The lectures cover a wide field of applications where finite element method (fem) can be applied, conforming to the following outline:
1) linear algebra and analysis aimed at introducing the fem method;
2) linear elastic analysis of both 1D and 2D structures;
3) collapse analysis within perfect plasticity.
teacher profile | teaching materials


in the last seventy years, the evolution of computing power led to the
development of modeling techniques and numerical strategies, first
addressed only to analytic and often complicated procedures, aimed at
structural analysis. the finite element method (fem) plays nowadays a
naturally multidisciplinary role, where physical models can be implemented
by simple modular schemes and iterative algorithms.

the course focuses on this methodology, aiming to complement the skills of
a masters degree curriculum. it will provide the basic notions to study
structural performances via computational frameworks, employed as tools to
formulate and design structures, a common educational path of engineering
and architectural courses.

the collapse analysis will be regarded in fems as a natural extension of the linear elastic analysis. this will be framed within push-over analyses, which are today prescribed in the technical codes, in order to better evaluate structural capability and ductility under seismic loading conditions.
moreover, the equilibrium field equations will be formulated in a general mathematical format, thus being apt to their use in general-purpose softwares, such as comsol multiphysics, a program able to simulate generic physical problems.

Core Documentation

T.J.R. Hughes. The Finite Element Method. Dover Publications, 2000.

Reference Bibliography

T.J.R. Hughes. The Finite Element Method. Dover Publications, 2000. O. C. Zienkiewicz, R. L. Taylor, J. Z. Zhu : The Finite Element Method: Its Basis and Fundamentals, Butterworth-Heinemann, (2005) O. C. Zienkiewicz, R. L. Taylor, J. Z. Zhu : The Finite Element Method for Solid and Structural Mechanics, 1967, McGraw Hill, New York Argyris, J.H and Kelsey, S. Energy theorems and Structural Analysis Butterworth Scientific publications, London, 1954 T.Y Yang, Finite Element Structural Analysis, Prentice-Hall, Inc, Englewood, NJ, 1986. K. J. Bathe: Numerical methods in finite element analysis, Prentice-Hall (1976)

Type of delivery of the course

The course is taught by lectures and practical exercises. Guided practice on workstations consists of the use of both general-purpose softwares (eg., Comsol Multiphysics, Wolfram Mathematica) and more specific softwares such as SAP 2000.


Students are strongly encouraged to attend to their class for both theory and practice.

Type of evaluation

The final assessment will be a presentation and discussion of an in-depth investigation on one specific topic, chosen among those presented during the course. Both self and group works are admitted. In the SUMMER SESSION, the final assessment is in remote procedure, using Microsoft Teams, together with further specifications that will be provided by the student online convocation.