A few years ago, I was fortunate to work on a team that designed a road bike power meter that made it into the bike kit for a professional cycling team. That’s a rewarding accomplishment for a “roadie” like me. Finite element analysis (FEA) was an integral part of the success of that product and insights from the analyses led to a decisive mechanical change during development. It’s safe to say I’m passionate about numerical simulation.
Now I’m taking on a new challenge and am employing FEA to develop hi-tech structural composites. Here, industry is moving toward the numerical simulation realm of virtual rapid prototyping, early in the design cycle, and away from the expensive and time consuming loop to physically build, test, iterate, repeat. Physical validation of simulation is still critical but the goal is to reserve it for mature designs that are already well understood through FEA.