The finite element method (FEM) is increasingly used for structural calculations. For the most part, FEM is used to calculate structural deformation, stress, fatigue life, vibration, or temperature. The manufacturing of a product may be simulated within MSC Apex, and one can calculate the acoustics, crash behavior, and many other disciplines.
The FEM model answers questions like “will the product satisfy the design requirements?”, "will the component fail?” or later “why did it fail?”. FEM is suitable for structures that go beyond a simple analytical formula representable geometry. The geometry is meshed, that is, divided into many small parts. These parts are called “finite elements”. The FEM solver processes these elements typically using matrix methods to produce the required results (deformation, stress, etc). FEM professionals, designers, and developers can quickly deliver results with FEM. However, some knowledge in engineering and/or physics is necessary to produce reliable results. The old adage “garbage in, garbage out” applies to FE models!
A linear static FEA calculation requires the following as a minimum set of inputs:
- The meshed geometry
- Material values (Young‘s Modulus and Poisson’s ratio)
- Loads (such as pressure or force)
- Restraints (usually needed, though methods exist to solve "unrestrained" models)
A linear static FEA calculation provides as results:
- Stresses (for metal parts, often comparative stresses such as Von Mises may be derived)
- Constraint forces
- Strains (internal forces, and further results derived from the above results)
MSC Apex provides a unified CAE platform for virtual product development that rethinks the current simulation process. The upcoming product release of MSC Apex Grizzly provides engineers with a robust and efficient tool for designing 1000+ part assemblies. Join our upcoming webinar, Thursday May 4th, 2017 and learn about enhanced modeling, linear analysis, and large model handling!