FEA is a numerical method for solving most engineering problems. It is mainly used for problems with complicated geometries, loadings and material properties. With FEA, it makes calculation a lot less complicated.

Figure 1 – Cartesian Coordinates

The angles, A B C are designated rotation about X Y Z respectively. X axis and Y axis are coordinates system that we use to plot a graph. Z axis is the 3rd dimension coordinate.

An example of Manual Calculation vs FEA on a Padeye.

Figure 2 – Drawing of padeye

Figure 4 – Padeye using Manual Calculation


Figure 5 – Padeye using FEA

Manual calculation vs FEA:

  • Manual calculation can only calculate a single direction while FEA is able to calculate 3 directions, 3 rotary directions which makes up to 6 axes at one go.
  • With end results, FEA gives a visualisation on stress paths whereas it’s only numbers for Manual Calculation.
  • With FEA, a few literation can be tested by modifying the input whereas for Manual Calculation, results will have to be recalculated from the start.

Table 1 – Implicit FEA vs Explicit FEA

Implicit FEA is usually used in static based problems that deals with material responses till the point before it sustain any catastrophic damages. This covers materials that have a linear response (Elasticity) and materials that have a non-linear response (Plasticity).

Explicit FEA on the other hand deals with problems that are beyond responses of material (Damage & Rupture). More than often the problems are also dynamic and at high velocity as well.

Quick Examples:

Implicit Explicit
Static Structural Steel Loading Material Fracture
Dynamic Rubber Band Slight Stretching Car Crash

Have you spotted a few of these around you?

Winnie Ng
Marketing Executive
NAC Consultancy Pte Ltd