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Finite element analysis

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Finite element analysis (FEA) is the application of the finite element method to the analysis of static or dynamic physical objects and systems. In it, the object or system is represented by a geometrically similar model consisting of multiple, linked, simplified representations of discrete regions—i.e., finite elements. Equations of equilibrium, derived from applicable physical considerations, are applied to each element, and a system of simultaneous equations is constructed. The system of equations is solved for unknown values using the techniques of linear algebra. The accuracy of the solution may be indefinitely improved through the increase in number, and corresponding decrease in size, of the elements.

FEA is used to analyze objects and systems that are of sufficient complexity that analysis with simpler closed-form analytical methods will not yield results of adequate accuracy, and permits the solution of problems which could not otherwise be solved. In practice, it is accomplished through the use of digital computers due to the very large number and size of the simultaneous equations required for most analyses.

A common use of FEA is for the determination of stresses and displacements in mechanical objects and systems. However, it is also routinely used in the analysis of many other types of problems, including those in heat transfer and fluid mechanics.

FEA programs:

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