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What is the best book to start learning Finite Element Analysis?

  1. Jun 22, 2014 #1
    Hi guys, :smile:

    I am a mechanical engineer, and want to learn finite element analysis.

    I want to know what is the best book to start with.

    Assume I have no prior knowledge of the subject. :redface:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2014 #2


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    I found "Applied Finite Element Analysis", 2nd. edition, by Larry J. Segerlind to be a very good text for explaining the basics of FEM to those starting to learn the method. This book has sample programs and discusses a variety of topics in applying the FEM to finding solutions.

    This edition is about 30 years old, but if you do a careful web search with google or another search engine, you should be able to find an online version of the text.

    There are several other, more recent texts written from the standpoint of developing FEM programs. Use Amazon to do an advanced search for these titles.
  4. Jun 25, 2014 #3
    Take a look at "The Finite Element Method: Its Basis and Fundamentals" by Zienkiewicz. He made great contribution to FEM so he knew things he was talking about inside and out.

    This is the first volume of three. I've used the first and the third volumes to understand one method (Petrov-Galerkin) and these books were very usefull. I haven't read a lot of literature on FEM before I've read these books so I think they are suitable for beginner.
  5. Jun 25, 2014 #4


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    Rather than spending a small fortune (and giving yourself a hernia) with the latest edition of Zienkiewicz's book, a 30 or 40 year old edition will cover the basics just as well, and be small enough to carry around without needing special fitness training. Over the years, it has become "supersized" (or less politely, obese).

    If you want something free, see these course notes: http://www.colorado.edu/engineering/CAS/courses.d/IFEM.d/Home.html

    If you want a gentler introduction, there are numerous books to choose from. This is as good as any: https://www.elsevier.com/books/the-finite-element-method-in-engineering/rao/978-1-85617-661-3
  6. Jun 26, 2014 #5

    "Fat" books are better for beginner than "anorexic" ones because their authors don't try to cover everything they want to say on several pages. The whole first volume of Zienkiewicz dedicated to the basics of FEM. He explained the basics in detail. One can pass topics that he or she thinks too deep at first reading.
  7. Jun 26, 2014 #6


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    It depends. Some people can say more (and say it more clearly) on one page than others can manage on a hundred.

    I don't think OCZ's book was ever really intended to teach FE to beginners. The first edition was a reasonably concise summary of the state of FE for structural analysis, at the time it was written. The later editions tended to add summaries of everything that OCZ had come across as time went on - which was quite a lot, considering he was on the editorial board of one of the standard international journals, and with that position he didn't have much problem getting the rights to re-print material from papers published in the journal.

    But since he died in 2009, I guess it's probably not going to get any thicker from now on.

    It does have one useful attribute: if you want to make a reference in a paper to a something that is well known in the FE community, it's a safe bet to reference the OCZ book without bothering to check if your assertion is actually in the book. The reviewers probably won't bother to check either :devil:
  8. Jul 5, 2014 #7
    Thank you guys. It's fantastic to get all sorts of opinions,.....fat books,...slim books.....:)

    I usually tend to go with fatter books, because I like digging deep. But I have been proven wrong on certain occasions.

    I will look in to all your suggestions, and decide which one fits best to my needs.

    Thanks again,
    Sety. :)
  9. Aug 20, 2014 #8
    I am using <A First Course in Finite Element Method by D.L. Logan because I have the hardcopy.

    After this I will go for <Finite Element Procedure> by Bathe which is thicker, 1000+ pg.
  10. Sep 9, 2014 #9
    Sety, what exactly area of applications of the FEA are you interested in ? There are solid bodies, plates, shells, beams; there are static problems, problems of dynamic response of structures, calculation of natural frequencies, buckling, etc. - lots of different areas.
    Depending on your potential area(s) of interest, you may need different books to read/study.
  11. Apr 19, 2017 #10
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