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Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

Using modern computational power to perform complex analysis is now a vital tool for engineering substantiation.

At Fulwood Engineering we specialise in structural analysis of components and component systems when subject to static and dynamic loads such as pressures, temperatures and magnetic forces.

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Mechanical strength

Calculation of mechanical strength can become challenging when complex geometry is required, large deflections occur, contact occurs between components or materials are not stiff in all directions. FEA static simulation can perform millions of calculations to very accurately simulate these complex phenomena. Other reasons for considering investing in FEA simulation of mechanical strength:
- Quick investigation into changes to the system. Once a model has been developed, it is easy to check simple changes to the system e.g. material changes, effect of dimension tolerance bands, effect of wear on system, removal of fixtures, effect of bad assembly.
- Removal of physical testing requirements. Models can be a better method of testing function because of the controls available. You can turn off factors that may provide a confusing or inaccurate response in a physical test. FEA can also provide a safer or lower cost test, e.g. simulating fire weakening.
- Problem areas can be investigated at very high resolution. A large system can be modelled to identify areas of interest and then the simulation can be rerun with fine meshing in these areas.
- Results that are hard to determine using other methods can be investigated e.g. principal stress vectors.

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Buckling / Stability

Determining the loading required for the onset of buckling and the resulting mode shape of buckling is important when looking at structural members, particularly if they are slender. It is a requirement for conformance to structural design codes. Static structural analysis will indicate buckling at the applied loading but will not determine the additional load factor required to activate bucking modes. Completing an additional eigenvalue buckling analysis is recommended for structural applications and can be completed without significant cost.

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Dynamic (e.g. impact)

When considering dynamics, our most common enquiries are regarding impact assessments. These are often fault cases such as a drop of equipment or a vehicle impact. Some equipment must withstand impact as part of it's normal operation e.g. a tennis racket. Impact is usually simulated by an explicit solver such as LS-DYNA or AUTO-DYN rather than the implicit method used for most other assessments. Correct simulation requires a good definition of the event of interest including information such as velocities, material properties, contacting frictions, etc. As with all simulation the greater the detail and accuracy in the definition the higher the quality of results but simple studies can be completed quickly and provide crucial insight into behaviour. 

Dynamics and the use of explicit solvers is not only applicable to impact. Materials that change state rapidly are generally modelled better using explicit solvers e.g. hyper-elastic seals or explosives.

If you're interested in modelling a dynamic system, get in touch with us and we can advise on the best solution for your requirements.

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Thermal - Steady State / Transient

Steady-state thermal analysis is evaluating the thermal equilibrium of a system in which the temperature remains constant over time. If you are looking at a system at a constant heat load, simulating using FEA provides a very accurate full field view of the thermal state. On a simple level, this could be assessing the performance of a heat sink. In advanced studies, steady-state thermal cases can be coupled to static or dynamic analysis loading. 

Transient thermal analysis is time dependent. Transient Thermal analysis can be used to evaluate the cooling process of a system or a thermal induced stress due to a sudden temperature change.

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Frequency analysis

Frequency response analysis is used to calculate the steady-state response due to a sinusoidal load applied to a structure at a single frequency. This is useful to determine the effect of vibrations on a structure. In this image we have assessed the mode shapes at different excitation frequencies resulting from a motor mounted on a structure.

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Electromagnetic field analysis

The magnetic/electromagnetic effects within your design can be simulated to determine loads and optimise the design.

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