MSC Nastran

The Industry Standard for FEA

General FEA solver

MSC Nastran is a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) solver for Structural and Thermal Analyses. It allows Acoustic elements in Dynamic Structural Analysis which can be used to model vibro-acoustic problems.
The following sections provide more information on the analysis capabilities of MSC Nastran.
Static Analysis
Nastran can perform Linear Static and Nonlinear Static Analyses as well as Buckling Analysis. In a Nonlinear Analysis, any combination of the three sources of Nonlinear effects (Contact, Geometric and Material) can be included. This allows a wide range of Structural Analysis to be performed. 

However, it lacks some of the more advanced Nonlinear features in Marc such as Remeshing and Multi-Physics (other than Thermal/Structural).

Nastran works well with Large models, allowing efficient use of Hard-drive space in place of Memory when required. This allows larger models to be solved on a given solver than other FEA Solvers.
Dynamic Analysis
The following Dynamic Analysis types are available in MSC Nastran:
  • Linear and Nonlinear Transient
  • Frequency Response
  • Undamped Modal (i.e. Real Eigenvalues)
  • Damped Modal (i.e. Complex Eigenvalues)
In addition, the following dynamic analysis can be performed either in a direct-method or with the modal method:
  • Linear Transient
  • Frequency Response
  • Complex Eigenvalue
The Modal Methods are sometimes refered to as Classical Dynamics. The Modal Methods are more efficient for models with few modes and many time- or frequency-point. However, it uses a modal-approximation which results in reduced accuracy if not correctly used. Nastran has implemented methods to dramatically improve the accuracy of the modal methods without requiring excessive numbers of modes.
Fatigue Calculation
MSC Nastran can calculate the Fatigue life of the analysis model. This can be done using a diverse set of Fatigue methods which includes Stress-Life, Strain life and even Vibration-Fatigue.

The most powerful feature of the Embedded Fatigue module is that is can be combined with Optimization in order to Optimize the fatigue life of a component with a complex load history or a vibration-input load.
MSC Nastran can sole a wide range of optimization problems. It supports the general method used in optimization of specifying the Cost Function (e.g. Mass), Design Variables (e.g. Thicknesses) that can be changed by the Optimization Algorithm to optimize the Cost Function, as well as define Constraints on Design Variables (e.g. allowed Thickness range) and calculated values (e.g. Stress limits).

Since setting up Optimization models in this way can be cumbersome and a number of Optimization models require a similar setup procedure, MSC Nastran has a couple of standard methods that automatically set up a significant portion of the Optimization mode. This includes the following types of optimization:
  • Topology Optimization
  • Topography Optimization
  • Toppometry Optimization
Thermal Analysis
MSC Nastran thermal capabilities include the three modes of heat transfer (Conduction, Convection and Radiation). Convection requires specification of convection coefficients and an ambient temperature like most FEA Thermal solvers.

A simple pipe-flow type element is available which can be coupled to surface or solid elements to model heat exchangers efficiently.
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