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# 2012

## King Saud University

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Yousef Rikli 428114302

[FINITE ELEMENT
ANALYSIS PROJECT]
Finite Element Analysis using ANSYS of a solid works CAD model of a flat bow of certain
dimensions and geometry.
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List of Figures ....................................................................................................................................................... 1
List of Tables ......................................................................................................................................................... 1
Introduction .......................................................................................................................................................... 2
1. Background information ............................................................................................................................ 2
Identifying the bow: ........................................................................................................................................ 2
Terminology: ..................................................................................................................................................... 2
Identifying performance criteria and ranges ................................................................................................ 3
Calculations: ...................................................................................................................................................... 3
2. Objective ....................................................................................................................................................... 4
3. Assumptions ................................................................................................................................................. 4
4. Analysis ......................................................................................................................................................... 4
Log ..................................................................................................................................................................... 4
Results and discussion ..................................................................................................................................... 9
5. Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................................10
Possible improvements .................................................................................................................................10
Extra resources ...............................................................................................................................................11
7. References ..................................................................................................................................................11

List of Figures
Figure 3: screenshot 2 (mesh) ............................................................................................................................. 6
Figure 4: screenshot 3 (mass, thickness and material) .................................................................................... 8
Figure 5: screenshot 4 (safety factor) ................................................................................................................ 8
Figure 6: screenshot 5 (strain energy) ................................................................................................................ 9
List of Tables
Table 1: collected bow properties. ..................................................................................................................... 3
Table 2: Tabular (time) force values. ................................................................................................................. 7
Table 3: comparing parameters of design models ........................................................................................... 9
2

Introduction
At the time which I was surfing the internet interested in bows and their types and prices, I came
across a CAD model by a student for a composite bow on the website grabcad.com, the design was
novel and from his imagination, mechanical design is but the critique of designs produced by the
unscientific imagination using mathematical calculations. FEA is the practical manifestation of said
analytical exact equations in a time-saving, accurate-enough machine compatible method. In this
project, I will use FEA based software ANSYS, to validate the novel bow design
i
posted by Dragos
Vasile Mitrofan
ii
on grabcad.com, in terms of structural integrity and its standing as a commercial
product.
1. Background information
Identifying the bow:
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If a bow is of rectangular cross section, it is called a flatbow, if the cross section is a circular or D-
shaped cross section, it would become a longbow, both those types are usually as long as the person
firing them. If the bow is made of several materials laminated together, it would be a
composite/laminated bow. If it is made of a single continuous piece of material (wood) it would
become a self-bow. And if the bow curves in the direction away from the archer at its edges it is
called a recurved bow.
The current design to be analyzed is and will stay a flat bow. Meaning the 3-part assembly will not be
changed or joined, the material will be single (for the limbs), the cross section rectangular, and the
bow limbs profile (side view shape) will not be changed.
Terminology
iv
:
- Draw weight (measure) - The number of pounds of force required to draw a bow twenty-
eight (28) inches.
- Flatbow (equipment) - A non-recurved bow with a rectangular cross section.
- Limb (equipment) - The upper and lower arms of a bow (also called limbs).
- Recurve bow (equipment) - A form of bow in which the unstrung tips curve away from the
archer.
- Grain (unit), a unit of mass equal to 64.79891 milligrams, 17,000 of an avoirdupois pound.
v

- IBO International Bow hunting Organization
- IBO Speed Rating -The IBO speed rating for a bow is reached by shooting a 350 grain
arrow at 70lbs of draw weight and 30 inches of draw length.
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- Draw Length - is the distance from the nock point to the throat of the grip plus 1 3/4".
vii

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Identifying performance criteria and ranges
Property Range Source Notes
Mass weight 3-4 Kg Online users
viii
1.2-2.3 Kg according
to 2007 database
Draw weight 60-70 lb. web source
ix
For large men
Arrow weight 5-10 grains/lb. draw web source
x
Usually 5 (350 grains)
IBO speed 260-355 fps
80-108 m/s
2007 Compound Bow
Specification
Database
xi

Couldnt find for
recurve bows.
material Ti-alloy, Al-alloy,
stainless steel.
Arbitrary (for analysis
convenience)
From ANSYS material
database
Axle-to-axle length 25-45 inch 2007 Compound Bow
Specification
Database
xii

Couldnt find for
recurve bows.
Max Kinetic energy 55-120 ft-lbs 2007 Compound Bow
Specification
Database
xiii

Table 1: collected bow properties.

