Finite element modeling in many ways is more like an art than a science since the quality of the results is dependent upon the quality of your model. One of the more common errors that a beginning finite element analyst makes in modeling is to simply simulate the geometry rather than to simulate both the geometry and the physical behavior of the real structure. The following modeling guidelines are provided to put a little more science back into the art of finite element modeling:
- Choosing the Right Finite Element
- The Best FEA Mesh Density for Accuracy and Speed
- The Best FEA Mesh Transition
- Making Sense of FEA Node (Grid Point) Stresses
- Properly Applying Loads to Finite Elements
- Taking Advantage of Symmetry in FEA
The above guidelines are by no means complete; however, they do serve as a good starting point. There is no better substitute for good modeling than experience. It is also good modeling practice to simulate and validate a new capability or a feature that you have not used before with a small prototype model before applying this feature to your production model. Model verification techniques will be covered in a future post.
More information about modeling guidelines can be found in Chapter 9 of the MSC Nastran 2012 Linear Static Analysis User's Guide.