2. The Isoparametric Finite Element Method

In this section we’re going to cover the fundamentals theory that the course is built on. We’ll start by introducing some fundamental concepts like shape functions and see how we can apply them when deriving the stiffness matrix for a simple bar element. 

We’ll build on this and introduce the 4 node quad element and discuss how shape functions relate to this element. The middle of this section focuses on the strain-displacement matrix which is a key part of determining the element stiffness matrix. 

We’ll finish up by explaining how to determine the equivalent nodal loads for self-weight and surface forces. We’ll nail down the basic approach and implement a simple example in this section. 

Take your time with this section in particular - extra time spent here will pay off down the road.