Reliable Analysis without FE Mesh

This presentation was made at the NAFEMS Americas Seminar - Confidence in Engineering Simulation: The Next 10 Years of CAE in Mexico.

What is the future for engineering analysis and simulation in Mexico? Discover innovative engineering simulation processes and tools which are helping companies in Mexico improve production capabilities. Engage with domain experts, industry leaders, and peers in a focused, comprehensive one-day event that covers topics on engineering analysis, simulation, and systems modeling and simulation that every engineer in Mexico should know.

Resource Abstract

Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) are intrinsic parts of modern engineering. CAE simulation tools are extremely important because they allow for performance validation and optimization of a product design before the product is physically created. Today this is typically done using software based on Finite Element Analysis (FEA).

The weak link in traditional FEA is the need to create an accurate and efficient finite element mesh. The meshing process would typically fail if done on original geometry, or produces excessive number of elements which would often make FEA impractical. In case of assemblies, incompatible meshes on adjacent parts make handling part connections extremely difficult. In practice, geometry model simplification is a must for a successful FEA. But the simplification is a non-trivial step which requires a highly skilled specialist in both FEA and CAD technologies.

External Finite Element Method is intended to drastically streamline simulation process and increase engineering productivity and accuracy by replacing the underlying FEA technology, rather than through improvements to user interface. New technology eliminates the most failure-prone and skills/labor consuming stages of analysis process. This paper was written to provide understanding of how the technology works. Technological foundations of External FE method are discussed with respect to mathematical background, computer implementation, and positioning among other numerical methods.


External FE method can be used develop application which performs statics, dynamics and thermal, analyses of structural systems. External FE method always uses fully featured, not simplified, solid geometry models in the analysis and does not use a mesh. External FE method computational engine is based on breakthrough extensions to the theory of external approximations. External approximations are a generalization of Finite Element Method (FEM) in terms that:

• absolutely arbitrary geometrical shapes can be used as “finite elements”

• basis functions which approximate field of interest in the “element” can be of arbitrary class and are independent of the “element” shape, alternatively to strictly structured polynomials used in conventional FEA

External FE method controls solution accuracy using multi-pass adaptive analysis. Adaptivity can be defined on a global or part local basis and adaptivity is always active.


In order for simulation to truly drive the design process it needs to work lock step with each geometry concept and concept modification. The complexity of traditional FEA eliminates its use in all but the most trivial of design conditions. Simulation working directly on design geometry provides a path to quick meaningful answers that guide designers and engineers to more optimal design scenarios.

Only External FE Method can provide this by not only eliminating time consuming and expertise extensive geometry simplification techniques such as defeaturing and mid-planning but by also eliminating the mesh all together. The result is a simulation tool that is both:

• Fast enough with respect to both model and solve time to be used every day

• Accurate enough compare to tradition FE method

Document Details

AuthorNageswaran. S
Date 8th November 2018
OrganisationAltair Engineering


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