FEA: The Next Best Stress Analysis

By DH Glabe & Associates / August 17, 2017

The future of stress analysis has actually been around for over 60 years!

Finite Element Analysis (FEA), also known as Finite Element Method (FEM) is being used in the most modern applications, but the methodology has been effective for over half of a century.

What can it do for your company? Keep reading to get a brief overview.

What Is Finite Element Analysis (FEA)?

In a nutshell, the finite element analysis is a numerical method for solving problems in engineering and mathematical physics. It measures how a design will respond to weight, pressure and stress. Will it bend, break, or hold?

It's best used when analyzing problems involving complicated geometry, loads, and material properties when analytical solutions can't be obtained.

An analytical solution will do a stress analysis for trusses or beams, with mass concentrated on the center of gravity. Whereas FEA helps with more complex design geography.

It can help you understand:

  • The strength, heat transfer capability and fluid flow of complex objects
  • The performance and behavior of a complex design
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the design

The History of Finite Element Analysis

It can be traced as far back as A. Hrennikoff and R. Courant in the early 1940s, who used the methods of elasticity and structural analysis for aeronautical engineering.

Then in the late 50s and early 60s, China’s K. Feng used it for analysis of dam construction.

Today, the fundamentals are still one of the most reliable methods of stress analysis, trusted by people across the world.

According to Andres Gameros, "This analytical methodology has been used since the 1960s. In the years since its first use, Finite Element Analysis has grown and developed into a standard of design engineering worldwide."

FEA has ushered in several commercial software packages which are used around the world, including Solidworks and LUSAS amongst many.

The Real World Uses for This Form of Stress Analysis

Today, this type of stress analysis is being used in:

  • Aircraft like the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
  • Complex bridge design
  • Some of the world's biggest brands including General Motors (GM), Faraday Future, and Siemens
  • The oil industry
  • Aerospace engineering
  • High-end construction
  • Biomedical research and the textiles

As Autodesk's Vikram Vedantham explained, “Structural FEA has the capability to influence engineering at multiple levels – from mainstream solutions that provide trends and insights to guide product development, to high-end solutions that aim to match real-world data.”

He added, “Picking features and capabilities is determined by the time of use, the persona involved, the level of depth, the geometry, the nature of the design, its use case and the size of the firm.”

So how does one pick a firm to take care of their FEA or any other type of stress analysis? Choose the firm with proven expertise, as well as a combined 5,500 projects, 32 years of combined experience and 54 combined professional licenses.

To learn more about how we can help you, please feel free to contact us.

Tags: Blog FEA Finite Element Analysis

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