Idris Traina

Introduction to FEA; the Basis of SolidWorks Simulation

Discussion created by Idris Traina on Nov 9, 2011
Latest reply on Nov 21, 2011 by Paul Kellner

This presentation uses a very simple example to introduce the basic concepts of Finite Element Analysis. It describes how FEA systematically reduces a complex model into a large number of much simpler well-defined problems. Simulation starts by thinking of the model as being made of small pieces, called finite elements that have similar shapes but different dimensions. The behavior of these elements under different scenarios is well known.

After writing a set of equations for each element, Simulation assembles the elements’ equations into a global system of simultaneous equations. For static studies, the system relates displacements to applied loads. After solving for displacements, Simulation finds the strains and stresses for each element.


The presentation briefly introduces different types of elements that are suitable for various geometries. It also touches on error estimation and adaptive methods to automate the convergence to accurate answers.