Computational Methods in Mechanical Engineering


The purpose of the Computational Methods in Mechanical Engineering course is to provide the student with the ability to solve complex engineering problems with the help of the most recent software available. Besides acquiring theoretically knowledge about the finite element method the student acquires skills on the use of software and programming languages that allow him to solve practical problems. OCTAVE and ANSYS are both commercial software used in this course.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

António Paulo Vale Urgueira, Pedro Samuel Gonçalves Coelho


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





An Introduction to the Finite Element Method

J.N. Reddy


Problemas de Elementos Finitos em MATLAB

A.J.M. Ferreira

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

Método dos Elementos Finitos - Técnica de Simulação Numérica em Engenharia

Teixeira-Dias, Pinho-da-Cruz, Fontes Valente e Alves de Sousa


Teaching method

Theoretical Lectures and laboratory sessions are included. At the lectures notes at the blackboard are given as well as powerpoint slideshows. A the Lab sessions the students interact with PC machines using the installed software (OCTAVE and ANSYS).

Evaluation method

The continuous evaluation comprises two projects and one test.

1st Project ( TR1 ) – Individual work.

2nd Project ( TR2 ) – Team work.

Test ( T ) – Individual written test.

Frequency - requires the submission of the two previous projects: TR1 and TR2.

The projects require the elaboration of reports. To be approved in the discipline, the student must get frequency and the following weighted average must be positive:

0,4 x TR1 + 0,3 x TR2 + 0,3 x T >= 9,5val

In the case of unsuccess in the previous evaluation it is mandatory that student gets frequency to have access to the Exam (E) and the following weighted average must be positive: 

0,4 x TR1 + 0,3 x TR2 + 0,3 x E >= 9,5val

The student is not allowed to repeat the projects during the Exam period. The minimum for the Exam is 9,5val. The projects here correspond to the previous mandatory projects developed during the semester. 

Subject matter

OCTAVE programming language applied to the matrix structural analysis. Introduction to the finite element method. Finite element method in beams. Static analysis, dynamic, instability and harmonic. OCTAVE applications involving structures composed with elements such as bars and beams. Introduction to finite element commercial software ANSYS. Comparison of results between OCTAVE and ANSYS. Introduction to the ANSYS programming language (APDL). Solution of plane elasticity problems by the finite element method. Applications in two-dimensional and three-dimensional with ANSYS.


Programs where the course is taught: