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Finite Element Structural Analysis on an Excel Spreadsheet

Richard Campbell, PE, SE

Conventional thinking is that Finite Element (FE) analysis is complex and requires expensive commercial software. This course shows that this is not necessarily true; FE theory can be understood in a few hours and is simple enough to put on an Excel spreadsheet. Finite Element software is an essential tool for structural engineers but it need not be complex or expensive. This course will present finite element in a simplified spreadsheet form, combining the power of FE method with the versatility of a spreadsheet format.

The user is provided with a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that solves FE two dimensional (2D) frame-type structural engineering problems. This spreadsheet is simplistic in comparison to commercial software and much more limited in capabilities, but is completely adequate for many structural building frame-type problems. I have used the FE spreadsheet for years and it has been invaluable. It is easy to learn if the user is already familiar with spreadsheets and it is much less expensive than commercial FE software.

The course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.