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Computer Aided Engineering

4. Finite Element Analysis
4.1 Introduction
4.2 FEA process
4.3 FEA Definitions
4.4 FEA Example

Engi 6928 - Fall 2014

4.1 Introduction
Engineering problems are approached using
mathematical models (Approximations) of the
physical system.
The solution is found by solving the mathematical
equations describing the system and the constraints.
Finite Element Analysis is an effective discretization
procedure to numerically solve engineering
Powerful computer tools are available to perform
4.1 Introduction

You can design your entry in any CAD software
as long as STEP or IGES file is submitted.
Material: Ti-6Al-4V
Service Temperature: 75 F
(wall thickness): 0.050 in.
- Assume yield strength is 131 ksi.
- Participants should target the lightest weight
4.1 Introduction

Your challenge

Material ABS M30

Max deflection at 100lbf <

Fail between 100 and 200 lbf

Minimize Mass

Allow fixture with standard tools

4.2 FEA process
1. Problem Definition
2. Meshing - Subdivide the solution domain to nodes and

Assume element type and shape function
Construct the global stiffness Matrix
3. Apply boundary conditions, loading
Solving 4. Solve the equations (i.e. Displacement of nodes,
temperature of nodes)
5. Obtain other information , Stresses, strain, heat flow
6. Model Refinement

Tutorial Video : Formula 1 FEA Spindle design video series

Search string: open university Finite element analysis
4.2 FEA process
4.2 FEA process
4.3 FEA definitions
Types of studies

Linear Static structural analysis Assumes gradual

loading (no inertial, damping forces), small displacement,
linear elastic response.
Nonlinear - nonlinear elastic response, large
Frequency Analyse natural frequencies and mode
shapes of a system.
Dynamic Considers inertial forces, damping forces.
Buckling Analyse buckling loads, mode shapes, Buckling
load factor.
4.3 FEA definitions
Element Types
2D/ 3D Truss element
Node has 2 translational degrees of freedom for 2D.
Transmits loads axially only
Constant cross section of element
2D/3D Beam element
Node has 2 translational and 1 rotation DOF for 2D
Transmits transverse loads and moments

2D/3D Shell element

Node has 2 translational degrees of freedom
Used in axi-symmetric studies, planar systems
3D tetrahedral element
Each node of the element has 3 translational DOFs.
Used for analysis of solid models
4.3 FEA definitions
Shape Functions

Linear Quadratic Cubic

Higher order shape functions improves the accuracy of results.
Increasing the number of elements in a region improves the accuracy of results.
Convergence analysis attempts to improve the accuracy of a study by adaptively
increasing the model complexity of areas with high stress concentration.
P-adaptive convergence increases the number of elements to converge to accurate
H-adaptive convergence increases the order of the shape function to converge to
accurate results
4.3 FEA definitions
Types of constraints
Fixtures Used to define geometric constraints of the model w.r.t. The
enviroment. i.e. Fixed, rollers, sliders.
Loads Used to define gravity, external forces, torques and pressure
distributions acting on the mesh
Connectors- A connector simulates the behavior of a mechanism without
having to create detailed geometry. Ex. Walls, bolts, bearings, springs


4.3 FEA definitions
Types of result figures

FOS Plot
Ductile - Von misses criteria
Stress plot (VonMissses) Brittle - Mhor-coulomb criteria

Displacement plot Design insight

4.3 FEA definitions
Buckling failure of members under compression

Buckling Load Factor:

4.4 FEA Example

Saxena, Anupam, Sahay, Birendra, Computer Aided

Engineering Design, Chapter 11,
(Available @ MUN on Springer link)
Saeed Moaveni, Finite Element Analysis Theory and
Application with ANSYS (3rd Edition).