An Engineer's User Guide to FEA Vibration Analysis

We recently compiled all of our vibration analysis seminars and white papers from over the years into one comprehensive document on vibration analysis. It's posted at, where one can find all of our FEMAP resources. Vibration analysis is a huge topic and is easily the second most common type of FEA analysis after basic static stress analysis.

Within the field of vibration analysis, the most common type of analysis is that based on the linear behavior of the structure or system during its operation. That is, its stress/strain response is linear and when a load is removed, the structure returns to its original position in a stress/strain free condition.

Although this might sound a bit restrictive, it actually covers a huge swath of structures from automobiles, planes, ships, satellites, electrical circuit boards and consumer goods. If one needs to consider a nonlinear response of the structure during operation, there exist codes such as LS-DYNA that can solve for the complete nonlinear vibration response. But that is not simple or basic and is left for another seminar sometime in the future.

Model Checkout Dashboard using the FEMAP API

Ribbon cutting. Courtesy of SNC.Everyone knows that checking your FEA model is boring but oh so necessary if one wants to keep your job. But what happens if you're responsible for a whole team of engineers using the “divide-and-conquer approach” to build the next generation of spacecrafts? How does one ensure that your team or your colleagues are creating high-quality meshes, using consistent material properties or maintaining laminate orientations?

Of course, the simple answer is that you outsource this work to an off-shore company where a team of independent engineers can do this checking overnight, strip out the IP, sell it on the black market and have the checked models back to you in the morning; well, maybe not.

What is reality? Last year, the Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC) manager of the Dream Chaser Global FEM came to Predictive Engineering looking for a better way to ensure his team was maintaining quality and consistency. We suggested the development of a custom program using FEMAP’s Application Programming Interface (API). With the FEMAP API, users can automate organizational tasks, modeling checks and extraction of data, reducing time and potential for error.

Impact Analysis of Additive Manufactured Lattice Structures

We are pleased to announced a year-long contract award from the US Army Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC) to continue the investigation of additive manufactured materials for improved blunt force protection in helmet systems.  Our role is to work with Natick’s engineering team to simulate the impact behavior of additive manufactured 3D lattice systems.  In prior work  (see our Case Study: Impact Analysis of Additive Manufactured Lattice Structures) we discovered that getting the material characterization correct was not easy.  In this new work, we’ll revisit that whole process and look into manufacturing variability of the additive materials from bulk samples down to thin noodle-like structures that are necessary to for the 3D lattice structures of the foam replacement pads.

FEA Impact Analysis of Additive Manufactured 3D Lattice Structures for Improved Blunt Force Protection


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