Finite Element Methods and Applications

CVE80018 12.5 Credit Points Hawthorn Available to incoming Study Abroad and Exchange students


  • One Semester or equivalent

Contact hours

  • 48 hours face to face + Blended

On-campus unit delivery combines face-to-face and digital learning.

2024 teaching periods


Higher Ed. Semester 1

26 Feb 24 - 26 May 24

2 Jul 24

Last self enrolment:
10 Mar 24

31 Mar 24

Last withdraw without fail:
12 Apr 24


Undergraduate students:
Post graduate students:
Admission to cognate PG Engineering degree

Aims and objectives

This unit provides the fundamental knowledge of application of numerical methods in Civil Engineering applications. Special focus will be on Matrix Analysis of Structure and application of Finite Element Methods to civil engineering structures.

Unit Learning Outcomes (ULO)
Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

1. Analyse a simple frame structure using the coordinate transformation method, i.e., to establish structural stiffness matrix for frame structures, to convert member loads to nodal loads, and to determine forces and moments in each member; (K1, K3, S1, S2)
2. Describe the theory of finite element methods and the solution algorithms in the FE programs; (K1, S1)
3. Select appropriate elements and formulate the structure accordingly to reproduce the real behaviour (K3, K4, S2)
4. Use a general purpose FE program to perform stress analysis for a simple structure and consider various behaviour of beams, plates, shells and continuum elements (K2, K3, K4, S1, S2)
5. Examine the stability of structures and determine the elastic buckling load (K1, K3, S1, S3)
6. Idealise and apply various loads to structures and to determine the performance (K1, S3)
Swinburne Engineering Competencies (A1-7, K1-6, S1-4): find out more about Engineering Skills and Competencies including the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competencies.