FEM in Structural Engineering

Course credits: 7.5 ECTS

Course website


The objectives of the course are to provide an understanding of:
  • The basic features of advanced constitutive models available in commercial FE-codes.
  • FE-based methods for analyzing important structural phenomena.
  • Structural idealizations and how these influence the analysis results. This includes, for example, choice of support conditions, system idealization, and levels of analysis.
  • Use of FEM for both structural design and assessment.

Content and Objectives

Preliminary course contents:
  • A short review of the fundamentals of FEM.
  • Modelling choices: Choice of support conditions, system idealization, levels of analysis, levels of detailing, combinations of various levels.
  • Model checking:
    • Modelling of steel structures, including,
    • suitable material models and fracture mechanics,
    • stability and buckling, and,
    • fatigue modelling.
  • Modelling of reinforced concrete structures, including:
    • non-linear fracture mechanics,
    • suitable material models, and,
    • steel-concrete interaction.
  • Modelling of timber structures, including:
    • suitable material models,
    • fracture mechanics, and,
    • creep.
  • Modelling of structures including new construction materials.
  • Modelling of interaction between different materials and components.
  • System idealization.
  • Safety aspects.
  • Dynamics.
  • Non-linear problems and path-following techniques.
  • Fluid-structure interaction.
  • Soil-structure interaction.


Recommended basis for the course is master level in structural or mechanical engineering. Basic knowledge about design of structures is required, as well as passed courses in basic finite element theory. The course should be of interest for:
  • Graduate students, teachers and researchers in structural engineering
  • Practicing structural engineers, wanting to specialize in FEM.

Course plan

The course will have a total duration of about three months and will be given in two-three concentrated blocks. Course participants will carry out modelling tasks that will highlight different subjects.

Course organisation

Responsible teacher:

Carlos Gil Berrocal
Post-doctoral researcher, Structural Engineering
Chalmers University of Technology
Contact info: https://www.chalmers.se/en/staff/Pages/carlos-gil.aspx

Other teachers:

Mario Plos
Docent, Structural Engineering
Chalmers University of Technology
Contact info: http://www.chalmers.se/en/Staff/Pages/mario-plos.aspx

Mohammad Al-Emrani
Docent, Structural Engineering
Chalmers University of Technology
Contact info: http://www.chalmers.se/en/Staff/Pages/mohammad-al-emrani.aspx

Costin Pacoste
Adjunct professor, Structural Engineering
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Contact info: https://www.kth.se/profile/costin/


Selected journal papers and other texts handed out during the course.