Posted on: January 09, 2016 12am

 

Finite Element Analysis

Using Finite Element Analysis VP Can accurately predict HOW OUR PRODUCTS will Perform before production.

As a part of our commitment to engineering VP uses FEA to test designs before incurring any expense in prototyping and tooling. Finite Element Analysis helps us to save time and cost by vetting both our own and our customer’s concepts in the early stages of the engineering process.  We combine our own 35 years of experience with test rider reports and lab results to establish practical baselines for a variety of parameters based on real-world experience.  We can not only establish FEA benchmarks for industry testing standards, but also for things like rock strikes against pedals, bearing wear, and extreme drivetrain forces in hubs.

What is Finite Element Analysis?

Finite element analysis is a widely used engineering tool designed to accurately predict the behavior of an object in use. Based on general principles and equations, the FEA process uses a computer to model complex systems and to predict anything from stress distributions and contact forces to aerodynamic flow and electromagnetic fields.

It all begins with real world data.  For Finite Element Analysis to be effective, we have to know what to look for and we have to understand the forces involved in using the part.  We can collect data in a test lab by conducting destructive test that mimics what we have seen during standard testing, long and short term sessions with test riders and/or our own employee’s riding experience. Once we re-create the results from our sources we can use these quantified results as the basis for FEA testing.

What can be made using this process?

At VP our engineering team routinely uses FEA to predict stress concentrations and failure modes in order to optimize and strengthen our designs for the end user.  We can use FEA to help engineer virtually anything.  Once we know what stresses may climb above the limits of the given part under a specific load, we can make the choice to add material, change the shape of the part to better handle the stress, or even change materials and production methods to ones better suited to achieving our goals.

Finite Element Analysis Stress Concentrations

This image shows the stress distribution of a pedal body under compression.  You can see what appears to be a web or mesh covering the surface of the pedal body.  This mesh is how the FEA software models the pedal body in order to create relationships between all of the connected points inside a solid part.  The engineer is able to refine this mesh further and further during the FEA process to ensure consistent and accurate results.

Finite Element Analysis Mesh Refinement

In this image of a VX Adventure cage stress distribution you can see that some parts of the mesh seem more fine than others. This allows the engineer to increase accuracy of results in specific regions of interest while maintaining reasonable software calculation times.

Finite Element Analysis Mesh Isolation

 

Here we have isolated the corner of the cage to inspect its stress distribution under a specified load.  The colors in the image represent varying levels of stress according to a scale set by the engineer with red representing higher stress and blue representing lower stress. The scale can be modified to establish an acceptable stress limit based on material properties and locate critical areas above the threshold.