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2011 Seventh International Conference on Computational Intelligence and Security

Correlation Factor Analysis of FEA Model Simplification Methods of Printed


Circuit Board
ZOU Su1, LI Chuan Ri1, XU Fei1, QIAO Liang1
1 School of Reliability and Systems Engineering, Beihang University
Beijing, P.R. China
E-mail:chys0816@126.com,lichuanri @buaa.edu.cn,daniel_srse_buaa@yahoo.cn
(1) Simple Method: This method ignores the influence of
components added on the substrate mass and stiffness, so the
entire printed circuit board is considered as a substrate.
(2) Global Mass Smearing: The method takes the quality
of the entire printed circuit board into account, and uniform
mass universally. The equivalent density is equivalent to
ratio of the quality of the printed circuit board and substrate
volume.
(3) Global Mass / Stiffness Smearing: The equivalent
stiffness and equivalent mass of components is considered
on printed circuit board.
(4) Local Smearing: The local equivalent stiffness and
equivalent mass is solved on local area.
(5) Detailed Finite Element Modeling: Establish a
complete finite element model directly on the printed circuit
board, including components and connection details.
Above five methods, the first 3 methods are unable to
simulate the vibration characteristics of electronic PCB
assembly accurately; and the 4th seems inadequate in the
analysis of PCB's frequency response and fatigue life
estimates; the 5th methods excessive drawback is calculated
too much although can analyze the force and deformation in
various locations of printed circuit boards. Since many
systems have large number of printed circuit boards and the
structure is complex, directly establishing FEA digital
prototyping meets difficulty on the time-consuming
calculation. Therefore, the establishment of digital
prototyping FEA work is often in the computing complexity
and modeling accuracy trade-off dilemma.
During this period, R.A.Amy[4,5]considered the modeling
simplification of the PCB assembly and the problem of
accuracy, and gives a strong focus on the error resulting from
simplification and input variables. First, a random
simplification model is selected as a benchmark; then
different degrees of simplification are obtained by changing
the input parameters; finally calculate different simplification
combinations to get the deformation (curvature) error of the
board assembly. It founds that the boundary constraints,
thickness, mass and stiffness of PCB assembly have a
significant effect on the deformation (curvature).

AbstractAiming at the failures of aviation electronic


equipments which experienced vibration load, the simulation
on vibration characteristic of the printed circuit board is
presented using the finite element analysis software ANSYSWorkbench. Various input factors that may have correlation
with the modal frequencies and mode shapes of the PCB are
studied by the illustration of an avionics printed circuit board.
The contrast study mainly focus on the PCB material
parameters, meshing conditions, different model reduction
methods and means of contact constraints. The principles of
simplifying FEA model are acquired through the sensitivity
analysis of various factors on the frequency error. The
experience on of electronic products is accumulated, and the
accuracy of failure prediction is ensured by using the results of
vibration response.
Keywords-Vibration dynamic
modifying; ANSYS-Workbench

I.

simulation;

FEA

model

INTRODUCTION

Long life and high reliability aviation electronic


equipments are usually subjected to a harsh vibration
environment, and it turns into an important tool to predict the
failures. Based on PoF [1] (failure of physics), the failure
prediction method is the current research focus. The method
of study has 3-steps: establish the finite element model first,
then get the vibration responses using the finite element
analysis technology, and lastly obtain the failure prediction
results according to the corresponding failure mechanism
models and failure criterion. Accuracy of PCB assembly
modeling is expected the basis of failure prediction of
avionics.
This paper studies a number of modeling simplifications
of PCB assembly FEA digital prototypes, and modifies FEA
digital prototypes through experimental modal analysis. The
main factors that impact the modal information of digital
FEA prototyping are figured out. The sensitivity analysis of
factors that impact the simplified method is emphasized so
that to help making the model parameter adjustment during
the modeling modification. At the same time a reasonable
principle of FEA modeling simplification is given. The work
accumulates experience on dynamics simulation for
electronic products, and would be able to get more accurate
results of the dynamic response in the next failure prediction.
II.

III.

Considering these issues, this study first identified the


influential factors of the digital prototype of FEA, which
include: material parameters, meshing,
modeling
simplification and contact types. Then the sensitivity analysis
of these factors is figured out on the influence of the
dynamic characteristics of PCB assembly level.

