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FEA Modeling Issues and Errors

This section is taken from a multi-part series that was sent out with our monthly newsletter. This section will help you avoid the problems that IES technical support staff have seen over the past few years. Perhaps in the future the software will automatically fix modeling problems or prevent them from happening at all. For now, the structural analyst must rely on experience and detective skills to uncover bugs in a model.

This section is intended to uncover bad assumptions, common mistakes, and discuss structural modeling issues in modeling for Finite Element Analysis. This section should not be taken as a definitive problem solving method for using finite element software in general, or using VisualAnalysis in particular! While we hope this section will help you become a better practitioner and help in learning the art of finite element modeling, our recommendations and conclusions in this section should not replace your sound engineering judgment.


VisualAnalysis is a typical finite element analysis program. While it supports a great user interface that makes modeling fast and easy and provides built-in checks to help prevent errors, it will not entirely prevent you from making mistakes. VisualAnalysis will often issue warnings and will provide diagnostic messages when things go wrong, but sometimes unraveling these messages is not so trivial.