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The finite element method is used by engineers daily in the design/assessment of components and structures. The number of engineers using such tools is increasing and will increase further with the so-called democratisation of simulation. However, whilst the method might appear easy to use, with highly effective graphical user interfaces, the fundamental fact is that it is approximate and can produce significant errors in the hands of the inexperienced engineer. These errors, if undetected, can compromise a design to such an extent that it becomes unfit for purpose or, even, unsafe. The way to avoid such finite element malpractice is through the application of sound simulation governance.
Dr. Angus RamsayEngineering/Managing Director, Ramsay-Maunder Associates