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FEA (Finite Element Analysis) and FEM (Finite Element Method) are calculation models for all forms of strength calculations and thermal calculations. FEA is used for the simulation of physical phenomena, FEM is the method to achieve this.
FEA uses the FEM method to calculate, simulate, calculate and estimate how an object reacts under various circumstances and physical influences.
The simulations show, for example, how a tank expands and deforms when pressure is too high, how an oil rig moves out in the North Sea, where to place lifting lugs on a steel structure to ensure safe lifting without destroying the structures.
It is a numerical technique that cuts the structure of an object into millions of parts, or elements, and then connects the elements to points called nodes. FEM creates a set of algebraic equations that engineers and other designers use to perform analysis.
Imagine you are an aerospace engineer and have a brilliant idea for a type of design, but you don't know the sizes, shapes and materials to use for maximum power with minimum fuel consumption. Nor do you know what the thermal and mechanical stresses are under all possible operating conditions, and because the design is completely new - you also have no data to look back on.
One way would be to build a prototype and test it. If the prototype doesn't get the performance or fuel consumption you hoped for, or if the device fails, fine-tune the design and try again.
The problem with this approach is that it's extremely expensive and time-consuming, and if your prototype blows itself up, it's hard to determine exactly how it failed.
There is a better way. Build a computer model of your prototype and simulate how it behaves in different settings. Tweaking the design is a matter of changing some numerical parameters, and if it breaks, you can find out exactly how it failed. And if an explosion occurs, no one will be hit by flying prototype shrapnel.
Of course, computer modeling and simulation are not just "plug and play". You need equations and not least technical and theoretical understanding. How does the material used in the parts expand as the temperature rises? How does it affect the shapes of the various parts? How does that in turn affect the airflow around the parts? And so on.
These are important questions that should be answered before production.
FEA is used to tackle three main problems:
FEM analysis ( Finite Element Method ) is used for computer simulations of both simple and complex structures and assemblies. The method divides complex systems into simple parts with known and understood properties. The information is moved from part to part and the method simulates what happens when all the properties of a system are put together.
FEM is often used for strength calculations and calculation of deformations in constructions. You will also be able to uncover vulnerabilities in a design, so that you avoid pitfalls before production.
At Nordic Steel, we use the FEM method to reduce the number of physical prototypes, tests, experiments and optimize components in the design phase. This allows us to develop even better and safer products at a faster pace for our customers.
Optimizing the production process can also lead to higher utilization rates in the boards. This contributes to cost savings, faster production time and a more sustainable product.
One of the main advantages of FEM analysis is that it provides an accurate and precise solution for complex structures and systems. This method is also flexible and can be adapted to different types of loads, materials, and geometries.
FEM also provides the opportunity to analyze structures in different states, for example under dynamic loads or deformations. In addition, FEM can be used to simulate and test structures before they are built, which can save both time and costs in the design process.
Another advantage of FEM is that it can be combined with other analyses, such as structural analytical methods, to provide an even more accurate solution.
There are a number of different software programs used in connection with FEM. Some of the most popular programs include ANSYS, ABAQUS, COMSOL, SolidWorks, and LS-DYNA.
These programs provide the opportunity to model, analyze and simulate structures and systems using FEM.