Java Applet for Teaching Finite Element Analysis


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Virginia Tech


A Java applet is developed to interactively and dynamically illustrate the fundamental concepts of finite element analysis. An applet is a computer program written in the object-oriented Java programming language and is embedded in web pages. Java applets are well suited for delivering interactive graphical content over the Internet since they are platform and operating system independent. The applet developed includes a wide range of elements including one-dimensional truss and beam elements, triangular and quadrilateral plane stress and plane strain elements, and two-dimensional four-node and eight-node iso-parametric elements and plate elements. Along with the applet there is a series of web pages describing the fundamental concepts of finite element analysis, example problems and instructions for use. The applet provides a novel approach for teaching basic finite element analysis concepts. It provides students a means for checking their work, reinforces fundamental concepts learned in class, and enhances students' learning experiences by allowing them to experiment by building and analyzing complex models and visualizing results as changes are made to the model. The applet can be used as supplementary material complementing classroom and textbook instruction.



Finite element method, web based teaching, Java applets