Calculations:
- arrow speed: assuming the whole potential energy of the bow is transferred to the arrow as
kinetic energy:

- string tension force on each limb: for a bow of draw weight of

4

2. Objective
Assessing the structural integrity and market readiness for the bow model.
Structural integrity:
Safety factor should be 1.2 or higher.
Structural error should be less than 0.3.
Mesh size, aspect ratio and growth rate is acceptable.
Weight should be less than 4Kg
Arrow speed should be more than 80m/s.
3. Assumptions
a) Since the IBO speed rating over defines the physical unknowns for solving this model; draw
length will be dropped from consideration.
b) Bow limbs are symmetric and are under the same loading conditions.
c) Flat bows and compound bows are close enough in construction and concept to have their data
and specifications interchangeable (shared).
d) The bow handle is structurally safe and will not undergo any sort of analysis (except weight).
e) Considering the structural error self-imposed limit, any singularities will be ignored.
4. Analysis
Log
- Thickness 3mm and width 25 mm of bow limb couldnt parameterize.
- Set the geometry 2d and imported the bow limb only.
- Opened geometry and set units to mm
- Generated, error: attach failed Context: attach feature import1
- Reset geometry (3d) and repeated, generated; error; undefined base object same context.
- Reset geometry, set to 2d and imported whole assembly, set to mm, and generated; error:
attach failed.
- Deleted project, new one (3d), imported and generated, noticed selection for base plane, yet
ignored it, error: undefined base object.
- Retried limb in 2d with base plane, failed. Retried limb in 3d with choosing base plane,
success in generation.
- Selected under surfaces, chose thin feature and thickness=0, generated.
- Tried dimension and modify; couldnt.
- Opened model, units=mm, went to limb, details, thickness =3 and parameterized it,
mass=.268kg and parameterized it.
- Exited back to engineering data and added; Aluminum alloy, Stainless steel and
Titanium alloy.
- Updated model and opened it and changed material to al alloy, mass=9.47e-2kg.
- Right clicking while geometry allows adding thickness as feature, interesting.
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- Refreshed geometry yet no thickness, noticing a button in top of (thickness), strange since I
- Added the thickness in geometry= 3 and refreshed still dont see thickness for model,
continuing anyway.
- Added fixed reaction for base rectangular of limb.
- Adding force by component, assumed draw weight is 70lbf, assume each limb carry
half=35 lb. =16kg, assume angle at maximum draw is perpendicular to recurve tip surface,
force applied at edge=16*9.8=156N in +ive x-direction, rest zero. Maybe parameterize later
on.

- Insert solutions for max equivalent safety factor, equivalent stress, total deformation,
structural error and strain energy. And solving.
- Getting a warning The deformation is large compared to the model bounding box. Verify
boundary conditions or consider turning large deflection on. Refer to Troubleshooting in
the Help System for more details.
- Noticing that max deformation is 700 mm but animation is very subtle, turning the result
scale to 1.0 and seeing that it bends completely, and even extends in length horribly like
some piece of gum.
- Realize that I have to put the force direction changing with deflection to remain
perpendicular on surface and represent the bow string tension a bit more accurately.
- Notice max strain energy is 1.4J, seems very low; dont know if this maximum happens on a
node, element or what? Notice its place is same place as max error. Try to add total strain
- Notice structural error is highest (232mJ) in area right after the fixed boundary condition
rectangular, need to refine mesh there.
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- Min factor of safety is 0.2, very low. Parameterize.
- Add sizing to mesh, select fixed boundary rectangular surface, set element size 2mm, re
solve whole model.
- Notice solving whole model is fast, so generalize mesh size to all model.

