ME-BEARS: "Extending the Usefulness of the Finite Element Method in Engineering Analysis and Design"

DateOctober 25, 2012Time12:30 - 2:00 pm
LocationRogers Engineering & Computer Science Building room 106
DescriptionThe Finite Element Method is routinely used by millions of engineers and scientist worldwide to predict the behavior of structural, mechanical, thermal, fluid flow, and electrical systems, just to name a few. Finite element calculations have forever changed the way engineering analysis and design are performed in research and development organizations. Development of the finite element method spanning over several decades has resulted in commercial software programs that enjoy extensive application today. Even with this undeniable success of the method, researchers continue to extend the usefulness of this versatile engineering tool while solving new and challenging design and analysis problems. The focus of this presentation is to highlight recent research where advanced finite element techniques have been developed and applied.

Following a brief introduction of the finite element method, extension of the method will focus on bone remodeling, optimal design of polymer sheet extrusion dies, and the motion of suspended discrete fibers in polymer melt flow. First, our research in bone remodeling algorithms will be shown where a bone density ordinary differential equation used to model Wolf’s law is integrated into a three-dimensional finite element modeling approach to predict bone density distributions in spinal bone grafts. Of particular interest here is that patient specific bone geometries are used to define the finite element model making the approach more applicable to today’s surgical procedures. Second, a unique approach is presented that considers the optimal design of a polymer sheeting die over a range of operating conditions. This work focuses on the common problem of achieving a uniform die exit velocity while including adjustable features in the die to optimally accommodate various polymer materials and/or mold temperatures. Efficiency of the design calculations are improved by differentiating the governing equations to obtain design gradients required in the optimization problem. Finally, our recent research in the motion of suspended discrete particles such as short glass or carbon fibers used in injection molded polymer composites is presented. A novel finite element approach will be presented that solves for the linear and rotational motion of a suspended fiber in Stoke’s flow is obtained by zeroing the external forces and torques on the fiber’s surface. Various results will be presented that show agreement with Jeffery’s 1922 pivotal work on ellipsoids in addition to geometries and flow conditions not considered in this earlier work.

Dr. Douglas E. Smith is a C.W. LaPierre Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Department of Biological Engineering at the University of Missouri (MU), Columbia, Missouri. He holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Ph.D. 1996), the State University of New York at Binghamton (M.S. 1993), Washington University in St. Louis (B.S. 1985), and Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois (B.S. 1985). He is the recipient of the MU Senior Engineering Research Award (2008), the National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2001), and the IBM Resident Study Fellowship Award (1992). His research and teaching interests include the development of finite element methods for simulation based design, inverse analyses and computational biomechanics with a focus on design sensitivity analysis, multidisciplinary analysis and optimization, and reliability-based design. Applications include polymer and composites processing, fiber orientation modeling, structural optimization, themo-mechanical response of lasers and electromagnetic launchers, and biomechanics; and include theoretical development, computer implementation and industrial application. Prior to joining MU in 2002, Dr. Smith held appointments as Assistant Professor at the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado (1999-2002), Technical Specialist at the Ford Research Laboratory, Dearborn, Michigan (1995-1999), and Staff Engineer at the IBM Electronics Packaging Laboratory, Endicott, New York (1985-1993). He is author of nearly 80 refereed journal and conference papers, co-author of the John-Wiley publication The Finite Element Method for Engineers, Fourth Edition, holder of a US patent, a Professional Engineer in the state of Missouri, and a member of ASME. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Education, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Leggett and Platt, Inc, Zimmer Corporation, Ameren Corporation, and Sandia National Labs.

Publisherzz (old) School of Engineering & Computer Science
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