Application of MATHEMATICA to the direct semi-numerical solution of finite element problems

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Ioakimidis, Nikolaos
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Pergamon Press
Several numerical methods, such as the finite element method, reduce applied mechanics and additional engineering problems to systems of linear algebraic equations. It has been already suggested that the inclusion of a symbolic parameter in the corresponding numerical results leads to a generality and a wide applicability of these results. Here we suggest the direct solution of these equations by using the popular computer algebra system MATHEMATICA. Assuming the results expressed in a Taylor–Maclaurin series form with respect to the selected symbolic parameter, the whole problem is reduced to the solution of an appropriate number of systems of purely numerical linear equations. This can be achieved either inside MATHEMATICA or by using efficient external numerical routines. As an application the above modification of the finite element method was used in the classical problem of a tapered elastic beam. The obtained semi-numerical results by the finite element method were seen to be in agreement with the available theoretical results. Further possibilities are also suggested in brief.