Rajesh Bhaskaran’s work seeks to promote the “democratization of simulation” through effective integration of simulation tools into engineering education. He directs the Swanson Lab and has helped introduce industry-standard simulation tools into Cornell courses covering fluid mechanics, heat transfer, solid mechanics, and numerical analysis. Dr. Bhaskaran has led the development of SimCafe.org as an online portal for learning and teaching finite-element and CFD simulations. SimCafe is used worldwide in courses as well as for self-paced learning by students and industry professionals. He has developed a unified methodology for using simulation in disparate lecture-based and lab courses. This methodology teaches students to approach simulations like an expert rather than just pushing buttons and accepting results at face value. Dr. Bhaskaran’s professional interests include engineering applications of simulation technology, reliable deployment of advanced simulation by generalist engineers, and conceptual change in learners using simulations. He has organized two international workshops on simulation in engineering curricula.
Conceptual Foundations of Finite
Element AnalysisCornell Course
Finite element analysis (FEA) is a computational technique used to predict how a part or assembly behaves under given conditions, thus reducing the need for physical prototypes in product design while enabling the exploration of a large number of potential designs. It can be used, for example, to simulate the buckling of a wind turbine blade, the deformation of a pressure vessel, or the vibrational response of an electronics enclosure; these are all problems that can be solved computationally that would otherwise be impossible to do by hand. FEA also helps you generate clear visual representations of your solution that make interpretation by humans much easier and enable us to develop physical intuition. To ensure that your solutions accurately represent reality, however, you first need to understand how the "black box" of your modeling software functions and have methods to verify and validate your results.
In this course, you will investigate the major elements of what is inside the black box to gain a deep conceptual understanding of how FEA software produces solutions. This will help you build an intuitive understanding of the fundamental mathematical models and physics underlying simulations of static and dynamic behavior of engineering structures. You will also familiarize yourself with the numerical solution strategy employed to solve the mathematical models using the finite element method as well as how to minimize errors. Ultimately, this course will prepare you to build reliable and valid FEA simulations for practical problems using industry-standard simulation software such as Ansys.
Key Course Takeaways
- Explore the major elements of what's inside the FEA black box
- Solve an example problem by hand using the finite element method on a bar in extension
- Solve a challenge problem by hand using the finite element method on a bar under gravity force
How It Works
Who Should Enroll
- Mechanical engineers
- Simulation engineers
- Civil engineers
- Aerospace engineers
- Prospective engineers
- Undergraduate and graduate students in engineering