Contributions to the development of finite element software in an interactive computing environment
This thesis describes the development of a methodology for the development of
interactive, numerical software (INS) and then assesses its effectiveness via
the development of a finite element package, INFESA. The uniqueness of this
package which is designed to run on small minicomputers, lies in its portability
and versatility and thus makes an original contribution to finite element
software and applications.
The thesis begins by setting the scene of software development and especially
software development methodology. Within this context, the objectives of the
research are then clearly defined.
Chapter two defines the precise meaning of the term 'Interactive, Numerical
Software' and describes in detail the authors previous experience in producing
such software for use in an educational environment. A critical view of INS
as applied to finite element software is presented in chapter three and this,
together with the lessons learnt from chapter two, combines to determine the
design strategy for INFESA.
The fourth chapter summarises the mathematical and numerical techniques in
INFESA. An important part of INFESA C%M the mesh generation routines and the
pate. presented in chapter. Live after a detailed survey of the historical developwent
of mesh generation techniques.
INFESA is critically assessed with respect to its developmental objectives in
chapter seven. This chapter also includes the description and successful
resolution of an original problem initiated by British Steel whose unusual
and highly non-linear boundary conditions provide a difficult task for any
existing finite element software. The solution of this problem provides a
demonstration of the versatility of INFESA.
The final chapter consists of concluding remarks and some suggestions for the
further development of the system.