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Numerical Methods for Structural Analysis

Code: MESTEC01     Acronym: MNAE

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Construction and Civil Engineering

Instance: 2018/2019 - 1S

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Department of Civil Engineering
Course/CS Responsible: Master in Civil Engineering Structures

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
MESTEC 18 Syllabus 1 - 6 56 162

Teaching - Hours

Recitations: 4,00
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Recitations Totals 1 4,00
Álvaro Ferreira Marques Azevedo 1,20
José Miguel de Freitas Castro 1,00
José Manuel Mota Couto Marques 1,50
Pedro Miguel Barbosa Alves Costa 0,30

Teaching language

Suitable for English-speaking students


Get to know the basics and how to apply numerical modelling techniques in order to solve structural and geotechnical problems related to Civil Engineering.

Understand the basics of the Finite Element Method, including different formulations and their computational implementation.

Develop decision making abilities in the selection of the best methodologies for structural and geotechnical simulation of problems in Civil Engineering.

Develop the ability to critically appraise the results of numerical modelling and their use in structural and geotechnical design processes.

Learning outcomes and competences

This course aims to develop the following competences: (i) capacity for defining the FEM procedures leading to a set of algebraic equations which provide an approximate numerical solution to the differential equations governing the physical phenomena under analysis;

(ii) identification of the FEM fundamental algorithmic features in diverse applications of sytructural and geotechnical nature, with critical apparaisal of the obtained solutions;

(iii) capacity to apply the FEM in resolution of structural and geotechnical problems;

(iv) capacity to utilize the FEM in parametric studies to assess the relative weight of various factors in the quality/efficiency/safety/cost of the desired solutionAs .

As learning results, the student will master the FEM supporting, enhance his experience in its practical application and his critical capacity in assessing the obtained results.

Working method


Pre-requirements (prior knowledge) and co-requirements (common knowledge)

Good background education.


1 – Introduction to the application of numerical methods for solving engineering problems;

2 – Introduction to the finite element method and its scope of application;

3 – Finite element method in 1D problems;

4 – Finite element method in 2D and 3D continuous media;

5 – Finite element method applied to bending problems;

6 – Finite element method applied to groundwater flow problems;

7 – Application of finite element software for solving structural and geotechnical problems.

Mandatory literature

Azevedo Álvaro Ferreira Marques Universidade do Porto. Faculdade de Engenharia; Método dos elementos finitos
Potts David M.; Finite element analysis in geotechnical engineering. ISBN: 0-7277-2753-2 (vol. 1)

Complementary Bibliography

Cook Robert D.; Concepts and applications of finite element analysis. ISBN: 0-471-50319-3
Zienkiewicz, O. C.; Taylor, R. L.; The^finite Element Method for Solid and Structural Mechanics, Sixth Edition. ISBN: 0750663219
Bathe Klaus-Jurgen; Finite element procedures. ISBN: 0-13-301458-4

Teaching methods and learning activities

The course is based on theoretical/practical lessons, complemented with references to the respective application fields. In the practical sessions the computational implementation of the finite element method will be explored by means of the solution of structural and geotechnical problems.

Student’s familiarisation with finite element software will allow the consolidation of the knowledge acquired, providing students with the necessary skills for application in a professional context.


Geo-Slope Office

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation with final exam

Assessment Components

Designation Weight (%)
Exame 50,00
Trabalho prático ou de projeto 50,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

Designation Time (hours)
Estudo autónomo 56,00
Frequência das aulas 56,00
Trabalho escrito 20,00
Total: 132,00

Eligibility for exams

Achieving final classification requires compliance with attendance of the course unit, according to the FEUP assessment rules. It is considered that students meet the attendance requirements if, having been regularly enrolled, the number of absences of 25% for each of the class types is not exceeded.

Calculation formula of final grade

The assesment is based on the marks obtained  in the practical problems and in the final exam. The final grade is obtained from the following weighting: Practical Work (50%); Final Exam (50%).All assessment components are expressed in a 0 to 20 scale.

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