An equation-free introduction to the applications of finite element analysis ( FEA ) to structural engineering. The response of structures to changes in external conditions may be calculated by considering the structure to consist of a mesh of simply-shaped elements ( possibly up to 100 000 ). By calculating the responses of the individual elements, the response of the structure may be determined. The FEA process is executed in stages: project specification; model definition; creation of the mesh from the model; and calculation by computer. The responses to other stresses, such as thermal and vibration, may also be determined.