Is FEA a replacement for time-consuming experimental testing?

Is FEA a replacement for time-consuming experimental testing?

FEA and Experimental tests are rivals? and Is FEA a replacement for costly time-consuming experimental testing?.

One of my students asked me about this topic during my FEA class, so I thought I will post this answer (in detail) and share it with all aspiring CAE Simulation engineers. This post will be helpful for those who have similar questions in their mind.

This is a big misconception having young learning FEA enthusiastic engineers. I hope my below words will clear their doubts.

Let’s start.

“Finite Element Analysis has minimized testing requirement but it will be wrong to assume that it has or will totally replace testing”.

 In fact, FEA and Testing are not rivals but friends. One thing is for sure all the good designs are products of excellent coordination between the testing department and the CAE department.

First, try to understand where CAE/FEA lies in the product development process.

Computer-Aided Engineering is a term used to describe the procedure of the entire product engineering process, from design and virtual testing with sophisticated analytical algorithms to the planning of manufacturing. Computer-aided engineering is standard in almost any industry that uses some sort of design software to develop products.

Time to market is reduced when CAE is implemented at the beginning of the design cycle but it is doesn’t mean that FEA completed and replaced by an experimental test, Let me put this in a very simple way. for example, If any company manufacture 1000 products in one batch then doing physical testing of 10 product (approx, you may increase or decrease numbers ) in a batch of 1000 can be a good option, but you need to make sure that test data should match with FEA virtual simulation testing results. (your load cases, loads, and boundary conditions should be the same as in the experimental test).

If experimental test data and FEA results match then we don’t need to conduct a test for 990 products, the company can pass the rest of the products by doing the standard check. That is how a company can save time, cost, and lunch products fast in the market.

Now, let’s see the below images, of how the virtual solution process fundamentally works

In the finite element solution process, you can see on the image block that We want to analyze an actual physical problem. And our first step, of course, is to establish a finite element model of that physical problem. Then, in the next step, we solve that model. And then we have to interpret the results.

Because the interpretation of the results depends very much on how we established the finite element model, what kind of analysis or model we used, and so on. In establishing the finite element model, we have to be aware of what kinds of elements, methodology, techniques, and so on are available to us. So that we can build an equal FE model for our analysis. after getting your first iteration result than we have to compare the result with actual test data, if the results are not near to experimental test data then we have to again establish the FEA model as per test data, so that we can come closer to accurate results and process go on.

A CAE engineer depends on testing for the following reasons.

  1. Input data for CAE (data acquisitions).
  2. Validation of the CAE results.

Though in the industry there are CAE experts who just by looking at FE results can tell whether the design is acceptable or not and in 99% of cases their statement matches with the test results. It is possible for them because of their past experience say for example someone who has been analyzing gearbox for 15 years.

In Past, he has calibrated many models and seen how it fails in the field but believing the words of a novice CAE engineer who has no prior experience or just because the software used is impressive and very costly would be a big mistake. 

If you want to start your career in FEA and want to learn a combination of FEA practical theory with Industry-based projects then do apply for our first basic internship course. “Start your career as a simulations engineer”.

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Experience real learning. (This course is currently for Indian students only. sorry for this).

I hope you found this article informative and useful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you so much for reading!.

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