FEA, CFD and Mold Flow Analysis

Over the years, the term “Design Analysis” has found a significant place for itself in the manufacturing sector. Instead of making a prototype and creating elaborate testing regimens to analyze the physical behavior of a product, engineers can evoke this information quickly and accurately on the computer.

Design analysis is a specialized computer software technology designed to simulate the physical behavior of an object.

If an object will break or deform or how it may react to heat are the sort of queries design analysis can answer. Design analysis helps in minimizing or even eliminate the need to build a physical prototype for testing. As a result, the technology has gone mainstream as a prized product development tool and found its presence in almost all sectors of engineering.

This article discusses three major design analysis software, namely:

  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
  • Mold Flow Analysis
Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

The Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a specialized simulation of a physical entity using the numerical algorithm known as Finite Element Method (FEM). It is used to reduce the number of physical prototypes and experiments and analyze objects in their design stage to develop better products faster. The term ‘finite’ is used to denote the limited, or finite, number of degrees of freedom used to model the behavior of each element.

FEA will analyze an object in question by breaking down its entire geometry into small ‘elements,’ which are put under simulated conditions see how the elements react. It displays the results as color-coded 3D images where red denotes an area of failure, and blue indicates fields that maintain their integrity under the load applied. However, note it down that FEA gives an approximate solution to the problem.

Mathematics is used to understand and quantify a physical phenomena such as structural or fluid behavior, wave propagation, thermal transport, the growth of biological cells, etc. Most of these processes are described using Partial Differential Equations. Finite Element Analysis has proven to be on of the most prominent numerical technique for a computer to solve these PEDs.

FEA is used in:

Problems where analytical solution is not easily obtained,

And mathematical expressions required because of complex geometries, loadings and material properties.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a specilaized simulation used for the analysis of fluid flows through an object using numerical solution methods. CFD incorporates applied mathematics, physics and computing software to evaluate how a gas or liquid flows and how it affects an object as it flows past. CFD is based on Navier-Stokes equations which describe the way velocity, temperature, pressure, and density of a moving fluid are related.

Aerodynamics and hydrodynamics are two engineering streams where CFD analyses are often used. Physical quantities such as lift and drag or field properties as pressures and velocities are computed using CFD. Fluid dynamics is connected with physical laws in the form of partial differential equations. Engineers transform these laws into algebraical equations and can efficiently solve these equations numerically.The CFD analysis reliability depends on the whole structure of the process. The determination of proper numerical methods to develop a pathway through the solution is highly important. The software, which conducts the analysis is one of the key elements in generating a sustainable product development process, as the amount of physical prototypes can be reduced drastically.

CFD is used in almost all industrial domains, such as:

  • Food processing
  • Water treatment
  • Marine engineering
  • Automotive
  • Aerodynamics
  • Aerospace

With the help of CFD, fluid flow can be analyzed faster in more detail at an earlier stage, than by tesing, at a lower cost and lower risk. CFD solves the fundamental equations governing fluid flow processes, and provides information on important flow characteristics such as pressure loss, flow distribution, and mixing rates.

CFD has become an integral part of engineering and design domains of prominent companies due to its ability to predict performance of new designs and it intends to remain so.

Mold Flow Analysis

Moldflow, formerly known as C-mould, is one of the leading software used in processwide plastics solutions. Mold flow computes the injection molding process where plastic flows into a mold and analyzes the given mold design to check how the parts react to injection and ensure that the mold will be able to produce the strongest and uniform pieces. Two of the most popular mold flow analysis software are Moldflow and Moldex3D used exclusively by many mold makers.

There are three types of Mold flow analysis which are as follows:

  • Moldflow Filling Analysis (MFA): It facilitates visualization of shear rate and shear stress plus determination of fiber orientation and venting. MFA can predict fill pattern and injection pressure while optimizing gating and runner system.
  • Moldflow Cooling Analysis (MCA): MCA specializes in finding hot spots and calculating time to freeze. It helps in determining uneven cooling between core and cavity while specifying required cooling flow rates.
  • Moldflow Warpage Analysis (MWA): Moldflow warpage is all about predicting, finding and determining warpage due to orientation.

We can see benefits of using different analysis procedures that correctly understand the power of the different simulation tools. During the product design, many these methods affect the cost and quality of the product, thereby ensuring the optimum productivity as aimed by the manufacturer.