What is Finite Element Analysis and how is it done?
September 17, 2020
September 17, 2020
This mathematical problem-solving method just might save your next project
We’re seeing a growing demand for Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in the industry. But this process is not always well understood, nor is it always practiced effectively.
FEA is a method of solving problems using mathematical models. When we use FEA, we apply engineering principals and mathematics to an object for the purpose of examining its behavior due to external factors such as force or temperature. The goal is to predict things like the object’s strength, areas of stress, and deformation. In today’s world, this means building a virtual, three-dimensional (3D) model of the object in a computer program using the most accurate data available.
We specialize in FEA and have completed more FEA projects year over year for our clients. Our initial step when we perform a FEA is to acquire information about the object being studied, such as detailed drawings, fabrication specs for equipment, or architectural drawings. We model the subject in 3D using specialized software and then run a FEA analysis with inputs that simulate the real world conditions the equipment or infrastructure will be exposed to. We then spend time to understand the output, analyzing the design for areas that are overstressed and likely to fail. We provide recommendations to the client for reducing stresses and/or deformation to make the structure safe, functional, and efficient. This may include adjusting external factors such as structure arrangement, installation, and more.
Through Finite Element Analysis, we apply our engineering knowledge to efficiently evaluate the fitness of a design for the real world.
We perform a lot of FEA studies for the oil and gas projects, but we also run them for a variety of structural and mechanical engineering projects, too. We’ve even performed studies for specialized techno-architecture projects like those jumbotron video screens in arenas. There are four situations where we find FEA useful:
Our clients, whether internal or external, see a great benefit when we use FEA on their projects. Through FEA, we apply our engineering knowledge to efficiently evaluate the fitness of a design for the real world. The more our clients and engineering colleagues know about a structure’s performance, the better they can perform their role—whether it be planning a new installation, repair, or replacement of an asset.
While we’ve seen the demand for our FEA services grow in North America and the Caribbean, we believe it has potential application on projects anywhere on the globe. Ultimately, improving public safety, asset integrity, and project execution are the potential benefits of FEA that we believe make it a wise choice.