Course detail

FEM for Aerospace

FSI-OKPAcad. year: 2020/2021

The course brings practical view on the finite element method (FEM) and its use to evaluate structure stress and deformation. It focuses on the use of FEM during component design and check, and structural units of aircraft structures. Software system in use is MSC.Patran/Nastran/Dytran.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

The course enables students to gain practical experience with calculation by help of finite element method with focus on aircraft structures.


Basic knowledge of math, solid mechanics and material strength.


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

REDDY, J. N. (Junuthula Narasimha). Introduction to the Finite Element Method. 4rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018, 816 p. ISBN 1259861902. (EN)
MSC SOFTWARE. MSC Nastran, Patran Student tutorials. In: Youtube [online]. 2012-11-15 [cit. 2019-05-13], Available at: (EN)
ZIENKIEWICZ, O. C, Robert L TAYLOR a J. Z ZHU. The Finite Element Method: Its Basis and Fundamentals. 7th ed. Butterworth Heinemann, 2013, 756 p. ISBN 1856176339. (EN)
COOK, Robert D. Concepts and applications of finite element analysis. 4th ed. Hong Kong: Wiley, 2001, xvi, 719 p. ISBN 0471356050. (EN)
MSC.Nastran 2019 Documentation,2018 MSC.Software Corporation. Printed in U.S.A. All Rights Reserved (EN)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The course is taught through lectures explaining the basic principles and theory of the discipline. Exercises are focused on practical topics presented in lectures.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Condition for the course-unit credit award is to deliver a FEM project by required deadline. Work evaluation is made with each student individually and marked according to the valid scale.

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.


Aim is to acquaint students with finite element method and its use in strength calculations of aircraft structures.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

Lecturers linked with seminars are compulsory (minimal participation 80%). Reasoned absence can be compensated by consultations.

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme N-LKT-P Master's

    specialization STL , 1. year of study, summer semester, 4 credits, compulsory-optional
    specialization TLT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 4 credits, compulsory-optional

Type of course unit



13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


1. Introduction to the problematic of finite element method
2. Description and properties of the most important finite element and their stiffness matrices
3. Assembling of the global stiffness matrix – 1D bar element
4. Assembling of the global stiffness matrix - 1D beam element.
5. Assembling of the global stiffness matrix - 2D element.
6. Material and geometric nonlinearity.
7. Conditions and specialties of idealized aircraft structures in FEM
8. Topology optimization
9. Parametric optimization
10. FEM application on dynamic tasks, explicit solver

Computer-assisted exercise

26 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


1. Introduction to the system MSC.Patran/Nastran
2. Usage and options of 1D elements
3. Usage and options of 2D elements
4. Usage and options of 3D elements
5. Combination of 1D and 2D elements – reinforced panel
6. Composite structures in FEM
7. Application of MPC elements, load distribution
8. Analysis of column stability – Buckling
9. Panel stability – Buckling
10. Nonlinear tasks
11. Basics of topology optimization in MSC.Patran/Nastran
12. Basics of parametric optimization in MSC.Patran/Nastran
13. Introduction to the system MSC.Patran/Dytran