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❔ How to use this checklist
💻 CAD Model preparation
[ ] Reduce complexity. Remove unnecessary parts from multi-body models, try to represent the system with one part if possible.
[ ] Defeature. Remove unimportant model geometry and complex features not located in areas of concern.
[ ] Leverage symmetry. Apply 3D, 2D, and rotational axissymmetry to reduce model size.
🧪 FE Model Setup
- [ ] Simplify boundary conditions. Apply Saint Venant's principle to simplify loads and boundary conditions. Use the simplest equivalent load that still maintains accuracy at areas of concern. ex: can I use a point load or do i need a pressure load?
- [ ] Meshing: Select the right elements. specify the correct element for your model. Are tetrahedral elements OK? Linear or non-linear? Would a shell element be simpler?
- [ ] Material specification. Be sure to specify the correct material and associated stress strain curve. Matweb.com has stress-strain data that you can import easily.
📏 Results and Refinement
- [ ] Be patient, FEA is iterative! Understand that the first answer is almost never the right answer.
- [ ] Check against hand calculations. Use simple hand calculations to determine upper and/or lower bounds for stress and displacement of your FE model. Shigleys and Roark’s are great resources to find bounded solutions in closed form.
- [ ] Validate your mesh quality. All FE models have discretization error, but you should work to understand and minimize it. Try the following steps to evaluate mesh quality.
[ ] Jacobian check (software dependent)
[ ] Look for stress discontinuities across individual elements
[ ] Energy norm check (software dependent)
- [ ] Don’t forget convergence. Errors to look out for, tips and tricks.Convergence is a must on every model. Continue refining your mesh in areas of high stress or displacement until your results stabilize.