The finite element method is a powerful numerical procedure for solving the mathematical problems of engineering and physics. lts application ranges from the analysis of the structural framework of an aircraft or an automobile to that of a complicated thermal system, such as a nuclear power plant, to the analysis of a fluid flowing through a duct, over a weir, or through the earth. Other application areas include, but are not limited to, compressible gas flow, electrostatics, lubrication problems, and the analysis of vibrating systems.
This book is an introduction to the finite element method as it applies to continuum-type problems. Its purpose is to provide an understanding of the basic ideas and their implementation. More than enough material is included for a first course at the senior or graduate level.
This book is oriented toward the individual who wants to apply the finite element method; that is, to obtain numerical values for a specific physical problem. Its contents, therefore, will be of interest to the engineer, the physicist, and the mathematician who is learning the basic concepts of the method. No prior knowledge of the finite element method is assumed.