Call it an industrial detective story: The site is a floating oil rig, operating 40 miles off the southeast coast of Louisiana. The incident is an explosion, leading to an oil spill that unleashed about 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into Gulf of Mexico. (On Meet the Press, White House energy adviser Carol Browner called the incident “the biggest eco-disaster ever.”) The evidence collection involved raising the blowout preventer (BOP), along with recovered pieces of the drill pipe; transferring them to a holding facility; obtaining hydraulic fluid and metal samples; and laser-scanning the damaged blind-shear ram (BSR). The mystery: what happened? Continue reading
The conversation began months ago when I posted a motion for discussion in the LinkedIn group called “New Trends in CAE Simulation.” I asked, “Do you agree or disagree? It’s dangerous to simplify FEA and make it accessible for the masses.”
There’s clearly a push among computer-aided design (CAE) software vendors to package their simulation programs for a broader audience. These programs have historically been the domain of Ph.D.-level experts. Some critics see the move to reinvent them for designers and engineers as “dumbing down” a complex process. Others believe greater accessibility to simulation through simpler interfaces would lead to better designs. Continue reading
Altair Engineering, best known for its simulation software, is rolling out a major release of its flagship suite, HyperWorks. The comprehensive lineup covers every phase of design development and testing, from computational fluid dynamics (CFD, with AcuSolve), crash analysis (HyperCrash), sheet metal form (HyperForm), and meshing (HyperMesh), to structural analysis (OptiStruct), and more. The latest upgrade, HyperWorks 12.0, emphasizes the growing importance of composite materials, optimization, and collaboration. Continue reading
DE‘s contributing editor Tony Abbey, a recognized finite element analysis (FEA) trainer in NAFEM‘s classrooms and online courses, is planning to field your questions in a webinar titled “FEA for Managers & Reviewers: Ask Tony” (March 7).
So I took advantage of our editorial affiliation to toss him a question that’s been on my mind: How would you distinguish the terms “simulation” and “analysis”? Are they synonymous? Continue reading
More than a decade ago, when stress analysis modules started showing up in mechanical design packages, users squirmed: Can we trust the software to accurately predict how steel and plastic shapes would deform under a certain weight or pressure? The inputs required are too complex. Where do I get these values? How do I make sense of the color-coded results? What does the Von Mises numbers say about my design?
But over time, the user interface for CAD-embedded linear stress analysis tools became simpler. Now, they have become so standardized that if you know how to perform stress analysis in SolidWorks, you can, with minimum training, perform the same task in Autodesk Inventor, Siemens PLM Software’s Solid Edge, or PTC Creo on first contact. Continue reading