||Robert D. Cook
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This book is intended for beginning courses in finite elements (FE) that are oriented toward users of the method. The courses envisioned emphasize the behavior of FE and include computational work in which problems are solved by means of commercial software and the computed results are critically examined. The instructor may often sit with students at the computer to offer advice and to monitor their skill in modeling and assessment of results. The courses would use computational problems as vehicles to teach proper use of FE, rather than use FE as a way to solve certain problems. The book presents a modest amount of theory, discusses the nature of FE solutions, offers modeling advice, suggests computational problems, and emphasizes the need for checking the computed results. Problem areas treated are common in mechanical engineering and related disciplines. Suggested computational problems include topics often treated in a second course in stress analysis, such as spinning disks and elastic foundations. The computational problems usually have simple geometry, so that FE may be emphasized rather than details of data preparation. Some instructors especially those who teach more advanced students, may wish to devise problems of a more "real world" nature, despite their greater complexity. Several commercial FE programs are available for use on microcomputers and workstations. This book is not tailored to any particular FE program and therefore does not discuss the formalisms of input data preparation. Suitable software will have most of the following features: capability in static stress analysis, structural dynamics, vibration, and heat transfer; a good library of elements; some node and element generation capability; help screens; plotting and animation of displaced shapes; contour plotting of computed stresses without nodal averaging. The software must be easy to use, at the expense of versatility if necessary, so that time will not be wasted in learning procedures peculiar to a certain code but having little to do with insight into the FE method.