Advanced Modelling and Analysis of Structures

Numerical Methods for Experimental Analysis class

This specialisation aims to train engineers with strong skills in both modelling and numerical simulation in mechanics, and with an opening towards new experimental field measurement techniques.

On the one hand, the specialisation offers courses dealing with the modelling and numerical simulation of advanced problems in solid mechanics (composite media, material and geometric non-linearities, fracture, multiphysics couplings), including their mathematical formulation as well as the relevant numerical methods for their discretization. The latter are implemented during practical digital classes based on concrete engineering problems. In addition, the specialisation offers courses and practical sequences dealing with experimental techniques of field measurement on specimens, but also with processes of structure shaping and assembly by electromagnetic loading.

This analytical approach combining simulation and experimental methods based on imaging for solid mechanics provides a multidisciplinary framework. This approach is set to play a major role in the solutions that science and technology will be able to provide to the challenges of tomorrow (factory of the future, sustainable development, health, energy and mobility).

More than preparing the student for a specific profession, the specialisation aims to instruct engineers in this dual approach to analysis, which can then be applied to numerous industrial fields (automotive, aeronautics, space, energy, railway, naval, environment).

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Numerical simulation is used for the vast majority of the engineering problems. Its purpose is to "experiment on a model" [1]. It allows us to artificially reproduce, i.e. through the prism of a model, the phenomena we wish to observe. Simulation can be seen as an extension of theory, giving flesh to equations, making its concepts speak, and demonstrating their concrete applications. It is indeed this virtue that makes it very attractive, and sometimes indispensable. However, simulation "only" allows equations to speak, with approximation errors as part of the bargain. Simulation thus deals with what is possible, and not only with what is [1].

It is therefore essential to create some interfaces between the simulation and what we think we know about reality, more precisely to establish a link between the data that can be measured/extracted from a test on a structure with its response simulated by a numerically solved model. Recent advances in the last two decades in experimental methods based on imaging in solid mechanics (correlation of digital images, microtomography, etc.), sometimes coupled with model reduction techniques, or enriched by taking into account uncertainty, have made it necessary to adopt a dual analysis approach combining characterization/observations generating increasingly rich data, with the numerical resolution of models that require validation through experience. Even more so in recent years, with the increase in computing capacity, experimental data can be used to generate databases, to teach a metamodel some elements of the behaviour of a material or to estimate quantities that were previously inaccessible to measurement, which can then be used to conduct numerical simulations. The data, whether it comes from experiments or simulations, partly drives the analysis or other simulations, and is therefore referred to as data-driven. The recent significant development of numerical methods for experimental analysis has made it possible to replace the few known interfaces between theory and experience with a much wider exchange area, where the richness of experimental data can more easily help validate models or partially drive simulations, and where the simulation can be used to reuse, drive the test differently or dynamically enrich a database. The final purpose of this test/calculation dialogue is to save time in the design of new products, to reduce costs, by moving more quickly from the specimen to the structure.

The "Advanced Modeling and Analysis of Structures" specialisation is part of this dual approach to structural analysis in solid mechanics, and aims to train mechanical engineers with both strong skills in modelling and numerical simulation in mechanics, but also trained in new experimental field measurement techniques.

This analytical approach combining simulation and image-based experimental methods for solid mechanics is likely to play a major role in the solutions that science and technology can provide to the challenges of tomorrow (factory of the future, sustainable development, health, energy and mobility). More than preparing the student for a specific profession, the purpose of this specialisation is to instruct the engineer in this dual approach to analysis, which can then be applied to numerous industrial fields (automotive, aeronautics, space, energy, railway, naval, environment).

[1] E. Klein, Comprendre, concevoir, agir : les trois finalités de la simulation. CLEFS CEA -N°47- Hiver 2002-2003.

Contribution to sustainable development goals

Learn more about Centrale Nantes' commitment to the 17 sustainable development goals

International students can follow this specialisation, taught in French, via:

  • A double degree programme - Open to international students selected by our partner institutions. Selected students spend two years studying courses from the engineering programme at Centrale Nantes. This usually includes one year of the common-core engineering curriculum followed by one year of specialisation. Double degree students are typically accepted after successfully completing two or three years of higher education in their home institution.
  • The fast-track engineering programme: Open to students with a Bachelor's or equivalent degree in science. Our fast-track programme gives international students who are qualified to bachelor level the opportunity to gain the 'diplôme d'ingénieur' in just two years.
Course Content
2023/24 Academic Year
Autumn Semester Spring Semester
Finite element method Multiphysic couplings
Architectural structures Crashworthiness and transportation safety
Solid dynamics and modal analysis Numerical methods for experimental analysis
Composite structures Scientific conferences
Fracture and damage mechanics Project 2
Numerical methods for non-linear mechanics Internship
Fluid Structure Interaction
Plasticity models
Project 1

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Examples of Projects and Internships

Examples of past projects

  • Eulerian numerical simulation of waves in hyperelastic solid media
  • Implementation and study of a concurrent multiscale approach
  • Finite element simulation of inflatable wings
  • Numerical simulation of thermal waves
  • Shape optimization for acoustics
  • Modeling pyrotechnic reactions
  • Implementation of a (model-free) data-driven finite strain solver using FEniCS
  • Self-heating fatigue limits and electrical resistance
  • Study of dynamic cracking of a 1D bar using the cohesive element method.
  • Data-driven approaches to viscoelastic heterogeneous materials
  • Simulation of homologation tests and shape optimization of an electric bicycle frame assembled by bonding.
  • Study of anterior tibial tubercle osteotomies using finite elements

Examples of past internships

  • Material Interface reconstruction for a multi-material Euler solver (Numerics GmbH)
  • Model reduction on damageable composite structure (Safran Aircraft Engines)
  • Study of the mechanical behavior of new generation leading edges (Safran Aircraft Engines)
  • Knee mapping modeling (Segula)
  • Study of diffusion phenomena in flexible pipes (Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore)
  • Fatigue study of a large container ship (Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore)
  • Numerical simulations of plasma jets (Akryvia)
  • Analysis of mechanical behavior of fuel assemblies (Framatome)
  • Vibration isolation and damping of space structures (Thales Alenia Space)
After the Specialisation

Sectors of activity

  • Transport (rail, automotive, aeronautics, space, naval)
  • Energies (nuclear, fossil fuels, renewables)
  • R&D
  • Biomedical sector

Career prospects

  • R&D Engineer
  • Structural Engineer
  • Engineering Consultant
  • Expert or managerial position
  • Computing project manager

Crashworthiness and transportation safety class
Composite Structures class
Published on November 2, 2015 Updated on January 2, 2024