Educational Practice of Finite Element Methods in Technical Colleges

Kenta Endo, S. Kikuchi, Toshiya Itaya

CAE analysis software is widely used among engineers. However, because the mathematical theory used in CAE analysis is treated as a black box, there have been cases where CAE analysis is not used correctly. CAE analysis software is also used in graduation research and special activities at National institute of technology (Kosen), but since the mathematical theory of CAE analysis is not included in the model core curriculum of Kosen, there is a problem that students cannot understand even if they are taught how to use the software. Even if you want to learn the mathematical principles, the educational materials for engineers often focus on calculation methods, and the part about mathematical principles is not described in detail. On the other hand, educational materials for mathematicians often have a style of rigorously building up theories, which can be difficult for engineers to approach.

In order to improve engineering technology in Japan, practical education that interpolates engineering and pure mathematics is considered necessary in future educational courses. Therefore, we are currently conducting a course to understand the mathematical theory of the finite element method, which is the basis of CAE analysis, as part of the advancement of technical college education. The course is implemented by means of online lectures and online learning materials for students belonging to five technical colleges: Suzuka College, Sasebo College, Nara College, Kurume College, and Oita College. To interpolate engineering and pure mathematics, we adapt the method of "learning calculation methods while clarifying what is black boxed" and then "understanding the mathematical theory that was black boxed" in this education.

In this study, we will discuss educational contents and effects of the "understanding the mathematical theory that was a black box" part.