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0701 Swan

0701 Swan

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www.SandV.com
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SOUND AND VIBRATION/JANUARY 2007
Take a look around. Much o what you see has, in some smallor large way, been simulated on a computer prior to production.Numerical simulation helps build sae bridges, improve gas mile-age, and guide the manuacture o plastic parts. It ensures thathand tools will not break, that computers will not overheat andthat knee joint replacement components will not ail.Numerical simulation comes in many orms. It ranges rom theanalysis o an individual part, such as a bolt, to the simulation o anentire system, such as a chemical processing plant. It can involvestructural analysis, electromagnetic analysis, heat transer, or uiddynamics. Structural analyses, including predictions o mechanicalstress, deormation, and vibration, make use o a technique calledFinite Element Analysis, or FEA. This technique has served as thecornerstone or Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) or decades.
An Overview o Finite Element Analysis
In 1943, Richard Courant began to develop structural simulationtools to study vibration. His work was quickly ollowed by broaderdevelopment work in the aerospace and automotive industries.Over the years, the application o FEA has grown to include thestudy o loading, ailure limits, material response, thermal ap-plications, and more, in industries that range rom nuclear powerto healthcare. As an example, FEA can be used during the designo a bridge by civil engineers who need to know how the bridgewill respond when it is flled with cars. For a given set o load-ing conditions, the analysis would indicate how much the bridgestructure would deorm and whether or not any o the componentswould break under the imposed load. Cost-cutting measures, inthe orm o ewer supports or less expensive materials, could also be analyzed.The frst step in perorming an FEA simulation is the creation o ageometric model on the computer. There are many computer-aideddesign (CAD) packages on the market today that can be used orthis purpose. Typically, CAD models are 2D or 3D representationso the system o interest. However, in some cases, beam or shellmodels are used. The next step is the creation o a mesh. Thisprocess breaks up the model into smaller fnite regions, calledelements, where the local response (be it deormation or someother result) under all possible deormations are computed andstored. The points where the elements connect are called nodes.For example, i the response o a ladder to a person standing on itwere under analysis, the ladders’ rungs and legs may be separatedinto individual elements or study. The weight o a person would be applied to the rungs o the ladder, that is to say to the specifcelements o the analysis that are being loaded, on which the per-son is assumed to be standing. The analysis then computes howthe rest o the ladder, the legs and other rungs, would respond toand distribute that person’s weight. Element shape varies basedon the type o problem being solved. For a 2D problem, trianglesand quadrilateral elements are typically used. For 3D problems,the options are 4-sided tetrahedra, 6-sided hexahedra, prisms, orpyramids. During the meshing process, the element attributes arealso defned. The attributes include behavioral actors, materialproperties, and section properties. This inormation is used togovern the physics and guiding equations to be used in the analysis.In general, the element type is selected based on the type o loadingand geometry under examination. For example, line elements o the“beam type” might be used to model bolts, while those o the “3Dtype” are used to model more complicated structures that cannot be modeled with simpler elements. Once the element types arechosen, the model’s geometry is flled with those elements, creat-ing a mesh. During the analysis process, the governing equationsare solved or each node wherethe elements connect.The accuracy o the solutiondepends, in part, on the meshdensity, or number o elementsused to ill a given volume.Up to a point, greater solu-tion accuracy can be achievedwith higher mesh density.The beneits o higher meshdensity must be weighed,however, against the cost o the increased computationalresources needed to solve theproblem. I 
governing equa-tions are solved or each nodein a particular model, the totalnumber o equations solvedwill be
multiplied by thenumber o nodes. I a particular part is meshed with 10 nodes, andi 6 equations are solved or each node, then a total o 60 equa-tions would be solved overall. While this is not unmanageable ona basic computer, mesh sizes today can grow to include millionso nodes and elements, so that many millions o equations needto be solved or a single analysis.The calculation itsel begins with prescribed load conditions,such as the mechanical or thermal loading on each element. Dur-ing the solution, the stiness matrix or each element is calculated by solving the governing equations and combined to produce thetotal stiness matrix or the entire structure. For the ladder case,the mesh elements or the rung o the ladder on which a personis assumed to be standing would have the weight o the personas well as the rung’s weight applied to them. These loads arereerred to as the structure load vector. The simulation calculatesa orce balance in the overall system, i.e. all the ladder’s nodesand elements, by solving the total system o equations. This may be a direct or iterative solution. As one can imagine, this type o example can be scaled to something larger as well, or example a bridge’s structural analysis. For a thermal analysis, the elementswould have load vectors in the orm o heat uxes or constraints interms o nodal temperatures, and an overall energy balance would be sought. In this manner, the FEA calculation allows the engineer
Using Finite Element Analysis orContinued Product Improvement
John A. Swanson
, ANSYS Incorporated, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
Model o a ladder (let) and (right) ladder rungs and legs broken down intoindividuol elements and nodesThis simulation reects the eect o loading a building roo with snow.The image on the let is the original mesh, with red arrows that depict theloading direction. The contour plot on the right depicts the simulation’sdisplacement results.
 
