New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Usage FlexPDE Package in the Courses of Mathematical Modeling and Mechanics

Olga Pustovalova, Southern Federal University (Russian Federation)

Mikhail Karyakin, Southern Federal University (Russian Federation)


The paper describes some features of finite element package FlexPDE that makes it a very suitable tool for teaching such courses as continuum mechanics, strength of materials, elasticity theory, mathematical modelling etc. Unlike the majority of modern FEM software it is concentrated mostly on equations describing the physical process allowing deeper understanding underlying mathematics, easy switching to new models, and conducting numerical experiments to test the material and functional characteristics of these models.

Finite element program FlexPDE stays apart of the typical modern FEM packages being oriented not on the engineering design but serving as a tool for numerical analysis of equations with partial derivatives arising in many fields of natural sciences. Flexibility of FlexPDE scripting language allows user easily describe the system of differential equations, boundary conditions, and shape of the region and set up the required quantities to be calculated. The proven effectiveness of this package in the area of elasticity theory makes it very useful for designing and implementation courses on strength of materials, continuum mechanics, the theory of elasticity and plasticity etc.

Some examples which can be of use in student labs are presented. They demonstrate not only the nice way from the physical object to numerical result through mathematical modelling but also the problems that are intended to inspire students for independent work, self-study and research activities.

Nowadays different types of engineering software accompany the teaching process. Using the finite element package FlexPDE when teaching mechanics and mathematical modelling related courses allows students to better absorb the course material, to understand the essence of the problem, to propose new ideas and methods of solution and to attract additional math for solving complex problems.


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