There are questions I get all the time from my audience, and particularly from the students who are beginning in FEA.
I decided to share my answers so everyone can read them.
Which is the best FEA software to learn?
A software is a tool for the engineer to realize something. So, what you should think about first is not “which is the best software to learn?”, but “what do I really want to achieve with an FEA software?”
If you are a student who wants to become an FEA analyst in the future and you want to prepare for it, then I suggest you learn one of the leading FEA software in the market (or maybe even all) as the company you will apply for will probably have one of those: Ansys, Hypermesh or maybe Abaqus
If you are a student doing a Master Degree or a PhD and you are hesitating which software to use for your thesis, I would suggest Abaqus, as abaqus was born from University and it has basically all the advanced tools required from research purpose.
If you are an engineer searching for a very cheap or free software to do your own side project, then I would suggest using either LISA or an open source code such as Code Aster. The disadvantages are that the tools will be either limited or the code itself will be very difficult to implement…but nothing is impossible for engineers really motivated to achieve their goal.
Now, if you are an independent FEA consultant and you have some money to invest but not so much, maybe you can consider a software such a midas NFX, which has many tools and analysis types available for an “affordable” pricing.
And finally, if you are an independent consultant and you have all the money in the world, then I guess you should choose either Ansys, Abaqus or Hypermesh, depending on your familiarity with FEA and your level of skills to use a software.
Other question I get frequently:
Wouter van den Bos says
I think you have a nice overview which I would like to expand with some extra idea’s.
I teach MSc Students Mechanical Engineering and use FEMAP / SDC Verifier for teaching purposes. FEMAP as a quick to learn pre- and postprocessor which can link to solvers of all mayor brands, and SDC Verifier because it has a standard based calculation core to check 1000+ load cases, built in checks and a reporting tool.
My main goal as teacher was to give students a better insight and some practical skills in how to design complex structures as cranes with minimal required program knowledge. For this the student should at least be able to:
– study and implement the full set of working conditions, with working loads in different directions and also including take into account unintended loads as earthquakes, wind, storm, buffer loads etc. THis learns you for example that such a thing as a “worst” load case does not exist
– get familiar with approval procedures which more and more rely on rules and standards.
– understand the simplified failure formula for different phenomenon as plate buckling, fatigue and the different beam instabilities. (see http://www.sdcverifier.com/products/eurocode3 ) for examples of beam failure
– understand that FEA/FEM is a model. The model depends on what you want to know
– modify the design to make it fit for purpose.
If you are interested in the lectures notes and the recorded lessons see https://blackboard.tudelft.nl/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_57763_1&content_id=_2896997_1
Wouter van den Bos
Lecturer TU Delft and initiator of SDC Verifier
Dear Wouter van den Bos, thank you for those detailed and very useful pieces of information!
What do you think about cloud CAE software like simscale?
Hi Antonio, my opinion is that such software are more like toys than real tools for engineers for the moment. Despite all the hype, I tested myself some of them and I was a bit disappointed. Very slow to compute (and do anything by the way), very bad interface… I just don’t see the point to use such software when there is already much better available (except maybe for the price…).
I have question what is the best and common software i can lear for automotive
I think that there is no difference which software to use for the learning of FEA. Nobody will start to learn FEA from nonlinear contact between to composite structures). Therefore there is no reason to start it from Ansys, Abaqus e.t.c. Its enough to try some simple calculations with simple plate and for this task is enough some simple soft. It could be free soft like Code Aster and Solome or for example some module of CAD soft (for example SolidWorks Cosmos). Following I will explain why I think so:
1- the idea of all FEA tools are the same. And even buttons and processes are same. The differences are in solvers only;
2- the most important is the theoretical part, because if are an engineer you should to know what and why you do (even monkey could press on the buttons). If you will know this part, in future there is no differences which software you will have to use.
sumedh deorao nagrale says
Rigthly said. God bless you.
I am currently working on Ansys, but what is your opinion on Comsol?
Hi Andreas, I never really tried Comsol, but I heard it is powerful especially for multi-physics. My idea is that Comsol is a good tool for universities, but I am not sure if it is currently used so much in industrial companies… (but I may be wrong)
I am interested to learn FEA course but i confused to choose the software like ansys or hypermesh help me to chose any one software to learn recording to get good job opportunity as well more knowledge full software.
In doubt, choose Ansys, you’ll have better chance that the company you’ll choose will use it.
I am beginner in fea. I am using nx nastran. It is okay for CAE?
Depends the industry you are in. NX Nastran is good, but also old and difficult to learn… but then really, it depends on you.
Petrus Verschuren says
What is your opinion of Mecway fea? Personally I use SolidWorks Simulation and I have bought a license for both SW 3D and SW Simulation. Should I concentrate with learning SW Simulation as I have some experience with it?
Never heard about Mecway FEA… And as per learning SW simulation or not, I think you should learn how the FEA system works rather than focusing on a specific software. Check this article