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Introduction to Engineering Simulation for Non-Specialists

This training course has been accredited by the NAFEMS Education & Training Working Group

Introduction to Engineering Simulation for Non-Specialists


Duration:1 day
Onsite Classroom
Tutor(s):Jeff Strain
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This is the intro before the intro!

This is the course that design, project, and test engineers, and even managers should take as a first step toward engineering simulation democratisation. This course will empower the non-specialist to understand the value and purpose of up-front engineering simulation and optimise its implementation in analysis-driven design.

More and more, engineering simulation is being geared toward design engineers for initial sizing, configuration, and other decisions at the concept stage. The idea is to minimise the cost of design and development by avoiding costly corrections later in the development process as well as time-consuming back and forth between the design engineer and engineering analyst.

However, engineering simulation is only as good as the user’s understanding of it. In this course, the non-specialist will learn the fundamentals necessary for understanding simulation's role in the design process.

Vital information includes:

  • Overview of engineering simulation, including its value, types of simulation, and its challenges
  • Qualitative overview of simulation technology and basic modelling workflow
  • Detailed breakdown of each of the steps in simulation modelling workflow along with recommendations and tips
  • Results interpretation and sources of error
  • Verification and validation

Throughout the course, the students will be engaged and challenged through a number of in-session exercises. This interaction between the students and instructor will solidify the students’ understanding of the material and accelerate their adoption of an engineering analysis mindset.


Course Program

Part 1: Overview of Simulation

  • Introduction
  • Overview of Simulation
  • History of Simulation
  • Types of Simulation
  • Exercise: Simulation Applications
  • Challenges of Simulation
  • Types of Structural Simulation
  • Q & A

Part 2: Fundamentals of Simulation

  • What Parameters are Used for Simulation?
  • Application of Simulation Parameters
  • Sources of Material Properties
  • Exercise: Stress Analysis Problems
  • How Simulation Works
  • Learning Simulation: Crawl, Walk, Run
  • Q & A

Part 3: General Simulation Procedure and Preprocessing

  • General Simulation Procedure
  • Overview of Model Preparation and Setup
  • Exercise: Geometry
  • Exercise: Meshing

Part 4: Solving, Postprocessing, and Verifying the Model

  • Solution Processing Overview
  • Boundary Conditions
  • Settings
  • Solver
  • Exercise: Solution
  • Postprocessing Overview
  • Results Quantities
  • Results Formats
  • Exercise: Postprocessing
  • Methods of Verification and Validation
  • Sources of Error
  • Exercise: Verification and Validation
  • Final Q&A and conclusion


Who Should Attend?

Design engineers, project engineers, project managers and any other non-specialists.


Get in touch to discuss your next steps with our experienced training team. We can work closely with you to understand your specific requirements, cater for your specific industry sector or analysis type, and produce a truly personalised training solution for your organisation.

All NAFEMS training courses are entirely code independent, meaning they are suitable for users of any software package.

Courses are available to both members and non-members of NAFEMS, although member organisations will enjoy a significant discount on all fees.

NAFEMS course tutors enjoy a world-class reputation in the engineering analysis community, and with decades of experience between them, will deliver tangible benefits to you, your analysis team, and your wider organisation.

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PSE Competencies addressed by this training course

IDCompetence Statement
FEAkn1List the various steps in the analysis/simulation process.
FEAkn2Define the meaning of degree of freedom.
FEAkn3List the nodal degrees of freedom and the associated force actions for common beam, 2D solid, 2D axisymmetric, 3D solid and shell elements, for the Displacement FEM.
FEAkn4Define the meaning of adaptive mesh refinement
FEAkn8List the requirements for an axisymmetric analysis to be valid.
FEAkn9List the degrees of freedom to be constrained on a symmetric boundary.
FEAkn12List the advantages of using symmetry.
FEAkn16List the various forms of element distortion.
FEAkn17List the various element types commonly used in the analysis of components within your organisation.
FEAco1Describe the sources of error inherent in finite element analysis, in general terms.
FEAco2Discuss checks that may be used post-solution to check for the presence of inaccuracy.
FEAco5Discuss the difficulties that can arise in using a CAD model as the basis for carrying out analysis and simulation.
FEAco6Discuss the need for a consistent set of units in any analysis and illustrate possible pitfalls.
FEAco7Explain why strains and stresses are generally less accurate than displacements for any given mesh of elements, using the Displacement FEM.
FEAco11Discuss the finite element / spring analogy.
FEAco14Discuss the nature of the structural stiffness matrix.
FEAco15Discuss the integral equation for element stiffness, highlighting the variables which it is dependent upon.
FEAco24Discuss the relationship between shape function and strain/stress prediction for simple 2D linear and parabolic elements.
FEAco26Discuss the significance of computer memory to solution elapse time for large models.
FEAco29Discuss the term Flying Structure or Insufficiently Constrained Structure.
FEAco31Explain why most finite elements do not represent a circular boundary exactly and highlight how this approximation manifests itself.
FEAco35Discuss the terms Validation and Verification and highlight their importance.
FEAco40Explain the rationale behind the use of 1-D, 2-D and 3-D elements used in the analysis of components within your organisation.
FEAap2Demonstrate effective use of available results presentation facilities.
FEAap3Illustrate the approximate nature of finite element analysis, through examples chosen from your industry sector.
FEAap5Illustrate possible applications of 0D, 1D, 2D and 3D elements in your industry sector.
FEAap6Illustrate how you might apply a moment to a model consisting of 2D or 3D solids.
FEAap7Employ symmetric boundary conditions effectively.
FEAap10Illustrate various physical situations which will result in a Stress Singularity and explain why it is not appropriate to use finite element results at such locations directly.
FEAap12Employ a range of post-solution checks to determine the integrity of FEA results.
FEAap13Conduct validation studies in support of FEA.
FEAan1Analyse the results from small displacement, linear static analyses and determine whether they satisfy inherent assumption
FEAan2Compare the results from small displacement, linear elastic analyses with allowable values and comment on findings.