10x Faster Construction of Midsurface Geometry of Reinforced Plastics for Strength Analysis and Injection Molding

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Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is an excellent method for evaluating the strength and performance of reinforced and unreinforced thin wall structures such as plastics. FEA simulation models often take the form of shell meshes that are based on the extracted midsurfaces of original solid geometry. Unfortunately the process of constructing such midsurface geometry often requires hours to complete. In extreme cases, the process requires days to complete.

We invite you to attend our webinar as we explore advanced midsurface methods that will enable analysts and designers to construct midsurface geometry and meshes up to 10x faster for Finite Element Analysis (FEA).

Join this webinar to learn about:

  • Semi-automatic midsurface extraction methods to produce continuous midsurfaces
  • Midsurface extraction methods for thin wall sections with draft angles or tapering
  • Direct Modeling and Meshing technology to rapidly move vertices and close free edges
  • Exporting geometry from MSC Apex to other CAE applications such as FEA pre/post processors

During this webinar:

  • A live demonstration will be performed to reinforce the concepts discussed in the presentation.
  • MSC Apex will be used throughout the presentation to perform the midsurface extraction and meshing.
  • Commentary will also be given regarding the use of midsurface geometry in injection molding simulation workflows.
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How to avoid merging nodes or equivalencing meshes in Finite Element Analysis?

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Merging nodes is a step common in Finite Element Analysis and is traditionally done when adding a mesh transition or connecting meshes together. Unfortunately the process of merging nodes or equivalencing nodes is a time consuming process.

In this post, an alternative to merging nodes is mentioned that is easier and can get you faster to your goal of calculating stresses, deformations, and loads.

before_after_mesh_transition_merging_nodes

To start off, why are merging nodes necessary.

Refer to the animation below. At first, the FE mesh representing the structure appears as one continuous structure, but in fact, has a piece of mesh that is disconnected from the rest of the structure. The interfaces of this separate piece contain points or nodes of its own that overlap with the nodes of the other meshe. A Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software application will be unable to perform a strength analysis on such a mesh configuration. The mesh has to be intact or one continuous piece before an FEA application can evaluate the model. For the FE mesh to be one continuous structure, the nodes at these interfaces have to be merged or equivalenced.

A mesh such as the one shown below is not suitable for most FEA software packages. Reason being, many of the nodes are unaligned and duplicate nodes exist. For clarification, such unaligned nodes and duplicate nodes have been marked in red.

region_where_merging_nodes_is_necessary

In order to evaluate this structure, the mesh must be such that all the nodes align and that nodes are not overlapping. The image below is an example of a mesh that has aligned nodes with no duplicate nodes. As mentioned at the beginning of the post, this process is quite time consuming and brings us to our alternate method of merging nodes.

mesh_transitions

For the remainder of this article, we will be focusing on this example. A plate with fillets is fixed on one end and a total load of 300 lbf is applied on the opposite end. The goal is to determine the maximum stress, which occurs at the fillets. Material properties: E = 30e6 psi; v = .3.

plate_with_fillets_fixed_total_load

Here is the example using shell elements. Since we know the maximum stress is at the fillets, the region around fillets should have a fine mesh. The rest of the plate can have a coarse mesh. Earlier I mentioned meshes should either be intact or continuous in order for an FEA application to successfully analyze.

Since this mesh is not continuous, it should be intact in order to be solved by an FE application. This is where we use Glue.

fine_mesh_for_detailed_stress_analysis

When I use Glue in this post, I am not referring to an actual adhesive used to connect physical components. Glue in MSC Apex is a virtual method of attaching FE meshes. Generally, when Glue is applied, it enforces a requirement that the interfaces of the meshes act in unison when displacing. This achieves a comparable result compared to continuous meshes that were equivalenced.

Below is a depiction of the Glue region for the bottom fillet.

glue_regions_fea_mesh

Now, how does the maximum stress of the mesh with Glue compare to a normal continuous mesh? As can be seen below, the max von Mises stress values of 2060 psi and 2070 psi are aligned with each other. This is good. It means:

  1. The stress result of the Glue mesh can be used for writing margins of safety.
  2. The process of creating a mesh with Glue is significantly faster than creating a continuous mesh that would require merging nodes or equivalencing meshes.
  3. You get to go home early since you saved yourself all the time of merging nodes.

stress_comparison

How applicable is Glue? Below are variants of the same example using a variety of different shell and solid elements. Note that the maximum stress in each example are aligned with each other. Glue can be used in many different meshing scenarios, which means you can apply Glue to many different structural models, including yours. Instead of merging nodes and equivalencing meshes, perhaps take some time and explore the use of Glue next time you have a chance. Feel free to click on the image to get a closer look.

