MSC Nastran

Multidisciplinary Structural Analysis

MSC Nastran is a multidisciplinary structural analysis application used by engineers to perform static, dynamic, and thermal analysis across the linear and nonlinear domains, complemented with automated structural optimization and award winning embedded fatigue analysis technologies, all enabled by high performance computing.

Engineers use MSC Nastran to ensure structural systems have the necessary strength, stiffness, and life to preclude failure (excess stresses, resonance, buckling, or detrimental deformations) that may compromise structural function and safety. MSC Nastran is also used to improve the economy and passenger comfort of structural designs.

Manufacturers leverage MSC Nastran’s unique multidisciplinary approach to structural analysis at various points in the product development process. MSC Nastran may be used to:

  • Virtually prototype early in the design process, saving costs traditionally associated with physical prototyping.
  • Remedy structural issues that may occur during a product’s service, reducing downtime and costs.
  • Optimize the performance of existing designs or develop unique product differentiators, leading to industry advantages over competitors.

MSC Nastran is based on sophisticated numerical methods, the most prominent being the Finite Element Method. Nonlinear FE problems may be solved with built-in implicit numerical techniques. A number of optimization algorithms are available, including MSCADS and IPOPT. The fatigue capability in MSC Nastran has been developed jointly by nCode International Ltd. and MSC Software.

Common structural analysis solutions are dedicated to one or a few analysis disciplines. To build up a comprehensive level of engineering analysis capability, multiple software solutions must be acquired, and users must be trained with each new tool. MSC Nastran features multiple analysis disciplines, enabling customers with one structural analysis solution for a wide variety of engineering problems.

  • Use one platform to perform linear or nonlinear analysis for the following disciplines: static, dynamic (NVH & Acoustics included), thermal, and buckling, and reduce the dependency on multiple structural analysis programs from various vendors
  • Perform fatigue analysis with embedded fatigue technologies and reduce the time usually associated with fatigue life determination
  • Assess the behavior of advanced composites and fiber reinforced plastics with built in Progressive Failure Analysis and User Defined Services for Mean-field Homogenization coupling with Digimat

One structural member is rarely analyzed independently. Structural systems consist of numerous components, and must be analyzed as a whole. MSC Nastran features a number of methods to join multiple components for system level structural analysis.

  • Expedite meshing with Permanent Glue, enabling you to connect incongruent meshes that would traditionally require time consuming mesh transitions
  • Save time constructing assemblies that consists of welds or fasteners via specialized connector elements
  • Speed up the re-analysis of large assemblies by constructing Superelements, and optionally, share Superelements with other manufacturers while concealing confidential design information
  • Perform contact analysis and determine contact stresses and contact regions in multi-component designs

Design optimization is a critical element in product development, but is often very iterative and requires a great deal of manual effort. MSC Nastran includes optimization algorithms that automatically seek optimal configurations in an allowed design space.

  • Optimize for stress, mass, fatigue, etc. while varying design variables such as material properties, geometric dimensions, loads, etc.
  • Enhance the shape or profile of structural members with shape optimization
  • Find optimal composite laminate ply thicknesses with topometry optimization
  • Determine optimal bead or stamp patterns for sheet metal parts with topography optimization
  • Remove excess and unnecessary volume with topology optimization
  • Simultaneously optimize multiple models across disciplines with Multi Model Optimization

Analysis models can be very large in size, requiring an extended period of time to solve. Such models can take hours or days to solve with traditional FEM applications. MSC Nastran features a number of High Performance Computing capabilities enabling engineers to solve large problems fast.

  • Take advantage of multi-core and multi-node clusters with parallelization technologies: Shared Memory Parallel and Distributed Memory Parallel
  • Utilize nVidia GPU Cards to accelerate the analysis of models composed of solid finite elements
  • Perform modal analysis faster by using a highly tuned Lanczos solver or Automated Component Modal Synthesis

MSC Software provides a number of resources to support your use of MSC Nastran. Available services include:

  • Technical support, often rated 4.5 out of 5 by customers.
  • The MSC Learning Center, a subscription that entitles a user to the entire MSC Nastran training course catalog.
  • MSC Nastran expertise, MSC Software was one of the original developers of the first NASTRAN code and has continuously developed MSC Nastran for over 40 years.

