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# The Summer of Simulation #3:

5 things you
should do before
showing your
FEA results to
anyone

Shuvom Ghose
800-424-2255 x1110
shuvom@capinc.com
www.capinc.com

Who we are

is

## reseller of SolidWorks CAD and

tools, and

Who we are
Slides prepared by CAPINC Engineer:
Shuvom Ghose

Who makes

work

## Why follow these five steps?

There will always be people who
doubt your FEA results (and FEA
use in general).
Dont give the doubters any
more ammunition.
Do all you can to solidify your
FEA results before showing
them to people.

CAPINC

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CAPINC

## Step 1: Ask the right question

If you were given this aircraft
bracket to analyze, what would you

8000 lbs.
Total upward
force

Titanium:
Ti-6AL-4V
Fixed at 4 corners
Many folks might ask: What is the maximum stress in the
bracket? Within, say, +/- 10 percent?
(Bracket model courtesy of user optimal_aj from GrabCAD.com)

## Step 1: Ask the right question

stress, now EVERY aspect of your
study is called into question:

Is 8000 lbs.
really the right
force? What if
angle?

Is
Ti-6AL-4V
the closest alloy?
Is Fixed a realistic
constraint for
these bolts?
Is this mesh fine
enough for this
complex geometry?

## Step 1: Ask the right question

Worse than that, now youll get into
the Percentage Game with your
doubters. Youll say:

8000 lbs.?

## Given all these questions, the max

stress is probably accurate within
15%.
Ti-6AL-4V?
Fixed?
15 percent? HA! Youll need accuracy
better than +/- 5 percent to convince
ME!

Mesh fine
enough?

## Step 1: Ask the right question

Upward force

maximum stress, what
Weve got two
competing bracket
designs. Which one is
better?

Fixed
CAPINC

## Then, with just a 1

minute FEA study, you
learn that the lower
bracket is:
77% Heavier
16% Worse
displacement in
the pull direction

CAPINC

fixtures, material)

## Step 1: Ask the right question

And the best part is, all those
doubts we had with the absolute
study fall away, since they are
the same for both relative
bracket studies!
This means doubters cant object
to the results!
77% Heavier
Um

CAPINC

16% Worse
displacement

fixtures, material)

## You can make a LOT of decisions

160% heavier
50% better Z disp.

77% heavier
16% worse Z disp.
216% heavier
34% better Z disp.

## The RIGHT question

At CAPINC, we call this the A vs. B comparison. Use it to make
your FEA cycles faster, since EVERY design decision can be boiled
down to a choice of: Do we do this? Or this? Or neither?

CAPINC

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matter.

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CAPINC

## Step 2: Do a sanity check

Returning to absolute
numbers, with 8000 lbs.
upward force on the lugs, the
maximum reported stress in
the part is:
3.6e5 psi.

## Is that way too much? Way too

little? In the ballpark? If weve
never seen a shape like this, how
can we tell?
CAPINC

## Sanity check: the location of

max stress
right next to one of
rigidly fixed faces?
Then the number
is fake.

The fixed face distorts the stress around it, since one
end of those mesh nodes cant move at all, leading to
more stress on the element. To get a more accurate
number, wed have to change the fixed restraint, or
model the bolts and plate theyre attached to.

## Sanity check: magnitude of

stresses
in all levels of SolidWorks
Simulation), we can see that the
back legs carry most of the stress
when this bracket is pulled upward.

CAPINC

## Sanity check: magnitude of

stresses
8000 lbs.
Total upward force

Stresses ~
4e4 psi?

## Using an Iso Clipping plot (found in

all levels of SolidWorks
Simulation), we can see that the
stress in those loaded back legs is
around 4e4 psi.

How can we tell?

CAPINC

## Sanity check: magnitude of

stresses
And if you look at those back legs and
squint a little, that back leg is sort of a

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## Sanity check: magnitude of

stresses
So what would happen if we
took a cylinder of that size
and put 8000 lbs. of load on
it?

CAPINC

8000 lbs.

## Sanity check: magnitude of

stresses
8000 lbs. Total upward force
on bracket

Stresses ~
4e4 psi in
~0.5 dia
leg

## 8000 lbs. upward force

on test coupon
Stresses = 4e4
psi in 0.5 dia
section

With results in the same magnitude (e4 psi), we can conclude that our
initial stress results are NOT INSANE. Thats all we can tell.

