Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a computer simulation technique used in engineering analysis. It uses a numerical technique called the finite element method (FEM). In this, the object or system is represented by a geometrically similar model consisting of multiple, linked, simplified representations of discrete regions — finite elements. Equations of equilibrium, in conjunction with applicable physical considerations such as compatibility and constitutive relations, 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 or nonlinear numerical schemes, as appropriate.
FEA has become a solution to the task of predicting failure due to unknown stresses by showing problem areas in a material and allowing designers to see all of the theoretical stresses within. This method of product design and testing is far superior to the manufacturing costs which would accrue if each sample was actually built and tested.
There are generally two types of analysis: 2-D modeling, and 3-D modeling. While 2-D modeling conserves simplicity and allows the analysis to be run on a relatively normal computer, it tends to yield less accurate results. 3-D modeling, produces more accurate results while it can only be run satisfactorily on a faster computer effectively. Within each of these modeling schemes, the programmer can insert numerous algorithms (functions) which may make the system behave linearly or non-linearly. Linear systems are far less complex and generally do not take into account plastic deformation. Non-linear systems do account for plastic deformation, and many also are capable of testing a material all the way to fracture.
While being an approximate method, the accuracy of the FEA method can be improved by refining the mesh in the model using more elements and nodes, though this will retard the process of converging.
A common use of FEA is for the determination of stresses and displacements in mechanical objects and systems. It is used in new product design, and also in existing product refinement. A company is able to verify whether a proposed design will be able to perform to the client’s specifications prior to manufacturing or construction. Modifying an existing product or structure is utilized to qualify the product or structure for a new service condition. In case of structural failure, FEA may be used to help determine the design modifications to meet the new condition. However, it is also routinely used in the analysis of many other types of problems, including those in heat transfer, fluid dynamics and electromagnetism. FEA is able to handle complex systems that defy closed-form analytical solutions.
Some FEA Software’s
An adaptive hierarchical finite element toolbox
- is an Open Source FEA project. The solver uses a partially compatible ABAQUS file format. The pre/post-processor generates input data for many FEA and CFD applications.
French software written in Python and Fortran, GPL license.
is a finite element differential equation library
Distributed and Unified Numerics Environment GPL Version 2 with Run-Time Exception, written in C++
Elmer FEM solver:
Open source multiphysical simulation software developed by Finnish Ministry of Education’s CSC, written in C, C++ and Fortran
A general purpose finite element analysis program
Finite Elements for Biomechanics
is a Windows finite element solver for 2D and axisymmetric magnetic, electrostatic, heat flow, and current flow problems
– Finite Element Routines
Project: a LGPL-licensed software package developed by American and European researchers
is an adaptive finite element method (AFEM) software libraries and tools for solving coupled systems of nonlinear geometric partial differential equations (PDE)
FRANC2D and FRANC3D:
is a two/three dimensional, finite element based program for simulating curvilinear crack propagation in planar (plane stress, plane strain, and axisymmetric) structures developed by Cornell Fracture Group US. software available for Windows and Linux/UNIX
is an implementation of a language dedicated to the finite element method
An open-source finite element library
Modular C/C++ library for rapid development of space- and space-time adaptive hp-FEM solvers.
Dynamic Finite Element Program Suite, for dynamic events like crashes, written in Java, GNU license
a framework for the numerical simulation of partial differential equations
(Object Finite Element LIbrary)a library of finite element C++ classes for multipurpose development of finite element software
finite element modeling for material science
Object Oriented Finite EleMent solver, written in C++, GPL v2 license
(Field Operation And Manipulation). Originally for CFD only, but now includes finite element analysis through tetrahedral decomposition of arbitrary grids.
is an Open System for Earthquake Engineering Simulation
is a freely available, portable library of subroutines for parallel finite element analysis. The subroutines are written in FORTRAN90/95 and use MPI for message passing.
Static and Dynamic Nonlinear Analysis of Fracture in Solids
FEM-software available for Windows and Linux/UNIX, written in C, GPL license
Franco-American software from SIMULIA, owned by Dassault Systemes
Advance Design BIM
software for FEM structural analysis, including international design eurocodes, a solution developed by GRAITEC
Altair Engineering’s HyperWorks is a computer-aided engineering (CAE) simulation software platform that allows businesses to create superior, market-leading products efficiently and cost effectively.
An advanced CAE pre-processing software for complete model build up.
COMSOL Multiphysics Finite Element Analysis Software formerly Femlab
Creo Elements / Pro Mechanica:
A p-version finite element program that is embedded in the MCAD application Creo Elements Pro, from PTC (Parametric Technology Corporation)
Software for finite element analysis and partial differential equations
(software) a multi-purpose finite element program (three-dimensional and nonlinear) by TNO
Lightweight FEM POST Processor and Viewer for 3D UNV and NASTRAN files
simulates groundwater flow, mass transfer and heat transfer in porous media
Siemens PLM Software: A pre and post processor for Windows
-Design Structural analysis software from StruSoft (Swedish company).
Dynamic Design Solutions: A toolbox for static and dynamic simulation, verification, validation and updating of finite element models. Includes also modules for structural optimization and for obtaining experimental reference data.
(Finite Element Navier–Stokes Package) the fully-integrated 3D in-flight CFD icing simulation system developed by Newmerical Technologies Intl.
American electromagnetic and thermal FEA
DNV (Det Norske Veritas) Software
A 3D control-volume finite element hydrologic model, simulating surface and subsurface water flow and solute and thermal energy transport
Software for composite material analysis
Infolytica MagNet :
North American electromagnetic, electric and thermal FEA software
Japanese software Actran: Belgian Software (Acoustic)
from LINKftr AS (Norwegian company). Special purpose non linear FE program for pipelines
LSTC – Livermore Software Technology Corporation
TASS – TNO Automotive Safety Solutions
from MSC Software
American software, from MSC Software
Nautics 3D Beam:
DNV (Det Norske Veritas) Software
Nastran Suit for highly advanced Durability & NVH Analyses of Engines; born from the AK32 Benchmark of Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche & VW; Source Code available
NEi Fusion, NEi Software:
3D CAD modeler + Nastran FEA
NEi Nastran, NEi Software:
General purpose Finite Element Analysis
NEi Works, NEi Software:
Embedded Nastran for SolidWorks users
Serbian software for linear and nonlinear structural analysis, heat conduction, fluid mechanics with heat transfer, coupled problems, biomechanics, fracture mechanics and fatigue.
Geotechnical 2D/3D FE suites, with support for stresses, deformations, groundwater flow and dynamics.
American software for wave propagation and piezoelectric devices
Physics simulating software
A linear and nonlinear solver owned by Altair Engineering
Multi physics simulation software
CAE package developed by the Belgian company
Developed in Sydney Australia by Strand7 Pty. Ltd. Marketed as Straus7 in Europe.
developed by ESRD, Inc (USA) emphasizing solution accuracy by utilizing high order elements
Vector Fields Concerto:
UK 2d/3d RF and microwave electromagnetic design software
Vector Fields Opera:
UK 2d/3d Electromagnetic and multi-physics finite element design software
Physics-based distributed hydrologic modeling software, developed by Vieux & Associates, Inc.