The general working of FEA involves the steps:
Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a powerful numerical method used to simulate and analyze the behavior of complex engineering systems. It is a computer-based technique that breaks down a complex system into smaller, simpler parts, called finite elements, and analyzes their behavior under certain conditions. FEA is widely used in the design and analysis of structures, components, and systems in various industries such as aerospace, automotive, civil engineering, and many others.
The general working of FEA involves the following steps:
- Preprocessing: In this step, the geometry of the system is created and discretized into finite elements. This is done using specialized software that allows the user to create a virtual model of the system. The geometry can be created from scratch or imported from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software.
- Material properties: Once the geometry is created, material properties are assigned to each element. These properties include elastic modulus, Poisson’s ratio, density, and thermal conductivity, among others.
- Boundary conditions: The boundary conditions define the constraints and loads applied to the system. This includes fixed supports, forces, and moments, among others. The boundary conditions are applied to the relevant nodes or elements in the model.
- Meshing: In this step, the finite elements are meshed, which means that they are connected to each other at their nodes. The size of the mesh elements can have a significant impact on the accuracy of the results. Therefore, it is essential to choose an appropriate mesh size based on the geometry and complexity of the system.
- Solver: Once the model is created, the FEA software solves the equations that govern the behavior of each element. The solver uses numerical methods to solve the equations, such as the finite element method, the boundary element method, and the meshless method, among others.
- Postprocessing: In this step, the results of the analysis are reviewed and interpreted. The results can be visualized in various ways, such as stress contour plots, displacement vectors, and deformation animations. The results are used to evaluate the performance of the system and to identify potential design improvements.
FEA has become an essential tool in the design and analysis of complex engineering systems. It allows engineers to simulate and analyze the behavior of a system under different conditions, which can be difficult or impossible to do with physical testing. FEA can help to optimize the design of a system, reduce costs, and improve performance and safety.