About Pierre Thieffry

Product line manager for structural mechanics solutions. I joined ANSYS, Inc. in 2002 serving first as an application engineer, then moving to the role of technical solution specialist for structural mechanics. I hold an engineering degree and PhD in Mechanical Engineering.

ANSYS User-Generated Videos You Should Check Out!

Whether you are an experienced user or beginning with our tools, or even looking to know what ANSYS tools can do for you, you can benefit from great videos that are available on YouTube. I am amazed at the quality of some of these user-generated videos. Looking back at my playlist from last year, I can give you a short list to start with. Continue reading

Exposing Complex APDL Scripts in a User-Friendly Way

People often approach me saying: “I’m convinced of the benefits of simulation, but we don’t have any experts in our company to run the powerful software” or “I would like to deploy simulation from my few CAE experts to a larger fraction of my engineering force, but they don’t have the necessary skills to run ANSYS and it’s difficult to hire new staff”. Software customization can definitely help in both situations. Our answer to this is the Application Customization Toolkit (ACT).

You may recall a previous blog from me about Combining APDL with ANSYS Workbench for Structural Simulations. Here’s another great example of how the Application Customization Toolkit (ACT) can help you exposing your existing APDL scripts in ANSYS Mechanical. Continue reading

FEA Simplifies the Design of Complex Composite Structures

When I first got introduced to composites as a student (many years ago!), I remember having felt amazed at how powerful yet complex materials they are. In a recent interview published in Composites in Manufacturing, my colleague Marc Wintermantel expressed the challenge of designing composites products very nicely: “When a designer uses simulation software to define composite part points in space they have a tremendous amount of additional design options and parameters to deal with.[…] These options are so large that you need to depend on optimized simulation tools because the computations go way beyond most people’s abilities to perform these tasks by hand”. And indeed, how can an engineer figure out what the optimum stackup is for a given applications with so many possibilities for fabrics thicknesses, orientations or location choices? Steel or aluminum are much easier to deal with! Continue reading

Combining APDL with ANSYS Workbench for Structural Simulations

best of both worldsSometime ago, I wrote an article entitled Best of Both Worlds: Combining APDL with ANSYS Workbench for Structural Simulations. When I read this article today, I think of three things:

  1. We have made a lot of progress in our latest releases so the use of MAPDL is reduced or irrelevant for the most common tasks we perform. With our added options, loads, or boundary conditions, models can easily be accessed by everyone without commands.
  2. The content of the paper is still relevant, as many of you have created and validated APDL scripts over the years that you can reuse “as is” in the Mechanical application.
  3. And last but not least, you can now give all of your scripts a Workbench flavor by integrating them in the Mechanical application through buttons, menus and new items in the simulation tree.

Continue reading

Design of Solid Composites Made Simple

As you’ve learned from a past blog by Joe Manich, the acquisition of EVEN AG by ANSYS has added some layers to ANSYS Mechanical. The design of composites is a very exciting and challenging topic, and our new colleagues will definitely help us to further enhance our solutions.

I started hearing about composites many years ago during my engineering studies. At that time, my understanding of composites was not really deep. The applications I saw were mostly for thin structures, such as ship hulls and aerospace components. Now that I’m more involved with composites, I realize how vast the subject is. I’m seeing more complex structures being made out of composites, such as fan blades, tanks and pipe components. These are all but thin structures, and their simulation requires more than just mere definition of plies on a given surface. With thicker parts comes the need for looking at stresses in the direction of the thickness as well as out of the plane shear stresses that
thin models cannot accurately capture. Continue reading

The State of Mechanical Engineering

I came across this research study just released from ASME called “The State of Mechanical Engineering.” The report is fairly comprehensive and discusses the current state of the engineering profession as well as the changes anticipated over the next 10 to 20 years. It incorporates engineers’ thoughts on the following topics:

• Level of optimism toward the profession
• Changes engineers anticipate in the work environment
• Significant achievements they believe the engineering field could provide to meet global
• Fields and disciplines most likely to gain prominence Continue reading

Magnetic Flux and Suspension Bridge Cables

Funny how sometimes two different things will cross your desk within a very short time but are actually linked to each other. Late on Sunday, evening after the family had all settled in, I jumped onto Google to look for the latest research being done using ANSYS (of course). I found an interesting paper titled “A Magnetic Flux Leakage and Magnetostrictive Guided Wave Hybrid Transducer for Detecting Bridge Cables.” With infrastructure cost debates going on continually, I thought it would make for an interesting read. Turns out, our software was used to study the magnetic flux density of a suspension cable and the attraction between the transducer and the cable.

Then this morning, one of my U.S. colleagues pointed me to an article where the Pennsylvania Auditor General is calling for the passage of an infrastructure bill. Many of you may not know, but Pennsylvania has some of the worst bridges in North America. In fact, according the auditor general’s report, “Pennsylvania motorists are 10 times more likely to pass a structurally deficient bridge than a McDonald’s restaurant.” Either PA has a LOT of bridges or not many McDonald’s. I’ll assume the former, but I digress. Back to our infrastructure problems. Continue reading

Leveraging Automated Design Variations – Parametric Analysis

Recently I was interviewed for a Desktop Engineering article about how designers can expand their FEA skills. My first thoughts were the obvious —  you could attend a live training or a web-based course, or use reference books. But I also thought about how I would gain more understanding of how a given model behaves. I may want to know the influence of the mesh on the results or how the material could affect the behavior of the design. So, during that interview, I mentioned parametric analysis.

Every time I discuss this topic with simulation users, it seems to resonate pretty well. However, very few effectively perform parametric analyses in an automated manner. But everyone agrees that for a given design, they will need to compute variations, perhaps because the initial design fails or because after meeting initial requirements they want to optimize a design for cost or weight reduction.

Whether you choose to perform parametric simulation with tools that are integrated in your simulation platform, such as ANSYS DesignXplorer, or with external optimization tools, all it usually takes only a few mouse clicks to convert a “one shot” simulation model into a parametric model. After that, variations are just a matter of changing the parameters’ values and rerunning the model. Of course, this requires that your simulation tools allow for parameterization of geometric changes, material properties, loads and boundary conditions, or results. But it will lead to a much better understanding of your product, as you will not only have the results for a nominal design but you will be able to answer the “what-if” questions that your colleagues will surely ask you.

So, what prevents you from going parametric?

For more information on parametric simulation, look at these contributions from my colleagues:

Virtually Testing Robust Systems: Utopia or Reality?

Subtle Shape Changes Can Lead to Substantial Performance Improvements