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Finite element analysis - what about it?

Question asked by Andrew Ratsep on Feb 25, 2012
Latest reply on Feb 25, 2012 by Andrew Ratsep


First of all I am new in the community and not a native English speaker, so I apologize for any misunderstandings. Thank you for reading my thread anyway.


I am a production/mechanical engineering student and I am familiar with parametric modeling and different kind of additional possibilities that come with it. Lately I got interested in more advanced engineering tools in SolidWorks. One of them is SolidWorks Simulation. Thou I never been very good in physics and math (due to the lack of appropriate study programs in high school) I have good understanding and interest in analyzing and incorporating that with powerful computing software brings up lots of excitement. So lately I have tried to understand the FEA (finite element analysis) and what the SolidWorks Simulation looks like to work. Still, I thought before taking the long road I should find out if my expectations are right at all. I know that FEA is about more than just click "calculate" in the program and maybe i am wasting my time and should stick to something more "suitable" for me. So i have gathered a list of facts of mine. These are my wievpoints that drive me towards studying FEA in Solidworks. Tell me if i have wrong expectations and help me to become to better understanding.


1. FEA is more accesible and simpler than ever. CAD packages include great FEA tools that are very userfriendly. Even non-mathematical engineers have a chance to work with FEA utilising these kind of programs. That means even if I dont understand all the mathemathical and physical nuances, I still can work with FEA trough the continous experience and good analysing skill. Working with FEA in small scale doesn't require higher knowledge in math and physics but of course adds additional value to engineer.


2. FEA calculating software is just a tool. It simplifies engineers work by calculating and it turns out to be very time saving. Everything else but depends on engineers skills and experience. It is very important to understand dfferent methods of FEA and all the exceptions in terms of model geometry. The exercise has to be analysed before the calculations and after that. And what most important, accurate results mostly require numerous of calculations and analysis with different methods.


3. Best way to start studying FEA individually as a student is to have a good book of basics of the FEA and just run numerous of simple analysis in program and to analyse them, use lots of trial-error method - it is all about experience.


4. Work in small companies doesn't usually require high knowledge of theoretical base of FEA, just cause the work over there isn't that complicated. In big companies on the other hand very high knowledge is required but also the work is more organized and also people for more simpler FEA tasks are required. So even if you are not specialized on FEA, You still have a chance work with it.


5. Engineering companies always appreciate engineers with any FEA skills and it comes handy in every way.


6. Solidworks Simulation is very userfriendly software and other more specialized FEA softwares require  strong knowledge on math,physics and FEA.


So this is thats what i feel like. And if that all is true then i'm gonna stick to my plan. Tho i believe it is more complicated than that. No matter what I like to analyse myself and my capabilities and educate myself. So if you are more familiar with the subject or even work with FEA  please give me some advice.


With all respect,