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Becoming familiar with a new CAE system is somewhat comparable with learning, for instance, a new language. There are many questions to solve first:
- Where to start?
- Which rules are important?
- Where to learn?
- When to learn?
- What are the respective costs?
- and …
Simulation tools ideally should take into account the needs of “beginners” and “experts” At the beginners level the ease of use of the software is ultimately important in order to help the beginner to stay focused on the assigned task. For instance, in order to learn more about the practical aspects of FEM, such as the influence of element type and size on the modeling results, the graphical user interface (GUI) needs to be simple. The GUI shouldn’t distract and irritate the beginner by offering 1000’s of panels and options which are surplus.
In contrast, the expert needs dedicated tools in order to solve high-end modeling (e.g. hexahedral meshing, midsurface generation) and engineering tasks such, structural optimization, crash analysis, multibody analysis, etc.
To maintain and learn two different systems, one for the beginners and one for the experts, is cumbersome. Not only at the universities. Therefore, the requirements of beginners and experts as well as various simulation disciplines should be available in an integrated CAE system. Moreover, in order to increase flexibility, the exchange of data with 3rd parties’ simulation tools should be possible – of course –bidirectional, if needed.
By making use of a simple FEM flow-chart, FEM beginners (undergraduate students) may explore the effects of for instance, element types and element size on the modeling results. However, the students do not have to be familiar with the graphical user Interface (GUI) of the preprocessor (HyperMesh). The introduction into the GUI of HyperMesh is reduced to a minimum as students only need to learn some standard operations such as zooming, rotating and selecting entities. Everything else is driven by the FEM flow chart.
Overall, to be successful one must be motivated and ideally one should have a goal in mind – otherwise all the learning effort will diffuse somewhere.
Please let us know your ideas about learning HyperWorks. We appreciate your feedback and recommendations.