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Management and Verification of Simulation Analysis in the Biomechanical Field

2-Day Training Course :

Management and Verification of Simulation Analysis in the Biomechanical Field


FEA has become widely used and universally accepted in many industry sectors. FEA is a powerful technique, able to produce solutions to challenging structural and fluids analysis problems. The technology and computational efficiency of the method, together with the rapid increases in computer processing power means that today the scope and size of simulations far exceeds the capabilities of even a few years ago.However for those engineers embarking on FEA, or companies adopting the technique to improve designs or achieve certification of new products, there is a steep learning curve to overcome.

There are a bewildering array of element types, solution types, meshing methods and pre-post processing options that have to be faced. This is before we get down to the physics behind the problem, with associated classic traps and errors. What is needed is guidance via a thorough but practical overview of the method and how to use it in the real world.  In the biomechanical field, including medical device design and validation, many more variables exist than in ‘traditional’ engineering applications. The physical system to be simulated is almost certainly going to require a nonlinear behavior or a multi scale or multidisciplinary approach. Awareness of these considerations is needed from the outset. Traditionally, linear FEA was applicable to a large percentage of structural problems. Learning and experience could be gained incrementally if more advanced solutions were required.

More emphasis is placed on reporting and repeatability of biomechanical device analyses to support approval processes and allow sharing of models and results within the biomechanical community. This again is somewhat different from the traditional ‘ad hoc’ approaches evolved to meet many different levels of verification and validation.Much of today’s analysis work is outsourced or performed by subcontracting agencies. Regulatory authorities and Prime contractors are often required to scope out, monitor and review the resulting work flow. 

These aspects are discussed during the course.

Who Should Attend?

This course is aimed at anyone who is tasked with managing or assessing the objectives, execution or results of Finite Element Analyses (FEA) as a function of their role within an organization developing medical devices or simulations.

The course material is independent of any particular software package, making it ideally suited to current and potential users of all commercial finite element software systems. This course is a must for all those aiming to use FEA as a reliable predictive tool within the medical research arena.

Companies moving into FEA technology to improve product designs, assess prototype failures, speed the design process or present analyses reports in the most effective way will benefit from sending key staff to this course. 

The course is open to both members and non-members of NAFEMS.

Course Content

NAFEMS, the only vendor neutral, not-for-profit organization with the sole aim of promoting the effective and reliable use of FEA, addresses this requirement by providing this two day case study based, example-driven, practical course.

Many companies from mainstream engineering have already benefited from sending personnel who will be responsible for implementing an FEA process or QA procedure to a full 3 day NAFEMS class. Attendees have welcomed the opportunity to understand the FEM methodology and its important checks and balances.

This two day class has been produced as a direct request from those attendees who wish to focus more closely on management and review and extend the material to the biomechanical field.

Attendees are given an overview of the FEA methodology, via simple real examples with a minimum of theory. The strength and weaknesses of the various FEA techniques are shown and discussed. Practical considerations of loadings, boundary conditions and modeling details are shown by numerous examples.

The assessment, validation and interpretation of FEA results are vital for delivering safe, effective products. A process is shown which provides confidence in the results and aims to provide conservative, reliable and qualified results. The attendees join in the activity of building this process themselves and come away with an embryo Procedural Check List and Standardized Report Format.

The course offers excellent guidance on how to assess and plan the task of carrying out a structural based biomechanical analysis using FEA. A clear understanding of the objectives of each analysis is vital and a road map for achieving this is presented. A review of the tradeoff between available resource and analysis methodology is given.Interaction is encouraged throughout the course. Real world examples are given at every stage, drawn from the Tutors wide practical experience. 

Questions are very welcome, as this is one of the key aspects of making this a unique experience for each attendee. Attendee project examples can often be incorporated into the class as time permits, to benefit all. Role playing situations include the class acting as a syndicate to evaluate a device Failure, critical assessment of an FEA Report and the continuous evolution of the Procedural Check List and Standardized Report Format class objectives.

Course Program

Registration will be held on Tuesday morning between 9:00 and 9:30am. We will aim to commence the course at 9am on Wednesday and Thursday and finish by 5pm each evening.

