Finite Element Analysis
What is FEA?
FEA or Finite Element Analysis is a method of analyzing a part or assembly to ensure performance integrity over the product's lifetime. A geometric model is created, using CAD software, a finite element model is associate with the geometry , the operating environment is defined, and the structural response (defection, stress, temperature, etc.) is computed and presented for display.
If the computed response - stress, for example - is greater than the allowable or maximum design value, the structure is re-designed ans re-analysed until an acceptable design is achieved. This re-design/re-analysis cycle can be automated via structural optimization.
What Are the Limits of Finite Element Analysis?
FEA has historically been used as an "analyst's tool." But dramatic advances in usability have brought FEA into the mainstream of design. The challenge is to simulate the "real world" in the computer. The boundaries of the "real world" have been pushed by the complexity of today's products, but the feasibility of performing sophisticated analyses on the desktop has increased proportionately.
In FEA, the primary goal is to determine how a component or assembly will respond to a given set of environmental conditions. The results of the analysis can be used to verify the performance and can also be used to improve and optimize the design. Of course, all of this relies on the assumptions that the design has been correctly modeled, the environment has been properly defined, and that the FEA software itself performs correctly.
Often the term accuracy is used in describing the results of finite element analysis. In this context, accuracy is not a measure of how well the system modeled real-world performance, it is simply a measure of how reliably the FEA software calculated a particular solution. The solution itself could be completely wrong due to errors in modeling the part or its environment, or errors in the software itself.
How does an engineer determine if he has "accurately" calculated the wrong answer? The answer: Engineering judgement, a skill that can never be dismissed.
With the use of SolidWorks Simulation FEA software, we can work directly with our customers Solidworks files to quickly optimize a design and therefore complete projects faster but with the confidence that only solid analysis can provide.