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Before starting a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) model, the analyst should ask the following questions:

1. What are the loads on this system or component?

2. Are the loads static or dynamic?

3. What is the load path?

4. What are the design criteria? (Stress, Displacement, Strain, Life, etc )

5. Where do we expect the high stresses and what limit can I accept?

6. Is it a linear or non-linear problem?

7. How can I verify the FEA results?

Depending on the answers to these questions, the analyst will define the type of FEA  solution that is necessary to capture the responses necessary to solve the problem.

The diagram below depicts a solid mechanics diagram