The Advantages of the Finite Element Method


Widely popular among the engineering community, the finite element method (FEM) is a numerical technique used to perform finite element analysis of any given physical phenomenon. It has simple, compact, and results-oriented features that are appealing to engineers.

Here are six advantages to this technique:

  1. Modeling. FEM allows for easier modeling of complex geometrical and irregular shapes. Because the designer is able to model both the interior and exterior, he or she can determine how critical factors might affect the entire structure and why failures might occur.
  2. Adaptability. FEM can be adapted to meet certain specifications for accuracy in order to decrease the need for physical prototypes in the design process. Creating multiple iterations of initial prototypes is usually a costly and timely process. Instead of spending weeks on hard prototyping, the designer can model different designs and materials in hours via software.
  3. Accuracy. While modeling a complex physical deformity by hand can be impractical, a computer using FEM can solve the problem with a high degree of accuracy.
  4. Time-dependent simulation. FEM is highly useful for certain time-dependent simulations, such as crash simulations, in which deformations in one area depend on deformation in another area.
  5. Boundaries. With FEM, designers can use boundary conditions to define to which conditions the model needs to respond. Boundary conditions can include point forces, distributed forces, thermal effects (such as temperature changes or applied heat energy), and positional constraints.
  6. Visualization. Engineers can easily spot any vulnerability in design with the detailed visualizations FEM produces, then use the new data to make a new design.

Learn More

Coming soon from IEEE, Finite Element Method Courses will provide a comprehensive and up-to-date account of FEM in photonics devices, with an emphasis on practical, problem-solving applications and real-world examples. Your engineers will gain an understanding of how mathematical concepts translate to computer code finite element-based methods. Connect with an IEEE Content Specialist today to learn how to get access to this program for your organization.


Harish, Ajay. (21 Mar 2019). Finite Element Method – FEM and FEA Explained. SimScale.

What is the Finite Element Method. WiseGeek.

Sjodin, Bjorn. (18 Apr 2016). What is the Difference Between FEM, FDM, and FVM? Machine Design.

The Benefits of Finite Element Analysis in Manufacturing. Manor Tool.

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  1. How the Finite Element Method (FEM) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Work Together - IEEE Innovation at Work - May 10, 2020

    […] Developed by engineers in the mid-1950s, FEM provides a numerical solution for a complex problem, which allows for some level of error. Usually, it’s used when a math equation is too complex to […]

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