Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Finite Element Method (FEM


Compressor valve cover

Examples Coal processing plant pipes

Mowing blade

How do you solve an Engineering Problem? • Engineers are faced with complex problems and use many methods in order to solve those problems including classic and numerical methods. • As shown below, the finite element methods is one of several methods for solving engineering problems.




Method of solving Engineering Problems
Historically, two classical approaches have been used: Classical Method • Closed form solutions are available for simple problems such as bending of beams and torsion of prismatic bars. (eg: Roark’s Formulas for Stress and Stress) • Approximate methods using series solutions to governing differential equations are used to analyze more complex structures such as plate and shells.
“If you can solve your problem using a closed form solution and a classical method, it is probably the best way to do it”

the another approach is to take a complex problem and break it into simple problems. • A good example is found in the long history of the efforts to calculate Pi (π) . • Those simple problem are solved and then assembled into a final solution.How do you solve a complex Engineering Problem? • When a problem becomes more complex than what can be solved with a closed form solution.

Example of FE approaches .• People spent centuries breaking the circle up into smaller triangles to find an accurate value of Pi (π).

Example of FE approaches .

Example of FE approaches .

loading and boundary conditions – Increasingly become the primary analysis tools for designers and analyst – Also known as matrix method of structural analysis in the literature because it uses matrix algebra to solve the system of simultaneous equations.Method of solving Engineering Problems Numerical Methods • FEM – Capable of solving large. complex problems with general geometry. – Real power is in its ability to solve problems that do not fit any standard formula. .

(Zeid. 2011) . 2004) • numerical analysis technique for obtaining approximate solutions to a wide variety of engineering problems.FEA Definition • computational techniques used to obtain approximate solution of boundary value problems in Engineering ( 2005) • one of several numerical methods that can be used to solve a complex problem by breaking it down into a finite number of simple problems (NeiSoftware.

Before FEA…? .

Fundamental Concept • Based on the idea of building a complicated object into small and manageable pieces. simpler pieces. . • The assembly of nodes and elements are called finite element model. • The smaller pieces are called elements which are connected by nodes. • It is a method of investigating the behavior of complex and structures by breaking them down into smaller.


. The three basic types of finite elements are beams (1D).Types of Element • Finite elements have shapes which are relatively easy to formulate and analyze. shells (2D) and solids (3D).

Other examples of 1D elements .

Other examples of 2D elements .

Other examples of 3D elements .

The following steps show in general how the FEM works. • 1. Create the Finite Element • 2. step-by-step process.How does FEM Work? The solution of a problem domain by FEM usually follows an orderly. Generate Global Stiffness Matrix equation • 4. Apply Boundary Conditions • 5. Develop elemental matrices and equation • 3. Solve for the unknown at the nodes .

How does FEM Work? (an example of 2D element) 1. • Element are connected to each other by nodes 4 nodes 1 element . Create the Finite Element • A given problem is discretized by dividing the original domain into simply shaped element.

1D elements v 2D elements 3D elements .

2. Develop elemental matrices and equation • The relationship between an element and its surrounding nodes can be described by the following equation 1 2 • *Each of the element will have their own set of equations. .

{u}.What is [K]. {F} ? Problem Type .

Generate Global Stiffness Matrix equation • The individual Elemental Stiffness Matrices are assembled together into the Global Stiffness Matrix by summing the equilibrium equations of the elements. • This result in the following Global System Matrix Equation for the overall structure: .3.


4. Apply Boundary Conditions • Next. Mathematically this is achieved by removing rows and columns corresponding to the constrained degrees of freedom (DOF) from the Global System Matrix Equation ux = 0 uy = 0 uz = 0 F1 = ? F2 = ? F3 = ? . the BC’s (Loads and Constraint) is apply to the model.

the Global System Matrix Equation is solve to determine the unknown nodal values. Solve for the unknown at the nodes • Finally.5. [K]{u} ={F} {u} = [K]-1{F} • *This requires knowledge in Matrix Algebra. .

fluid flow) .Advantages of FEA • General enough to handle large class of engineering problems (stress analysis. electromagnetism. heat transfer.

Force = 100lbs) .Mistakes by user • Elements are the wrong type (eg: Shell 2D elements are used where solid elements are needed. • Distorted elements • Inconsistent units (eg: E = 200GPa.

Best Practices .

. The more refine the mesh (grid).” The FE solutions are often approximate.. • “Any results obtained is the correct one. loads and boundary conditions..Common misconception • “The FE solutions is the most accurate. the more accurate. There is no guarantee that the results are accurate.” The FE solution may contain “fatal” errors as a result of incorrect modeling of structures. Even a nice picture can give the wrong result… • “FEA replaces testing…” Depends on the confidence in the analytical methods used.

Typical FE Procedure by commercial software user Preprocessing Build FE Model computer Process Conduct numerical analysis user Postprocessing See and interpret the results .

• Import / Create Geometry • Define Element Types (1D. v – Poisson’s Ratio etc) Pre • Define geometric properties Processing • Apply Boundary Conditions (Constraint) • Apply Loads • Solve for displacements • Compute Strains • Compute Stresses FEA General Procedure Solution • • • PostProcessing • • Sort element stresses in order of magnitude Check equilibrium Plot deformed structural shape Animate dynamic model behavior Reports . 3D) • Define Material Properties (E – Young’s Modulus. 2D.

• The computed values then used by back substitution to compute additional derived variables (i.Pre Processor • Also know as model definition • This step is critical – a perfectly computed FE solution is of absolutely no value if corresponds to wrong problems. garbage out” Solution • FE software assembles the algebraic equations in matrix form and computes the unknown values. • “garbage in. the most important objectives is to apply sound engineering judgment in determining whether the solution are reasonable or not . • While solution data can be manipulated many ways.e reaction forces. element stresses etc) Postprocessor • Analysis and evaluation of the solution results.


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