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Basics of Finite Element Analysis

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Courant, who utilized the Ritz method of numerical analysis and

minimization of variational calculus.

A paper published in 1956 by M. J. Turner, R. W. Clough, H. C.

Martin, and L. J. Topp established a broader definition of

numerical analysis. The paper centered on the "stiffness and

deflection of complex structures".

By the early 70's, FEA was limited to expensive mainframe

computers generally owned by the aeronautics, automotive,

defense, and nuclear industries. Since the rapid decline in the cost

of computers and the phenomenal increase in computing power,

FEA has been developed to an incredible precision.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

Why FEM ?

Modern mechanical design involves

complicated shapes, sometimes made of

different materials.

Engineers need to use FEM to evaluate their

designs.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

FEA Applications

Evaluate the stress or temperature

distribution in a mechanical component.

Perform deflection analysis.

Analyze the kinematics or dynamic response.

Perform vibration analysis.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

Consider a cantilever beam shown.

interest into a number of meshes (triangular elements). Each mesh is

connected to associated nodes (black dots) and thus becomes a finite

element.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

After approximating the object by finite elements, each

node is associated with the unknowns to be solved.

For the cantilever beam the displacements in x and y

would be the unknowns.

This implies that every node has two degrees of freedom

and the solution process has to solve 2n degrees of

freedom.

Once the displacements have been computed, the strains

are derived by partial derivatives of the displacement

function and then the stresses are computed from the

strains.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

Derive and solve the system of equations for a plate loaded as

shown. Plate thickness is 1 cm and the applied load Py is constant.

Py

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

Displacement within the triangular element with three nodes can

be assumed to be linear.

u = 1 + 2 x + 3 y

v = 1 + 2 x + 3 y

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

Displacement for each node,

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

Solve the equations simultaneously for and ,

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

Substitute x1= 0, y1= 0, x2=10, y2= 0, x3= 0, y3=4 to obtain displacements

u and v for element 1.

(3)

Element 1

(2)

(1)

Calculations:

2a = 40

a1 = 40, a2 = 0, a3 = 0

b1 = - 4, b2 = 4, b3 = 0

c1 = -10, c2 = 0, c3 = 10

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

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Example

2a = 40

a1 = 40, a2 = 0, a3 = 0

b1 = - 4, b2 = 4, b3 = 0

c1 = -10, c2 = 0, c3 = 10

Calculations:

1 = (1)U1

Change of notations

= U2, v2 = U4, v3 = U6

2 = -(1/10)U1 + (1/10)U3

3 = -(1/4) U1+ (1/4) U5

1 = (1)U2

2 = -(1/10)U2 + (1/10) U4

3 = -(1/4) U2+ (1/4) U6

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

11

Example

Substitute and to obtain displacements u

and v for element 1.

1 = (1)U1

2 = -(1/10)U1 + (1/10)U3

3 = -(1/4) U1+ (1/4) U5

u = 1 + 2 x + 3 y

v = 1 + 2 x + 3 y

1 = (1)U2

2 = -(1/10)U2 + (1/10) U4

3 = -(1/4) U2+ (1/4) U6

Calculation:

v1 = U2 + [-1/10(U2) + (1/10) U4] x + [-(1/4) U2+ (1/4) U6 ] y

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

12

Example

Rewriting the equations in the matrix form,

v1= U2 + [-1/10(U2) + (1/10) U4]x + [-(1/4) U2+ (1/4) U6 ] y

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

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Example

Similarly the displacements within element 2 can be

expresses as

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

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Example

The next step is to determine the strains using 2D straindisplacement relations,

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

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Example

Differentiate the displacement equation to obtain the strain

u1 = U1 + [-1/10(U1) + (1/10) U3] x + [-(1/4) U1+ (1/4) U5 ] y

v1 = U2 + [-1/10(U2) + (1/10) U4] x + [-(1/4) U2+ (1/4) U6 ] y

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Mechanical

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Example

Element 2

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Mechanical

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Example

Using the stress-strain relations for homogeneous,

isotropic material and plane-stress,

x = (x / E ) - (y) - (z) = (x / E ) - (y / E ) - (z / E )

y = (y / E ) - (x) - (z) = (y / E ) - (x / E ) - (z / E )

z = (z / E ) - (x) - (y) = (z / E ) - (x / E ) - (y / E )

