Typical outline for working with CAE or FEA tools
Different CAE tools work on different algorithms, but all FEA analysis can be typically divided into Preprocessing, Solving, and Post Processing, and this is independent of whether you are using Ansys or Pro Mechanica or any other CAE tool.
- Preprocessing: In this stage of CAE analysis, the following tasks are performed:
1. Creation of geometry
3. Applying material properties
4. Applying boundary conditions (optional)
Pro Mechanica normally uses the model created by the ProE part or assembly module and then the model is taken to Mechanica for meshing and all.
Ansys typically uses imported geometric model from 3D CAD packages and meshes the model, although Ansys has inbuilt modeling feature as well.
- Solution: FEA equations are solved in this stage. Optionally boundary conditions also can be defined here. Ansys uses its own solver; however Pro Mechanica has the flexibility to use its own solver as well as any third party solver (like Ansys, Nastran etc.).
- Post Processing: The results of CAE analysis can be viewed in the desired format here. You can create different types of graphs or animation here to see the stress, displacements, etc.
Let’s compare Ansys and Pro Mechanica
- User Friendliness: Pro Mechanica is totally icon based hence more user friendly. On the other hand, Ansys is largely command based and menu based hence a bit complicated. Time required for preprocessing is much less in Pro Mechanica.
- Accuracy: Pro Mechanica is mainly for preliminary validating of a mechanical design concept. Ansys produces more accurate results.
- Time Consumptions: Pro Mechanica is a quick validation tool; it takes less time for FEA analysis compared to Ansys.
- Capabilities: Ansys is a high end specialized CAE and CFD tool. It’s solver can perform a wide range of analysis. For example, Pro Mechanica cannot perform crash analysis or CFD analysis, but Ansys can. Contact analysis is another place where you should definitely go with Ansys.
Pro Mechanica and Ansys both target different end users. Pro Mechanica is mainly for quick validation of designs for design engineering, but Ansys is used mainly by the specialized CAE engineer. Pro Mechanica is more user friendly. (Ansys, too, has a similar product called “Ansys Workbench.”)
- Pro Mechanica tutorial on Mid Surface Shell
- Pro Mechanica tutorial: Post Processing
- Pro Mechanica tutorial: Structural constraints
- Pro Mechanica tutorial: Thermal constraints