The basic steps or procedure we shall follow are common to all such analyses like Structural, Thermal, Fluid etc. These steps are main methods to be followed and in different software packages included, it may defer in the order but are MUST. The basic procedure chart for F.E.M is given in figure.
Pre requisites for Finite Element Analyses are as below
- Define Geometric Domain
- Define material properties (Mechanical/Thermal/Orthotropic/Anisotropic)
- Geometrical Properties (Based on Curvature of physical domain’s material property)
- Element connectivity (Based on topology + curvature changes per unit area)
- Define Element Types (Meshing)
- Apply Boundary conditions (Based on real/near to real ambient conditions)
- Exact location of support (Support on points, edges, area and/or imprinted area)
- Loading (Based on point of contact and total loading)
- Ambient temperature & Gravity
During the solution phase F.E.M software solver assembles equations in matrix form or any other form depending on Finite Element technique. After that the solver composites the unknown value of the primary field variables. In short the material’s physical properties under the boundary conditions are being referred and reflected as a result, in terms of computed additional derived variable such as stress, temperature, velocity, etc.
For thousands of equations special solution techniques are used to reduce the data storage requirements and computation time. A wave front solver based on “Gauss Elimination” is commonly used for linear problems.
Post-processor software contains sophisticated routines used for sorting, implanting & displaying selected results from a finite element solution.
The basic operations are
Nodal reaction sensing
Calculating Factor of Safety
Animating transient Behaviors
Displaying color-coded contours
As we have many post processing results options, we have to apply sound-engineering assumptions in determining whether the solution results are physically reasonable. The first thing we need to notice is the animation of the deforming body it must be behaving according to boundary conditions.