Sensitivity information is often of interest in engineering applications (e.g., gradient-based optimization). Heat transfer problems frequently involve complicated geometries for which exact solutions cannot be easily derived. As such, it is common to resort to numerical solution methods such as the finite element method. The semi-analytic complex variable method (SACVM) is an accurate and efficient approach to computing sensitivities within a finite element framework. The method is introduced and a derivation is provided along with a detailed description of the algorithm which requires very minor changes to the analysis code. Three benchmark problems in steady-state heat transfer are studied including a nonlinear problem, an inverse shape determination problem, and a reliability analysis problem. It is shown that the SACVM is superior to the other methods considered in terms of computation time and sensitivity to perturbation size.

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