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MechanicalEngineering Mathematics
Howdoesfiniteelementanalysiswork?

Whatisconvergenceinfiniteelementanalysis? Whatloaddoesnotactonnodeinfiniteelement
analysis?

2Answers CanIignoreasetofnodesinafiniteelement
analysis?
AjayB.Harish,Top10mostviewedwritersinFiniteElementMethod
Whenandwhywasfiniteelementanalysisinvented?
UpdatedOct15

Inthefiniteelementmethod,youareeventuallysolvingamatrixequation,eitherlinearas Dofinitegroupshaveelementsoffiniteorder?

[K ] {u} = {f }
IamusingHypermeshasapreprocessorforfinite
elementanalysis.HowdoIdecidewhichelementto
ornonlinearas useandonwhatbasisisthisdecided?

WhatisaShapeFunctioninFEM?
[K (u)] {u} = {f } .

Howcanwedofiniteelementanalysisinetabs?
Inthelinearcase,thematrix[K ]isconstantandindependentoftheunknowns{u}.So
onecouldinvert*itandfindtheunknownsinasinglestep.Inlinearsystems(commonly Whatarethetypesofnonlinearityinfiniteelement
seeninlinearelasticity),convergenceisnotmuchofadiscussedissue. analysis?

Convergenceisdiscussedinlinearelasticityonlywhentherearesingularities(likenotches Howmuchload(inNewtons)doIapplyinaFinite
etc).Here,thedisplacementsconvergebutthestressesneednot.Hence,meshrefinement ElementAnalysissimulation?
isstronglyrecommendednearthesesharppoints.

Innonlinearequations,untiltheunknowns{u}areknown,thematrix[K (u)] cannotbe


evaluatedandviceversa.Thisislikeachicken&eggproblem!Hence,

Westartat{u} 0
= {u } = 0

Using,{u 0 0
} , [K (u )] iscalculated

Usingthismatrix[K (u 0
,wesolvethesystem
)]

0 1
[K (u )] {u } = {f }

However,sincethesolutionisnotexact,thisdoesnotexactlysatisfy

1 1
[K (u )] {u } {f } 0

Nowwecontinuetoiterateuntilwefinda{u n
} ,suchthat

n n
[K (u )] {u } {f } 0

Noteherethatwewillneverreachzeronumerically.Dependingonthe
software/platform,youuse,aparticularcutoffvaluelike 10 or 10 or 10 8 12 16

isset.Whenthisvalueisreached,wesaythesystemhasconverged.

Inaddition,sinceFEMsolutionsdependontheunderlyingmesh,itisimportanttonote
thatthemeshusedisoptimal.Ifthemeshisrefined(sayelementsizeisreducedtohalf)
andthesolutiondoesnotchangemuch,thenwecansaythatthemeshiswellrefined.
Thisalsoaffectstheconvergence.

*Note:OnealmostneverinvertsamatrixinFEM.TechniqueslikeGaussJordan
eliminationetcareusedtoobtainsolution.

Tocheckthisouthandson,Icanrecommendyoutotrytheupcomingsimulation
software SimScale.Itisacloudbasedtoolwheresimulationscanbesetuponabrowser.
Itdoesnotneedthehassleoflicensesorinstallations.

TheGUIallowsyoutoseetheconvergencebehaviorasthesimulationprogresses.Youcan
alsorunseveraljobs(withdifferentmeshsizes)inparalleltodoameshstudyaswell.

Itallowsstructural,fluidandparticlesimulations.SimScaleoffersafreeversionwhereone
cangetupto3000hoursforcomputing.Forthefreeversion,theprojectscreatedare
publiclyavailable.However,ifonewouldliketokeepyourprojectprivate,aprofessional
version isalsoavailable.Thereisalsoatwoweekfreetrialfortheprofessionalversionof
theplatform.Youcanexplorethepublicprojectsdatabase ,wherethereareloadsof
projectsalreadyavailableandcouldfindsomeinterestingideasonnewtopics.
1.7kViewsViewUpvotes

RelatedQuestions MoreAnswersBelow
Howdoesfiniteelementanalysiswork?
Searchforquestions,people,andtopics SignIn
Whatloaddoesnotactonnodeinfiniteelementanalysis?

CanIignoreasetofnodesinafiniteelementanalysis?

Whenandwhywasfiniteelementanalysisinvented?

Dofinitegroupshaveelementsoffiniteorder?

KathrynRosie,Structural/MechanicalEngineer(formerlyinNuclear,nowRadio
Astronomy)
WrittenNov18,2015

Inthefiniteelementmethod,youaretryingtofigureoutasetofvalueswhichmakesaset
ofequationstrue.Mosttimesyouprobablyaren'tlookingataproblemwhichhasanexact
solutionfortheparticularsetofequationsthatgovernit.Buttheremightbeasetofvalues
which,ifyouplugthemintoonesideofthesetofequations,getcloseenoughtothevalues
ontheothersideofit.

Soasaverysimplifiedthoughtexperiment,andifasolvercodecouldtalk,convergence
mightlooksomethinglikethis:

1.IknowthatmystructuremustnotmoveatpointX.

2.ButmyuserisapplyingaforceatpointYwhichordinarilywouldmakethewhole
thingstartmovingoffintospace.Hell,that'snotright.ThatmeanspointXwill
alsomove.LetmeapplyacounterforceatpointXtostopitfrommoving.

3.Appliesrandomguessforcounterforce.[Forceestimate1]

4.Nope,notenough,thiswholethingisstillmovingoffinthatdirection,albeit
slower.Letmeupthecounterforce.[Forceestimate2]

5.Oops,toomuch.Nowmywholestructureismovingoffintotheotherdirection.
Letmebackitoffabit.[Forceestimate3]

6.Ok,I'mstillmoving,butreeeeeeeeeallyslowly,like1mm/year,let'sseeifIcan
backoffjustaweebitmoreandgetitbetterthanthat.[Forceestimate4]

7.Eh,kinda...we'renowat0.98mm/year.Maybejustabitmore.[Forceestimate5]

8.Ok,it'snow0.977mm/year.Thisisn'treallygoingtogetbetterthanthat,andthe
0.977mm/yeardoesn'tactuallymakeanysortofdifferenceintherealworld.I'm
callingit.

Usersees:Solutionconverged!ForceatX=[Forceestimate5]!

Howcloseiscloseenough?InalotofFEApackagesyoucandecide.Within1/1000?
Maybe.Theacceptablevaluefor'closeenough'isdependentonyourproblem.Setyour
tolerancetoohigh("Iwantitwithin1/1000000000000000oftheactualsolution!")and
you'llsitforthenext14yearswithasolvertryingtoachievethat.Forproblemswithan
exactsolution,closeenough=0.

Therearemoremathematicalexplanations,butthoseareintextbooks,andinvolveline
graphs.
1.1kViewsViewUpvotes

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