MSC Updates FEA, Fatigue, Material and NVH Simulation Technology
Shawn Wasserman posted on November 10, 2016 | 4152 views

Simulation specialists will note that MSC Software (MSC) has been quite busy over the past few weeks. Within quick succession, the computer-aided engineering (CAE) vendor has released new versions of much of its portfolio.

So, let’s see what’s new from the world of MSC’s Marc, Patran, Nastran and Actran.


MSC Nastran 2017: Non-Linear Dynamics and Vibration Fatigue

One improvement to MSC Nastran that will interest many engineers is the inclusion of vibration fatigue for the embedded fatigue tool.

Pre-stressing, fan blade out and windmilling of a jet engine. (Image courtesy of MSC Software.)
Pre-stressing, fan blade out and windmilling of a jet engine. (Image courtesy of MSC Software.)
The Nastran embedded fatigue tool helps engineers assess the expected life of their designs without exporting simulation data into other post-processing software. This added functionality will allow engineers to study fatigue analysis in the frequency domain. Engineers will also be able to set both random and specific vibrational loads when performing the assessment.

The team at MSC has also updated its automated component mode synthesis’ (ACMS’) parallel modal analysis tool. The tool assesses dynamic systems and will now be able to include superelements into the analysis. Superelements are a grouping of processed finite elements. They are typically used in the analysis of large designs in transportation industries.

Additionally, engineers now need 20 to 30 percent less memory to process solid element models. This will further speed up an engineer’s ability to assess large models with ACMS given current computational resources.

Important to engineers creating designs for the transportation industries will be MSC Nastran’s improvements for rotordynamics analysis. The software has improved accuracy for 2D and 3D assessments of rotors by incorporating mass and speed correction terms. These terms will take into consideration the inertial and gyroscopic effects of unbalanced masses in the rotor design.

Engineers designing rotors will also be able to incorporate structural damping when assessing complex eigenvalues or frequency responses. These engineers will also be able to perform a modal complex eigenvalue analysis and complex frequency response analysis using axisymmetric harmonic, solid and shell elements.

Other improvements to MSC Nastran 2017 include:

  • Non-parametric variability method to assess acoustics between 300 Hz and 1,500 Hz with a Monte-Carlo simulation
  • Topology optimization that accounts for stress constraints
  • Results database based on Nastran’s HDF5 standard
  • Glued contact for adhesives, bolts, rivets, seam and spot welds
  • Multi-processor computations of fluid eigenvalues


MSC Patran 2017: New Look Unites Windows and Linux Users

As for Patran 2017, users will be introduced to a redesigned user interface (UI). The new look will marry the feel of the Windows and Linux versions. However, MSC hopes that the look and feel of the UI will be similar enough to the previous version so as not to cause much confusion.

Instead, the redesign focuses on improving the framework and graphics of the UI. For example, users will note a new spreadsheet widget and changes to the way that Patran windows will dock and undock.

Other improvements to Patran’s UI includes:

  • Changes to XY plotting
  • HDF5 result file format support
  • MSC Nastran Embedded Vibration Fatigue pre- and post-processing support


Marc 2016 Introduces New Material Models for Complex Simulations

Isolation device undergoing a non-linear frequency response analysis. (Image courtesy of MSC Software.)

Isolation device undergoing a non-linear frequency response analysis. (Image courtesy of MSC Software.)

MSC also announced some new functionality to Marc 2016, which is not to be confused with the software’s 2017 release. Perhaps some branding consolidation is in order?

The release improves Marc’s non-linear multiphysics simulation capabilities by introducing new material modeling capabilities as well as data fitting tools for material characterization.

For instance, Marc 2016 users can now create advanced elastomer models by coupling their model to experimental data. The data fitting tools will then determine all the necessary parameters for Bergstorm-Boyce, Payne and thermorheologically simple viscoelastic materials. Engineers will save quite a lot of time when characterizing their material properties by coupling their test data to the simulation instead of doing all the data crunching manually.

Phase transformation data during a quenching process. (Image courtesy of MSC Software.)
Phase transformation data during a quenching process. (Image courtesy of MSC Software.)
Other improvements to Marc 2016 include:
  • Segment-to-segment contact overcomes body ordering limitations of node-to-segment contact
  • Fewer local mesh refinements needed when they are based on contact detection
  • Mobile icons for common tasks
  • Improved associativity between CAD and finite element discretization with respect to material, geometry and contacts
  • Imprint geometry of entities onto other solids for mesh congruency
  • Model up to five phases at once
  • Predict material hardness, strength, residual stress, and final distortion after manufacturing
  • Five new methods to model flow stress vs. plastic strain, strain rate, temperature or user-defined parameters
  • Johnson-Cook damage model to predict damage progression of metals at high strain rates and temperature


Actran 17 Improves Its Acoustic, Vibro-Acoustic and Aero-Acoustic Simulations

Acoustic noise radiation of a truck. (Image courtesy of MSC Software.)

Acoustic noise radiation of a truck. (Image courtesy of MSC Software.)

Finally, MSC recently announced the release of its noise simulation software Actran 17.

The release includes the ability to assess transient aero-acoustic simulations. To do this, MSC has included an extension to the time-domain solver.

As a result, engineers can now assess noises created by designs when they are outside of their steady states. The sounds of machinery and electronics warming or revving up might sound cool in the movies; in the real world, not so much.

MSC also added mesh adaptivity to Actran 17 for both structural surfaces and equivalent-fluid material, such as porous structures. Therefore, the solver will create optimal meshes for vibro-acoustic simulations which will help to reduce computational times.

Other improvements to Actran 17 include:

  • Stochastic noise generation and radiation methods (SNGR) parallel computational performance when assessing aero-acoustic noises from steady-state RANS CFD simulations
  • Mumps solver performance improvements
  • Support for Nastran OP2 files with multiple local coordinate systems
  • Turbulent boundary layer (TBL) excitation in plane waves can now be synthesized
  • Space application pre-processing wizard
  • Energetic post-processing tool for large structures to assess large and high-frequency applications

To learn more about MSC’s simulation technology, check out its computational parts CAE tool: MSC Apex’s Eagle Release Focuses on Connections.

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