stress_results_usinglue

 

 

Edit: After I finished this post,  I forgot to include one meshing scenario that is definitely worth mentioning. As the image below shows, meshes of different topologies can be glued together and can yield useful answers. In the image below, shell and solid elements are used. Solid elements are used in the region where accurate stress answers are necessary. Note the maximum von Mises stresses of 2080 and 2060 psi are in agreement with the results from the previous mesh examples.

global_local_stress_analysis

Watch a video demonstration on YouTube

Another tip, for more complex geometry, feel free to TET mesh portions of the geometry that are otherwise difficult to HEX mesh. Then use Glue to connect the meshes. This can help you move through your FEA workflow faster and help you write your stress margin reports sooner.

fea_mesh_tet_hex_elements

What’s New in MSC Apex Fossa

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Watch and learn more about the latest and most powerful release of MSC Apex to date! Learn how you can dramatically increase your productivity and enhance FE analysis with the new MSC Apex Fossa release.

MSC Apex is the result of over 400 man years of software development, with 25 patent filings and 13 product awards to date (the first in the CAE industry to do so), including a prestigious “R&D 100 Award.” Today over 300 companies use MSC Apex for production work.

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How to create a good quality FEM model?

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The finite element method (FEM) is increasingly used for structural calculations. For the most part, FEM is used to calculate structural deformation, stress, fatigue life, vibration, or temperature. The manufacturing of a product may be simulated, and one can calculate the acoustics, crash behaviour, and many other disciplines. The FEM model answers questions like “will the product satisfy the design requirements?”,”will the component fail?” or later “why did it fail?”.

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Reduce the Time to Learn CAE from Months to One Day: New CAE Technology for Academia

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In the engineering profession, new engineers will face numerous complex and difficult engineering problems throughout their career. Their success is dependent on developing a diverse skillset in academia that will enable them to approach engineering problems in different ways so as to solve them. One skillset in particular, Computer Aided Engineering, is applicable to a large number of engineering problems. If a load bearing structure displaces too much, CAE can be used to determine best methods to improve stiffness. If a part is found to have fractured, CAE may be used to determine ways to mitigate stress concentrations. Unfortunately, many CAE applications available today require new users to spend large amounts of time learning and using before users are proficient enough to leverage CAE.

Attend this webinar and learn of new CAE technology that will significantly reduce months of learning and will support young engineers develop their skillset for the future. A live demonstration of new CAE technology will also be covered.

Watch this webinar to learn about…

Existing challenges in CAE that require students to use and learn for months before they are proficient

How new CAE technology can reduce the learning curve and support students develop their engineering expertise

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10X Faster Midsurfacing and FEM Creation of Aircraft Interior Thin Structures

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Many challenges are present when meshing solid geometry: hundreds of features must be removed, geometry discrepancies such as slivers or short edges are present, and meshes must be carefully defined around features. An MSC Software survey revealed 55% of users spend over 30% of their time in the geometry clean-up and meshing stage.

This webinar presents how Direct Modeling and Meshing technology can be used to fix solid geometry, remove unnecessary features, apply specific mesh criteria, and further modify already meshed geometry. Ultimately, the Direct Modeling and Meshing technology will be demonstrated to speed up the meshing process.

Watch this webinar to learn about…

Introduction to manual methods of extracting midsurface geometry and closing gaps between free edges

How to best use automatic methods for creating midsurface geometry

Locating issues with midsurface geometry that prevent good quality meshes

New specialized CAE technology for midsurface modeling and meshing

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10x Faster Meshing and Editing of Solid Geometry for Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

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Many challenges are present when meshing solid geometry: hundreds of features must be removed, geometry discrepancies such as slivers or short edges are present, and meshes must be carefully defined around features. An MSC Software survey revealed 55% of users spend over 30% of their time in the geometry clean-up and meshing stage.

This webinar presents how Direct Modeling and Meshing technology can be used to fix solid geometry, remove unnecessary features, apply specific mesh criteria, and further modify already meshed geometry. Ultimately, the Direct Modeling and Meshing technology will be demonstrated to speed up the meshing process.

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MSC Apex Eagle Highlights

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MSC Apex is the world’s first Computational Parts™ Based CAE system, and the latest MSC Apex Eagle release features a number of additions and enhancements to the existing Modeler and Structures products. Attend this webinar and learn about the newest CAE technology to emerge in MSC Apex and explore how engineers can take advantage of this technology today.

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