A is for Abaqus

Happy New Year everyone! After a well deserved Christmas break I’m back with some more engineering topics. In this occasion I want to introduce a new series of brief posts about Finite Element Analysis. The idea is to cover one topic for each letter of the alphabet (i.e. from A to Z). Let’s get started!


Motivated by the “A-Z Challenge” that I followed for the first time thanks to Dr David Jesson, the idea of doing something similar has been growing in my head for some time. However, in this case I won’t be writing a post every day but, hopefully, once a week a new one will be published.

I had some doubts about the topic, but after meeting some of the members of the Formula Student Team of the University of Seville (Spain), I thought it would be a great idea to do some kind of simple Finite Element guide. In particular, this guide will be focused on the commercial package Abaqus. Some of you might be wondering why I’ve chosen this particular software, and the reason is pretty obvious: it is one of the most used FE packages in industry and loads of students struggle to understand how it works, especially if their first experience with FEA involved Ansys. Don’t get me wrong, I started using Ansys as well and I don’t want to give the impression that I have a problem with it. The thing is though, that a lot of people tend to learn how to model things in Ansys by heart and because of that, they won’t be able to reproduce the same models in other packages.Capture

Another reason for choosing Abaqus is its great capabilities for both Implicit and Explicit analyses. In addition, since it is widely used in industry, there are a lot of engineers developing new features and material models for this software, what makes it evolve every now and then. Although something similar happens with LS-DYNA, Abaqus presents the advantage of including a great pre-processor, which follows a clear structure organised in different modules (e.g: Part, Property, Assembly, Interaction, Mesh…).

And last, but not least, Abaqus official documentation can be extremely difficult to understand and that can be a big issue for beginners and users which are not familiar with some options. To be honest, I include myself in this last group, since there are many options which I don’t regularly use. It will depend on the cases you’re trying to simulate and that’s why I will also try to provide examples while explaining some of its features.

I know this is going to be very specific, but don’t worry, I’ll try to cover other non-FE topics from time to time and, hopefully, a new series of posts will be published here by a new guest editor pretty soon, so keep an eye on the blog!

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