ENEQ622-18A (C) Any Time Start 2018

Nonlinear Structural and Finite Element Analysis

15 points
Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2018
End Date: Sunday, 28 October 2018
Withdraw Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty: Friday, 2 March 2018
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 24 August 2018


Nonlinear Structural and Finite Element Analysis


The objective of this course is for students to develop the necessary theoretical understanding of the principles of two important analyses: finite element analysis and nonlinear structural analysis.  Finite element analysis is very powerful for obtaining the stress/strain distribution of structures with complex forms, which could not be easily obtained through a simple frame analysis.  Nonlinear structural analysis is essential to understand structures that respond nonlinearly with large deformations and displacements.  These two analyses are particularly relevant for structural engineers in New Zealand that deal with day-to-day design of complex structures subject to earthquake forces from time to time during seismic events.

Given the current advancement of computer technology, many user-friendly software have been developed and made available in the design office for structural engineers to conduct finite element analysis and nonlinear structural analysis at ease.  However, these software are usually designed as a black box that hides all the core calculation processes.  Without sufficient understanding of the principles, structural engineers could run a risk of committing the crime of GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) in the analyses, and without realizing it.  This course sets out to equip students with this understanding.  Given the fact that most analysis software come with very detailed user manuals, this course will not provide step-by-step instructions in using software, but, rather, will focus on the principles and equip students with sufficient understanding to conduct their analyses correctly.

This course is essential for students who are interested in advanced methods of analysis for structural engineering, but the same principles covered in the course can also be applied to other disciplines including geotechnical, structural fire, fluid, and mechanical engineering.  While this course contains a sizeable amount of theoretical detail, the emphasis is on students gaining a holistic view of the salient features of the analysis of complex structures.  In addition to the way in which the lectures are presented, such emphasis will be achieved via the use of numerous examples and application-based assignments using software.  Particular emphasis is given to earthquake engineering problems.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course students should be able to

Understand and explain the highly specialized and advanced knowledge of finite element analysis and nonlinear structural analysis, their capabilities and limitations;
Develop and apply independently the new analysis skills and techniques to solve engineering problems in their industrial practice and academic research; and
Study and review independently the cutting-edge literatures in relevant fields.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department or the Programme Director.

Timetable Note

This course is taught in two 2-day block. In each day, from 9 am to 5 pm

8-9 April 2019
23-24 April 2019

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Chin-Long Lee


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Assignments 20%
Project 40%
Test 40%

The assessment for this paper will comprise three components – assignments, a test and a project.  Both test and project will focus on theoretical and practical (but not simulation-intensive) aspects of the course.  The assignments will be used to ensure you have an adequate grasp of the theoretical basis of the taught material.

1. You cannot pass this course unless you achieve a mark of at least 40% in the mid-semester test and final exam.  A student who narrowly fails to achieve 40% in either the test or the exam, but who performs very well in the other, may be eligible for a pass in the course.

2. All assignments must be submitted by the due date.  Late submissions will not be accepted.  If a student is unable to complete and submit an assignment by the deadline due to personal circumstances beyond their control they should discuss this with the lecturer involved as soon as possible (preferably prior to the due date) and refer to points 5 and 6 below.

3. All assignments must be done individually.  Project is to be done in pairs.  More information about the project will come after the first block of lectures.

4. Students in this course can apply for special consideration provided they have sat the test and submitted the project.

5. Students may apply for special consideration if their performance in an assessment is affected by extenuating circumstances beyond their control. Applications for special consideration should be submitted via the Examinations Office website  within five days of the assessment. However, where an extension may be granted for an assessment, this will be decided by direct application to the Course co-ordinator and an application to the Examinations Office may not be required.  Special consideration is not available for items worth less than 10% of the course.

6. Students prevented by extenuating circumstances from completing the course after the final date for withdrawing, may apply for special consideration for late discontinuation of the course. Applications must be submitted to the Examinations Office within five days of the end of the main examination period for the semester.

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Fish, Jacob. , Belytschko, Ted; A first course in finite elements; John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 2007 (This book comes with a copy of Abaqus Student Edition finite element software that could be useful in this course).

Recommended Reading

Hughes, TJR; The Finite Element Method - Linear Static and Dynamic Finite Element Analysis; Dovers, 2007.

William McGuire, Richard H. Gallagher, Ronald D. Ziemian; Matrix Strutural Analysis; 2nd; John Wiley, 2000.

Zienkiewicz, O. C. , Taylor, Robert L., Zhu, J. Z; The finite element method : its basis and fundamentals; Seventh edition; Elsevier, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2013.


While there is no pre-requisite for this course, students interested in enrolling should be conversant with basic knowledge in engineering mathematics, solid mechanics, structural analysis, and structural dynamics.  Any needed advanced knowledge not usually available in typical undergraduate curricula in civil engineering will be taught in the course.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,059.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering.

All ENEQ622 Occurrences

  • ENEQ622-18A (C) Any Time Start 2018