Models, Material Properties, Loads and Constraints... things you should know.

     FEA software is very expensive!  FEA training is very expensive! Gaining the experience to be able to handle all different types of analysis takes time.  I have all three! Software, Training and Experience.  I am using ANSYS analysis software, the Best in the industry.  I have received training from ANSYS in advanced, nonlinear analysis and I have extensive experience with linear and nonlinear applications.  Let me help you to reduce your development costs and shrink that development timeline.

F.A.Q.
Why should I use FEA?
What types of stress analysis do you offer?
What do I need to have an analysis done?
What does an FEA analysis cost and how long will it take?
What do I get for my money?

Why should I use FEA?

     Finite Element Analysis is useful when Engineering equations do not apply.  Engineering equations for stress and deflection are derived using a set of assumptions that must be true for the equation to be valid.  The truth is that most Engineers never consider these assumptions when applying these equations. In the past,  Safety Factors were applied to account for the uncertainties in the calculations and resulted in over designed parts.  In today’s competitive market, these over designed part are too expensive.  FEA can eliminate the over design and reduce your final cost.
      Locations such as mounting points or intersections of shapes are notoriously hard to calculate.  Here again, stress concentration factors and safety factors are often applied resulting in most cases, product over design.  FEA easily handles these conditions.  Bolted connections can be preloaded to allow for the stresses from the bolts and contact with the mating part.  Geometry changes are accounted for without having to use stress concentration factors which are not always available.
      FEA can accurately model parts that are made from materials that behave nonlinearly or for when stress will exceed the yield point of the material being used.  Using nonlinear material properties in an analysis can show how a part will deform during failure and can account for localized yielding  in high stress concentration areas such as fillets and holes.

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What types of analysis are available?

     The easiest type of analysis is a single body with linear material properties.  Since the material properties are linear and no contact is involved, the simulation can be done in one direct calculation.  This means that the part is constrained, loaded and solved in a single step.  The following is a list of the categories I use for analysis.

Single body with linear material properties.
Single body with non linear material properties.
Multi body with linear material properties.
Multi body with nonlinear material properties.
Buckling analysis.
Modal analysis (Natural frequencies of a body).

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What do I need to have an analysis done?

     To have an analysis done you will need to have an accurate 3D model of your part in a format that my software can import.  I prefer Autodesk Inventor or Mechanical Desktop files.  If you are using a modeling package other then the ones I listed, you can export models as a DXF or STEP file format.
     Along with your model I will need the material properties of the materials your part is made from.  If you are seeking a linear analysis I will need only the Elastic Modulus of the material.  If you want a more advanced nonlinear analysis you will need to know the Elastic Modulus, Yield point, Ultimate Strength and Elongation at failure.  Most of this data is available from MatWeb.com.  The data from this site is presented in Engineering stress - strain and I will convert it to True stress - strain for the analysis.  The difference is that True stress - strain accounts for the reduction in cross section after yielding.  For the highest simulation accuracy you can provide actual stress - strain  data from tensile test of your material.  If you are concerned about safety factors please include compressive and tensile yield strengths for your materials.
      The last thing I will need is a description of the loads and constraints that will be applied to the part.  Remember, FEA is a garbage in garbage out type of analysis.  If your material properties, loads and constraints are not accurate,  you can’t expect your results to be either.

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What does an analysis cost and how long will it take?

     The simplest analysis is a single body with linear material properties.  If you have experience with FEA and are just looking for a results report, I’ll run the analysis and send you the ANSYS results for $100.  If you want me to interpret the results and write a summary report this goes up to $150.  This is for a part with simple geometry.  As the complexity of the part increases, so does the price of the analysis.
     Turnaround time for most projects is 3 working days.  Sometimes it is as short as one day.  Obviously, the more complex the analysis, the more time it will take.  I will give you an estimate of the time and cost to run the analysis in your quote.

What do I get for my money?

Sample Report

     Once the analysis is finished, I will provide you with a report that is generated by my software.  This can be in either .html or .pdf format.  The .html format is viewable in any browser and is easiest to extract images from.  This report will include a description of all the parameters used such as constraints, loading and material properties.  I will also include images of the stress plots and any other areas of interest that you have asked to see.   If you have requested a written summary report this will be provided in .pdf format.

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