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Proceedings Paper

Uses And Abuses Of The Finite Element Method
Author(s): Oscar Orringer; Pin Tong
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Paper Abstract

Almost three decades of advances in theory and software together with the development of large-scale mainframe computers have put the finite element method at the fingertips of the structures design/analysis engineer. Ten of those years have included mechanization and automation of the design process, a trend which continues today. The ability to rapidly design complex structures is the positive result of this trend. However, there is also a negative aspect, viz: structures engineers can lose sight of the facts that the finite element model is only a model and that it may exclude the most significant mechanical characteristics of the real structure. This paper is based on the authors' experience with both theory and applications. Numerous examples are drawn upon to illustrate both the utility of the finite element method and its propensity, when abused, to produce numbers which look plausible but are actually wrong. The paper concludes with some guidelines for finite element modelling of structural systems and details.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 January 1984
PDF: 32 pages
Proc. SPIE 0450, Structural Mechanics of Optical Systems I, (5 January 1984); doi: 10.1117/12.939263
Show Author Affiliations
Oscar Orringer, U.S. Department of Transportation (United States)
Pin Tong, U.S. Department of Transportation (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0450:
Structural Mechanics of Optical Systems I
Lester M. Cohen, Editor(s)

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