Objection!
Youre estimating the
with a cylinder under
tension?
I can do what with a
simple hand calculation!
Why do we need some
fancy, expensive FEA
package to accomplish
that!?!
Back in my day

CAPINC

on test coupon
4e4 psi

## Answer: the cylinder gives a sense of the

magnitude, but cant tell you anything about
stress distribution, or A vs. B comparison of
choices

CAPINC

## Other sanity checks: hoop

stress for pressurized vessels
On-line Hoop Stress Calculator:
http://www.engineersedge.com/calculators/hoop-s
tress.htm

CAPINC

## Other sanity checks: cantilevered

beam calculator inside of SolidWorks

CAPINC

## Other sanity checks

Whats the MOST this number could be?
Whats the LEAST?
What is the range of your plots legend?
Are deformations still Elastic, i.e. are
they under 0.2% strain? (Linear solvers
assume all deformations are elastic.)
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matter.

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5.

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doesnt matter
31,000
mesh
elements

elements are
enough?

126,000
mesh
elements
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## Whats happening as you add

more mesh elements
One big mesh element is like one big spring, pretty stiff

## Many mesh elements are like many small springs,

added all together, they bend more while staying in
the elastic zone

CAPINC

## But meshes are tetrahedrons! It

still works! (Try this at home!)
Tip displace:
5.14e-8 in

Tip displace:
5.27e-8 in

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## But the affect of adding more mesh

elements eventually decreases

Result
Real
answe
r
What should
happen as you
increase mesh
density
Increasing mesh density

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## And this is what happens as

you increase mesh density

Z displacement,
(in)

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Mesh elements

increases

Z displacement,
(in)

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Meshelements
elements
Mesh

## So how can we keep our solve

times reasonable?
Mesh accuracy doesnt
matter if the second A
vs. B design is heavier
AND worse in
displacement!
77% Heavier
16% Worse Z
Displacement
1 minute FEA study
CAPINC

## What does it mean if you get this graph

as you increase your mesh density?

Mesh elements
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matter.

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condition

8500 lbs.?

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condition
5000 in-lbs.

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## But those tests were all part of

the original specification

CAPINC

## Who remembers what we checked

for in Summer of Simulation #1?
We checked for:

Things Breaking
Things Bending too much
Things Overheating
Things Shaking at Nat. Freqs.
Long, Slender Things Buckling
Fatigue Failure

Break
Bend
Burn
Buzz
Buckle
Fat

BBBBBFat!

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Fatigue

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Natural Frequency

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## Step 4: Test a second failure

condition
SolidWorks Simulation Professional:

Buckle
CAPINC

Burn

Fatigue

Buzz

Optimize

1.

2.

3.

matter.

4.

5.

BBBBBFat!

CAPINC

## What do you think is your

BIGGEST FEA assumption?

Restraints

Material Properties

Contact Conditions

Mesh

Geometry
Simplification

CAPINC

## What do you think is your

BIGGEST FEA assumption?

Restraints

Material Properties

Contact Conditions

Mesh

Geometry
Simplification

CAPINC

## Most likely sources of error

(in general)
BIGGER
assumptions

Restraints
Geometry
Simplification
Contact Conditions
Mesh

Smaller
assumptions
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Material Properties

## How to document restraints?

Appendix F: Assumptions

## Bracket variant 142A was restrained with fixed faces

at each of its bolt corners.

CAPINC

## How to document restraints?

(Better)
Section 2: Assumptions (BEFORE results!)
Bracket variant 142A was restrained with fixed faces
(green) at each of its bolt corners:

CAPINC

## How to document restraints?

(Best!) (For this example, changed away from fixed
restraints to make a more interesting picture)

Section 2: Assumptions
Bracket variant 142A was restrained with bolt faces only allowed
rotational motion (green cylinders) and bottom faces only allowed
sliding motion (orange planes):

CAPINC

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matter.

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BBBBBFat!

CAPINC

## The Summer of Sim is over, but you can still

watch our other recorded FEA webinars:

3 rules to do material
selection right

10 designs by hand,
100 by FEA

5 things to do before
results

http://www.capinc.com/events/webinars/recorded-webinars
CAPINC

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or

, contact
(salesinfo@capinc.com)