Finite Element Analysis Best-Practices | Ansys FEA

It’s possible that departments, where FEA is newer, may not yet have a set of best practices in place. SimuTech Group has produced a number of films and web-content to assist new engineers in order to kickstart that effort.



New to Finite Element Analysis or Simulation Tools in General?

Our FEA, Finite Element Analysis Best-Practices Training Videos can Help.

This eight-video course is geared toward fea engineers and designers specializing, or interested in finite element analysis best-practices. While the course includes information on Ansys FEA, this series is also a good primer for understanding FEA as an important tool for accurate design, whichever commercial code you’re using (ABAQUS, NASTRAN).

We’ll discuss element theory, element types, preprocessing, solution, and postprocessing, and much more. Watch the introductory video (see below) at no charge for more details on what’s covered.

All of the videos in this course may be viewed in SimuTrain, our subscription-based portal. SimuTrain provides 24/7 access to lots of Ansys-related training materials like this FEA series, plus more “best-practice” videos, our popular Quick Start videos, and much more.

Interested? Request a free trial or contact SimuTech Group.



Additional Finite Element Analysis Best-Practices

The way things should be done is usually laid out in a large book that engineering departments frequently maintain on hand.  It is the recommended operational method for the department.  In other words, it’s their best practices (to use modern jargon).

1. Obtain Formal Training Before Starting

While it’s true engineers might be able to learn how to utilize various FEA program components on their own.  For most engineers, gaining traditional classroom instruction and web-based distance learning, has proved especially valuable new users.  In short, there are skills you’ll pick up in class that you might not have on your own.  For example, choosing the appropriate material model and analysis kinds. Despite having a wealth of material data, which material model should you pick?  How can the behavior of piezoelectric materials be analyzed?   This type of guidance and direction is provided by proper training.

2. Make Rough Calculations before Creating a FEA Model

This recommended practice serves as a wake-up call.  Indeed, FEA is not a “black box” that users may enter inaccurate data into to receive helpful results. Because of this, it’s best to anticipate how a model will act.

Making a list of commonly used calculations or techniques that give a second check of FEA findings is another core best-practice. Expected outcomes can also be a product of existing knowledge and experiments. Keep in mind that FEA is simply one of many engineering tools and does not take the role of experience and experiments. Likewise, FEA engineering is a potent auxiliary tool when applied properly.

3. Condensing CAD Models to the Minimum Required Detail

As it is, CAD models frequently contain all necessary manufacturing information, which is often excessive.  Unfortunately, this makes CAD models ‘out-of-the-box’  very large, and difficult to test various simulations with.

Consider what actually has to be simulated first.  What aspects of the analysis are crucial? Most likely, it’s not the whole thing.

For instance, a heat sink, screws with threads, cables, and other details might be present in the CAD model of a circuit board. These components could combine with many other components, but are they essential to the analysis?  They might just make the necessary heat transfer simulation more difficult and time-consuming.

In order to manage huge CAD models, defeaturing tools have been provided by FEA engineers. However, since it’s so simple to import whole models, the tools might never be used.

4. Consider all Environmental Factors that May Impact the Design

Evidently, product failure is caused by more than just structural and mechanical stress. 
Consequently, engineers should take into account how motion, heat transfer, fluid flow, and electrostatics will impact your design. 
Engineers may now more easily mimic product’s behavior when various physical phenomena interact thanks to FEA software, which has made it simpler to directly couple various analysis kinds.  However, situational nuance is a crucial factor generating an accurate simulation, leading to an effective design which will perform in real-world conditions.

5. Double-Checking your Materials Properties

The ideal approach for FEA engineers is to double-check the material properties. Using MatWeb.com is one approach to go about it.  Access to material properties is free.  For instance, the outcomes of a search for polymers with coefficients of friction in the range of 0.2 and 0.4.  The values required for analysis can be retrieved by selecting a material name (shown in blue).

FEA engineers can collaborate with other designers and peers in real-time with the use of tools for web-ready report development. Ansys FEA Software, for instance, provides a web-ready report that can be reviewed by a simulation specialist.

Before you present your findings to internal engineering management, an expert can offer their input on the model and analysis in this situation. Members of the design team may easily communicate about the progress of the design and guarantee efficacy.  In effect, real-time cooperation makes our list of FEA/finite best practice.



Additional Ansys Software Tips & Tricks Resources


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  • Anderson Prouse
    March 20, 2022 11:58 pm

    Awesome FEA (finite element analysis) article. I have a few, in more simpler FEA terminology, below:

    A few best practices for FEA users

      Take formal training when getting started. Recommended FEA start-up applications found here
      Calculate your models approximate results before building a full-blow digital FEA model
      Reduce CAD models to the absolute minimum required amount of detail
      Consider all the environmental, and legislation-based conditions that could affect the design post-deployment
      Build and simulate complex conditions in concrete, precise steps
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