Finite element analysis (FEA) is a computerized method for predicting how a product reacts to real-world forces, vibration, heat, fluid flow, and other physical effects. Finite element analysis shows whether a product will break, wear out, or work the way it was designed. It is called analysis, but in the product development process, it is used to predict what is going to happen when the product is used.
FEA analysis works by breaking down a real object into a large number (thousands to hundreds of thousands) of finite elements, such as little cubes. Mathematical equations help predict the behavior of each element. A computer then adds up all the individual behaviors to predict the behavior of the actual object.
FEA analysis helps predict the behavior of products affected by many physical effects, including:
- Mechanical stress
- Mechanical vibration
- Heat transfer
- Fluid flow
- Plastic injection molding