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What is FEA?

For anybody intending to learn Finite Element Analysis, the most essential thing is to understand the concept of FEA.

When usually asked “What is FEA?” the most common answer received is “it is a technique with which we can determine the stresses and deflection in a component”. Though partially true, it does not convey the essential meaning of Finite Element Analysis.

FEA Procedure

FEA, though being a computational technique that helps the user to analyze complex boundary conditions acting on any kind of geometry is only accurate if is defined in the most accurate way.

In common terms, the above mentioned steps are classified into three categories that form the three phases of any FEA problem:

  • Pre-processing
  • Solving
  • Post-processing

The Software thus available in the Market to perform the activities associated with these three phases is respectively called Pre-processor, Solver and Postprocessor.

Text further provides a detailed explanation of each of these phases.

Pre-requisites for FEA

FEA being one of the methods that require not only an appropriate tool but also; the background of a finite element analyst includes an understanding of engineering mechanics (strength of materials & solid mechanics) as well as the fundamentals of the theory underlying the finite element method.

The detailed knowledge of any 3D CAD software is mandatory.

Basic Terms necessary to be acquainted with

Some of the important terms and definitions whose understanding is a preliminary requirement for FEA are as mentioned below.

It is essential that anybody who is starting to use any kind of FEA tool has clarity of all these terminologies.

Strength - Hook's Law

Load - Young's Modulus

Stress - Shear Modulus

Component stresses - Ultimate Strength

Principal stresses - Factor of Safety

Tensile stress - Poisson's Ratio

Compressive Stress - Bulk Modulus

Shear Stress - Creep

Classification of material - Anisotropic Material

Isotropic Material - Theories of Failure

Orthotropic Material