SD2411 Lightweight Structures and FEM 8.0 credits

Lättkonstruktioner och FEM

Foundations of structural mechanics, analysis of thin-walled stiffened shells, plates, stability theory and introduction to finite element methods.

  • Education cycle

    Second cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

    A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Course offerings

Autumn 19 for programme students

Autumn 18 for programme students

Intended learning outcomes

 The course will give the student basic knowledge of the structural behaviour of beams, plates and shells, and the analysis and design of these types of structures, specifically, strength, stiffness, and weight issues for unstiffened and stiffened thin-walled structures.

After the course the student should be able to

  • explain the function and application of different structural elements in lightweight structures
  • from a given problem statement, chose an appropriate lightweight structural element with respect to functionality and weight
  • analyse and design thin-walled beams and stiffened shells with respect to strength, stiffness and structural stability
  • comfortably work with concepts from basic courses in solid mechanics, such as centre of gravity and moments of inertia, as well as more advanced concepts introduced in this course, such as shear flow, warping and different buckling mechanisms
  • describe the principles of finite element codes and use them for analysis of basic structural elements
  • write a small finite element code in MatLab and use it to analyse beam problems
  • explain discrepancies in results from different analytical methods through knowledge about the different approximations they involve

Course main content

Analysis of structural elements and design methods for lightweight structures. Introduction to the finite element method. Bending, shear, torsion and warping of open and closed thin-walled beams, with and without stiffeners. Kirchhoff plate theory. Local and global instability of beams and thin plates.


Calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, solid mechanics, strength of materials and basic computer programming skills. Some previous experience of FEM and Matlab programming is also beneficial but not formally required.


Megson, T.H.G., Aircraft structures for engineering students, 4th Edition, Edward Arnold 2007. (2nd or 3rd edition work too except for page and chapter references.)



  • LAB1 - Laboratory Work, 2.0, grading scale: P, F
  • LAB2 - Laboratory Work, 2.0, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 4.0, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

•  LAB1 - Laboratory Work, 2.0 credits, grade scale: P, F

•  LAB2 - Laboratory Work, 2.0 credits, grade scale: P, F

•  TEN1 - Examination, 4.0 credits, grade scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Requirements for final grade

Written exam (TEN1; 4 credits), computer assignments (ÖVN1 and ÖVN2; 2+2 credits).

Offered by

SCI/Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering


Stefan Hallström <>

Add-on studies

SD2413 Fibre Composites – Analysis and Design

SD2416 Structural Optimisation and Sandwich Design

SD2432 Lightweight Design

SD2450 Biomechanics and Neuronics


Course syllabus valid from: Autumn 2011.
Examination information valid from: Autumn 2007.