I agree with Chuck and Salvador that providing more direct access to CFD, FEA, and other types of analysis tools directly from within CAD is a huge step towards making this technology far more accessible to non-analysts and will likely go a long way in encouraging engineers to employ analysis far earlier in the design process when it has the potential for the most impact.
Yet I do think TJ is spot on, though, in pointing out that just because these programs are easy to get to from within a familiar environment, doesn't necessarily mean that advanced techniques like meshing and the mathematical knowledge that goes along with it is part of the domain expertise of most engineers--nor should it be.
That said, the more likely scenario for these in-CAD environments will be to offer the nuts and bolts analysis functionality that has the most potential for widespread use and save a lot of the more indepth, specialty stuff for the hardcore, dedicated analysis programs.
One still has to have knowledge about sizing the mesh properly in order to get good results. A person capable of creating a 3D Solidworks model of a part or assembly is not necessarily knowledable enough to adjust the mesh and interpret the results.
This is an important step forward for many small- to medium-sized engineering departments and firms that would like to incorporate FEA earlier in the design process. Historically, it's amazing to see how FEA and CFD are leaving the specialty realm, both in terms of the hardware that they run on and the engineers who can use the technology.
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
The US Congress has extended an important tax credit for solar energy, a move that’s good news for future investments in this type of alternative energy and for many stakeholders in the solar industry.
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