2023-2024 / GCIV2171-1

Non linear finite elements


20h Th, 20h Pr, 15h Proj.

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Civil Engineering3 crédits 


Frédéric Collin, Vincent Denoël

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course intend to give theoretical basis used in non linear finite elements codes for civil engineering : geometrical non linearities, application to beams structures, non linear constitutive models for building materials (steel, concrete...) and for geomaterials (soils, rocks, concrete...). Practical works are dedicated to numerical code use.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • know the origins of non linearities in civil engineering computations and understand how to implement them in a finite element code.
  • perform a non linear modelling of an application (structures or geotechnics) and understand the difficulties of such computations.
The full list of  KLO's/AA for this course is defined in the matrix available on  https://www.programmes.uliege.be/cocoon/20182019/formations/descr/A2UCON01.html


This course contributes to the learning outcomes I.1, I.2, II.1, III.1, III.2, III.3, III.4, IV.1, IV.4, VI.1, VI.2, VII.2, VII.3 of the MSc in civil engineering.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

The mathematical developments related to the numerical methods proposed in this course will rely on courses of mathematical analysis and numerical analysis.
The understanding of the physical phenomena treated as examples or applications will require basic knowledge in fluid, solid and structure mechanics.<br /><br /> Mathematical analysis and numerical analysis

  • Numerical methods for linear problems
  • Solid mechanics
  • Structural mechanics
  • Geotechnics

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Use of finite element codes for structures or for geotechnics, report elaboration for each practical case.
The course is composed of "ex-cathedra" lectures and exercises.
Exercices allow the students using finite element codes for structures or for geotechnics. A report will be written by the students for the practical case.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

The lectures are delivered face-to-face. The attendance to all lectures is mandatory. For the practical works, a part of the work must be achieved during dedicated sessions (see the planning of the course). During these sessions, the students are invited to interact with the teacher to solve their problems. A part of the work must also be achieved by the students at home.

Recommended or required readings

Notes are available from the teachers.

Evaluation is based on the pratical work report and on an oral exam on theory
In case of second session (septembre), the grade obtained for the reports will be kept and the theoretical part will be only evaluated.
Oral examination. Practical information will be sent by email to the students

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The lessons are given during the second part of the 1st quadrimestre, on Wednesday afternoon (13h30 - 17h30).
The planned classroom will allow the organisation of face-to-face lessons (classroom occupied at 50% of its capacity), while respecting the sanitary instructions (wearing a mask is mandatory).


Frédéric Collin, Vincent Denoel
F.Collin@uliege.be, v.denoel@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs