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Finite Element Analysis






The Importance of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to the Elastomer and Thermoplastic industry


The finite element analysis (FEA) is a computer-based technique which can be used to analyze rubber parts and components. FEA is also a popular numerical methodology that is widely used to solve engineering problems. Major applications for FEA include static, dynamic and thermal characterizations of mechanical components or parts. Advances in computer hardware have made FEA easier and very efficient into solving complex engineering problems on desktop computers.

The use of FEA for elastomeric parts has been delayed due to difficulty in modeling the viscoelastic properties such as incompressibility, large strains and non-linearity. Even with the complex elastomer theory, shortcomings and difficulties, non-linear FEA is becoming more popular as a standard analysis tool in. the automotive industry for design analysis, failure analysis and manufacturing process analysis. Another notable reason for this popularity is the recent changes in automotive specification requirement for parts comprised of new materials or new designs. The automotive industry is trying to make components that could withstand 500,000 miles of minimum warranty. Also, the global automotive industry is encouraging their worldwide network of subcontractors and suppliers to use CAD/CAM/CAE technologies to design elastomeric components.

Automotive OEM's demand test results on static and dynamic stiffness in three axes on a new elastomer part. Non-linear FEA techniques will allow the design engineer to predict the stiffness of the part before making the prototype. The process and the importance of FEA to the automotive industry is reviewed, from the perspective of a supplier.


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