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Integrating Finite Element Analysis with Systems Engineering Models



Jerome Szarazi, Axel Reichwein, Conrad E. Bock


In order to promote traceability, consistency, interoperability and better collaboration between systems engineering and Finite Element Analysis (FEA)-based simulation activities, we propose a tool-independent description of FEA models that integrates with the Systems Modeling Language (SysML), for future standardization. As technical systems become more complex, it is important to support traceability between systems engineering artifacts, such as requirements, and test cases, and corresponding FEA artifacts, such as FEA models, simulation conditions, and results. While there is a standard for model-based systems engineering in the form of SysML, there is no standard description of FEA models. Existing FEA model descriptions are incomplete, tool-specific, informal or a combination of these. As a result, interoperability between FEA software applications is compromised, and communication between engineers is inefficient. A standard for the description of FEA models is difficult to develop, as the geometry, mathematics and physics of finite elements can vary greatly. We propose a finite element mathematics specification based on recent works and on the topological characteristics of finite elements that is formal, precise, and understandable to engineers. Mathematical expertise is still required to consistently set attributes of the specification but it can potentially capture new kinds of elements. The specification removes dependence on finite element names, which are sometimes inconsistent. We think that such a description is suitable for broad adoption among both FEA and systems engineers. We validate the new description of finite element mathematics by solving FEA problems using Python code we developed and demonstrate that these elements can be described in SysML.
Conference Dates
June 11-14, 2017
Conference Location
Stockholm, -1
Conference Title
NAFEMS World Congress 2017


FEA, Systems, Modeling, SysML
Created June 11, 2017, Updated December 18, 2017