Refining your design at the initial concept stage of your project is crucial.  Especially if you want to get the best from your structure before large expense is committed. 

We help you achieve this.  By leveraging advanced finite element analysis (FEA) to accurately predict the behaviour of your building – so you can make the right decisions early.

FEA is one of the most powerful numerical methods available to solve partial differential equations for complex structures.  Providing a direct pathway to understand the feasibility of a new design or troubleshoot a problem.  All without the need to prototype and waste time and money.

 

Turning client ideas into reality

FEA allows us to seek solutions that unlock the key to certainty in a project.  Combining our specialist in-house technical capability with state of the art abaqus software we’re able to solve the most complex engineering problems.  This means we can provide analysis efficiently, accurately and to the highest standard.  All the while adhering to stringent FEA best practice and guidance recommended by NAFEMS.

Our implicit and explicit numerical analyses run on in-house high end engineering workstations using 12-CPUS. Allowing us to solve a diverse range of engineering problems from static to quasi-static, dynamic, thermal, buckling, vibration and more. We can also perform fully coupled or sequentially coupled multi-physics simulations such as fire – which is often simulated in a sequentially coupled thermal-stress analysis procedure for our clients.

Frequently asked questions

What is FEA?

Widely accepted in most engineering disciplines, FEA is often an alternative to experimental testing set out in many standards.  It uses a computer based numerical method of simulating and analysing the behaviour of structures, components and other, under a variety of conditions.

The technique is based on the idea that a solution to any complex engineering problem can be reached by subdividing the geometry into smaller more manageable “finite” elements.  Validation (where possible) is then achieved by comparing the results with measured test data or values obtained by other independent means.

Why is FEA better than conventional methods?

The Finite Element model is analysed with an inherently greater precision than is possible using conventional hand analyses.  This is because the actual shape, loads, constraints and material properties can be specified with much greater accuracy than possible in traditional hand calculations.

This provides a more comprehensive set of engineering information such as stress/strain, deformation, temperature, natural frequency, pore pressure and more. Allowing the ability to capture data outside of textbooks which can’t be obtained by traditional methods. The geometry can be optimised too.

Finite element simulations of different models and physical events are also generally performed easier and faster than experimental testing.

Armed with this information, designers can analyse performance to a higher degree of standard – and identify possible modifications for improvement.

What is the process for carrying out FEA?

Put simply, FEA has three key stages:

  1. Pre-processing.  The geometry is received from a client or developed in-house. Material properties, boundary conditions, loads and other aspects are then applied, the geometry meshed and solution techniques specified.
  2. Solution.  Solving the engineering problem is significantly influenced by its size, complexity, hardware, CPUS, GPUS and other metrics. Directly affecting whether implicit and/or explicit solvers are used (of which each requires different analysis procedures). As well as the time required to obtain the solution – which can vary from minutes to weeks or even more.
  3. Post-processing.  This begins with checking the solution and reporting in the format required such as deformed shapes or contour plots of strain, stress, temperature and others.

At the end of this process, we’re able to provide a variety of reporting tools to illustrate the behaviour of the model.  This includes colour contours, vector plots, section cuts, isosurfaces, animations, graphs and text outputs.  All to get a clearer idea of a client’s project or product and understand potential solutions.

Abaqus/CAE, Abaqus/Standard (implicit solver), Abaqus/Explicit and Abaqus/Viewer are used respectively for those three stages here at HERA.

When can FEA help your project?

Can your structure withstand all working loads or accidents safely?  How does it behave in a fire? Will permanent deformations, buckling or uncontrollable vibrations occur under certain conditions? Can you reduce your materials or find alternative and less expensive materials to use?

If you have any structural questions that need answering for your project, often FEA is the answer.

This approach is particularly suited to structural and mechanical engineering design, product development, manufacturing process, improving efficiencies of existing designs and failure analysis investigations.  Armed with FEA there are many ways that we can contribute to your project.

What are the advantages of using FEA?

FEA enables engineers to predict the response of structures more accurately where traditionally there was no way to do so.  It’s a process that in most cases results in time and cost savings by avoiding conservative engineering approaches.  All the while needing relatively low investment and providing fast calculation data for interpretation.

By arming ourselves with a better understanding of the structural behaviour of a building, we’re able to help remove uncertainty and unnecessary pessimism in a design.  So we can push boundaries safely and come up with innovative design solutions.

What are the limitations of FEA?

Like any approximate numerical method, the solution produced by FEA contains a certain amount of error.  This can be dependent on the type, size, and accuracy of the model used – and of course the analyst evaluating it.

However, to mitigate this risk we’ve ensured that we’ve combined sophisticated software with over 20 years of specialist expertise and experience in FEA.  Ensuring we get the most reliable results for our clients to rely on.

stephen-hicks-hera
Stephen Hicks

General Manager Structural Systems

nandor-mago-hera
Nandor Mago

Finite Element Analyst, Structural Systems