How do you want your product to fail? An engineering software vendor, Abaqus Inc., Providence, R.I., is setting a business strategy to begin delivering engineering analysis software for answering such questions quickly, easily and more routinely.
For example, with some products the fracture and failure modes have to be built in, explains Dale Berry, manager of engineering applications. "Consider that some medical products need to be easily broken to fulfill their mission of being a single-use product," he explains. "Manufacturers of such single-use medical products need to either physically test or simulate, via computer, that fracture and failure mode."
Other questions manufacturers need answered include:
- How long will a product last?
- If it breaks, where and how will it fail?
- Is the design "fail safe?"
- What is the safe operating life of the product?
- What can be done to extend the safe operating life?
Fracture and failure modeling addresses those real world concerns, says Berry. Given the needs of the engineering community, Abaqus believes that within five years damage and failure simulation will be as heavily used as nonlinear material models are today, he adds.
With the launch of Version 6.5 of its finite element analysis (FEA) software, Abaqus is revealing a strategy of providing more answers more easily. Berry says the new FEA release has many new features that are related to the simulation of fracture and failure. It's now possible to model damage and failure of materials, fasteners and other connection types such as spot-welding.
It's also possible to model separation between two initially bonded surfaces, such as is required for progressive failure of adhesives or composites.
The company's goals: to continue evolving fracture and failure analysis for more routine use by an engineering department's design and analysis staff. Historically fracture and failure analysis was relegated to research scientists. "We see a continuing need for advanced yet easy-to-use capabilities that will allow our customers to include fracture and failure in their everyday simulations," says Berry.
The growth and acceptance of advanced materials is a driving force behind the fracture and failure initiative, explains Berry. To assure meeting real-world objectives, Abaqus has formed a fracture customer review team to help guide the continuing development effort.
Berry says the review team is drawn from leading companies that share an active interest in fracture and failure issues.