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Editor’s Pick: Fatigue and Durability CAE Tool Upgraded

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

“Evolution,” the dentist sighed as he shook his head and dug in my mouth. “People live 30, 40, 60 years longer than they once did and teeth have not evolved to keep up with people getting as old as you. Probably never will with all the advances in dental medicine.”

This deep rumination was inspired by the lingual collapse of a molar. It happened as I ate a squishy muffin. No nuts. No old cavity. I never tried to pop a beer cap or crack open a walnut back there. The side just fell off. The culprit? Fatigue. The tooth had simply had it after decades of the repeated and varying low-level loads teeth are subject to. Genetic flaws in the materials that are tooth teamed with undetectable microcracks. This led to a localized deformation that, over time, degraded the tooth’s integrity until the breaking point. So, I transferred a wad of cash to my dentist. At least it was a tooth and not part of a jet’s landing gear.

The thing is, microcracks and pre-existing material defects can be nearly impossible to detect and impractical to model with traditional FE (finite element) analyses. This is where a specialized tool like nCode DesignLife comes into play. nCode DesignLife works with and extends stress analysis results produced by such tools as ANSYS, Abaqus, and Nastran to provide you with fatigue life and durability prediction. It can correlate with physical test data, and is engineered to simulate real-world loading conditions by providing stress-life, strain-life, multi-axial, welds, shaker table, and similar fatigue and durability analyses. It’s optimized for large model sizes, and it’s user-friendly for new users yet configurable by experts.

The 9.0 version of nCode DesignLife has just been released. It has new technologies for composites, welds, load reconstruction, multi-body dynamics, and data visualization. It can analyze thicker components such as those created by injection molding polymers with short glass fibers, and it has new methods for full 3D stress states and critical plane analysis for predicting sub-surface failures within a part. nCode DesignLife 9.0 can use load reconstruction to calculate input loads based both on a set of physical strain gauge measurements and the results of a unit load FEA. A new animation feature should help you better understand how a structure deforms under dynamic loading.

Look, the point of all the analysis you do is to reduce the number of physical prototypes, reduce costs, avoid costly design and tooling changes, and develop products that are both safer and more robust. But you still have to do all that physical testing to see if you’re right about what point it will break. nCode DesignLife takes you much further by empowering you to study how long your part will last and why it broke under normal operating conditions, even conditions far below maximum strain or stress levels. This can help you further reduce the number of physical tests, explore more design options, and quite probably slim down the number of warranty claims.

There’s a lot about nCode DesignLife you can sink your teeth into. Hit the link over there to today’s Pick of the Week write-up to start with the skinny on version 9.0. Make sure to take in the webinar recording covering what’s new in 9.0. A video short and a few more links to explanatory materials are there too. Good stuff.

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.