MSC Nastran Advanced Nonlinear Analysis
Simulate Reality with Robust Nonlinear Analysis

The investigation and simulation of nonlinear structural behavior has been mostly consigned to specialists in product development teams. However, with the rise in the use of newer elastomers, plastics, and metals that exhibit nonlinear response in product designs, it is imperative for this valuable solution to be available to all members of design and analysis teams.

The MSC Nastran Advanced Nonlinear module provides the advanced technology to address the biggest pain points involving advanced materials, complex interaction between various components, and large deformations. With the added benefit of a single solver, which helps in reducing training effort, engineers will achieve higher productivity by being able to move between linear and nonlinear analysis domains as needed, with ease.

The MSC Nastran Advanced Nonlinear module delivers a highly comprehensive set of capabilities allowing users to:

  • Solve problems with any or all of the nonlinearities (material, contact, geometric)
  • Perform nonlinear static, modal, buckling, and transient dynamic structural analyses
  • Conduct linear perturbation analysis based on the nonlinearly deformed state
  • Perform steady state and transient nonlinear heat transfer analysis
  • Conduct coupled and uncoupled thermal-structural analyses
  • Analyze damage and failure of composites and other nonlinear materials
  • Use fracture mechanics capabilities like VCCT crack propagation and cohesive zone interface to conduct product safety studies

Integrated Fatigue Simulation
Calculate fatigue damage and life within MSC Nastran, and optimize product designs for weight and durability.

Most structural systems undergo cyclic loads during their service life and designers need to design them to ensure they do not fail early in life. Fatigue or durability studies are a critical part of product development, as early failures could raise warranty costs and loss of market share. While fatigue analysis is generally recognized as a key element of design, it is often done in either on ad hoc basis or in an inefficient sequential manner, with stress analysis followed by a durability analysis, adding to the development time and cost. Use of multiple products further adds to cost and analysis time.

MSC Nastran Embedded Fatigue (NEF) is an innovative durability analysis module that features the integration of fatigue calculations within MSC Nastran. In effect, stress and fatigue calculations can occur in one simultaneous operation. This is a significant step forward from GUI based fatigue processes, where fatigue studies are performed after stress studies are complete, and often by different analysis groups, and offers engineers a wealth of new opportunities to improve the life of products. Capabilities include:

  • Stress life (S-N)
  • Strain life (E-N)
  • Multi-axial responses processed using the Critical Plane method
  • Parallel processing up to 100 threads
  • Multiple fatigue analysis in a single job submission

Fatigue life estimates are generally obtained with simulations conducted in time domain. This approach may not apply to many real world applications, especially when the parts being analyzed undergo complex, often random loading sequences. Dynamic nature of the loads also makes the use of time-domain analysis time consuming and cumbersome, requiring excessive analysis time and large amounts of storage space.

MSC Nastran Embedded Vibration Fatigue overcomes this problem by using the frequency domain techniques that are often used for dynamic structural analyses. This computationally efficient procedure provides life estimates orders of magnitude faster, with only a small fraction of system resources compared to traditional methods. Frequency domain methods for structural analysis also offer superior qualitative information about structural response.

Benefits of using MSC Nastran Embedded Vibration Fatigue Solution:

  • Faster solution with dynamic loads (deterministic and random vibration)
  • Significantly lower system resources compared to time-domain based solution
  • Dramatically small disk usage, allowing you to solve large problems
  • Higher productivity with simpler process that avoids the need for two separate processes for stress and fatigue analysis
  • Better designs by coupling fatigue analysis with MSC Nastran’s optimization solver

Supported Loadings:

  • Single-input random load with or without static stress offset
  • Multi-load random input including cross-correlation with or without static stress offset
  • Deterministic loading (single sine waves and narrow bands)
  • Harmonic loading (multiple simultaneously applied sine waves)
  • Sine and narrow band sweeps
  • All of the above loading types can be assembled in to load events and sequences to make up realistic duty cycles

Vibration Fatigue Capabilities:

  • Automatic conversion of time domain loading into equivalent power spectral density loads
  • Stress life (S-N) solver
  • Strain life (E-N) studies
  • Factor of Safety (FOS) analysis
  • Parallel processing multiple threads
  • Multiple fatigue analysis in a single job submission
  • Optimization for fatigue life with the use of MSC Nastran Design Optimization solution

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