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Which is the right way to simulate application of force on a body

Question asked by Prashanth Srinivasan on Aug 23, 2009
Latest reply on Aug 23, 2009 by Jim Sculley

Hi, this is a pretty basic question which has got me stumped as to which methodology I need to adapt to get an accurate result:


I need to determine the optimum dimensions of an aluminum platform that will withstand the load of a person weighing, say 80kg or 176lbs. I'm running an FEA analysis to check if, for the given boundary conditions & platform dimensions, the Von Mises Stress and Displacement of the platform fall within the required limits. But I'm confused as to which of the following three methods would be the right way to simulate the load (weight of the person) acting on the platform:


1. Applying a point load equal to the person's weight, in the form of Force applied on a particular point on the platform.


2. Determining the area of contact the person makes with the platform (i.e. the foot patches) & applying Force directly on the patches.


3. On the foot patches, instead of Force, I apply Pressure (equal to Weight divided by total patch area).


I need your advice on this, because the each method gives drastically different results from the other.