Finite Element Analysis: Brief History, Strengths and Pitfalls

Presented by: 

  • Dr Riadh Al-Mahaidi - Professor of Structural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology.
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The use of the finite element method in the analysis of complex structural systems is both popular and well established. Numerous general purpose finite element programs have become standard tools in engineering practice. While the majority of analyses are based on linear elastic material properties, a trend is developing towards the use of non-linear modelling methods in the structural engineering profession. 

This seminar will present a brief history of the development of finite element method from its early origins in the early 50’s when the best IBM main frame computers had 4k of 16 bit memory (yes, 4 kilobytes!). Major developments and breakthroughs through the last 6 decades will be highlighted along with major applications in structural engineering practice. The presentation will be critical in the sense that the strengths and pitfalls of the method will be emphasised and how its proper use resulted in spectacular and safe structural systems while its misuse lead to disastrous structural failures. 

Dr Riadh Al-Mahaidi is a Professor of Structural Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Sciences of Swinburne University of Technology. 

He holds First Class Honors degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Baghdad and Masters and PhD degrees in Structural Engineering from Cornell University, USA. 

In the majority of his 30-year professional career, Professor Al-Mahaidi was engaged in the discipline of structural engineering applied to civil infrastructure assessment and rehabilitation, computer simulation of structural behaviour and the use of innovative materials for structural strengthening. 

Professor Al-Mahaidi is leading a number of research projects that involve finite element analyses of concrete and steel structures, retrofitting techniques of bridges and buildings deficient in strength using innovative materials in the form of carbon fibre composites. He published over 200 papers in international journals and conference proceedings. 

This event will be held in Room ATC101  (Advanced Technology Centre) at Swinburne University, Hawthorn Campus. View map.

This event will start at  6:00pm, with refreshments from 5:30pm

All of the IStructE Technical Meetings are free to attend unless stated otherwise.