A Quick Overview about Finite Element Modeling

Finite Element Modeling is a lucrative way for designing a trial product. In most of the cases an empirical testing including modal analysis and dynamic response testing is always done for authentication of the result derived from FE modeling experiment. The main objective of FE Model is to provide a fair idea how a model/structure/equipment will react under stress. FE model can be of a big structure or it can be a prototype of a small component but in both the cases the objective of making these models is to decipher the accuracy of the model and its efficiency of performance.

An FE model is comprised of system of points and these points are called nodes. These nodes form the proposed shape of the design to be analyzed. Finite elements are found connected to these nodes and this connections form the mesh containing the material and structural properties of the model. Mesh analysis is the straight way to understand /speculate how the FE model will react under the stressed conditions. The density of the FE mesh may vary throughout the material and it depends on the anticipated change in stress levels of a particular area. The regions which suffer from high changes generally require a higher mesh density than those which experience little or zero-stress variation. Other than mesh, the general points of interest may include the analysis of material, fillets, complex detail, corners, and high-stressed areas of the target FE model.

FE modeling pattern can be created by using one dimensional, 2 dimensional, or 3-diamnetional elements. By using shells and beams in lieu of solid elements a representative model can be generated using limited number of nodes without compromising precision. Each of FE modeling system needs a completely different range of properties to be defined. For example, focus is kept on factors like

  • Bending stiffness
  • Moments of inertia
  • Section areas
  • Torsional constant
  • Plate thickness
  • Transverse shear

There are generally two types of FE analysis used in industry: Accordingly Finite Element Modeling is planned like 2-D modeling, and 3-D modeling. While 2-D modeling preserves cleanness and allows the FE analysis to run on a relatively normal computer but often it compromise on accuracy of results. 3-D modeling, on the other hand procures correct results while it runs best on the fastest computers efficiently. Within each of these FE modeling schemes, the programmer can insert numerous algorithms (functions) which may make the system behave linearly or non-linearly.

To replicate the effects of practical working environments in FEA, different load types can be applied to the FE models, which include:

  • Nodal: forces, displacements, moments, velocities, temperature, accelerations, and heat flux
  • Elemental: dispersed loading, temperature, pressure, and heat flux
  • speeding up of body loads (gravity)

Benefits of FE Modeling:

FEA is used in new product design, or to improve an existing product, and to make sure that the target design is capable to perform at par specifications prior to start manufacturing process in real. With FEA we can

  • forecast and develop product performance and consistency
  • decrease physical prototyping as well as testing
  • assess different designs and diverse kinds of materials
  • Optimize designs and decrease material usage.

Finite Element Modeling is the process where the objective of FES gets fulfilled. If FEA is the platform of a technique, FE modeling works as its gateway.

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