FEA is used to analyze objects and systems that are of sufficient complexity that analysis with simpler closed-form analytical methods will not yield results of adequate accuracy, and permits the solution of problems which could not otherwise be solved. In practice, it is accomplished through the use of digital computers due to the very large number and size of the simultaneous equations required for most analyses.

A common use of FEA is for the determination of stresses and displacements in mechanical objects and systems. However, it is also routinely used in the analysis of many other types of problems, including those in heat transfer and fluid dynamics.

commercial FEA programs:

- ANSYS( A multiphysics FEA package)
- NASTRAN( originating from NASA'S FEA code)
- PATRAN (A very powerful pre&post Processor for all solvers commercially available)
- ABAQUS
- LS-DYNA (Originating from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories DYNA3D Code)
- LUSAS
- FRANC 2D&3D (for crack propagation analysis)
- FEMAP
- FEMLAB
- i-DEAS