We have:

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

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The classical finite element analysis code (h version)

The system equations for solid and structural

mechanics problems are derived using the principle of

virtual displacement and work (Bathe, 1982).

weighted residuals are used as one method of finite

element formulation starting from the governing differential

equation.

Method.

Involves the construction of assumed displacement field.

Uses the total potential energy for an elastic body

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Mechanical

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gravitational forces, inertia, or magnetic)

f S surface forces (pressure of one body on another, or hydrostatic

pressure)

f i Concentrated external forces

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Mechanical

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Lets denote the displacements of any point (X, Y, Z) of the object

from the unloaded configuration as UT

the given external forces.

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Mechanical

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Equilibrium condition and principle of virtual displacements

The left side represents the internal virtual work done, and the

right side represents the external work done by the actual

forces as they go through the virtual displacement.

The above equation is used to generate finite element

equations. And by approximating the object as an assemblage

of discrete finite elements, these elements are interconnected

at nodal points.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

22

The equilibrium equation can be expressed using matrix

notations for m elements.

where

B(m)

C(m)

H(m)

U

F

Elasticity matrix of element m

Displacement interpolation matrix

Vector of the three global displacement

components at all nodes

Vector of the external concentrated forces

applied to the nodes

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Mechanical

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stiffness matrix.

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Mechanical

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Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

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Example

Calculating the stiffness matrix for element 2.

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Mechanical

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Example

The stiffness of the structure as a whole is obtained by combing

the two matrices.

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Mechanical

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Example

The load vector R, equals Rc because only concentrated loads

act on the nodes.

R=

K = UR

where Py is the known external force and F1x, F1y, F3x, and F3y are

the unknown reaction forces at the supports.

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Mechanical

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Example

The following matrix equation can be solved for nodal point

displacements

K = UR

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

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Example

The solution can be obtained by applying the boundary conditions

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Mechanical

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Example

The equation can be divided into two parts,

The first equation can be solved for the unknown nodal displacements,

U3, U4, U7, and U8. And substituting these values into the second

equation to obtain unknown reaction forces, F1x, F1y, F3x, and F3y .

and stresses can be calculated.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

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FEA is a mathematical representation of a physical system

and the solution of that mathematical representation

Pre-Processing

Solving Matrix (solver)

Post-Processing

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Mechanical

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FEA Pre-Processing

Mesh

Mesh is your way of communicating geometry to

the solver, the accuracy of the solution is primarily

dependent on the quality of the mesh.

The better the mesh looks, the more accurate the

solution is.

A good-looking mesh should have well-shaped

elements, and the transition between densities

should be smooth and gradual without skinny,

distorted elements.

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Mechanical

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The mesh transition from .05 to .5 element size without control of transition

(a) creates irregular mesh around the hole which will yield disappointing

results.

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Mechanical

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FEA Pre-Processing

Finite elements supported by most finite-element codes:

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Mechanical

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Beam Elements

Beam elements typically fall into two categories; able to

transmit moments or not able to transmit moments.

Rod (bar or truss) elements cannot carry moments.

single element. This member can transmit axial loads only and

can be defined simply by a material and cross sectional area.

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Mechanical

36

The most general line element is a beam.

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Mechanical

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Plate and Shell Modeling

Plate and shell are used interchangeably and refer to surfacelike elements used to represent thin-walled structures.

similar density based on triangles. Triangles are acceptable in

regions of gradual transitions.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

38

Solid Element Modeling

accepted means to fill a volume, used as automesh by many FEA codes.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

10-node Quadratic

39

CAD and FEA activities should be coordinated at the early stages

of the design process to minimize the duplication of effort.

eventual FEA.

