Finite element First is a based on an old design approach: detailed design drawings were preceeded with layout drawings. The layout drawings were done by a designer, and then passed onto a finite element analyst for what was a quick & dirty FE model. The FE model form was generally reflective of the structure itself - usually either plate or beam elements.
Areologist offers an opportunity to display FE First design approach. It's a shell + frame structure, and thus most suited to plate & beam elements. The tanks were modelled using femap generation for one tank. The six tanks were just replications of that first tank, with individual coordinate system. The equivalent accuracy model in solids would be MUCH larger. But model size isn't really an issue, its the time it takes to generate a model from CAD drawings. While program managers are under the impression its just 'push a button' to generate the FE model from the detailed drawings, I've never seen that work. So each design change takes a significant FE effort. Nastran code for the tank is listed ( Tank FE model), and a FEMAP version of whole model model is shown. The entire Nastran dat file was a bit large to include, just for demo.
|Initial Design||For simple structures, back of the envelop sketch will do|
|FE Model Plannning|
|Integration of Generation & Meshing|
Areologist FE model