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.

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.

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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
challenges
• 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

Modeling Layered Composites the Easy Way

Composites structures offer tremendous weight savings, increased performance and design flexibility for a wide range of applications. Composites are found in airplanes, cars, wind turbines, electronic devices, and sports and leisure applications such as bikes — whenever a design calls for lightweight structures with high performance requirements.

When designing products made from composites, you want to limit building costly and time-consuming prototypes. Manufacturing composites is a complex process (as illustrated in Hierarchical Carbon Fibre Reinforced PVDF Composites), and the associated costs can be very high — it includes raw materials as well as special machines and their operators. So, simulation is a good alternative for designing these kinds of structures at a lower price. It allows you to efficiently and accurately predict how well the finished product will perform. Continue reading

Do You Want to Become a Better Structural Analyst?

We all know that simulation has become a natural part of the design process. But how efficient is your simulation process? Do you really get the most out of your simulations? Do you want to become a better structural analyst?

Because companies need to create new designs faster, and usually at a lower cost, simulation departments are getting pressed to deliver results faster. They also need to justify that their investments in simulation tools and processes are well thought out. Continue reading

The Challenge of Point Cloud Data Mapping for Structural Engineers

Many structural engineers face the challenge of mapping (interpolating) data — such as pressures, thicknesses or temperatures —  on a finite element mesh (also known as point cloud data mapping). This often happens within companies where the analysts performing CFD or thermal analyses are not the ones performing the structural analyses. This also happens when the company is using tools from different providers.

Common data that analysts need to import as boundary conditions are pressures and temperatures. For example, think of a gas turbine where pressure and temperature results  from the CFD computations need to be used for the structural analysis.

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