Differences Between Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Finite Element Method (FEM)

Finite element analysis (FEA) and finite element method (FEM) are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings and applications. FEM is a “mathematical method” for solving problems of engineering and mathematical physics that involve complex geometries, loads, boundary conditions, and material properties. FEA is the “practical application” of FEM to simulate the physical behavior of a system or structure using software.

FEM transforms a continuous problem domain into a discrete one by dividing it into smaller parts called finite elements. The elements are connected by nodes, which are points where the unknown variables are calculated. The elements have shape functions that describe how the variables vary within the element. The shape functions and the material properties are used to formulate a system of algebraic equations that relate the nodal values of the variables. The solution of this system gives an approximation of the variables over the entire domain.

FEA uses FEM to create a numerical model of the system or structure of interest. The model consists of a mesh of elements that represent the geometry and material properties of the system or structure. The model also includes the loads and boundary conditions that act on the system or structure. The FEA software then solves the system of equations using numerical methods and outputs the results, such as displacements, stresses, strains, temperatures, etc. The results can be used to analyze the performance, behavior, safety, and optimization of the system or structure.

At AltaSim Technologies, we guide engineers and clients through Multiphysics simulation projects with less frustration and more confidence in their results, so that they can bring their products to market more rapidly, at lower costs, and with optimized designs. Our consulting services have demonstrated savings for new technology and product development of up to 90% of the time and simultaneously 50% of the cost.

One of the first steps we take with any new client is conducting a robust onboarding program and a proprietary S3 process (Study, Simulate, and Solve) to understand your needs and specifications quickly so we can tackle the issue right away. While we work with small companies to Fortune 50 companies, gain peace of mind that regardless of your business size, you have access to outsourced simulation experts and therefore capabilities equivalent to larger competitors. Read about how our S3 process benefited Rockwell Automation >>

We serve the medical products, energy, consumer products, and defense/aerospace industries along with many others and perform our work within the utmost discretion of your designs and IP.

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