Structural Analysis (FEA)
Our experienced technical team has helped companies assess thousands of structures for integrity and performance using ANSYS and other software. When applied correctly, FEA provides many benefits over hand calculations and prototype testing for productivity and innovation.
Successful stress, deflection and thermal simulations require models to be set up and interpreted correctly, including quality meshing and realistic assembly contact. As an ANSYS channel partner, we help companies undertake their own structural analysis by providing software, training and technical support. We also have a large consulting team for project work and to help our clients expand their FEA capacity and skills at short notice.
Our breadth of software capabilities and in-house expertise enable us to choose the right analysis approach to match the application, covering beam, shell and solid meshing, contact modelling and handling of static and dynamic loading conditions. In many cases, these models have to adhere to the requirements of regulatory standards and codes. We tackle all types of static, dynamic and buckling simulations for fabrication and assemblies, including proper treatment of contact, welds and bolted connections to assessment by BS 5950-1-2000.
Courtesy: Mechatherm International Ltd
Courtesy: Flexible Engineered Solutions Ltd
Contact stress analysis of mechanical valve rotator (Courtesy: Helical Technology Ltd)
Code Assessment & Validation
We regularly undertake design assessment for code compliance. We are very familiar with PD5500, Eurocode and ASME VIII & ASME V Design by Analysis for pressure vessel and related equipment, including stress linearisation. We also undertake the bespoke assessment of designs not in-line with conventional codes and standards.
Pressure vessel analysis subjected to internal pressure and nozzle loads
Linear and Non-linear Buckling
A major consideration for many load-bearing structures, we predict buckling-capacity safety-factors using both linear and non-linear approaches. Some examples of recent projects include offshore fabricated towers, railway masts, bridges and outdoor storage tanks subject to variable wind loading.
Courtesy: Motherwell Bridge Ltd Clayton Walker Gasholders
Thermal Stress Analysis
Often structural stress is caused by temperature gradients and both steady-state and transient thermal analysis have been undertaken using ANSYS and other FEA codes.
We have simulated thermal cracking of ceramic refractory tiles due to quenching processes, in addition to thermo-mechanical simulations for a diverse range of products including engine ice protection systems, ceramic catalysts, oil well plug systems and roof tiles. Results have been validated through physical test data and thermal shock tests.
Our structural analysis and fluid dynamics capabilities can be combined to study fluid-structure interaction (FSI) behaviour, including both thermal and pressure loading.
Implicit and Explicit Dynamics
We support both implicit and explicit analysis through ANSYS Mechanical and ANSYS LS-DYNA, in addition to kinematic (rigid body) simulations to extract dynamic loads from reciprocating machinery.
Natural frequency (modal), harmonic, response spectrum and random vibration applications are common to understand how a system performs relative to its critical frequencies. Projects range from automotive after treatment systems, fuel oil coolers, nuclear gloveboxes to gas holders. Sources of dynamic loads vary widely, from gas pulsations within internal baffles and rotating equipment to road vibrations and seismic events.
Through our long-term relationship with the off-road vehicle industry, we are highly experienced in transient dynamic analysis such as the assessment of falling object protective structures (FOPS) to BS EN ISO 3449:2008. Impact or blast simulations have included mobile phone drop tests to regulatory requirements and explosion-resistant safety enclosures for ATEX certification, together with shock testing for marine applications to recognised standards such as BV 0430.
Historical Drop Test Analysis
Fatigue Life Prediction
Fatigue life prediction of structures and systems has been one of our most common applications over three decades, correlating results with physical test data where it is available. Whether the excitations are static or dynamic, regular or completely random, we ensure designs meet their requirements for safe-life or damage-tolerant design.
We have experience in fatigue life predictions within many industries, from mixing vessels and ship-based rotating equipment to speciality bridges subject to multiple crossings, applying relevant codes such as Eurocode, PD5500 and DNV CN30-7. Depending on requirements, leading fatigue software tools are available through ANSYS.
Gearbox fatigue assessment – operating points in relation to fatigue limit
Structural analysis projects typically include the identification and risk assessment of failure modes. This may support a Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA/FMECA) undertaken by ourselves or our clients during product development.
Common failure modes are mechanical overloading, plastic collapse, localised yielding or wear. However, we have also investigated other potential causes of failure such as hydrogen embrittlement and ageing, including stress corrosion cracking of stainless steel subsea equipment to DN-RP-F112.
Progressive failure can be predicted using the advanced fracture mechanics capabilities within ANSYS and we have applied the Paris Law for aluminium structures.
Non-Linear Engineering Materials and Large Deformation
In addition to ‘linear’ metallic materials, we are also very familiar with hyperelastic and creep modelling of polymers and rubbers for seals, housings and other products. We can translate complex non-linear behaviour into efficient material models suitable for FEA. This includes the project management of material physical tests and development & validation of constitutive models to implement within our clients’ analysis software.
We have significant experience handling large deformation problems involving extensive contact and rigid body motion, covering nuclear, aerospace, automotive, electronic and consumer products among other industries. Some of these applications exploit our complementary capabilities to model metal forming processes.
With specialised skills in the analysis of GRP, sandwich, honeycomb and other anisotropic materials, we have undertaken a range of projects in aerospace and other industries requiring strong, lightweight structures. Our structural polymer capabilities are also supported by our injection moulding simulation experience.
Composite Ducting Analysis
» Brochure: ANSYS Capabilities Chart
» Brochure: ANSYS Startup Programme
» White Paper: Fatigue Life Prediction in Composite Materials
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Selected Training Courses
» ANSYS Mechanical – Introduction
» ANSYS LS-DYNA – Introduction
» FEA Principles (Classroom)
» ANSYS Mechanical – Basic Structural Nonlinearities
» FEA Principles (Online)