Computational Design Innovation Laboratory

Official homepage of Prof. Kai A. James' research group


AE 321 – Mechanics of Aerospace Structures: This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental concepts of elasticity, such as stress, strain, equilibrium, compatibility, material response and failure, and to allow students to solve Boundary Value Problems of elastic materials subjected to applied traction and/or displacement loading.

AE 420 – Finite Element Analysis: This is an introductory course on finite element analysis. After completing the course, students will have a solid grasp of the mathematical and physical concepts underlying the FEA, be able to identify and solve complex engineering problems using commercial FEA software. Student will also gain a strong foundation in FEA programming for the solution of simple linear elastic analysis problems using Matlab.

ME 570 – Nonlinear Solid Mechanical Design: This course provides an introduction to numerical optimization for solid mechanical  design using the finite element method.  Students will learn the fundamentals of gradient-based design optimization, and its connection to finite element analysis.  This theoretical framework will be applied to the design of a variety of nonlinear structures, including transient and thermomechanical problems.

AE 498 – Structural Design Optimization: This course provides an introduction to optimal design of structures and mechanisms using finite element analysis and numerical optimization. The course begins with a brief review of the finite element method for solving linear elastic boundary value problems. We then cover the theory and principles of gradient-based numerical optimization for constrained nonlinear programming problems. These techniques are applied to a variety of structural optimization problems involving sizing, shape and topology optimization of structures and mechanisms. Special topics include optimal design of compliant mechanisms, implementation of material failure constraints, and design for additive manufacturing.