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Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in Engineering: All You Need to Know | Trevilla Engineering

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in Engineering: All You Need to Know

Many of the products and structures you see today might not exist if it weren’t for Finite Element Analysis. However, FEA is not always well understood, and many engineers underestimate just how important this process is in engineering. Despite this, demand for Finite Element Analysis is increasing.

In this article, we will discuss what FEA entails and its benefits in engineering design.

What is Finite Element Analysis (FEA)?

Finite element analysis (FEA) is a computational method for predicting how a product will react to forces, vibrations, heat, fluid movement, and other physical influences in the actual world.

Finite element analysis determines if a product will break, wear out, or perform as intended. It helps engineers to mimic physical phenomena and eliminate the requirement for actual prototypes while also allowing for component optimisation as part of the project design process.

Finite Element Method (FEM) works by breaking down a physical object into a huge number of finite components (thousands to hundreds of thousands), such as little triangles or cubes. Mathematical equations are used in the prediction of each element’s behaviour. The separate behaviours are then added together by a computer to anticipate the behaviour of the actual object.

What does FEA entail and how does it work?

FEA algorithms are built into simulation tools, such as Autodesk Inventor or ANSYS software package. These applications are typically integrated into CAD software, making it considerably easier for engineers to transition from design to complicated structural analysis.

At Trevilla Engineering, we specialise in Finite Element Analysis and have successfully completed numerous projects for our clients year after year. When performing a FEA, we begin by gathering all necessary requirements and information on the product or structure under consideration, such as detailed drawings, fabrication specs for equipment, or CAD Models.

Our engineers use specialist software such as SolidWorks or Inventor to model the object in 3D, which is then imported into an FEA simulation software for the analysis. The actual analysis begins with the creation of a mesh, which contains millions of little parts that make up the overall shape. This is a method of converting a three-dimensional object into a set of mathematical points that may be studied. Depending on the complexity of the simulation required the density of this mesh can be changed.

Further, every element or point of the mesh is calculated separately, then the results are merged to provide the overall structure’s ultimate FEA result. These results would present the real-world circumstances that the equipment or infrastructure would face. Finally, we take some time to decipher and explain the results, examining the design for parts that are overworked and likely to fail.

Trevilla’s Mechanical Engineers work to Australian and International Standards to review Engineering Designs through FEA for structural integrity. To make such structures safe, useful, and efficient, we give recommendations to the client for decreasing stresses and deformations. We can also advise on how to strengthen and make your design compliant.

Reasons to consider FEA when designing

What would it be worth to your company if you could foresee probable failures before releasing a product? What impact will this have on customer impressions of your product?

Engineers use FEA to simulate a design in action without having to build a physical part or structure. This helps to prevent catastrophic failures that can cost many LIVES AND LOTS OF MONEY. This is one of the prominent reasons to consider using finite element modelling when designing.

There are a few more reasons to use FEA because of its nature. Finite element modelling allows for the simulation of multiple material types, the testing of complex geometry, and the capture of local effects acting on a small area of the design. This will help engineers to be able to come up with high quality and more reliable products which will enhance their brand’s reputation. Also, it will help to prevent unnecessary material, time and energy waste during production.   

While finite element analysis is merely a model for forecasting, it does not guarantee that a design will withstand the simulated stresses. However, it provides engineers with a better understanding of how the design will respond to stress and lowers the need for extensive prototyping.

From Design to Finite Element Analysis. What are the benefits?

Engineers utilise finite element modelling and analysis for a wide range of jobs in practice. A car’s deformation on impact, human joint strains, structural designs and analysis, and fluid dynamics over turbines are just a few of the many uses. Here are some of the benefits of using FEA during design.

Higher Design Accuracy

Past structural design processes started by sketching, which were followed by prototype development and the manufacture of the designed structures. In such cases, the testing phase sometimes reveals that some parameters are overlooked, and this leads to the failure of some structures. Such challenges are overcome through the use of FEA.

FEA requires the designers to input all the material parameters. The inclusion of all parameters enables precise modelling of all physical stresses on each structural unit. This use of F.E.A. increases the design and material accuracy of structural components by showing how all stresses may impact on the designed structure.

Speeds up Design Cycle

In the use of F.E.A., most design processes don’t depend on manufacturing and machine shop schedules. The reactions of almost all new designed mechanical and structural components under forces or motions can be simulated and tested in a few hours. As such, you don’t have to wait for weeks or days to build a prototype to get the tests done.

Insights into Crucial Design Parameters

The use of different types of finite element analysis allows Engineers to model the exteriors and interiors of any designed structure. Finding out how critical design factors affect the entire inside and outside of a structure is of great advantage to a designer. A designer needs to understand where failures may occur and why they will occur.

Virtual Prototyping

F.E.A. simulations assist in reducing many iterations of the initial metal prototyping phase. The prototypes are costly because they take a lot of time and labour to build by hand. Unlike hard prototyping that may take weeks, as a designer you can use F.E.A. software to simulate the structural system you intend to build. You can also model the structure in different materials and designs within hours.

Saves money

Since FEM may be customised to satisfy unique accuracy requirements for a given product design, prototype time is greatly reduced. Instead of making several prototypes, the designer can model a specific part in software in a matter of hours. As a result, the rapid automation of product design in FEA, combined with the reduced manufacture of prototypes, helps you save even more money. The need for substantial prototyping is emphasised and reduced.

Final thoughts

Using Finite Element Analysis in your design process, can significantly improve the value of your product. It not only allows you to reduce expenses and speed up production, but it also allows you to develop an improved and more complete product.

At Trevilla Engineering, we use FEA to carry out Stress Analysis of Machine Components and Steel Structures using ANSYS, Space Gass and RFEM   Software, Failure Analysis to identify Failure Modes of Machine Components, Root Cause Analysis (RCA), and Failure Prevention including Design Recommendations and Training in correct modes of operation. We are a reputed Engineering company that provides reliable and excellent FEA services.

Contact us today to discuss your project needs and requirements.