Title

Computer Application in Solving Statically Determinate Truss Problems Using FEA and MATLAB

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Publication Source

Computer Applications in Engineering Education

Volume

17

Issue

4

Inclusive pages

363-371

DOI

10.1002/cae.20168

Publisher

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Place of Publication

United States

ISBN/ISSN

10613773

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a very powerful tool that is used in virtually every area in the field of Mechanical Engineering and many other disciplines. It is beneficial for the mechanical engineering students to have exposure to this tool as early as possible and as frequently as possible in their engineering education. The earliest time comes when the students are taught the truss problems in Statics. However, the traditional finite element formulation uses the displacement as the solution variable, and the deformation theory is generally not covered in a traditional Statics course. In this article, a MATLAB computer model of FEA solution for truss problems is presented. Finite element formulations for truss problems with the solution variables being the forces inside the truss members and the reaction forces at the fixed and sliding joints are presented step by step. The property of the final assembled coefficient matrix, with the boundary conditions applied, determines the truss problem at hand to be statically determinate or statically indeterminate. Using this approach, students in sophomore Statics course can be taught the FEA methodology, without knowing the deformation theory. The computer implementation using Matlab also strengthens the students' knowledge of the software that they learned in a freshman Computer Tools For Engineers class and their programming skills.

Disciplines

Engineering

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