Figure 3: screenshot 2 (mesh)
- Warning The default defeaturing tolerance was larger than one computed based on size
controls. The mesher has modified the global defeaturing tolerance accordingly.
- Parameterize min factor of safety and max strain energy, go back to parameters and enter
thicknesses 4, 5, 6 and 10 and run for all design points.
- Mass increases to .6kg, strangely enough strain energy and max strain doesnt change one bit,
need to go back and parameterize max deformation as well.
- Exit the parameterization study and not save it, lost whole project, thank god for writing
down those steps, start over again.

- Change force from constant to tabular (function of time), set intervals at 0.5sec increments,
assume first angle at t=o is -90 and force is y=-30N (string tension), 2
nd
angle is -67, in
which only half the draw weight is applied, resulting in y=-30-(156/2)cos22.5 and
x=(156/2)sin22.5. Finally at angle -45 (full draw) at t=1, y=-30-156cos45 and x=156cos45.
Exporting table:
Steps Time [s] X [N] Y [N] Z [N]
1 1 0 0 -30 0
2 1 0.5 30 -102 0
3 1 1 110 -140 0
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Table 2: Tabular (time) force values.
- Min SF is .54, increasing thickness to 5mm and solving.
- Min SF =1.5 and weight=0.26Kg.
- Exporting the strain energy data to an excel sheet and summing the strain energy for all
elements the result is a 10150J. We take it 10kJ to compensate for the singularity at the edge
- Using the equation

## and taking an arrow of 350 grains= 0.02268Kg, the velocity

of the arrow would be 939 km/h= 260.9 m/s, around 2.5 times the max arrow velocity for
commercial bows!!!
- Switching to aluminum and solving.
- I notice that this is only one limb of the bow, so going back, halving my forces and fixing the
equation of energy to give for both limbs. Also reducing thickness to 4mm since the load is
much lower now.
- Min SF was 3, so returned thickness to 3mm and switched material to Al-alloy and solved.
- Min SF=0.3, switching to Stainless steel and adding thickness=4mm.solving.
- Min SF is 0.44, increasing thickness 6mm solving.
- Min SF=1, increasing to 7mm and solving.
- Min SF is 1.4, total strain energy=460J, mass=0.6kg (for one limb only), max
structural error = 0.09.
- Plugging into equation for both limbs;

= 284km/h =79.1m/s
- Switching to Al-alloy and solving; Min SF is 1.8, max structural error is 0.07, mass is
0.2kg (one limb only), total strain energy is 1252J.
- Plugging into equation for both limbs;

= 470km/h=130m/s.
- Switching to Titanium and reducing thickness to 3mm and solving
- SF is 1.09, increasing thickness to 4mm and solving.
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Figure 4: screenshot 3 (mass, thickness and material)
- SF is 1.96, total strain energy=4952J, max structural error =0.31, mass is 0.2kg.

Figure 5: screenshot 4 (safety factor)
9

Figure 6: screenshot 5 (strain energy)
- Plugging into equation for both limbs;

= 935m/h=260m/s.
- Finding mass for whole bow, assigning handle material as stainless steel.

