Fundamentals of Finite Element Analysis: Complete Beginners Guide

There is no doubt in my mind that Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is the cornerstone of my career. I attribute most of my career successes to both engineering and FEA knowledge. However, when I started, I really hated FEA... it was an intimidating thing I had to do for my Ph.D... and I almost exclusively [...]

Fundamentals of Finite Element Analysis: Complete Beginners Guide

Choosing FEA software and good options you want to have in it!

A few days ago Josh sent me an email with a question about choosing FEA software. And I realized I've never actually written about it. Time to fix it I guess : ) But since I'm experimenting with videos (let me know what you think!) I've made this one about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq0YFTQuVL8 There are different [...]

Choosing FEA software and good options you want to have in it!

Member design in FEA

I got a really interesting question on my email from Fateme. I wanted to address this issue so many times now, so finally there is a great occasion to do this! In Abaqus, can we review the capability of a structural member? Whether or not it can bear the load like: shear, bending, twisting, axial [...]

Member design in FEA

5 steps of FEA results verification

Whatever we design life will verify it at the end... but I would rather know if my design has a fighting chance before any major collapse occurs! This is why FEA results verification is a very important thing. When you are solving a known problem (i.e. as a benchmark) this is easy to do. You [...]

5 steps of FEA results verification

Nonlinear supports in FEA: Gap Elements (NX Nastran) [Q&A #2]

Recently I got a great question from Ardalan (thanks for writing mate!) about defining nonlinear supports in FEA. I think he does a better job of defining the problem: First how to constraint an entity with in tolerance rather than completely fixing it? i.e. how to define a certain range of motion for an entity [...]

Nonlinear supports in FEA: Gap Elements (NX Nastran) [Q&A #2]

When to ignore contact in FEA?

Linear FEA calculations are the most common type of static analysis done with finite elements. So far we have discussed when it is safe to ignore material nonlinearity and when to ignore geometric nonlinearity. Ignoring those aspects allow you to use linear analysis which is a simple yet robust tool. There is another thing we should [...]

When to ignore contact in FEA?

What is FEA for?

There is a lot of talk about Finite Element Analysis in engineering. Whatever you try to learn or whichever engineering field you have chosen - FEA is waiting there for you! For me, Finite Element Analysis was the tool that literally transformed my career. I'm pretty sure it can be just as important for you. [...]

What is FEA for?

Finite Element Analysis workflow

When I first started working with Finite Element Analysis (FEA) I had a huge problem in understanding what to do. I had a basic engineering knowledge but I simply did not understand what was the order of the steps. Suddenly the software had many "modules" and each was screaming at me that some data is [...]

Finite Element Analysis workflow

Boundary conditions influence on static design – case study

Each day we do simplifications to boundary conditions just to reduce time spent on analysis. We are all aware, that structured support is crucial, but the actual influence of the proper boundary conditions is rarely examined. See yourself how drastic influence BC have on your design! I will discuss this using a project I just [...]

Boundary conditions influence on static design – case study

Correct mesh size – a quick guide!

Mesh size is one of the most common problems in FEA. There is a fine line here: bigger elements give bad results, but smaller elements make computing so long you don’t get the results at all. You never really know where exactly is your mesh size on this scale. Learn how to choose the correct [...]

Correct mesh size – a quick guide!

Design your silos with FEA – it pays!

Designing steel silos with analytical approach always yields very conservative results. Nonlinear Finite Element Method allow for great optimization of those structures (and other shell structures as well!). I will discuss this based on a silo I have recently designed. […]

Design your silos with FEA – it pays!

4 main nonlinear material models – general version

Recently a friend challenged me to do something in Nastran. At a certain point, I realized that I know too little about nonlinear material types. So as typical me, I stopped a challenge and decided to learn more about material nonlinearity, starting from the simplest models to the most advanced ones when it comes to [...]

4 main nonlinear material models – general version

4 main nonlinear material models – NX Nastran version

I literally run this blog for posts like this one. Recently a friend challenged me to do something in Nastran. At a certain point, I realized that I know too little about nonlinear material types in NX Nastran and I suspect this is why I have convergence problems in my task. So as typical me, [...]

4 main nonlinear material models – NX Nastran version

Imperfections in buckling design

Using deformations from linear buckling as imperfections in nonlinear buckling case is the most common approach. I will use a simple example to prove that this is not always the best idea. Proper selection of imperfections is a very complicated process – I hope to shed some light on this matter. […]

Imperfections in buckling design

Linear vs nonlinear buckling explained!

Choosing between linear buckling and nonlinear buckling in given case can be difficult. Both approaches have positive and negative aspects. I explain here what are the differences, and when to use each analysis. I promise not to use complicated mathematics, nor highly theoretical approach. Instead, I will use a simple example to easily describe differences. [...]

Linear vs nonlinear buckling explained!

Nonlinear buckling explained simply

Nonlinear buckling is a really interesting analysis. It gives you enormous possibilities, at only a few minutes worth of work. At the start, it might be frustrating to set it up (there is a learning curve involved), but in the end, it is a default engineering tool for me right now! Possibilities are limitless! [...]

Nonlinear buckling explained simply

Benchmark for Geometrically Nonlinear Analysis

Imagine you have just bought a new software package, or created one yourself. Perhaps you are just learning about nonlinear FEA and you are not sure if what you are doing is correct. Or maybe you have come up with new approach to solving nonlinear problems and you would like to validate it, or you [...]

Benchmark for Geometrically Nonlinear Analysis

Nonlinear design of hopper for coal dust

Today I will show you the nonlinear design process for coal dust hopper. This time tension will be the main issue (along with some bending), so structure won’t be susceptible to stability failure. In such cases, the approach to design is slightly different, as I point out in this post. […]

Nonlinear design of hopper for coal dust

Subcase – your best friend in speeding up analysis!

In every analysis, there is this simple “linear zone” at the beginning that does not require a lot of our attention, but then the nonlinear effects start to take place and problems get more complicated. Of course, we want to have as small load increment as reasonable in the “nonlinear zone” while it would be [...]

Subcase – your best friend in speeding up analysis!
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