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Designers Intro to FEA-II

Designers Intro to FEA-II



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Published by Prithviraj Daga

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Published by: Prithviraj Daga on Aug 04, 2009
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Designers intro to FEA, Part II
September 14, 2006FEA classes spend a little time on theory and hours on commands and features.
Paul Dvorak Senior Editor
A tensile load on the plate produces displacements and von Mises stresses.A modal analysis produced the first four natural frequencies of vibration and their associated modes in an unsupported valve plate.
Deforming a beam supported by immovable hinges (top) may significantly change itsstiffness due to membrane stresses, thereby requiring nonlinear analysis even whendisplacements are small. If one hinge is movable (bottom), membrane stresses won’tdevelop and linear analysis may suffice if displacements are small.That's OK, but users work more confidently when they have a firm grip on the science behind the software. Hence, this second part of 
 A designers intro to FEA
. (The firstappeared in the Aug. 10, 2006 issue.) It's useful to review correct terminology, examinehow developers have organized the software, and learn what it can and cannot do."Structural analysis is a good place to start this review because it divides into differentsimulations based on whether loads and supports are time dependent or not," says PaulKurowski, president of 
Design Generator Inc.,
London, Ontario, Canada(designgenerator.com
). "If loads and supports do not change with time, it is staticanalysis. And it's dynamic or, more properly called vibration analysis, when loads, or supports, or both are time dependent. Vibration analysis is further divided into severaltypes based on the nature of the time dependency. The most frequently encountered typesinclude time response, frequency response, and random-vibration analyses."Thermal analysis is also classified as to whether or not thermal loads are time dependent."Unchanging thermal loads and boundary conditions point to a steady-state thermalanalysis. Changing thermal loads and boundary conditions require a transient thermalanalysis," he adds.
Structural and thermal analyses can also be linear or nonlinear. "Linear structural analysisassumes model stiffness, as described by a stiffness matrix [K] in FEA math, does notchange with displacements caused by applied structural loads or supports. The stiffnessmatrix is calculated from structural shape, material properties, and applied restraints or supports. The matrix characterizes a structure's response to applied structural loads," saysKurowski.Linear thermal analysis assumes temperature changes caused by applied thermal loads or  boundary conditions do not change the model's conductivity, described by theconductivity matrix [C] in FEA math."Nonlinear analyses are quite another matter. Nonlinear structural analysis requiresgradually applying loads while the software repeatedly recalculates the stiffness matrixduring deformation," says Kurowski.In nonlinear thermal analysis, changing temperatures can change the conductivity matrix.This requires dividing a solution into many steps. The conductivity matrix is thermallyanalogous to the stiffness matrix. It is calculated based on a structure's shape, material properties, and applied thermal-boundary conditions."The four most commonly preformed types of analyses are linear static, modal, linear  buckling, and steady-state thermal," says Kurowski. (Linear buckling and steady-statethermal will be covered in the next installment.)
Linear-static analysis
is often called static analysis because loads are not timedependent. "In linearstatic analysis, the structural-stiffness matrix is calculated just oncefor the original undeformed shape and is not updated during displacements under loadwhen the model is deformed. Therefore, to solve a linear-static-analysis problem, analystsneed only solve a set of linear algebraic equations once, even though there may be manyof them," he adds.Typical outputs for static analyses include displacements and stresses. "Displacements arevectors with three components in a 3D model. Users often plot resultant displacementsrather than their 
, and
components," he says.Stresses in 3D models are tensors and so have six components: three normal and threeshearstress components. "A scalar-stress measure called von Mises is often used togenerate stress plots. Von Mises stress takes the magnitudes of all six stress componentsand calculates one value. The equation for von Mises stress is:

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