Results and discussion

Thickness of
limb (mm)
Factor
of safety
mass of
one
limb
(kg)
Total
mass
(kg)
Max
Structural
error
Strain
energy(J)
Arrow
speed(m/s)
Stainless
steel
7 1.4 0.6 1.1 0.09 460 79.1
Aluminum
alloy
7 1.8 0.2 0.79 0.07 1252 130
Titanium
alloy
4 1.96 0.2 0.91 0.31 4952 260
Set criteria Open x > 1.2 -
x <
4Kg
x < 0.3 - x > 80
Table 3: comparing parameters of design models
We can see in Table3 that for thicknesses of 7, 7 and 4 for stainless steel, Al-alloy and Ti-
alloy respectively, the CAD model fits (sometimes barely) the structural and market criteria
we set in the beginning.
For the mentioned materials and thicknesses we can say that the static safety factor is well
over 1.3 and hence safe, we can increase the thickness for stainless steel model if we want a
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bigger margin. All three designs are around a quarter of the designated maximum weight.
The structural error is less than a third of what is allowed for stainless steel and Al-alloy, but
a snippet above whats allowed for Ti-alloy, considering the generous factor of safety that
wouldnt be a problem. The strain energy stored by the stainless steel model is the least
among the three and its arrow speed is almost reaching the set minimum limit, an increase
in thickness would increase the stored energy and hence the arrow speed. The Al-alloy is
more than one and a half the required arrow speed, and the Ti-alloy model gives an
impressive 260m/s arrow, more than three times what is required and by far faster than any
arrow shot from a conventional commercial bow.
The results for the arrow speeds are almost too good to be true, but that may be due to the
assumptions they operate within and not an error in the numerical calculation.
5. Conclusion
The project can be summarized in 3 main steps;
1- Researching all there is about bows, their mechanics, performance, and selling points; from
users, manufacturers and standard-setting organizations.
2- Setting the geometry and model as simple and accurate as possible, focusing mainly on a
good mesh profile.
3- Choosing the important values to parameterize and trying out combinations to generate
design models, and putting them against the desired criteria and within the set constraints
and assumptions.
In the end, if the assumptions for this project are sound, the three design models are structurally safe
and are competitive in matters of commercial specifications.
Possible improvements
a. Convergence check (for mesh independency).
b. Consider changing the cross section into a circle or a D-shape, like a long bow.
c. Consider a laminated/composite bow. A simple setup would be to fix two strips of
different materials together, the outer good for tension and the inner good for
compression.
d. Consider an economic analysis, including material and machining cost.
e. Could use symmetry for limb, but solving speed was acceptable and symmetry
would cause more calculations load-wise, so was neglected here.
f. The model could be solved as a 2D model given that we take the base 2D surface to
be the side profile of the limb, such that the variable direction-force would always
be in the 2D plane.
g. Refine the area of application of the cords tension force.
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Extra resources
Lab experiment to determine arrow speed experimentally
(http://www.physics.csbsju.edu/RPEG/no_paper/handouts/arrow.shot.html )
Research paper studying non-linearity in compound bows
(http://physics.mercer.edu/petepag/combow.html )
Autodesk Mechanical Event used to optimize a compound bow
(http://www.algor.com/products/analysis_replays/compoundbow/default.asp )
Olympic recurve bow parts and functions
(http://www.wellesley.edu/Activities/homepage/archery/Equipment/equipment.html)
Types and configurations of recurve bows (http://www.squidoo.com/recurvebows )
Specs and nomenclature (compound bow)
(http://mathewsinc.com/bows/mathews-101/specs-101/#pw )
thorough consideration of the parameters and their effect on compound bow performance
(http://www.huntersfriend.com/bowselection.htm )
Online calculators for Kinetic Energy, Arrow Weight and FOC (forward of Center Balance)
( http://www.stickemarchery.com/stickemcart/archery-calculators.aspx ,
http://www.goldtip.com/calculators.aspx )
Critique of the difference between IBO speeds and real arrow speeds
(http://www.bghi.us/index.php?x=bowspeed )
World archery rule book (http://www.archery.org/content.asp?id=1023&me_id=827 )
AMO (Archery Manufacturer's Organization, currently ATA) full bow manufacturing
standards, 1968. (www.outlab.it/doc/amostd.pdf )
7. References

i
ii
iii
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bow_shape
iv
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_archery_terms
v
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grain_(unit)
vi
http://mathewsinc.com/bows/mathews-101/specs-101/#pw
vii
http://www.yeoldearcheryshoppe.com/drawlength.php
viii
http://www.archeryinterchange.com/f12/bow-mass-weight-vs-holding-weight-27040/
ix
http://www.yeoldearcheryshoppe.com/drawlength.php
x
http://www.huntingnet.com/staticpages/staticpage_detail.aspx?id=15
xi
http://www.huntersfriend.com/2007-Bow-Reviews/compound-bows-sorted-by-ke-output.htm
xii
http://www.huntersfriend.com/2007-Bow-Reviews/compound-bows-sorted-by-axletoaxle.htm
xiii
http://www.huntersfriend.com/2007-Bow-Reviews/compound-bows-sorted-by-ke-output.htm