CAD models prepared without consideration of

FEA needs.

CAD models unsuitable for use in analysis due to

the amount of rework required.

Analytical geometry developed by or for analyst

for sole purpose of FEA.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

40

Solid chunky parts (thick-walled, low aspect ratio)

parts mesh cleanly directly off CAD models.

Clean geometry

geometrical features must not prevent the mesh from

being created. The model should not include buried

features.

Parent-child relationships

parametric modeling allows defining features off other

CAD features.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

41

Short edges and Sliver surfaces

Short edges and sliver surfaces usually accompany each other and

on large faces can cause highly distorted elements or a failed mesh.

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Mechanical

42

The rounded rib on the

inside of the piston has a

thickness of .30 and a

radius of .145, as a result

a flat surface of .01 by 2.5

is created. A mesh size

of .05 is required to avoid

distorted elements. This

results in a 290,000

nodes. If the radius is

increased to .15, a mesh

size of .12 is sufficient

which results in 33,500

nodes.

Ken Youssefi

Flat surface

Mechanical

43

Sliver surface caused by

misaligned features.

Sliver surface caused by a slightly

undersized fillet

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Mechanical

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Delay inclusion of fillets and chamfers as long as

possible.

Try to use permanent datums as references where

possible to minimize dependencies.

Avoid using fillet or draft edges as references for

other features (parent-child relationship)

Never bury a feature in your model. Delete or

redefine unwanted or incorrect features.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

45

In general, features listed below could be considered for

suppression. But, consider the impact before suppression.

Small inside fillets far from areas of interest.

Screw threads or spline features unless they are

specifically being studied.

Small holes outside the load path.

Decorative or identification features.

Large sections of geometry that are essentially

decoupled from the behavior of interested section.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

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Fillet added

to the rib

Holes removed

Fillet

removed

Ribs needed

for casting

removed

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Mechanical

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Model Conversion

components in design.

When the above is not possible, translate

geometry through kernel based tools such as

ACIS or Parasolids. Using standards based

(IGES, DXF, or VDA) translations may lead to

problem.

Visually inspect the quality of imported

geometry.

Avoid modification of the imported geometry in

a second CAD system.

Use the original geometry for analysis. If not

possible, use a translation directly from the

original model.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

48

IGES transfer

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

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FEA Pre-Processing

Material Properties

The only material properties that are generally required

by an isotropic, linear static FEA are: Youngs modulus

(E), Poissons ratio (v), and shear modulus (G).

G = E / 2(1+v)

Provide only two of the three properties.

Thermal expansion and simulation analysis require

coefficient of thermal expansion, conductivity and

specific heat values.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

50

FEA Pre-Processing

Nonlinear Material Properties

A multi-linear model requires the input of stress-strain

data pairs to essentially communicate the stress-strain

curve from testing to the FE model

Highly deformable, low stiffness, incompressible materials,

such as rubber and other synthetic elastomers require

distortional and volumetric constants or a more complete set

of tensile, compressive, and shear force versus stretch curve.

A creep analysis requires time and temperature dependent

creep properties. Plastic parts are extremely sensitive to this

phenomenon

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

51

FEA Pre-Processing

Comments

If you are selecting the property set from the codes library,

be aware of the assumptions made with this selection.

Their properties hold constant throughout the assigned entity.

Average values are used (variation could be up to 15%).

Localized changes due to heat or other processing effects are

not accounted for.

Any impurities present in the parent material are neglected.

If possible, obtain material property values specific to the

application under analysis.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

52

FEA Pre-Processing

Boundary Conditions

condition, that is calculating the load and figuring

out constraints that each component experiences in

its working environment.

Garbage in, garbage out

The results of FEA should include a complete

discussion of the boundary conditions.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

53

Boundary Conditions

Loads

Loads are used to represent inputs to the system.

