Finite Element Analysis
Whilst most structural elements can be analysed using simple mathematical models, they tend to be quite limited. The results of which only offer a course approximation of the true structure. Finite element analysis (FEA) however is a powerful method of analysing structures using a computer. It can be used to obtain more accurate structural solutions for a wide variety of structural forms ranging from simple 1D elements to highly complex 3D shaped structures.
Material parameters are defined along with analytical functions that describe the behaviour of each element, such as the ability to simulate geometric and material non-linearity. All of which help describe the real-world structure more fully and to a higher degree of accuracy.