Development of a CAD Model Simplification Framework for Finite Element Analysis

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Analyzing complex 3D models using finite element analysis software requires suppressing features/parts that are not likely to influence the analysis results, but may significantly improve the computational performance both in terms of mesh size and mesh quality. The suppression step often depends on the context and application. Currently, most analysts perform this step manually. This step can take a long time to perform on a complex model and can be tedious in nature. The goal of this thesis was to generate a simplification framework for both part and assembly CAD models for finite element analysis model preparation. At the part level, a rule-based approach for suppressing holes, rounds, and chamfers is presented. Then a tool for suppressing multiple specified part models at once is described at the assembly level. Upon discussion of the frameworks, the tools are demonstrated on several different models to show the complete approach and the computational performances.

The work presented in this thesis is expected to significantly reduce the manual time consuming activities within the model simplification stage. This is accomplished through multiple feature/part suppression compared to the industry standard of suppressing one feature/part at a time. A simplified model speeds up the overall analysis, reducing the meshing time and calculation of the analysis values, while maintaining and on occasion improving the quality of the analysis.