MSC/NASTRAN for Windows (MN4W) Version 2.0 adds comprehensive nonlinear and dynamic analysis and automatic solids meshing of SAT (ACIS) and STL files, providing comprehensive Windows access to the powerful MSC/NASTRAN solver.
Using Enterprise Software's FEMAP pre and post processing, MN4W provides an easy, intuitive user interface. It delivers extensive menu- and icon-driven control over all aspects of model generation, analysis, output data visualization, and printed output.
MSC/NASTRAN for Windows, v2.0
Version 2.0 performs all aspects of FEA in a Windows 3.1, 95, or NT environment. Requirements: a 386 with 16M bytes of RAM and 200M bytes of free disk space. Recommended: a 486 or Pentium with at least 24M bytes RAM and 400M bytes of free disk.
List Price: $5,000-$11,000
The MacNeal-Schwendler Corp., 815 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90041; ph: (213) 258-9111; FAX: (213) 259-3838.
Working solely within MN4W, geometry and FEA modeling uses tools that rival CAD systems. I was particularly impressed with the variety of construction aids, robust undo, excellent display control, and superb 3-D view manipulation. Flexible layer and grouping tools and individual control of visibility of every entity type in each viewport make it easy to work with very complex models.
The built-in tools are fully integrated with external database import and automatic surface and solids meshing of SAT and STL solids. I used CAD-generated DXF and SAT geometry as the basis for a wide variety of manual and automatic meshes.
The automatic solid mesher generally provided good tetra meshes with the defaults, even with complex models. It can be interrupted at the surface mesh level, providing powerful shell model capabilities using either triangular or quad meshes. User control during the automatic meshing process is very flexible, and undo is again available to minimize lost time.
The 2-D meshing tools are not to be undersold. Many of my models use imported DXF geometry, automatically meshing 2-D surfaces and extruding or revolving to provide efficient, solid-element meshes. The powerful construction and editing tools make this process very efficient.
Load and constraint generation uses well-organized dialogs, and is intuitive for simple analyses. I found the tutorials necessary, and satisfactory, for nonlinear and dynamic analyses, and procedures are easy to learn. I was surprised how little I needed to refer to the manuals or online help.
Analysis dialogs provide ample control over the MSC/NASTRAN solver. Defaults are well chosen, so most standard analyses can be performed with minimal input. Analysis is fast, as is MN4W's binary data transfer back to the post processor.
Post processing is as intuitive, robust, and flexible as model generation. MN4W's entity display and model orientation controls carry into all aspects of postprocessing. The level of color and general appearance control is extraordinary. I customized view, contour, and legend formats, saving blank models astemplates for continued work. Presentation-quality post-processor output with pleasing, consistent appearance can be produced very efficiently.
While the documentation provided is completely adequate to learn the user interface and FEA basics, MSC offers full MSC/NASTRAN technical manuals, at cost, to users interested in more detail. I acquired this documentation and found it a valuable addition.
MN4W offers the potential for efficient blending of talents in a design workgroup. I, as a reasonably experienced CAD user but neophyte FEA analyst, am now communicating with FEA specialists at the geometry level, cutting model generation to a fraction of prior times, and at the FEA level with preliminary meshed models and analysis for improvement or verification. MN4W opens an esoteric area to a wide base of users, with each able to contribute the most in individual areas of expertise.
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NISA--Engineering Mechanics Re-search Corp., Box 696, Troy, MI 48099; ph: (810) 689-0077; FAX: (810) 689-7479.