Sunday, 20 November 2016

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Technology in Engineering

I have been involved in engineering simulation for 10 years. In past during my collage days, when I was studying in engineering, a good part of my course looked at the fundamentals of structural analysis such as strength of material, mechanics of machine and so on. We had spent an enough amount of time manually calculating the deformation and stress results of a beam element and trusses problems. I had learned two major things from this exercise. FEA was incredibly useful for real world engineering problems. I could get an engineering answer to a reasonably realistic problem by using the FEA technology approach. FEA software is must if you want to do this on a more meaningful way. FEA technology gives you, answer to an engineering problem very faster and optimize than any other way. From engineering point of view, you always wary about-

What about if the hole is bigger or smaller in the design? What if I made it out of aluminum instead of steel, or if the load increased or decreed?

To get the answer about all these question, you need a model that can be setup to Finite Element Analysis. Once its set up, run the simulation to get answer each of these questions.

Even with the fastest solver available now a days to solve the problems, if it takes a long time to build a model then total time to getting results might be restrictive. But, if you able to set-up an FEA model efficiently and get from geometry to solution as fast as possible depends on everything in between. So, performance definitely relies on solver speed, but also on usability and productivity of the FEA software and engineer. The most common question and problem occur in FEA to determining the stress intensity factors of a load applied on a model. This can be in the form of a structure analysis, solid mechanic analysis, dynamics, thermal analysis, electrical analysis, bio-materials, etc. Generally, FEA technology is used to calculate the component displacements, strains, and stresses result under internal and external loads conditions applied on the model. Most of the FEA calculations involved metallic components and can be analyzed by either linear or nonlinear stress analysis. The selection of the linear or nonlinear analysis, depends upon the stiffness and loads on the design.

FEA calculations and simulations are done in CAE/FEA software like ANSYS, SIMULIA/Abaqus, SOLIDWORKS Simulation and so on. A model is designed in a CAD software like CATIA, Inventor, Creo, SOLIDWORKS and imported into CAE software to be analyzed. By using FEA technology, never have an exact answer or solution of an FEA problem. It gives us approximate solution of engineering problems.

FEA is an important part of the product design and development process. It identifies where problems may occur in a product or component. FEA mathematically calculates the problematic areas of a model, and reduce the time and efforts to create a physical prototype. You can not make modification in prototype testing, easily and it you do it again and again then will increase the cost of the test. Same time prototype testing does not provide the numerical information but FEA testing gives you all the numerical information about the product testing to make the product development process easy.
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