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The basic steps involved in any finite element analysis consist of the following

**Preprocessing Phase:**

- Create and discretize the solution domain into finite elements; that is subdivide the problem into nodes and elements.
- Assume a shape function top represent the physical behaviour of an element; that is an approximate contineous function is assumed to represent the solution of an element.
- Develop equations for an element.
- Assemble the elements to present the entire problem. Construct the global stiffness matrix.
- Apply boundary conditions, initial conditions and loading.

**Solution (Processing) Phase:**

- Solve a set of linear or nonlinear algebraic equations simultaneously to obtain nodal results, such as displacement values at different nodes or temperature values at different nodes in a heat transfer problem.

**Postprocessing Phase:**

- Obtain the other important information. At this point, you may be interested in values of principal stresses, heat fluxes, strains, etc.

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