Introduction to Non-Linear FEA with MSC Apex and MSC Nastran

Learn non-linear FEA with the most powerful, yet easy to use software on the market today!

Introduction to FEA with MSC Apex and MSC Nastran


Do you want a great foundation to the theory and application of non-linear FEA, or are you confused by its terminology and concepts?


Is your current FEA approach too simplistic to allow accurate response, or do you find it too difficult to build and control non-linear models?


Would you like to learn contemporary software tools that help you achieve successful non-linear analysis, using MSC Apex and MSC Nastran, one of the world’s most widely used FEA solvers?


We’ll show you how to build, verify and solve complex non-linear FEA models equipping you with the knowledge to understand when analyses are going wrong, and what steps are required to ensure successful analysis.

Course Summary Video (1 min)

Course Detail Video (4 mins)


Focussed on the MSC Apex and MSC Nastran Advanced Non-Linear workflow, we’ll show you how to BUILD, VERIFY AND SOLVE COMPLEX NON-LINEAR FEA MODELS under a variety of scenarios.

All the taught and tutorial content is based around REAL-WORLD EXAMPLES, which, through the progression of EIGHT DISCRETE LESSONS, will advance your understanding of this complex area of FEA.

We’ll also EQUIP YOU WITH THE KNOWLEDGE to understand when analyses are going wrong, and what steps are required to ensure successful completion.

You can download the course brochure here.

MSC Apex and MSC Nastran – Free Trial

You can run the all of the tutorial examples shown during this course in your own time-limited free version of MSC Apex and MSC Nastran, which is available from the software developer Hexagon here. This trial includes the following software,

– MSC Apex Modeler – the Apex ‘Pre-/Post-Processing’ user interface, which allows FEA model build and result exploration

– MSC Apex Structures – the Apex embedded FEA solver (based on MSC Nastran) for embedded analysis within the Apex environment

– MSC Nastran – the industry-standard stand-alone FEA solver, with licenses for linear static, modal, buckling and dynamic analysis (SOL 101, 103, 105 and 111) and advanced non-linear analysis (SOL400).

MSC Apex is a stand-alone FEA platform, and can also generate data for external MSC Nastran analysis, along with the ability to explore MSC Nastran results.

“This course was enjoyable to take. The presentation is excellent, and it was great to tie up theory with well-thought-out practical examples. Highly-recommended for users at all levels wanting to develop their capabilities with non-linear analysis.”

Senior Technical Consultant, Hexagon/MSC Software

“Non-Linear FEA is a subject area I’ve struggled with in the past, due to inexperience with the basics, vague documentation, and difficult software. This course gave me a very clear insight into the fundamentals, and a great means of putting this into practice through Apex and Nastran.”

Senior FEA Analyst, Aerospace Industry

“We’ve used several tools to run NL simulation in the past, often with mixed results. Taking this course was a breath of fresh air – great teaching in the ‘mechanics’ behind NL FEA, coupled with excellent examples and tutorials. I can absolutely see Apex becoming our FEA ‘work horse’ for NL now!”

Principal Stress Engineer, Oil and Gas Industry

We’ve had hundreds of engineers take our online FEA courses – see more testimonials and reviews HERE

What You’ll Learn

The course is taught through eight discrete lessons, made up of shorter, easily-digestible topics. These include;


Covering an MSC Apex/MSC Nastran SOL400 software overview, an introduction to non-linear FEA, a typical workflow, analysis settings and a complete double lap shear joint worked example.


Covering model build for non-linear FEA, building confidence in non-linear FEA, automation for non-linear FEA and a complete spigot contact worked example.


Covering a load increment overview, load increment solution, guidelines for non-linear FEA analysis and a complete curved shell worked example.


Covering a geometric non-linearity overview, large displacement analysis, non-linear buckling analysis and a complete fuselage skin buckling worked example.


Covering a material non-linearity overview, material plasticity, permanent deformation and a complete hydroforming/spring-back worked example.


