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Think about your problem

Finite Element Modeling: Analysis and Design
Daniel Tortorelli

What are you modeling? Why are you modeling it? How are you modeling it? How are you validating it?

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Why are you modeling it?

Illustrate it (or similar object) in its environment What do you expect to learn? Buckling load Maximum displacement Fatigue life Effect of dimensions, material properties, etc. on the above Make design recommendations on Dimensions Material choices

What are you modeling

Illustrate your CAD model Show orthographic views Show pertinent section views Show isometric view


General modeling considerations How are you modeling it?

General modeling considerations Finite element considerations Do not muddle general & FEM modeling details
Geometry (Illustrate) Plane stress, plane strain Axisymmetric (loads need not be) Reflection symmetry planes (loads need not be) Cyclic symmetry Periodicity


General modeling considerations

Conservation laws Momentum/equilibrium, Energy Kinematics Small deformation theory Large deformation theory Constitutive relations Elasticity, plasticity, Fouriers law Isotropy, anisotropy Homogeneous, heterogeneous Provide details, show graph

General modeling considerations

Failure criteria Brittle fracture Yield Fatigue Boundary conditions (Illustrate) Loads (Illusrtate) Initial conditions

Finite element considerations

Element choice Number of elements (illustrate mesh) Number of degrees-of-freedom Loading enforcement Avoid concentrated loads Use surface traction and body loads

Finite element results

Deformed configuration Relevant contour plots Convergence plots

Boundary condition enforcement Time steps/stepping scheme Convergence criteria


How are you validating it?

Compare to experimental data Compare to the literature Perform convergence studies

Al 2014-T6 bracket analysis

Modeling goals
Loading of current design has increased Will it survive its environment? Can we make it lighter?

Mechanical drawings


Modeling assumptions
Plane stress assumption, Static equilibrium Small deformation assumption Linear elastic isotropic homogeneous material E = 70 GPa Failure mode: von Mises plasticity, MPa m

Modeling assumptions
Boundary conditions Zero displacement at wall Concentrated 1000N load at bolt center

1000 N

Finite element considerations

Bilinear quadrilateral elements ~600 elements ~1200 degrees-of-freedom Bolt modeled as stiff material E = 700 MPa

Von Mises stress on deformed configuration (scaled 15X)

Max. Stress location


Convergence study

Current design will not yield Make a more aggressive design

DOF 1200 4800 19200 174 185 203


Recommended Reading
Morris, A and Rahman, A., A Practical Guide to Reliable Finite Element Modeling, John Wiley & Sons, West Sussex, 2008
Download FREE from UIUC library Minimally peruse chapter 10

Design Optimization
Can we improve our design? What should we change? Can we improve it even more? Optimization replaces trial-and-error Hyperworks/Optistruct


Calculus example
Maximize the rectangle area subject to a perimeter constraint

NLP Algorithm

What we see
Make design a math problem Engineers are good at math problems Justify design choice in a sound manner Recipe Simulation to evaluate f and g Sensitivity analysis to evaluate and

Computational design algorithm

Initialize design

Simulations Sensitivity analyzes


NLP algorithm to traverse the design space




Optimize anything?
Matlab fmincon
Continuous design variables Differentiable cost and constraint functions Only requires three modules
Initialize d, dlower, dupper d= Fmincon(@costfunction, d,[],[],[],[], dlower, dupper, @constfunction Function f=costfun(d) Change input file reflect new value of d Call simulation program Read output file and retrieve cost-function value f Function g=constfunction(d) Change input file reflect new value of d Call simulation program Read output file and retrieve constraint function values g

Optimize anything?
Fit model parameters to experimental data
Inverse/identification study Loads Material properties Requires regularization term for stability

Gradient vs. zero-order methods

Gradient Converge in a reasonable number of iterations Satisfy optimality conditions Continuous design space Smooth cost and constraint functions Require gradient computations Local minimum (use multiple initial designs) Zero-order Genetic Algorithms, Neural networks, Simulated annealing Require o(10p) iterations, i.e. simulations (no gradients) Discrete variables Rough design spaces Global minimum (cannot be proved)

Finite Element Based Design

Cost function, e.g. mass Constraint function, e.g. maximum stress Design parameters, e.g. dimensions Each iteration requires FEA
Automated procedure eliminates model regeneration Automated procedure satisfies optimality criteria, e.g.


In addition to FEM
Specify design parameters Specify cost and constrain functions Show optimized design
Denote values of Plot Deformed shape Plot contours of stress measures, etc. Compare to initial design

Sizing design parameters

Physical properties Beam cross sectional area and/or inertia Plate thickness

Christensen & Klarbring

Shape design parameters

Linear combination of base shapes (Hypermorph) Node coordinates (Free shape)

Computational design environment w/ S. Chen 1994 Pro/Engineer solid modeler Feature-based modeling OCTREE mesh generator Pro/Develop API MSC/Nastran DSA DOT SLP


Analysis model
Quarter symmetry Initial mesh 2215 Tetrahedrons 4642 nodes Linear elastostatic FEA Steel Boundary conditions Big end: fixed Small end: distributed pressure Max von Mises stress 79 Mpa DOT SLP

Design model
Minimize mass 8 design variables Neck contour Wed radii Outer small end radius Web depth Stress constraint



Converges in 8 iterations 34% volume decrease Only initial user interaction Requires mesh generator Requires parameterization Applicable to other analyzes



Topology design parameters

Characteristic (indicator) function Density of each element

Topology Optimization
Specify length scale MINDIM (minimally thrice the larges element size)
Infinitesimal MINDIM


Smaller MINDIM

Specify cost and constraints

Create responses
Volume Displacement Stress measure

Hyperworks observations
Industry standard Surprising archaic,
but doable Many help/tutorial files

Shape optimization by
Morphing Free nodes

Define the objective (cost) function, i.e. choose a response Define constraint functions
Choose a response Specify an upper or lower limit

Topology optimization
Best to minimize compliance subject to a mass limit. Manually adjust mass limit until stress constraints are satisfied



Available on EWS machines Available from the webstore
Download both help11.0 and hw11.0 You will need to be on a network associated with the unversity (illinoisnet wireless for example) or connected through the vpn. ( You need to set the environmental variable LMX_LICENSE_PATH to Make sure to add a new one and not edit a previous one. For XP. For windows 7.

Hyperworks Helpful links How to get started

The 3d Simplfied FEM Process guide

View the How to Start the Process Manager Download 3D FEM Process Manager Download Download View the Simplified 3D Process Guide View the What is Happening in the Background View the Basic Introduction into Topology Optimization



Useful Hyperworks Help files

Launch HyperMesh Desktop Under User Profiles For Application select HyperMesh Click the OptiStruct radio button Click OK Click Help -> HyperWorks Tutorials Click the HyperWorks Solvers link

Useful Hyperworks Help files

Click the OptiStruct folder

Useful Hyperworks Help files

Click the Topology Optimization link

Useful Hyperworks Help files

Click the Design Concept for an AutomotiveControl Arm link



Useful Hyperworks Help files

Click the Topography link Click the Size Optimization link Click the Shape Optimization link

Recommended Reading
Christensen, P. and Klarbring, A., An Introduction to Structural Optimization, Springer, West Sussex, 2009
Download FREE from UIUC library