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Design, FEA workflow and open source solutions

  1. Dec 15, 2013 #1

    I have two main area of questions which I'll spit out then give some context to my questions.

    #1. What is the general FEA work flow? Model -> Mesh -> Analysis? What (preferably open source) software for each stage. File formats? What info to they contain, in what form? What different ways are there of defining a geometry.

    #2. Which of the many open source FEA solutions do people recommend / have experience with for structural and fluid dynamic problems. Looking through the list on Wikipedia and its quite large. Some look more like libraries, which I'm not averse to using but I would not want to manually define complex geometries in code, I'd obviously want to import a model in some way. Do FEA packages tend to produce the mesh?

    My degrees and experience are in applied mathematics concentrating mainly on fluid dynamics, I have studied FEM (galerkin method) from a theoretical standpoint many years ago during a masters course but never used it. I currently work developing some engineering related software but have no knowledge of the traditional design work flow. This is a learning exercise but I would not mind moving towards an more analysis based role at some point.

    I have recently begin teaching myself some basic CAD (trying both FreeCAD and OpenSCAD) and would like to apply some FEA to these basic models using some FEA tools. I discovered when I left university and applied for jobs engineering firms were more interested in people who could use package X than could fully implement methods. Which as understandable as you don't want to resolve solved problems, but of course my degree had concentrated on the theory.

    I'm keen on using opensource tools because
    1. This is mainly an academic exercise at the moment so cost is important,
    2. I'm a linux user and don't have a based windows O/S available for any evaluation versions of commercial products.

    Thank for any pointers.
  2. jcsd
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