Planar Approximations of a 2D Beam Analysis Using Ansys Mechanical

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Beams, in a variety of forms, are the backbone of many structures such as bridges, flyovers, and buildings. Structural analysis of these beams gives insights into the overall strength of these structures. Various methods are available in modern-day FEA tools capable of analyzing these beam structures using either 1D or 3D elements. To model these beams using 1D elements, as explained by Beam theory, the slenderness ratio of the beam should be high. Usage of 3D elements poses no such geometric restriction and can be used to model any beam. However, modeling the beam using 3D elements increases the overall solver time compared to the simplified 1D approximation. Having said that, you might wonder — is it possible to model the beams using 2D elements? If so, which of the following approximations is more appropriate — plane stress or plane strain? And finally, how much is accuracy compromised by this assumption? This course provides the answers to all of the above questions.

This SimCafe Structural Course was developed by Dr. Rajesh Bhaskaran, Swanson Director of Engineering Simulation at Cornell University, in partnership with Ansys. It was last modified by Sebastien Lachance-Barrett. It serves as an e-learning resource to integrate industry-standard simulation tools into courses and provides a resource for supplementary learning outside the classroom. This course demonstrates the structural analysis of a simply supported beam using a 2D approximation.

For more ways to learn, check out the Cornell edX course, A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations at

Cornell University also offers a Fluid Dynamics Simulations Using Ansys online certificate authored by Dr. Rajesh Bhaskaran. Learn more here:

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