This follow-up describes how two closely related methods can be used to take 2D slices through a complex structure at regions of interest. The resulting FEA models can give valuable insight into local stresses more rapidly and efficiently than a full 3D model. They won’t tell the whole story, but are valuable tools for the CAE engineer.
The two FEA methods are called plane stress and plane strain. Both use 2D planar elements that look like thin shell elements and are meshed using planar surface geometry.