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Finite Element Analysis (FEA) | Method (FEM) and Modeling

Every finite element model requires a calibrated material model for each material to be simulated. 3M’s technical support team is ready to support you with answers to your questions around modeling and simulation.


Finite Element Method: Development of Cohesive Zone Models for 3M™ Adhesives & Tapes

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    What is Finite Element Analysis?
    • Finite element modeling is a tool engineers use in designing products across every industry. An engineer will create a 3-D rendering of an assembly with the finite element software and define each material of interest.

      In order to run simulations to predict performance, the 3-D model defines the parts’ geometries, their relation to one another, and their material properties. These properties are well defined for metals, plastics, and other standard engineering materials.


  • Finite Element Analysis for the Assessment of Adhesive Bonds for Railway Vehicles

    Unlike metals, PSAs are viscoelastic and their properties are frequency and temperature sensitive. This requires advanced testing to create data that describes what the mechanical response will be under differing loads, temperatures, geometries, etc.

    3M is uniquely positioned to characterise these frequency and temperature sensitive materials and provide them in a format compatible with a variety of finite element modelling software. These material models can be used to predict mechanical behaviour in a finite element analysis.
    Conventional mechanical properties, such as Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio, even when obtained at relevant rates and temperatures, do not accurately capture PSA behaviour. Consequently, 3M has developed Material Data Cards (MDCs) which are available for common 3M materials in a ready to use format for numerous commercially available FEA software applications.

    Currently, we can offer an MDC for any 3M PSA which is compatible with Abaqus, ANSYS MAPDL, ANSYS Workbench, and LS Dyna.

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Finite Element Analysis Webinar

3M Webinar for Suppliers to RAIL OEMs.

From Experimental Characterisation to Computational Modeling and Simulation

  • Finite Element Method (FEM): Advance Fatigue & Durability Analysis

    Often challenging problems in engineering can not be solved using analytics, while tests on real components are usually time- and cost-intensive or simply too difficult to perform. This is especially true for the structural integrity assessment of entire railcars, wagons, or large subcomponents of these.

    However, with increasing computer performance, numerical simulation techniques such as the finite element method (FEM), can be applied for the approximate solution of technical problems. The FEM is the most widely used numerical method for solving partial differential equations related to engineering problems that otherwise wouldn’t be possible to solve. The FEM subdivides a large system into smaller, simpler parts that are called finite elements. Studying or analysing a phenomenon with FEM is often referred to as finite element analysis (FEA).

    Today FEA is a well-established and essential analysis tool for technical computations in many disciplines in- and outside of 3M. Using FEA together with appropriate simplifications and assumptions, even extremely complex structures such as entire rail vehicles can be assessed for their structural performance, integrity and crashworthiness as demanded by the industry standards DIN EN 12633 (Structural Requirements of Railway Vehicle Bodies) and DIN EN 15227 (Crashworthiness Requirements for Railway Vehicle Bodies). Another important industry standard that is especially dedicated to the adhesive bonding of railway vehicles and parts is the DIN 6701, see [1], which consists of four parts. The third part, DIN 6701- 3, deals specifically with guidelines for construction, design and assessment of adhesive bonds on railway vehicles.

    A strength assessment for the adhesive is required, which can be done by means of FEA. In a more general sense, this is also part of the new standard DIN 2304-1, see [2], which is not restricted to rail industry. All this is key to further establish adhesive bonding technologies in the rail industry and help to enable multi-material constructions and lightweight design as investigated in the project ULWAK, which 3M was a part of, see [3].

    From a computational efficiency point of view, it's possible to perform the adhesive strength assessment for thick (i.e. larger than 1.5 mm) rubber-like elastic bonds. However, it's almost impossible to simultaneously perform the adhesive strength assessment for thin (i.e. smaller than 1.0 mm) bonds with an acceptable element resolution over the bond thickness because of the enormous differences in dimensions of the railcar components and the bond thicknesses. One of the challenges is the transfer of the loads and boundary conditions from the entire system to a smaller sub-system.

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Finite Element Analysis Whitepaper

Click below to download our Finite Element Analysis Whitepaper. The whitepaper is split into 6 key areas: Introduction, Tie-Breaks, Continuum modeling, Cohesive zone modeling, Model validation and Conclusion.

  • Defining an appropriate material model

    Another challenge is the definition of an appropriate material model for the adhesive. In order to obtain reliable results by means of FEA it's crucial to have accurate models available for all materials involved in the problem. Such material models, sometimes also referred to as material data cards, describe the mechanical behaviour of the real material and ideally capture the major physical effects identified by suitable testing and characterisation of the materials.

    Every finite element model requires a calibrated material model for each material to be simulated. Different techniques can be used to determine the necessary material parameters. All these techniques require experimental test data and the selection of an appropriate material model. This is followed by a procedure for determining the parameters for the model from the experimental data, i.e. the calibration, verification and validation of the model with respect to experimental data. The validation can be done based on a T-peel test or a single lap shear test. On completion the model performs well under the assumptions taken.

    3M’s global technical support team is ready to support you with answers to your questions around adhesive characterisation, modelling and simulation. We have developed state-of-the-art test and simulation capabilities for structural and pressure-sensitive adhesives that allow us to model and predict performance, damage, failure, influence on vibration damping (NVH) for wheel noise reduction, see [4], and many other applications.

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