Finite Element Analysis
This is an increasing aspect of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) as desktop computational ability has increased. The most common use of FEA is for the structural integrity of new designs – checking that they are fit for purpose.
All FE methods involve 2D or 3D models being divided up into a finite number of mathematical elements (Mesh) with a system of applied loads and constraints.
The simplest and most commonly used method, with the given material elastic / plastic properties, a stiffness matrix is constructed for the entire Mesh whereupon the forces are internally determined for each element. In turn, this leads to calculations of deflection, strain and subsequently stress for each element and presented as the results along with the global deformation and force reactions.
Balancing density of mesh with time and accuracy is often covered with a mesh convergence routine.
It is potentially costly and dangerous if the application of FEA is not treated with care. The adage, ‘garbage in garbage out’ cannot be more appropriate when using this method. To increase confidence in the results obtained, it is important to compare them to approximate hand calculations – a rough idea of a result ought to be known prior to accepting a FE prediction.
Predicted values of stress must often be rationalized to account for sharp changes in geometry and not taken as a true value.
Many CAD packages have expanded to encompass a FE code as a natural progression of a design with the aim to further reduce prototype / production errors.
Matters Mechanical has trained, learned and used several FEA codes over many years – the learning and application of sound inputs have produced results that have stood the test of time and durability.
Matters Mechanical is proficient at
• Altair, HyperMesh, HyperView, OptiStruct
• Ansys’ WorkBench
• SolidWorks’ Simulation