CURRENT STATE OF THE ART

For early modeling method on circuit board assembly,


the core is smear [2,3] with the following five methods:
978-0-7695-4584-4/11 $26.00 2011 IEEE
DOI 10.1109/CIS.2011.326

RESEARCH METHOD

1461

Studying the dynamic response of the PCB assembly


behavior, we first consider the inherent dynamic
characteristics (including modal frequencies, mode shapes
and damping ratio). After identifying the mode information,
we can calculate corresponding acceleration or displacement
response results depending on the input vibration load.
Due to the modal frequency is more sensitive in the
modal information, so we take the analysis method focusing
on the frequency error as output factors. The larger the error,
the greater influence the input factors make.
During the process of sensitivity analysis, we focus on
impact analysis of the results to summarize a reasonable
principle of simplifying FEA model. The final destination is
to use FEA model directly to get reasonably accurate digital
prototype vibration simulation results.
IV.

SOP

9.2*6.3*1.6

10

DIP-6

8.9*6.4*3.0

V.

RESEARCH ON FEA MODEL MODIFYING METHOD

In determining the structure of the system, we can use


finite element analysis software ANSYS-workbench for
analysis. As the model has been built in CAD software,
directly inputting the model can effectively improve the
design efficiency and quality. This section mainly makes
sensitivity analysis about various factors which affect the
vibration mode of the circuit board information, so that to
explore a reasonable FEA model modifying method.
A. Material Parameter
The material parameters affecting the dynamic
characteristics of the printed circuit board mainly involve:
Young's modulus, density and Poisson's ratio. In order to
study the sensitivity of this three parameters, their own errors
are chosen as independent input variables; and the first order
natural frequency errors of the board are chosen as the output
variable for analysis; the other variables that may impact are
all fixed as constant, the result is shown in Figure 2, which
the density range investigated is 1500kg / m 3 ~ 3300kg / m 3 ,
the range of Poisson's ratio is 0.17 ~ 0.35 , the range of
Young's modulus is 10.0GPa ~ 28.0GPa .

RESEARCH OBJECT

Research object is a printed circuit board with 23


components, an electrical connector, 2 pulling ears and 2
locking bar, which specifically shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Research objectthe PCB assembly

Roughly the shape of the printed circuit board size is:


170mm * 149mm * 2mm. Material is provided according to
GB/T4725-1992 copper clad epoxy glass laminate, with a
total weight of 218g. In order to expedient analysis, the
selected extent of components is that: the mass is greater
than 0.5g; the characteristic length is greater than 7.3mm.
Specific component information is shown in Table 1. The
shape dimension of electrical connector is approximately
133.5mm * 10.0mm * 12.5mm. And the connection type is
selected for welding. The exposed lead of the electrical
connectors is ignored, while the uniform mass block is used
to build the main body.
TABLE I.

Figure 2. Relationship between error of 1st order frequency and density,


Poisson, Youngs modulus

In the figure, a single curve represents the influence on


the frequency resulting from the change of a single factor
error. We can see that as the factor error value increases, the
Young's modulus curve show obvious increase, the density
and Poisson's ratio curve is decreasing. According to the
slope of the curve, we can see that the changes of Young's
modulus and density show greater influence on the board
first-order natural frequency, while Poisson's ratio affects
little.
The error of the Z-axis frequency value show that
material parameter factor has a great impact, improper
selection can even make the error of the first-order natural
frequency to 1.5 times. So during the model simplification
process we should first determine the material parameters. In
general, based on the demand of board design, the density is
obtained using = m V , not building small components
with the average mass smearing to the board. Young's
modulus can be obtained from a mechanical test reference

COMPONENT INFORMATION ON PCB

No.

Package

amount

shapemm

SMC

7.3*4.2*2.8

QFP

29.1*29.1*2.7

PGA

27.9*27.9*2.6

DIP-16

21.3*6.9*4.1

SOP

9.7*4.4*1.2

DIP-8

10.3*7.8*4.0

DFP

16.0*9.6*2.5

CFP

10.2*6.7*1.7

1462

value, and then make modification according to the modal


test results within a certain range.

a reasonable way for PCB assembly to ensure the mesh


quality.

B. Mesh Control
Controllable factors in meshing include: element types,
element size (grid density), and mesh method. ANSYSworkbench gives a powerful meshing. By different meshing,
the solving results are often different. If meshing is too
sparse, the error of results would be relatively large; while
too dense, it would cause a waste of computing resources.
The element type of the printed circuit board is selected for
shell181, for the reason that this type of shell elements can
be more efficient to draw hexahedral mesh, and the results
are more accurate. Mesh method use a combination of three
control methods: automatic, Multizone sweep method and
Hex dominant method to ensure the quality.
The following study will focus on the sensitivity analysis
of the element size. The natural frequency of the printed
circuit boards is affected by the change of the element size
independently. Comparing table is shown in Table 2, and
results are shown in Figure 3.

