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What's FEA (Finite Element Analysis) - A Brief Introduction

Finite Element Analysis, or FEA, is a computer-based simulation tool that helps engineers understand how a mechanical part will behave in different loading scenarios. Read this article if you are interested to learn more about it.
Written by
Alec Whitten
Published on
17 January 2022

FEA - Finite Element Analysis

Finite Element Analysis, or FEA, is a computer-based simulation tool that helps engineers understand how a mechanical part will behave in different loading scenarios. It’s like a virtual testing ground where load testing can be done without having to build a real-life prototype. This method divides the part into finite amounts of smaller elements and is loaded with force. Each element is analyzed using mathematical models to predict its behavior. The results from each element are combined to give a complete picture of the system's behavior as a whole. With a graphical representation of mechanical stress, engineers can easily see where the design is likely going to break and thus improve.

FEA Performed on our Forgelite Wheels SV05 Monoblock Wheel
The Wheel is Subdivided into Smaller Elements For Simulation

Application in the wheel industry

FEA is used to test wheel designs before putting them into production. For cast and flow-formed wheels, it is important to conduct an FEA test as they are usually produced in large quantities, and correction is impossible to make once the production is underway. Bespoke forged wheels use FEA to test designs. Physical sample testing is not feasible for custom-made forged wheels as the tests are destructive. Therefore most reputable forged wheel brands do FEA testing before putting wheels into production. FEA has become highly accurate compared to real life with the advancement of technology and computer simulation. At JC Forged Wheels and Forgelite Wheels, we perform FEA on every set of wheels that we design and manufacture.

What’s being tested

For mass-produced cast and flow formed wheels, typical physical tests involve radial load test, impact test, and fatigue test. The radial load test is to verify the wheels will withhold specified vehicle weight when used with an upright orientation (driving on roads). The inclined impact test is to verify structural integrity when the wheel is impacted on the rim from different angles (A hammer is dropped on the wheel from different heights for this test). The fatigue test is to simulate repeated cornering loads with hundreds of thousands of cycles. With clearly defined loading scenarios and a virtual testing environment that’s almost identical to the real world, Finite Element Analysis can be used to test the wheels with a high degree of accuracy compared to the real-world test results.

Simulation Shows Exaggerated Deformation Under FEA Test on Forgelite Wheels FL1 Monoblock

Why is it important

Some forged wheel companies claim they do FEA however when being asked, no FEA report can be provided. At JC Forged Wheels and Forgelite Wheels, We provide a copy of the FEA result upon customers' requests. Safety is paramount when it comes to aftermarket wheels and we firmly believe that all wheel design needs to be safe rather than blindly reducing weight. No one wants their wheels to break apart when traveling at high speed. Therefore FEA must be performed to ensure the safety of aftermarket forged wheels. We test our wheels to the strict TUV standards so that you can enjoy your wheels safely when driving on roads.

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