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Mechanical

Uploaded on

06 Sep 2022

Beginners Guide to Finite Element Analysis (FEA): Types, Applications

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Skill-Lync

Finite Element Analysis is based on the Finite Method, a technique that predicts behaviour of mechanical systems with the help of software tools. FEA is commonly used in automotive, aerospace, and civil engineering industries. 

 

What is Finite Element Analysis?

Calculations, models, and simulations are used in finite element analysis (FEA) to forecast and comprehend how a component might deform under various physical conditions. Engineers rely on FEA to detect drawbacks in their preliminary designs.

 

The finite element method (FEM) is a numerical technique used in FEA. It divides an object's structure into a finite number of elements and each are connected to adjacent element by nodes. Engineers, programmers and other designers can use the algebraic equations produced by the FEM to carry out finite element analysis.

 

What is Finite Element Analysis?

 

FEM is a prevalent tool that physicists or core engineers use as this method enables the application of physical laws to real life more practically and precisely. Engineers deploy this technique to predict the behaviour of a component during design phase itself.

 

How Does Finite Element Analysis Work?

FEA is a mathematical operation. There are several FEA element types used for different application. You can employ more durable quadratic elements (QUAD/HEX) or simpler triangular elements (TRI/TET) when meshing plates. The elements can all be quadratic or linear (the second computing longer but with nice perks in return).

How Does Finite Element Analysis Work?

FEA simply breakdowns a complex and large structure into much tinier and more manageable systems. The breakdown is done so that you can fully understand the smaller components and be able to forecast how the large, complicated structures will respond to all stresses and strains. The FEA operations consist of the pre-processing, solution and post-processing steps consecutively. 

The preprocessing step is where simulation is set up. For easier calculation, the model (entity that needs to be solved) is broken down into simpler elements using the finite element method. For example, a model of a bar is broken down into pieces of simple cuboids or triangles. As a result, preprocessing operations involve breaking the problem down into smaller components. In this step, several model parameters are also defined.

The finite element programme calculates the unknown values of the fundamental variables by assembling several governing algebraic equations in a matrix form. To calculate other variables, the computed values are further substituted and computed.

In the post-processing stage of finite element methods, output variables are best analysed, organised, and illustrated for effective interpretation. To display the result in the most understandable manner possible, the postprocessing solver uses a variety of sorting, printing, and charting techniques.

By addressing all the mini sections of that web-type mesh, you can better determine how that complete structure will react in different circumstances. An important poit to remember is the more smaller the elements the more accurate the results are.

 

Types of FEA Analysis

As you all know, FEA helps you better understand a complex structure by breaking it into smaller elements.

  • FEA structural analysis: In this type of FEA, you must understand the effects on the density of a fluid.  
  • Thermal Engineering Analysis: This helps to predict how temperature variations will impact the part performance of a structure. As you all know, machines, engines, electronic circuits, everything releases heat while functioning, and thermal engineering analysis comes into play here. 
  • Linear Static Analysis: Since a linear analysis does not consider huge displacements and elastoplastic materials in addition to linear elastic material, the superposition effect cannot be used with a non-linear analysis (infinitesimal strain theory).
  • Modal Analysis: Finding the natural mode shapes and frequencies of an object or structure during free vibration is the aim of modal analysis in structural mechanics. It is typical to use the finite element method (FEM) to undertake this study. The modal analysis produces the same kinds of equations that are found in eigensystems.


Types of FEA Analysis

 

Application of FEA (Finite Element Analysis)

FEA, or Finite Element Analysis, has many applications as this technique, and almost all core industries are using it. Automation, aerospace, civil, and structural design sectors are the most common areas where FEA comes into play.

 

  • Automotive Industry

FEA software has tons of applications in the automotive industry. It helps better assessment of all the design components of an automobile, such as suspensions, bodywork, etc. It also helps in virtual crash tests.

 

  • Civil Engineering and Structural Design

This technique has the maximum usage in this sector. It helps to determine how buildings, bridges, roads, and structures react in different conditions. Thus, FEA helps to develop all these buildings and bridges with complete safety. 

 

  • Industrial Equipment

FEA software is highly used in the designing and making of industrial equipment. For example, it helps predict how much external and heat pressure different pipes, tanks, and vessels can bear. This helps to create better pipes, tanks, and other types of equipment. 


Advantages of FEA

 

Advantages of FEA

Finite Element Analysis has many advantages as it helps scientists, engineers, physicists, and almost all core industries in one way or another. One can gain insights into the component's behaviour by performing simulation and extracting results.

  • It helps to predict physical stresses of an object with accuracy. 
  • It helps to enhance any component in its design phase to get a better product. 
  • FEA helps in fast calculations and needs relatively low investments.
  • It helps in the optimised use of models. 
  • It helps industries to increase productivity and revenue, as FEA allows developers to create better products in less time. 

 

Conclusion

The process of simulating a physical component virtually using the Finite Element Method is known as finite element analysis, or FEA (FEM). Although FEA's origins can be traced back to the sixteenth century, Schellback's work in 1851 is the first true application of FEA. For the following 100 years, mathematicians and other academics were the main users of FEA. Real-world applications of FEA started to emerge in the automotive, aerospace, and civil engineering sectors with the emergence of digital computers.

Now more than ever, FEA may be used by consumers.  For more updates like these, stay tuned to Skill-Lync


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Anup KumarH S


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