What you'll learn
Welcome to this DegreeTutors course on the Direct Stiffness Method for Truss Analysis with Python. The aim of this course is to equip you with the tools and knowledge to build your own truss analysis software using the Direct Stiffness Method. In this course you’ll develop a truss solver that can determine axial forces and deflected shapes for pin-jointed truss structures.
By the time you complete this course you’ll have written a piece of software to deploy on your own analysis projects.
Understanding structural analysis theory and hand-analysis techniques is an essential requirement of any competent engineer. It informs our intuition of structural behaviour and provides a foundation from which we can analyse complex structures.
However, most large structural analyses leverage the speed of structural analysis software. And modern structural analysis software is dominated by matrix analysis methods like the direct stiffness method. In this course you’ll implement these techniques to build your own version of a structural analysis software.
This course is broken into 9 sections that build progressively towards our goal of developing a generalised truss solver.
Section 1 – Introduction and course overview
The main goal of this brief introductory section is to get your coding environment set up and to give you an idea of how we approach using and learning Python in this course.
Section 2 – Modelling Elastic Behaviour
We’ll start by focusing on fundamental models of elastic behaviour. If we don’t understand the material behaviour we can’t understand the overall structural behaviour. So the lectures in this section are very important in developing a complete understanding of structural behaviour.
Section 3 – Finite Element Equations & Stiffness Matrices
We’ll expand our focus from material behaviour to modelling structural stiffness and in particular we’ll develop a stiffness matrix for an axially loaded bar element. The aim of this section is to build a stiffness matrix that we can combine with other element stiffness matrices to model a complete structure.
Section 4 – Direct Stiffness Method: Step-by-Step
In this section we shift gears and put what we’ve learned so far to work. We’ll walk our way step-by-step through the direct stiffness method starting with very simple two bar truss. This will allow you to see the process in action on a very simple structure.
Section 5 – Direct Stiffness Method in Python
Now that you understand conceptually how the direct stiffness method works, we’ll implement it in Python using a Jupyter notebook. This is our first step along the road to building a completely general truss analysis notebook.
Section 6 – Direct Stiffness Method on Larger Structures
In section six we’re going to analyse another larger truss structure. As in section 4, we’ll walk our way through the solution step-by-step to make sure you fully understand the analysis procedure. This section is about getting the reps in and giving you more practice on a larger structure.
Section 7 – Optimising for Larger Structures in Python
We’ll again implement our solution in code by porting our solution from section 6 into a Jupyter notebook. In this section we’ll continue taking steps towards our overall goal of a generalised truss solver by further generalising our analysis code.
Section 8 – Building a Generalised Truss Solver in Python
In section 8 we bring together all of the code we’ve worked on so far and completely generalise it. This means we’ll be writing code in this section to analyse any truss structure. This is where we finally achieve the goal of developing a generalised truss solver.
Section 9 – Taking your Solver for a Test Drive
In the final section of the course we take a victory lap and take your new truss solver for a test drive. This short section is simply about making sure you can input structural data correctly into your solver and admiring your handy work as your code takes over and completes your structural analysis.
Who this course is for
- Engineering students who want an introduction to computer-based methods of structural analysis
- Engineering students who’ve studied the Direct Stiffness Method but got lost along the way
- Engineers and students who want to see how they can leverage Python in their work
- Engineers and students who want a tools to analyse realistic structures without resorting to commercial software
The codes developed in this course are for educational purposes only and are not tested or certified for use beyond the educational scope of this course. Always employ your own engineering judgement first and foremost, regardless of what the computer says!
Course Completion Certificate
- Download your personalised Certificate of Completion once you’ve finished all course lectures.
- Applying for jobs? Use your Certificate of Completion to show prospective employers what you’ve been doing to improve your capabilities.
- Independently completing an online course is an achievement. Let people know about it by posting your Certificate of Completion on your Linkedin profile or workplace CPD portfolio.
Lecture #1: Course overview
Lecture #27: Building Element Stiffness Matrices
Welcome and Setup
Modelling Elastic Behaviour
Finite Element Equations & Stiffness Matrices
Direct Stiffness Method: Step-by-Step
Direct Stiffness Method in Python
Direct Stiffness Method on Larger Structures
Optimising for Larger Structures in Python
Visualising our output
Building a Generalised Truss Solver in Python
Taking your Solver for a Test Drive
I thought this course was excellent. I took it to gain a greater appreciation for the underlying mathematics/processes in structural analysis software and to understand how these can be applied and automated.
I Y Aydin
Dr Sean is an expert on this topic. I’m really so sorry that i have noticed his courses so late! I am civil engineer and master degree student in Computational Mechanics in Germany . And I can really say i would be very happy if i could become his Phd student. 🙂 I’am glad to take this course. Feel free to buy this course because its really worth it.
I hope Dr Sean accept Phd student i would be glad if i become his phd student.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely. Even if you watched the full course, if you’re not satisfied, contact me in the first 30 days and I will give you a full refund, no questions asked. It would be helpful if you could tell me how I can improve the course for other students.
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The Direct Stiffness Method for Truss Analysis with Python
Build your own finite element truss analysis software using Python and tackle large scale structures.
After completing this course…
- You’ll understand how to use the Direct Stiffness Method to build complete structural models that can be solved using Python.
- You’ll have your own analysis programme to identify displacements, reactions and internal member forces for any truss.
- You’ll understand how common models of elastic behaviour such as plane stress and plane strain apply to real-world structures.
Beam & Frame Analysis using the Direct Stiffness Method in Python
Build a sophisticated structural analysis software tool that models beams and frames using Python.
After completing this course…
- You’ll understand how to model beam elements that resist axial force, shear forces and bending moments within the Direct Stiffness Method.
- You’ll have your own analysis software that can generate shear force diagrams, bending moment diagrams, deflected shapes and more.
- You’ll understand how to model rotational pins within your structures, inter-nodal distributed loading and realistic flexible supports.
3D Space Frame Analysis using Python and Blender
Develop tools to model and analyse complex 3D space frame structures using Python.
After completing this course…
- You’ll understand how to apply the Direct Stiffness Method to solve 3D space frame structures.
- You’ll have your own analysis programme to identify displacements, reactions and internal member forces for any 3D space frame.
- You’ll be able to use Blender, a powerful open source 3D modelling software to build, visualise and export your structural models.