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Finite Element Principles in Heat Conduction

Heat Transfer

Next Offering

Start Date: August 24th, 2021
End Date:  November 1st, 2021


This is the third course in a four course series. Students must complete all four courses to earn the Certification in Practice of Finite Element Principles. Courses are designed to be taken in sequential order. If you choose to take this course on its own it is expected you have foundational knowledge in finite element principles (e.g. linear static assumptions and element stiffness matrix, assembling a global stiffness matrix, nodal DOFs, boundary conditions, governing equations, potential energy approach, shape functions, derivation of [K], isoparametric mapping, and Jacobian). Registration priority is given to students working toward the full certificate.

Course Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students should successfully be able to:

  • Explain Fourier’s law, material properties, and boundary conditions for hear conduction.
  • Describe the underlying theory for the finite difference method.
  • Compare implicit and explicit time integration schemes.
  • Describe the Finite Element Method including elements, nodes, shape functions, and the element stiffness matrix.
  • Describe integration points and jacobian in the finite element method.
  • Construct, execute, and interpret heat conduction finite element models.


Expected Time Commitment to Complete this Course

  • Instructional material equivalent to a one semester credit hour class
  • A typical week will take the average person approximately 2 hours "in-class" work and 4-6-hours of "homework" for a total weekly time commitment of 6-8 hours. Please note, every learner is different so this is only a guideline. Some learners may need to budget more time to complete the requirements of this course.
  • All course lectures are recorded and available to you 24/7 through the university's Learning Management System, Carmen. 
  • ​Course duration: 10 weeks. 


Click Here to learn more about how this course is delivered 100% online!


  1. A bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field is strongly recommended.
  2. Enrollees should also have a background in the following areas:
    • Calculus
      • Differentiation
      • Integration
    • Linear Algebra
      • Matrix Multiplication
      • Matrix Transpose
      • Identity Matrix
    • Computational Skills
      • Using computational approaches will reinforce skills required for computational engineering in a broader sense.
      • Homework problems should be solved using MATLAB, Python, or other computational tools. Octave is similar to MATLAB and is freeware.
      • Student will be asked to solve problems by generating basic scripts for homework assignments
      • Minimal previous experience will be needed
    • Engineering Concepts
      • Basic concepts of stress, strain, Hooke’s Law
      • Material properties such as Young’s Modulus and Poisson’s Ratio
      • Free body diagrams
      • Beam equations
    • Finite Element Software
      • Basic knowledge on how to build a mesh from CAD geometry
      • Apply material definitions to model
      • Apply loads and boundary conditions

Cancellations and Refunds

A full refund minus a $50 administrative fee will be made if cancellation is received one week prior to the start of the course. No refunds within one week of the course start date.

Course Offering Dates

Each course offering is tied to the academic calendar; therefore, they operate with specific start and end dates. Students must complete each course during the specific time frame. Access to the online course and materials is removed when the course ends.