Traditionally, design engineers use separate kinematic "rigid body" analysis software to predict or determine the loads in a model. These loads are then transferred to a finite-element model for finite-element stress analysis. If the loads affect the shape of the mechanism, the engineer must switch back and forth between two programs and two models of the same mechanism.
So says Algor Inc., maker of the newly released Accupak/VE, "the first software that combines kinematics, rigid/flexible body dynamics, and nonlinear stress analysis in one software package." Instead of describing a mechanism as a series of rigid bars or links for the purpose of computing loads, Accupak/VE offers flexible links. This, the company claims, leads to more accurate predictions and makes it possible to conduct stress analysis at the same time.
"Almost every real-world situation is dynamic," explains Algor President Michael Bussler. "Accupak/VE makes it easy to simulate buckling, swinging, oscillating, and similar phenomena on the computer, and to predict rigid or flexible body dynamics and the resulting stresses."
Besides combining two engineering simulations in a single process, Accupak/VE achieves new levels of analysis speed for both static and dynamic nonlinear stress calculations. These calculations can predict how the material deforms beyond the yield point.
Normally, engineers avoid or minimize the use of nonlinear FEA because it requires a great deal of specialized knowledge. "Engineers using FEA software can't see a model reaching or exceeding the yield point on the computer," explains Bussler. "Instead, they use the software to identify the stress, then go to a handbook to see if it's beyond the yield point. With Accupak, the yield stress data is built into material models used by the software so engineers can see the effects on the monitor."
That is the reason Algor refers to Accupak/VE as "virtual engineering" software. Rather than studying numbers to determine if a part will fail, the software shows if and how the part will fail on the screen. Engineers can view the part bending and breaking, or see if there is contact in a critical or unexpected location.
The new Accupak/VE offers several other innovative features:
- Live monitoring enables users to view the analysis while it is in progress.
- Restart capabilities let users stop the analysis, add new or modify existing information, then begin the analysis again at the same point.
- Optional bandwidth allows simultaneous multi-body analysis.
- A decoder menu enables users to easily configure an analysis based upon the type of analysis desired.
- Automatic contact/bounce means that the software will automatically compute the correct contact and bounce behavior when parts of the model will come into contact with a surface, such as a ceiling, floor, or wall. Hard stop points also can be specified.
Working with Algor's EAGLE software, Accupak/VE can also help conduct finite-element analysis and event simulation requiring multi-physics, for example, when a part or product undergoes mechanical stress and heat transfer at the same time. Accupak/VE is available for UNIX, Windows 95, and Windows operating environments.