Finite Element Analysis
At the heart of virtually all engineered products are engineering analysis models (EAMs). EAMs are widely used by industry to predict and optimize system product designs, subassembly designs, component designs, and supporting manufacturing processes. Such models include lumped parameter analysis models, such as system block diagram models and control models, continuum parameter models, such as finite element models, and statistical models derived from empirical observations, such as response surface models. EAMs provide an invaluable information service for supporting product design activities. In the I-MAD Laboratory we seek new methods and technologies for significantly improving how organizations can effectively manage, reuse, interoperate, and adapt EAMs in the context of their product development activities. Research subareas associated with this effort include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Seamless exchange of engineering analysis models in a distributed environment.
- Interoperability, reusability, and adaptability of engineering analysis models
- The use of ontologies for capturing, representing, and exchanging engineering analysis modeling knowledge
- Design and analysis modeling knowledge representation and acquisition
- Application of decision theory to the development of engineering analysis models, such as finite element models
- Application-specific tools and knowledge-based systems for automating engineering analysis
Another area of interest of the laboratory is in biomechanics, with particular focus on the use of finite element analysis for modeling biological and biomechanical systems. Currently, we are investigating the large strain behavior of balloon stents used in angioplasty procedures with the goal to optimize the stent design to reduce restenosis of the artery. Another project, in conjunction with researchers from the Biology department, involves simulation of stresses and strains induced in bat skulls due to feeding habits and correlating the skull stresses with the skull morphology via evolutionary principles.
Also, in the I-MAD laboratory we are involved in the development of pedagogical tools for supporting engineering education as part of a larger effort within the department. Two multimedia tutors have been developed: the Intelligent Finite Element Modeling and Analysis Tutor (FEMAT) and the UMass Stress State Transformation Tutor (UMASST). Both tutors have undergone formal testing in the classroom and have proven to be as effective as conventional instruction in delivering the tutor content material. We have also developed EDLIB-FEA, an educational library of student projects completed as part of MIE 605, an introductory graduate level finite element course.