Finite Element Analysis

Written by Adam Blau
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For engineers and designers, the initial creation of an object or component is only the beginning part of the design process. Once a component is mapped out, it is necessary to subject it to a number of tests and analyses to gauge its response to environmental stimuli. These tests are called finite element analyses, and gauge a number of factors for a given object.

Heat transfer properties are extremely important to assess in certain mechanical designs. For engine or computer components, for example, heat can become a crucial hindrance or asset, depending on the situation. It is necessary to know whether or not a component will become too hot to operate properly (or whether or not the component will affect other parts around it).

Stress analysis is also crucial in certain situations. If a piece is load-bearing, it is important to know whether or not the part is strong enough to hold its designated load. By performing a stress analysis, an engineer can gauge the fatigue properties of the material, thereby assessing the part's suitability in a final design.

Finite Element Analysis in CAD Programs

Some computer-aided design (CAD) software is now incorporating such finite element analysis directly into its code. In this way, an engineer can perform analyses on objects even before they are physically built. This finite element analysis in CAD software can provide accurate assessments without costing much extra for an engineer, as it can often be performed with a few simple extra mouse clicks.

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