Towards a new standard for FEA methodology and presentation in product design portfolios

MacLachlan, Ross; Bohemia, Erik and Buck, Lyndon and Grierson, Hilary, eds. (2022) Towards a new standard for FEA methodology and presentation in product design portfolios. In: Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2022), London South Bank University in London, UK. 8th - 9th September 2022. Design Society, GBR. ISBN 978-1-912254-16-3 (

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This paper presents the outputs from a taxonomy of senior year Product Design student projects uncovering common trends in the application of computer-based simulation, primarily Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in the delivery of creative product solutions. The 2 cohorts within the analysis develop their own product design briefs and are challenged to integrate their previous knowledge with new project-based learning. Where FEA is a relatively small component of the design curriculum, but one of the most likely forms of analysis within product design engineering work, the successes, mistakes, missed opportunities and shear variety of analysis opportunities can inform developments within FEA pedagogy in design centred engineering. Often students must make considerable leaps to move from familiar textbook problems to their own project work, and it can be difficult for multidisciplinary teaching staff to support the integration of FEA into project work. The paper presents our evolved curriculum thread, and aspects of pedagogy, aiming to link analytical classes with project modules in the middle years, and support senior project students applying FEA techniques to their own design concepts. The paper concludes by summarising future priorities towards consistent excellence and attainment for product design centred FEA methodology and its presentation within the design portfolio.