They can be in the forms of forces, moments,

pressures, temperature, or accelerations.

Constraints

Constraints are used as reactions to the applied

loads. Constraints can resist translational or

rotational deformation induced by applied loads.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

54

Boundary Conditions

Linear Static Analysis

Boundary conditions are assumed constant from

application to final deformation of system and all loads

are applied gradually to their full magnitude.

Dynamic Analysis

The boundary conditions vary with time.

Non-linear Analysis

The orientation and distribution of the boundary

conditions vary as displacement of the structure is

calculated.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

55

Boundary Conditions

Degrees of Freedom

Spatial DOFs refer to the three translational and three rotational

modes of displacement that are possible for any part in 3D

space. A constraint scheme must remove all six DOFs for the

analysis to run.

Elemental DOFs refer to the ability of each element to transmit

or react to a load. The boundary condition cannot load or

constrain a DOF that is not supported by the element to which

it is applied.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

56

Boundary Conditions

Constraints and their geometric equivalent in classic

beam calculation.

Fixed support

Pin support

Roller support

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

57

Boundary Conditions

A solid face should always have at least three points in

contact with the rest of the structure. A solid element

should never be constrained by less than three points and

only translational DOFs must be fixed.

Accuracy

The choice of boundary conditions has a direct impact

on the overall accuracy of the model.

Over-constrained model an overly stiff model due

to poorly applied constraints.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

58

Excessive Constraints

Model of the chair seat with patches representing the tops of

the legs.

Patch 1

Patch 2

Patch 3

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

Patch 4

59

It may appear to be acceptable to constrain each circular patch

in vertical translation while leaving the rotational DOFs

unconstraint. This causes the seat to behave as if the leg-toseat interfaces were completely fixed.

A more realistic constraint scheme would be to pin the

center point of each circular patch (translational),

allowing the patch to rotate. Each point should be fixed

vertically, and horizontal constraints should be selectively

applied so that in-plane spatial rotation and rigid body

translation is removed without causing excessive

constraints.

Patch 1

Patch 2

Patch 3

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

Patch 4

60

Constraining the center point of patch 1 in all 3

translational DOFs.

Constraining x and y translations of the center point of

patch 2.

Constraining z and y translation of the center point of

patch 3.

Constraining just the y translation of the center point of

patch 4.

This scheme allows inplane translation induced

by bending of the seat

without rigid body

translation or rotation.

Ken Youssefi

Patch 1

Patch 2

Patch 3

Mechanical

Patch 4

61

Summary of Pre-Processing

Build the geometry

Make the finite-element mesh

Add boundary conditions; loads and

constraints

Provide properties of material

Specify analysis type (static or dynamic,

linear or non-linear, plane stress, etc.)

These activities are called finite element modeling.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

62

Once the mesh is complete, and the properties and

boundary conditions have been applied, it is time to solve

the model. In most cases, this will be the point where you

can take a deep breath, push a button and relax while the

computer does the work for a change.

In most cases submitting a run with multiple load cases will

be faster than running sequential, complete solutions for

each load case.

Final Model Check

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Mechanical

63

Unexpectedly high or low displacements (by order of magnitude)

could be caused by an improper definition of load and/or

elemental properties.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

64

Animation of the model displacements serves as the best means of

visualizing the response of the model to its boundary conditions.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

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Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

66

The magnitude of the stresses should not be entirely unexpected.

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

67

Deformation of a duct under thermal load

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Mechanical

68

View Animated

Displacements

Post-Processing

No

Yes

Review Boundary

Conditions

View Displacement

Fringe Plot

Are magnitudes in line with your expectations? No

Yes

and Units

View Stress

Fringe Plot

Is the quality and mag. Of stresses acceptable? No

and Quality of Elements

Yes

To the Analysis

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

69

Ken Youssefi

Mechanical

70

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