NASTRAN-in-CAD FEA Simulation – review part 4

NASTRAN-in-CAD FEA Simulation – Review Part 4

More about AutoDesk’s new NASTRAN-in-CAD FEA Simulation module–picking up right where I left off. The good news is that Nastran-in-CAD FEA Simulation is easy to install and access, and stable upon installation. This may seem trivial, but it’s important for those designers used to Inventor who don’t have standalone simulation software experience. The fact that the interface adopts traditional Inventor customs makes the learning curve way less steep. Below is  a large image of what the interface looks like, and yep, it’s comfortably similar to Inventor!

Nastran-in-CAD FEA Simulation

Nastran-in-CAD FEA Simulation interface is structured like Inventor.

When Nastran is active, it gets its own tab on the Inventor ribbon, and its tools are presented in the usual panel format. The Nastran-in-CAD FEA Simulation environment uses the model tree in the left-side pane to structure simulation activities. It’s called the FEA Browser. Each finite element model entity is outlined there. So, even if users don’t yet have the training to set up meaningful load and constraint scenarios, at least there is something familiar to look at!

For post-processing, we are able to set some options, such as the quality and parameters of rendered animations. There is very limited ability to customize report settings, and unfortunately reports can only be prepared for linear static solutions. For other analyses the Nastran output file is what you get. I’m assuming AutoDesk will be developing this technology for subsequent releases, as well as a fix for the fact that the standalone in-CAD license doesn’t work with a network license of Inventor.

Some pros? Quite a few key ones. Nastran-in-CAD works for composites and plastics as well as metals. It’s easy to define and import materials. Below, I’ve set up a vibration fatigue test for this processor assembly. Here’s the Material definition window, where users can profile the physical/mathematical parameters of their materials:

NASTRAN-in-CAD FEA Simulation - Materials Definition

Nastran-in-CAD FEA Simulation – Material definitions window

We can also enter analysis-specific data via this window, say for Fatigue, Non-Linear and so on. All these properties are easily copied to additional materials if needed. Each material appears in the tree (FEA Browser), available for traditional editing.

Nastran-in-CAD offers more advanced meshing technology than previous in-CAD simulation, which means of course greater accuracy in tests of complex models. The algorithms for creating mesh concentrations are more adaptive. What this means for the user is that we get a more appropriate concentration of meshing in the right places, without a lot of extra fussing to recreate the boundaries. Less time to get the test right.

Stay tuned for part 5! Thanks, Rosanna D, VTN

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