C. Modeling Simplification of Components


This section will discuss the dynamic characteristics
change of the circuit board caused by the different model
simplification methods on components. The component
shape modeling approach and the component selection
standard based on mass and feature size is mainly concerned.
Making a simple explanation, that is to study whether to
build the various components model. If built, then which
kind of modeling can get a reasonable dynamic result. If not,
how to determine the component selection standard.
1) Comparison on Component Shape Modeling
Approach
The following analysis involves the 23 components
including all listed in Table 1. Different modeling methods
produce different contact area and density of the
components, and to a certain extent, affect the contact
stiffness and quality of printed circuit board, which would
result in different modal information. Here discusses the
comparison of two modeling methods: mass block modeling
method: the model of components is simplified into a
rectangular shape, and the mass and stiffness of components
themselves are equivalent into the box; welding-band
modeling method: the lead and pin of components would be
modeled with a look like welding-band, only which have
contacts with the printed circuit board. Two modeling
methods of FEA model are shown in Figure 4.

TABLE II.

No.
1
2
3
4
5
6

Element size
mm
10
5
4
3
2
1

COMPARISON OF ELEMENT SIZE

Element
amount
1165
2352
3471
5778
12765
25285

1st order
frequencyHz
145.27
138.66
138.10
136.32
135.11
134.47

Figure 4.

Mass block model (left) and welding-band model (right)

Take the same printed circuit board material parameters


and mesh methods, the results of the modal analysis are
shown in Table 3. The contrast of vibration modes represents
through MAC (modal assurance criterion) correlation matrix.
The first six order mode shapes results of two modeling
methods are extracted, and the vector matrix which
composed of the eigenvectors of the same coordinates is
calculated. The resulting histogram is shown in Figure 5.

Figure 3. 1st order frequency of PCB vs. amount of mesh elements

It can be seen from the results above, reducing the


element size, that is, divide a denser grid, will reduce the
first-order natural frequency value of the circuit board.
However, after the element size is greater than 2mm, the
increase of the first-order natural has been less than 1%.
Then increasing the density of grid would increase the
number of elements sharply with only little change of
frequency results. This shows that the element size can be
guaranteed proper results at a certain level, without excessive
pursuit of grid number in engineering project.
Here the thickness of 2mm is based on the circuit board
to select the element size. So the set of element size can refer
to the thickness of the board. The use of three mesh methods
above can guarantee hexahedral dominant meshing which is

TABLE III.

COMPARISON OF MODAL FREQUENCY RESULTS ABOUT


TWO MODELING METHODS
st

Model
Mass
block
Weldingband

1463

1
order(Hz)
140.0

2nd
order(Hz)
266.8

3rd
order(Hz)
331.1

Element
amount
13773

149.6

269.7

336.4

26793

board. This is proved that the frequency error is less affected,


and it would be the reasonable simplified principle of a
model.

Figure 6. Absolute value of frequency error vs. mass ratio

3) Comparison Analysis of Feature Size Ratio


The feature size (maximum between the length and width
of component) ratio is similar to mass ratio analysis and also
select five feature size levels for comparison. The component
less than its feature size level would be smeared to the
printed circuit board, and greater would establish the block
entity model. The first order frequency results of
comparative analysis are shown in Table 5. The curves of
feature size ratio and the absolute value of frequency error
are shown in Figure 7. It can be seen, the error has a smallest
value when feature size ratio is near 12%.

Figure 5. Histogram of MAC matrix

From the modal results comparison of the two modeling


approach, it can be seen that the modal frequencies and mode
shapes results are almost the same by the use of mass block
or welding-band modeling methods. If no need to make
further research on the force of components, only concerned
about the dynamic structural characteristics of the circuit
board, then it is sufficient to choose the mass block method
to meet the accuracy requirements, and can effectively
reduce the number of elements to improve the computational
efficiency.
2) Comparison Aqnalysis of Mass Ratio
This part gives 5 mass levels from min to max of the 23
components on the PCB. Each component would be built
according to the level. The one whose mass is less than the
level would be smeared to the printed circuit board without
being built solid model, and whose mass is greater than the
level would be built as a mass block. Mass ratio is obtained
by the mass level divided by the total mass of PCB. Then the
frequency error is got by the absolute value of the FEA
modal frequency results minus the modal test results. The
first order frequency results of comparative analysis are
shown in Table 4.
TABLE IV.

TABLE V.

COMPARISON RESULTS BETWEEN 5 DIFFERENT FEATURE


SIZE LEVELS

No.

1
2
3
4
5

Feature size
level
(mm)
29.1
21.3
15.9
8.9
7.3

Frequency
(Hz)
115.41
136.63
139.42
140.73
140.00

Feature
size ratio
(%
17.12
12.53
9.35
5.24
4.29

Absolute value of
frequency
error(Hz)
14.5
6.70
9.49
10.8
10.1

COMPARISON RESULTS BETWEEN 5 DIFFERENT MASS


LEVELS

No.