Covering a contact non-linearity overview, general/self-contact, contact set-up and a complete gear contact worked example.


Covering non-linear solution failure, non-linear solution strategy, influence of advanced solution controls and non-linear contact assembly verification.


Covering initial conditions and multi-step analysis, plus additional MSC Nastran SOL400 functionality as it becomes available.

Start Learning Non-Linear FEA with MSC Apex and MSC Nastran Today!



  • Get Access to the First Lesson
  • Learn Non-Linear FEA with MSC Apex and MSC Nastran
  • 12-16 Hours On-Demand Video
  • Downloadable Tutorial Material
  • Teaching Configured for Professional MSC Apex and MSC Nastran Versions
  • One-Year Access Per-Named User



  • Get Access to All Eight Lessons
  • Learn Non-Linear FEA with MSC Apex and MSC Nastran
  • 12-16 Hours On-Demand Video
  • Downloadable Tutorial Material
  • Teaching Configured for Professional MSC Apex and MSC Nastran Versions
  • One-Year Access Per-Named User

Instructor Bio

This course is developed and delivered by Dr Steffan Evans, Director and Lead FEA Engineer of UK-based Evotech CAE Ltd, a Hexagon Business Partner. Dr Evans has over 25 years’ experience of the practical usage of advanced FEA techniques in diverse industrial settings.

This has included the development and delivery of many training courses and programs covering FEA fundamentals, industry application of the technology, alongside direct teaching in how to get the most from your commercial FEA software.

His relaxed, yet engaging presentation style, specifically with the many MSC Apex and MSC Nastran-focused training courses, webinar series and product launches he has supported, have allowed him to develop global recognition as ‘The Apex Guy’.

General Course FAQs

Why should I take an Evotech course?

Put simply – hundreds of engineers have taken our courses, with excellent feedback!

We teach FEA in a clear, contemporary manner using MSC Apex and MSC Nastran, arguably the easiest to use, yet most powerful software in the market today.

This allows you to focus on the fundamentals of FEA and their application, rather getting bogged down with difficult software.

Should I take an FEA theory course first?

FEA theory can be very complex, and involve difficult maths and concepts, which can take many years to grasp.

However, through our courses, we provide enough theoretical background to give you a great foundation in the key principals of FEA, allowing you to become productive through real-world demos and tutorials.

Who is this course aimed at?

Our courses are aimed at both new users, who want to hit the ground running with MSC Apex and MSC Nastran, and experienced users who want to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of how to get the most from the software.

We have lower cost academic and fully-functioned professional versions of our courses to suit every level.

What teaching methods are used?

Our courses generally consist of 8 discrete lessons, with each lesson broken down into smaller, easily digestible topics.

Generally the free versions of our courses will give you access to the first lesson.

Teaching is delivered through a series of narrated videos, made up of a combination of explainer slides and on-screen demos, backed up with user tutorials.

How are the courses structured?

All courses are built using an enterprise-level Learning Management System, ensuring a great learning experience.

Any lesson or topic can be paused, skipped or reviewed at any time.

How long do I have access to a course?

The subscription/paid courses will give one year of access per named user.

What are the course pre-requisites?

For our ‘Intro to FEA…’ courses, a basic knowledge of strength of materials and CAD modeling is recommended.

For our more advanced courses (e.g. ‘Intro to Non-Linear FEA…’), if you don’t have experience with MSC Apex and MSC Nastran, we’d recommend that you take an ‘Intro to FEA…’ course first.

What software will I need access to?

You’ll be able to follow all of the online teaching material with no software.

However, you’ll get more from the tutorials, if you have access to MSC Apex and MSC Nastran, which is available here as a time-limited free trial from the software developer Hexagon.

Take Your FEA to Another Level

Whether you're new to FEA or looking at more involved topics, our courses will provide the foundation you need to take on next-generation simulation, all with MSC Apex and MSC Nastran!