www.SandV.com40th ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
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to examine a system’s response to mechanical or thermal inputsand thereby assess the associated capabilities and limitations o the system to those conditions.
The Growth o FEA with Computational Power
Historically, enhancements to FEA capabilities have been driven by consumer needs and ongoing advances in computer technology.Consumer needs have driven the development o physical models.Increased computational speed and power have allowed modeldevelopment to enter the realm o increasingly complex analysis.In addition, the alling cost o computational resources coupledwith user-riendly interaces has resulted in a rapid growth inthe number o people who use FEA sotware. As a result, FEA isnow playing a larger role in the product design cycle, where thescope o problems analyzed is continuing to expand. Indeed, therelationship between the evolution in sotware engineering andthe evolution in computational capacity has been one o inter-dependence, where each has played a role o driving and beingdriven by the other.Advances in computational resources include those in hardwarecapabilities, operating systems, sotware development, and graph-ics capabilities. High perormance computing has evolved romlarge mainrames to desktop mini-computers and workstations,to personal computers, and more recently, to networks o shared-and distributed-memory computers and supercomputers. Duringthis evolution the speed o computing has increased dramatically,cutting the time required to solve a typical FEA problem rom daysin 1980 to minutes today. Graphical user interace (GUI) advanceshave made it possible to use FEA sotware to reerence large quanti-ties o printed documentationIn conjunction with these technological developments, FEAusage has advanced as well. In particular, there have been shitsin the demographics o those who run structural simulations andin the types o analyses they tend to perorm. The increased easeo use has attracted a broader consumer base. Whereas the earlyadopters o simulation technology were highly-trained specialists,generalists and even non-engineers use FEA today. As the group o end users has grown, so has the demand or new analysis capabili-ties, tools and models. The scope o simulation has matured romsingle-component analyses to multiple-component assemblies, andto entire systems analyzed or cost, reliability and perormance.The role that FEA has played in the product design cycle hasexpanded rom simple ailure analysis to design verifcation, todesign guidance and optimization. Today’s FEA is a tool that playsa key role in engineering design and ollows a product through itsentire lie cycle.
The ANSYS Story
Marty Mundy
, ANSYS Inc., Lebanon, New Hampshire
An eective FEA sotware company must be able to meet thechanging needs o the engineering community while incorporatingthe expanding technology o the day. These goals must be met inan environment where eective business practices prevail. Theability to change course as external actors change is also critical.One company that has demonstrated a leadership role in the FEA business world is ANSYS, Inc. o Canonsburg, PA.The ANSYS story parallels many o the entrepreneurial suc-cesses that dot the American business landscape. Like many beorehim, Dr. John Swanson, company ounder and chie technologist,had a dream – that one day, all products would be designed,tested, and manuactured using the computer. During the 1960s,Swanson served as manager o structural design at WestinghouseAstro-Nuclear Laboratories. There, he used FEA to solve struc-tural problems or the nuclear industry. He reasoned that i hecould integrate the mathematical equations he used at work withemerging computer technology, his dream would be ulflled. Dr.Swanson envisioned the time when the computer would replacethe engineer’s handbook, just as calculators had supplanted sliderules. Using computers, engineers could predict the eects o stress,temperature, pressure, and motion on a design, instead o investingin expensive prototypes and testing. He oresaw these develop-ments not only because o the technology promises o the day, but because this technology could serve to slash design costs, shorten
ANSYS is used to simulate the structural response o details like welded connections on oshore patrol vessels when subjected to cyclic loading and environmental conditions. (Image courtesy o Howaldtswerke-DeutscheWert AG.)FEA is used to analyze structural problems, such as this spring plate ex-ample. Such simulations take into account actors such as contact betweencomponents and loading in order to predict displacement. (a) The initial mesh and confguration o the spring plate assembly is comprised o twocomponents: a vertical plate on the right side o the mesh which, when pressed, compresses the spring, which is on the let side o the mesh. (b)This contour plot reects displacement results calculated by FEA or eacho the components.ANSYS Mechanical is used to optimize design solutions such as lightweight,high integrity helicopter landing grids. (Image courtesy o Weir Strachan & Henshaw and NATO Pictures.)

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