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Application Notes

General Knowledge

Subject: What is FEA? 

FEA, or finite element analysis, is a technique for predicting the response of structures and materials to environmental factors such as forces, heat and vibration. The process starts with the creation of a geometric model. Then, the model is subdivided (meshed) into small pieces (elements) of simple shapes connected at specific node points. In this manner, the stress-strain relationships are more easily approximated. Finally, the material behavior and the boundary conditions are applied to each element. FEA software computerize the process and make it possible to solve complex calculations in a matter of minutes. FEA software can provide the engineer with deep insights to the behavior of objects. Many of these insights cannot be gained any other way. 

What Applications can FEA be used for?

Structural Analysis 

FEA is most commonly used in structural and solid mechanics applications for calculating stresses and displacements. These are often critical to the performance of the hardware and can be used to predict failures. 

Thermal Analysis/Heat Transfer 

FEA can be used for thermal analyses to evaluate the temperature distribution, and stresses resulting from uneven heating or rapid temperature changes. Thermal analyses may include convection, conduction, radiation, steady-state, and transient analyses.

Frequency Analysis 

Mechanical vibrations characteristics are often important in design. Dynamic modal analysis is used to find
the natural frequencies and mode shapes of a structure. 

Fluid Flow 

FEA provides insight into complex transient and turbulent flow fields. It allows analysis and optimization of
component geometry for efficient fluid flow, as well as allowing users to view velocity, pressure and thermal
conditions inherent in the modeled flow fields. 

Electromagnetics 

Electromagnetic compatibility and electromagnetic interference can be important in the analyses of many
devices. FEA methods allow you to model the electromagnetic phenomenon.