Siemens PLM Software has achieved a computational break-through in implicit finite element analysis (FEA) technology. Using commercially available hardware, the production version of NX Nastran software was able to solve a structural analysis problem with a half-billion equations “virtually overnight.”
The analysis was conducted to simulate the behavior of an entire airplane wing structure undergoing a bending test. The resulting problem size of 500 million equations was successfully completed in less than 18 hours of elapsed time. To provide perspective, a structural analysis of an entire automobile body modeled with shell elements could be solved with about 100 million equations.
Nastran customers make sophisticated products, requiring extremely detailed finite element models to achieve the solution fidelity necessary to ensure quality and safety. Simulating the destructive wing-bending test is an especially important component of virtual product development in airplane manufacturing and the 18-hour turnaround time provides a solution virtually overnight.
Nastran scientists noted that such large problem sizes were considered impossible just a few years ago, both from a numerical accuracy and computational complexity point of view. Today, they predict that solving a one-billion equation problem will be feasible in the near future.
The FEA model solved by NX Nastran consisted of one hundred million grids along with approximately 98 million shell and 49 million solid elements. The resulting finite element problem consisted of 500 million equations and had more than 600 million global degrees of freedom when a linear static analysis with a single load condition was executed.
The analysis required 1069 minutes, or 17.8 hours of elapsed time on an IBM Power 570 server. The computer contained eight Power 6 cores at 4.7 GHz, 64 GB of memory and 24 striped disks of 148 GB capacity each. The analysis used 42.4 GB of memory, executed 30.3 Tera Bytes of I/O operations with a 2.26 Tera Byte disk footprint.
In a separate development, Siemens announced Femap Version 10 software is shipping to customers worldwide. Femap is a PC-based CAE modeling solution and the finite element analysis (FEA) component of the Velocity Series portfolio.
Femap’s version 10’s new 3D surface mesher handles complex surface geometry to produce a high-quality mesh the first time.
The new 3D solid mesher in Femap provides a high-quality mesh automatically in the first pass.
The latest release helps users create FEA models from CAD data easily and quickly through new meshing features. Femap V10 provides the following pre- and post-processing benefits to CAE analysts:
– Create accurate models more efficiently: Since FE meshing is central to the whole simulation process, Femap V10 introduces new meshers. The latest release automates current meshing technology while adding new interactive meshing with live model and element checking functions. New remeshing and mesh quality functions are centralized within the user interface. This improves workflows and makes it easier to consistently and accurately produce CAE models for analysis.
– Mesh shell models faster: A new mid-surfacing method simplifies and speeds shell model creation for sheet metal structures.
– Create larger models: Femap is integrated with NX Nastran and both support 64-bit Windows, which enables more access to RAM for pre-processing and solving much larger multi-million node models.
– Work more closely with the solver: V10 provides strengthened NX Nastran solver integration support, including axisymmetric quad and tria elements, new weld and fastener extensions, linear and glued contact extensions.
Siemens PLM Software
Filed Under: Software • FEA, Software • simulation, ENGINEERING SOFTWARE