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Editor’s Pick: Fatigue Analysis Integrated into MSC Nastran 2013

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

Some jobs can just suck the life out of you. And usually the job that does this to you is the one job that is absolutely vital to duh big picture. And when you finally get it done, you’re left drained, cranky, behind schedule, and muttering to yourself that there must be a better way to do this. Well, if fatigue analysis is the gig that comes to your mind, as opposed to managing the kid analyst with the Goth hair and perpetual hangover, then today’s Pick of the Week should interest you.

Last week, MSC announced the 2013 version of MSC Nastran, its pace-setting finite element analysis solver for decades now. It has all sorts of enhancements like 1D to 3D and 2D to 3D axisymmetric mapping for blast loads, enhancements for FSI (fluid structure interaction) applications, and enhancements for high-performance computing environments. It has new support for analyzing the poroelastic behavior of trim components so that you can figure out better ways to dampen vibrations and improve cabin comfort in automobiles and aircraft. For advanced nonlinear system analyses, MSC Nastran 2013 offers improvements to its user-defined material subroutine such as the ability to define new state variables.

All that and the others I have not mentioned would make this a really interesting release if it were not for one other enhancement that pushes 2013 into the immensely important release category. The key advancement in MSC Nastran 2013 is embedded fatigue analyses. Integrated fatigue analysis, if you prefer. MSC calls this development NEF – Nastran Embedded Fatigue.

The central point to grasp about NEF is that it couples the stress and fatigue calculation processes into a single, simultaneous procedure. This should change how you handle fatigue and reliability analyses dramatically.

First, you get rid of two separate processes. Two, you don’t have to export chunks of data for a separate analyses since model sizes are now handled with the same size limitations of your normal Nastran model. Three, you can include materials and loading information with your model data and then calculate fatigue damage and life. And you can optimize designs in combination with fatigue analysis.

MSC says that NEF in Nastran should get you back a lot of time while making everything simply easier. For time savings, MSC points to what it calls a traditional fatigue analysis. Previously, they say, it took eight hours to run this analysis. Now it’s 38 minutes. Easier: NEF reduced the number of files to process to 2 from 200. On the design optimization front, combining optimization with fatigue analysis enabled one company to a 24% mass reduction and a fatigue life increase of 14%, according to MSC.

These are fascinating figures, and you can learn more about them in the release demonstration that’s linked at the end of today’s write-up. You’ll also find video links to what MSC Nastran 2013 with embedded fatigue analysis could mean for those of you slogging away in automotive and aerospace engineering as well as some application sample videos. Make sure to hit the link to MSC Nastran Embedded Fatigue in the last sentence of the write-up. This is a brand-new page that MSC just created with many more details on this capability.

E-NEF said (sorry). MSC Nastran 2013 sounds like good stuff. Read more from the link over there.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.