE Department of UCSD on Meshless Methods. Website.

This year's FE course will also include a 2 hour lecture to introduction to simulating IC and microfabrication processes using system-level simulation tools.

Invited Guest Lecturers in Previous Years:  

2002 - Natasha Peterson (Moldflow Corporation, on simulating the plastic injection molding process). Kamal Sarkar, PhD (Nanogen, on CFD).

2001 Dr. Andrei Shkel, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UCI delivered an invited lecture on MEMS on 10/18/01. A short 1-day course is offered by the same instructor at UCSD this Fall on November 9, 2001 with by Dr. Ray Callafon, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UCSD. Click here for more details on the MEMS course.

2000 - Mike Kadell (CSI - on ANSYS for MEMS).

Who Should Attend the Course?

The course is geared towards the needs of graduate students, practicing electrical, mechanical, reliability, biomedical, geotechnical, material and structural engineers. Students come from leading San Diego area firms such as Qualcomm, Kyocera, SAIC, Solar Turbines, Cymer, Titan, General Atomics, Honeywell, General Dynamics, Optical Micro Machines and the Navy. Graduate students have come from UCSD and other UC system campuses such as Santa Cruz.

Student Projects in Fall 99:

  • Drop Shock Simulation of a Cell Phone Housing onto a Corner.
  • FE Analysis and Design of a Mobile Phone Battery Latch.
  • Effect of Modeling a Straight Fin with Different Thermal Element Types.
  • Simulation of Folding in Rocks with Layers of Varying Competency.
  • Structural Analysis of a Pedestal Plate Mount.          

Some Comments by Students.

"...very knowledgeable, excellent instructor..."

"...excellent instructor..."

"... instructor was very accessible ..."

100 % of student body in Fall 99 agreed that "The objectives of the course were clearly communicated and satisfactorily accomplished."


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     Student Projects: a) Stress Contours in Stiffened Composite Plates. b) Simulation of Folding in Rocks.

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