Modeling & TestingA2P1034: Introduction to Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in Engineering Design

January 24, 2023

As an architect, you may be familiar with the term “finite element analysis” (FEA). But what is “finite element analysis” exactly, and how can it benefit your practice?

This article will give a brief overview of FEA and its potential applications in architecture and design. We’ll also touch on some benefits and challenges of using FEA for complex projects. By the end of this article, you should better understand what FEA is and how it can be used to inform your work as an architect.

What is finite element analysis (FEA)?

what is finite element analysis

Finite element analysis (FEA) is a numerical method used to simulate and analyze complex problems. FEA can be utilized to calculate the performance of components and assemblies by simulating the behavior of their finite elements. It is beneficial for evaluating designs that are too complicated for hand calculations or traditional analytical methods. FEA relies on breaking down domains into finite elements such as beams, liners, shells, or 3D solid parts. FEA then uses finite element equations to solve complex problems such as static and dynamic loading, heat transfer, response to time-varying fields, contact forces between finite elements, and optimization.

The finite elements are connected at nodes that become input points for boundary conditions specific to the model under examination. The finite element solution then yields results such as stress values or displacement paths that allow engineers to identify locations where design modifications may need to be made to improve system performance.

All in all, finite element analysis is a powerful tool for helping engineers improve designs through virtual testing rather than relying on costly physical prototypes.

Benefits of Using FEA

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a powerful engineering tool that can help simulate complex systems’ behavior and identify potential areas for improvement. Through FEA modeling, engineers and designers can rapidly assess how their products will handle stress and fatigue, enduring various temperatures and loads. As an accurate digital representation of physical parts, finite element analysis offers an efficient way to optimize product design and reduce development costs. FEA simulations also allow for rigorous testing in a virtual environment, saving precious time when dealing with physical prototypes.

By allowing detailed investigations into how products will work in different scenarios, finite element analysis also contributes to increased safety and reliability for end-users. In addition, by taking advantage of finite element analysis, manufacturers can ensure that their products meet their quality requirements during the testing and production phases. Ultimately, finite element analysis is an invaluable engineering tool that helps maximize performance while reducing risk.

How to Get Started with FEA

what is finite element analysis

For engineers and scientists seeking to analyze the behavior of structures, FEA can provide essential insights. It involves breaking down a structure into finite elements and mapping how they interact with each other and their environment. Getting started with FEA may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. The first step is to collect data  ̶  accurate measurements of the parts that make up the structure. Once this information has been gathered, the finite elements must be established using standard modeling assumptions such as material properties, boundary conditions, and loading conditions.

After all elements have been established, the next step is to assemble them into a finite element mesh so that connections between them can be defined. Finally, computer simulations are run, and results are mapped for predictive analysis. By following these steps correctly and thoroughly, one can embark on the journey of finite element analysis to gain greater insight into structural performance and a deeper understanding of complex systems.

Tips for Successful FEA Simulations

Finite element analysis (FEA) is a valuable tool for engineering professionals and scientists. It provides an efficient way to analyze how an object will react to specific forces, temperatures, or other inputs. However, FEA can produce less than satisfactory results if not done correctly.

Here are some tips to ensure successful FEA simulations: first, ensure the finite element model accurately reflects the conditions of the simulation – this includes geometric accuracy, material properties, and boundary conditions. Then, verify mesh quality; poor mesh quality can lead to inaccurate results. Thirdly, optimizing the finite element model by reducing elements that are not necessary for accurate simulations can save time and money without sacrificing accuracy.

Finally, experiment with different solvers – selecting one from various available options may significantly improve problem-solving efficiency and performance. Applying these guidelines will help you get the most out of finite element analysis simulations.

FEA should ultimately be verified by a professional engineer and/or physical testing to ensure accurate results are being obtained.


Finite element analysis is a critical tool for any engineer looking to design and analyze the structural integrity of their building materials. The benefits of using FEA are clear, and with the right tips and case studies, you can start seeing the power of this simulation tool in your own work. So when it comes to designing safe and successful buildings, do not underestimate the importance of FEA.

Advanced Architectural Products

Advanced Architectural Products is committed to providing the highest quality products for our customers. We use Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for every project that uses our GreenGirt® Composite Metal Hybrid (CMH™) sub-framing and SMARTci™ systems, ensuring the best design integrity of our projects. This allows us to offer superior performance on all our projects and ensure that each one meets the highest quality standards. In addition, by utilizing FEA for every project, we can ensure our products are safe and reliable for use in each environment. We take pride in our commitment to excellence and strive for nothing less.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions about Finite Element Analysis (FEA) or how we utilize it for each project with GreenGirt CMH or SMARTci systems. We look forward to hearing from you!

Learn more about Finite Element Analysis (FEA) here.

© 2023 Advanced Architectural Products

If you wish to receive our latest news, sign up for our mailing list!

Advanced Architectural Products Logo

Creating engineered best practice continuous insulation solutions, while leaving the world a better place than when we started.


If you wish to receive our latest news in your email box, just subscribe to our newsletter!

959 Industrial Drive, Allegan, MI 49010  |  (269) 355-1818

© Copyright 2024 Advanced Architectural Products. All Rights Reserved.

Patents Privacy Policy