1947: Finite Element Analysis
Innovation: Finite Element Analysis
Location: Imperial College, United Kingdom
By: Olgierd Zienkiewicz
Finite Element Analysis is commonly used in aerospace, automotive and architectural engineering with 2d or 3d computer simulation models to solve complex shapes.
Initial work towards creating the analysis was done, separately, by Alexander Hrennikoff and Richard Courant during 1941-1942. Although the two used different approaches, they shared one essential idea: mesh discretization of a continuous domain into a set of discrete sub-domains, referred to as elements.
Starting in 1947, at Imperial College, Olgierd Zienkiewicz used these approaches to form what would later be called the Finite Element Method (FEM), building the pioneering mathematical formalism of the method. Today the Finite Element Method is used in any and all aspects of mathematics and physics; from visualization of how a car deforms in an asymmetrical crash to solving complex elasticity and structural analysis problems in civil and aeronautical engineering. `