FEA Of Structural Composites


Ettol’s knowledge in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in combination with access to industry-leading software packages such as ANSYS Mechanical and ANSYS Composite PrepPost (ACP), enable Ettol to provide detailed assessments on various structural composites.


  • To design and engineer a cylindrical tank that stores wastewater under atmospheric pressure
  • Structural assessment considered fluid pressure, environmental, lifting and transport loading.
  • Design incorporated the effects of fabric shapes and fabric effects (such as wrinkling and fibre orientation around a body) in order to not only simulate the strength of the tank more accurately but to optimise the use of the material and reduce the amount of material offcuts.


  • FEA preparation, mesh construction, and material selections were completed using ANSYS Spaceclaim, ANSYS Mechanical and ANSYS Suite, respectively.
  • At this point, ACP (Pre) was then used to build the composite material (including layer materials, layer arrangement, and fibre orientation) – fibre orientation corrections were then made by use of ACP’s Draping function.
  • ANSYS Mechanical then imported the plies constructed in ACP to then be used for structural assessment. Here, loading and restraints were specified in ANSYS Mechanical along with all solution outputs.
  • In addition to tradition solution outputs such as deformation, stress and strain, ANSYS’s Composite Failure Tool could then be used to further assess the structure by knowing the type of failure mode that is critical at any location.
  • Assessment could then be made upon the strength, stiffness and composite failure, applying stiffening where required.


With significant knowledge in FEA and access to top-tier powerful software packages Ettol is able to achieve the following outcomes when given the opportunity to analyse structural composites:

  • Time Savings – The ease of preparation, parameter specification, and material construction known to our software packages in addition to the development of our skills over a significant number of FEA related projects, allow Ettol to meet targets within a timely manner.
  • Accuracy – The ability to accurately represent real-world orientations and shapes of structural composites allow significant increases in the accuracy of our assessments in comparison to simplified conservative methods of analysis.
  • Complexity – Powerful preparation software allows minimal limitations to the complexity of structural composite components.
  • Optimisation – Composites layers and orientations can be optimised both across entire structures and localised areas of high or low strength.
  • Compliance – Knowledge of relevant standards (such as ASME RPT-1) allow Ettol to provide composite designs that are compliant with a wide range of relevant standards specific to the application.