Finite element implementation for computer-aided education of structural mechanics: Frame analysis



Instructional tools for the computer-aided education of structural analysis have been implemented as an extension of a finite element analysis program, VisualFEA. They are devised to promote understanding in structural analysis, and stimulate interest in the subject by substantiating the conceptual principles and visually exhibiting the complex computational processes with the aid of interactive computer graphics. In lieu of manipulation with pre-supplied conditions or the input of assumed data, the instructional tools are operated through a real and practical process of structural analysis from the creation of modeling data to the presentation of solution results. The basic principles, computing formulae, and methods of analysis in structural mechanics are simulated for instructional purposes on the basis of finite element technology. VisualFEA has a number of educational functions for use in teaching and learning structural analysis. Among them, only those related to frame analysis are introduced in this article. There are numerous programs for frame analysis. However, the educational features described in this article are not common in any other programs for similar purposes. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Comput Appl Eng Educ 22:387–409, 2014; View this article online at; DOI 10.1002/cae.10.1002/cae.20563