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This article provides information on the development of finite element analysis (FEA) and describes the general-purpose applications of FEA software programs in structural and thermal, static and transient, and linear and nonlinear analyses. It discusses special-purpose finite element applications in piping and pressure vessel analysis, impact analysis, and microelectronics. The article describes the steps involved in the design process using the FEA. It concludes with two case histories that involve the use of FEA in failure analysis.

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