Background to FEA  

  • Origins of FEA, leading to today’s process
  • Emphasis on limitations of a displacement solution
  • The route from CAD to Mesh to Solver to Results
  • Challenges with biomedical structures

Over view of Element Types

  • Simple Element stiffness matrices
  • Elements from 1d to 3d
  • Types of meshing and meshing issues
  • Special Elements

Constraints and Boundary Conditions

  • Constraint methods
  • Real world boundary conditions
  • Extending boundary condition simulation
  • Under contraining and over contraining
  • Modern contact methods

Loading Types

  • Loadin methods
  • Real world loading versus FEA
  • Bearing load methods
  • Nonlinear implications

Multi Point Constraints (MPCs)

  • What are they and why use them?
  • Different terminologies and usage
  • Soft and rigid load and constraint distribution

Making Life simpler

  • Symmetry methods
  • Plane Stress and Plane Strain
  • Local Global Modeling
  • Micro to Macro Modeling
  • Limitations

Understanding the objective of the analysis

  • Clear view of scope of problem – how do we tackle it
  • Setting expectations for all
  • Resource and timescale factors
  • Developing an analysis strategy

Looking at anatomy and device geometry - then idealization

  • Why not use 20 million elements?
  • Tradeoffs and Simplification or De-featuring
  • Further Geometry, CAD and meshing issues

Test and Analysis Integration

  • Modeling test or reality?
  • Avoiding ‘Test is real, so must be right’ syndrome
  • Establishing a complementary program
  • Usage of test results to aid analysis

‘Traditional’ Engineering Assessment Methods

  • Anticipate the load paths
  • Review of Stress and Load fundamentals
Checking the answers
  • Ways of checking the results
  • What type of stress or result do I use?
  • Post Processing and More Checking

Writing and Reviewing the Report

  • How to assemble a report effectively
  • Who is the audience for the report and what are their requirements?
  • How should the report be structured?
  • What information should be in the report to present the results and conclusions effectively
  • Ensuring repeatability of model analysis and results
  • How to review a report effectively


  • Review of the Class syndicate and role play work
    • Completed Analysis Process
    • FEA Project Plan
    • FEA Report Critique
  • Debrief  


The Marriott Inn & Conference Center University of Maryland
University College
3501 University Boulevard E
Hyattsville, MD 20783-7998


Event Type: Course
Location: Hyattsville, MD USA
Date: September 9, 2013

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This joint FDA/ASME conference will provide a forum to discuss strategies to effectively utilize computational modeling and simulation (M&S) in the development and evaluation of medical devices.

More information is and registration information is available from:

Course Tutor

Tony Abbey

Tony Abbey has created and taught a wide range of FEA based training classes over the past 15 years. He has developed a reputation for providing the student with an experience that is full of insight gained from his extensive experience, but which also challenges and motivates. Tony has been working with FEA for over 30 years, both in Industry and for FEA software providers in the UK and the US. He currently runs his own FEA consultancy company and works very closely with NAFEMS to develop its training role.

His informal and interactive presentation style allows the key concepts to be taught in a manner which involves participants fully in the course material.

Tony presents papers at NAFEMS and other conferences on a regular basis and has been involved with NAFEMS since its formation.

Events - Cancellation Policy

Please note NAFEMS cancellation policy for all US public training courses is as follows:-

  • Suitably qualified delegates may be substituted at any time prior to the start of the course
  • Bookings are accepted upon condition that either full payment is received before the course commences, or that a valid purchase order is received from a company that has a credit agreement with us
  • In the event of a delegate being unable to attend a course that they have booked upon then, NAFEMS will discuss the possibility of transferring to an alternative course. However, a suitable administration charge will be levied.
  • A refund of 50% of the course fees will be paid to delegates who cancel their booking and do not re-schedule to an alternative course, provided that the cancellation is received by NAFEMS at least four weeks in advance of the course. No refunds can be given for cancellations made after this time.
  • NAFEMS reserves the right to cancel the course, without liability, in which case all training fees will be refunded in full. However, NAFEMS cannot be held liable for any other expenses incurred by participants or their companies due to the cancellation.

NAFEMS will discuss the possibility of transferring to an alternative event/course, however an administration charge will be applicable.

For full terms and conditions, click here. This policy is subject to change.