Overcoming FEA Roadblocks - Creating a Useful FE Model
Scott Wertel posted on July 09, 2013 | 6581 views

Continuing the series on Overcoming FEA Roadblocks, the second webinar discusses how to Create a Useful FE Model and demonstrates how tools such as FEMAP can help users reach the finish line.

There are three major roadblocks to creating a useful FE model:

  1. Mesh Creation and Control
  2. Boundary Condition Definition
  3. Solver Integration

Mesh Creation and Control

Any first-year analyst knows that a good mesh is key to a good result. The analyst also knows that accurate results run contradictory to fast solve times. Running against design deadlines, the analyst must have custom control over mesh sizing in order to increase density in areas of high stress and decrease density in areas of low significance.

But mesh density is not the only criteria. Even the best meshers create elements of undesirable quality. Those elements can disrupt solutions or produce inaccurate results. Meshers must have tools available to inspect the mesh quality and model integrity. If problems are found, tools are needed to be able to edit the mesh interactively (in near real-time) or repair the geometry that is causing the bad mesh.

Boundary Condition Definition

One of the major difficulties with simulation is the fact that in order to get real-world results, the FE models often don't look anything like the real world. Take an old technique as an example. Even when no thermodynamic loading is present in a system, bolts get simulated preload by applying a temperature differential to them. Bolt preload is simple, but more difficult interactions require more sophisticated tools to setup. 

One example of complex boundary conditions is combining results from one analysis as input into another analysis. For example, the results from a thermodynamic analysis need to be applied to a structural analysis in order to determine internal stresses caused by a temperature distribution. Another complex interaction is when two components are separate, but may come into contact after a limited amount of deflection. These interactions need to be defined within the FE model.

Solver Integration

The final roadblock to creating a useful FE model is solver integration. There are many solvers and which one is used depends on the type of analysis being performed: linear vs. nonlinear, implicit vs. explicit, dynamic vs. static, thermodynamic, or fluid flow. Rather than having to learn a unique pre-processor for every solver, finding the right pre-processor that integrates with any solver results in more proficiency in a single tool and the cost avoidance associated with maintaining a single application.

Learn how to overcome the obstacles and how the tools in FEMAP are specifically designed to create useful finite element models by watching the replay of the webinar.

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Then, tune in on June 23, 2013 at 2:00 EDT to watch the next webinar discussing how to make sense of FE analysis results.

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