Mass level
(g)

Frequency
(Hz)

1
2
3
4
5

10
7.2
1.1
1
0.3

115.41
135.11
138.68
139.80
140.00

Mass
ratio
(%)
4.59
3.30
0.50
0.46
0.14

Absolute value of
frequency
error(Hz)
14.5
5.18
8.75
9.87
10.1

Figure 7.

Absolute value of frequency error vs. feature size ratio

Model simplification methods mainly concern the


influence on mass M and stiffness K of PCB resulted from
components model. The change of these two parameters will
directly affect the modal frequency and mode shape results,
while the extent of simplified model determines the solver
time. In this balance between the accuracy and the difficulty
of solving, the comparative analysis of modeling gives
reasonable principles for proposal. The shape of components

The curves of the mass ratio and the absolute value of the
frequency error are shown in Figure 6. It can be seen, the
first three frequency error curve are all shaped as a tub.
When mass ratio is near 3 percent, the error has a smallest
value. Through the mass ratio sensitivity analysis, we can get
component modeling principles on mass: keeping the
constant material parameters and uniform mesh method, the
choice of mass level is 3% of the total mass of printed circuit

1464

Which PCB card has a similar Structure can have a good


reference.

FEA model using a mass block is reasonable and effective.


The selection of component following the mass ratio and
feature size ratio can be taken into account synthetically; we
can choose the complement of two factors. The reference
value given here is that the mass ratio is greater than 3% of
the total mass of PCB and the feature size ratio is greater
than 12% of the total PCB feature size.
4) Contact Type
Locking bar and electrical connector connect the printed
circuit boards and chassis together. The way of modeling and
contact would affect the vibration mode frequency and mode
shape of the printed circuit board under clamped state.
ANSYS-Workbench can set linear contact mode to
Bonded or No separation. Bonded is the default type
which can be understood as bonding, not allowing separation
or sliding. No separation does not allow separation
between the surface contact areas, but along the contact
surface it can exit a small friction-free sliding. Here the
locking contact surface between the printed circuit board and
chassis support plate is set to No separation, electrical
connectors and sockets are set to Bonded.
The EMA modal testing and FEA simulation results of
clamped state are shown in Table 6, Figure 8
TABLE VI.

Order
1st
2nd
3rd

VI.

COMPARISON OF THE FIRST 3 ORDERS FREQUENCY VALUE


BETWEEN MODAL TESTS AND SIMULATIONS

Modal tests
Hz
228.95
365.22
526.66

Simulation
Hz
213.4
375.58
552.3

CONCLUSIONS

By sensitivity analysis of various factors which affect the


dynamic characteristics of the printed circuit board, the
principles of simplifying FEA model are summed up as
following:
(1) Material parameters: based on the demand of board
design, the density is obtained using = m V , not building
small components with the average mass smearing to the
board. Young's modulus can be obtained from a mechanical
test reference value, and then make modification according
to the modal test results within a certain range.
(2) Mesh: shell elements are suggested using for the
circuit board; element size are recommended according to
the thickness value of the circuit board; comprehensive
selection of mesh control to hexahedral dominant mesh will
be get better results.
(3) Modeling simplification of components: according to
the mass and feature size ratio to choose which components
need to build.
(4) Contact type: try to ensure constant contact area,
make the contact type match the mechanical characteristics
as much as possible.
Starting from FEA model modifying, this paper makes a
research on sensitivity analysis of the various factors which
affect the dynamic characteristics. Giving the results of the
relationship between various factors and the error, the
principles for the FEA modeling simplification are proposed.
It has accumulated valuable experience on directly use of
design information for the future establishment of the FEA
model. So we can get the simulation dynamic characteristics
of electronic products conveniently and accurately, and
ensure the use of vibration results in follow-up failure
prediction.

Frequency
error(%)
6.79
2.84
4.87

REFERENCES
[1] M. Pecht and A. Dasgupta, Physics-of-failure: An

[2]

[3]

Figure 8. Comparison of the first 3 orders mode shapes between Modal


tests and Simulations

By the comparison of modal frequency and mode shape,


we can see that through a series FEA model simplification
method of material parameters, mesh control, simplified
method of components modeling and contact type, the
reasonable and accurate dynamic characteristics results of
printed circuit board under clamped state could be obtained.
This statement is needed that the sensitivity analysis in
this paper is for a particular piece of printed circuit board.

[4]

[5]

1465

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The Smeared property technique for the FE vibration
analysis of printed circuit cards, ASME Journal of
Electronic Packaging 113 (1991) 250257.
R.A.Amy, G.S.Aglietti, Guy Richardson, Simplified
modelling of printed circuit boards for spacecraft
applications, Acta Astronautica 65 (2009) 192201.
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