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Introduction to finite element analysis
Introduction to finite element analysis

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3.2 Exercise: Cantilever beam

Problem description

The problem is a simple cantilever beam. We only give outline instructions for most of this problem. You are required to issue the correct commands, based on your previous experience and the given data.

At the end of this exercise you are asked to use your knowledge in beam theory to calculate the bending stresses and to verify the results of your finite element analysis.

Described image
Figure 6 Diagram of a cantilever beam with a rectangular cross-section

Figure 6 illustrates the problem and associated dimensions. Note that all dimensions should be converted to millimetres and appropriate units for the analysis. Recall that it is the user’s responsibility to insure that all units are consistent! The boundary conditions consist of fully fixing the node on the left.

The applied load is a single point load (force of 10000 N) applied to the right node of the beam. The relevant dimensions are as follows:

Length = 2 m

Depth = 10 cm

Width = 5 cm

The beam is made of steel with a Young’s modulus of 200 GPa and Poisson’s ratio of 0.30.


University of Alberta, MECE.

Interactive time required

45 to 60 minutes.

Features demonstrated

Linear analysis, Solid modelling, Meshing, Element table data, Post processing.

Summary of steps

  1. Set title and preferences
  2. Define element types and options
  3. Define material properties
  4. Define beam section parameters
  5. Create 2 Keypoints
  6. Create a line
  7. Set Global element edge size
  8. Mesh the line with a default mesh
  9. Apply displacement constraints
  10. Apply Force load
  11. Rotate axes
  12. Solve with default criteria
  13. Plot deformed shape
  14. List nodal displacement values
  15. List stresses in the beam
  16. Validate your results
  17. Exit the program.