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some limitations of finite element analysis . . .

some limitations of finite element analysis
A plot showing stress raisers at the intersection of ribs and body.

FEA programs simulate the real world but the outputs are only accurate if the input models, material data and the operational parameters (termed the boundary conditions) are accurate as well. In most cases not all the external influences are known and, at best, may only be estimated.

Our technicians calibrate the FEA input from experimental data, test data and small scale testing carried out within our in-house laboratory. Results from the stress, strain or displacement plots are approximations only and in all safety critical situations it is necessary to subject prototype parts and assemblies to testing in their service conditions. Our overriding objective is to minimise the number of these tests required and the costs associated with the production of prototype products.

FEA models for analysis are generally simplified versions of the actual design. Where symmetry is found models are often subdivided and assumptions made regarding the forces applied which may not be reflected in the completed structure.

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