15 Nov 2019 FEA Element Types
There are different types of Finite Elements used in FEA, with each having a different underlying mathematical model. The most commonly used element types are:
- Line Elements (also called 1D Elements). (see: https://www.fea-solutions.co.uk/line-elements/)
- Surface Elements (also called Planar Elements or 2D Elements). (see: https://www.fea-solutions.co.uk/surface-elements/)
- Solid Elements (also called Volume Elements or 3D Elements). (see: https://www.fea-solutions.co.uk/solid-elements/)
It is important to choose the appropriate element type for a particular project. Quite often, several different element types have to be employed alongside one another to correctly represent the behaviour of the structure. That is why the understanding of the physical background for each of the element types is necessary for any successful FEA simulation.
A typical mistake of inexperienced FEA users is to only use Solid Elements. These can easily mesh a CAD solid model, but will give too low stress results for thin walled structures subjected to bending.
When solving, Line Elements use beam theory, Surface Elements use plate theory, and Solid Elements use continuum mechanics to produce simulation results.
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