Finite Element Analysis

Analyze heat transfer and structural mechanics

Finite element analysis (FEA) is a computational method for predicting how structures behave under loading, vibration, heat, and other physical effects. This technique allows entire designs to be constructed, evaluated, refined, and optimized before being manufactured.

Finite element analysis provides numerical solutions to boundary value problems that model real-world physics as partial differential equations. For computation, FEA breaks the real-world geometries down into meshes or computational grids composed of small elements, such as tetrahedrons. The equations that model the physics of these elements are then assembled into a larger system of equations that models the entire problem. You can use the results of finite element analysis to observe stress, strain, deformation, temperature, and heat flux and to predict whether a structure will fail or work the way it was designed during operation.

A typical workflow in finite element analysis includes importing or creating a geometry, meshing the geometry, applying boundary and initial conditions, solving, and postprocessing results. You can run one analysis or multiple analyses in parallel to perform a design of experiments (DOE) study. You can customize or automate any of the steps of the workflow to extend your simulation capabilities.

To learn more about mechanical stress and heat transfer, see Partial Differential Equation Toolbox™ and Parallel Computing Toolbox™.

See also: physical modeling, mathematical modeling, dimensional analysis