Finite Element Analysis Explained Simply
You might have come across the term ‘finite element analysis’ many times when speaking with engineers. You may even vaguely understand what finite element analysis is and how it works to deliver dynamic solutions to your business. However, if you have no idea what those words mean, don’t worry. At Ettol, we’re proud of our commitment to being ahead of the game in the engineering industry. We’re always on the lookout for new technologies that will streamline our processes and deliver our clients the most accurate, detailed results possible. We have plenty of experience in working with complex computer-aided engineering (CAE) software that conducts finite element analysis services. So, we’ll walk you through the basics of dynamic finite element analysis, so next time you’re discussing the topic with one of Ettol’s engineers, you’ll be more in the know.
How Does Finite Element Analysis Work?
This is where our explanation becomes a little bit more complicated. Finite element analysis works by taking a problem and breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems. These micro-problems (also called elements) are then solved and reassembled into the bigger problem which is now, by extension, also solved. We do this by creating a representative model of your product that we can then use to analyse how the product will react when faced with various external conditions. To build a model, we first need to get information about the product.
- Basic geometry. Geometry is critical in conducting a finite element analysis, and it refers to the general shapes that make up the product. For example, the leg of a table may be a cylindrical shape.
- Definite loads and constraints. Loads are the weight or heat influxes your product will experience, and the constraints limit how your product can move.
- Mesh. The term ‘mesh’ refers to the material that fills the geometry of your product. Mesh can be steel, wood, rubber, sandstone, or any other material of which you can think. In our example of a table leg, you may choose wood as your mesh, or you may choose steel. You wouldn’t select rubber, as the table leg would then bend exactly like rubber.
- Elements. Within the mesh, there are elements. Elements can be 1D, 2D, or 3D depending on the product you’re analysing.
After all this information has been put into the computer, we can go about analysing the outcomes. We’ll be able to see the stressors, the energy content in strain, the deformed shape, and plenty of other useful information that we can then use to assess how your product will function under specific conditions.