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Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a great tool for biologists, palaeontologists, doctors, veterinarians, and other biosciences specialities in which researchers face questions about biomechanics of living and extinct organisms. Elements like bone, arthropod exoskeleton, mollusc shells, or the stems and leaves of plants can be analysed using this technique. FEA is a non-invasive modelling technique and is based on a numerical analysis on the principle of dividing a system into a finite number of discrete elements where the equations are applied. Although static and dynamic analysis can be solved using FEA, in this course only static analysis will be covered.
In this course, there will be an introduction to the Finite Element in order to modelling biological structures and understand how they worked. It will cover all the steps involved in FEA (for static analysis) starting from the creation or reconstruction of the model, how to define the material properties of biological structures, the use of a consistent Mesh Generation Methods and finally, how understand the results obtained in a computational simulation.
After the theoretical introduction we will build and analyse 2D and 3D finite element models of skeletal elements and deepen on the methods and software’s required performing FEA. The first part will be focused in medical image reconstruction of the model, starting from the images from a CT scan to finally obtain a suitable CAD model to be solved in a FEA package. The second part will consist of a biological example where the theoretical contents of the Introduction to Biomechanics and Finite Element Analysis course will be applied. Key questions as mesh size, boundary conditions, applied forces, scaling and numerical singularities will be thoroughly addressed. The last day attendees will have opportunity for trying to analyse by themselves their own data or other examples with the help of both instructors.
Dr. Josep Fortuny
(Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP) and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain).
Dr. Jordi Marcé-Nogué
(Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP), Spain).
Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
(Transmitting Science, Spain).
Graduate or postgraduate degree in any Sciences discipline, basic knowledge of statistics and personal computers.
Participants will be required to bring their own personal laptop with the following minimum requirements: Windows, CoreI5 or equivalent, 4 GB RAM, 1 GB memory dedicated to the graphic card, 20 GB of hard disk space available. At the beginning of the course temporary licences for Rhinoceros, Avizo and ANSYS will be installed on each participant’s laptop, allowing them to work with their own data after class if necessary / desired. If you wish to attend but do not have access to a laptop which meets these specifications, please contact us at email@example.com.
An introduction to the use of Finite Element Analysis (FEA): Mathematical model, features and practical procedure.
Basic continuum mechanics: Stress, displacements, strain, constitutive equations and Failure criteria in elastic materials.
Theoretical approach to Meshing: Types of mesh. Mesh generation. How to evaluate a mesh (Quality and reliability). Recommendations for a good practice.
Defining Material Properties: Biomechanical properties of the bones to be used in FEA. Considerations for Non-lineal materials to understand the modelling of soft tissues.
2D Plane models reconstruction: Steps for 2D models generation: Picture, digitized images (XY coordinates), generation of point cloud and obtaining the 2D model. Finite Element Analysis of simplified two-dimensional plane models of biological structures: Definition and characteristics of Plane Models. Implementation and interpretation of results. Comparative analysis.
3D models reconstruction: Reconstruction of biological three-dimensional structures. From the real object to the 3D model. What is a CT-Scan. DICOM and other format files. 3D modelling. Generation of STL files. Preparing reconstructed three-dimensional models for being analysed in FEA packages. Getting the model ready to work. 3D Finite Element Mesh Techniques.
Keys in pre-process and post process: Assignment of boundary conditions, defining material properties. Interpreting results. Boundary conditions in 3D models (muscles, muscular insertions and analogues). Biological Implications.
Working with your own data.
- Rayfield EJ (2007) Finite Element Analysis and Understanding the Biomechanics and Evolution of Living and Fossil Organisms. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 35 (1): 541-576.
- Kupczik K (2008) Virtual biomechanics basic concepts and technical aspects of finite element analysis in vertebrate morphology. Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 86: 193-198.
- Moazen M, Curtis N, O’Higgins P, Jones MEH, Evans SE, Fagan MJ (2009) Assessment of the role of sutures in a lizard skull a computer modelling study. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 276: 39-46.
- Dumont ER, Grosse I R, Slater GJ (2009) Requirements for comparing the performance of finite element models of biological structures. Journal of theoretical biology, 256 (1): 96-103.
- Fletcher TM, Janis CM, Rayfield EJ (2010) Finite Element Analysis of Ungulate Jaws: Can mode of digestive physiology be determined? Palaeontologica Electronia, 13 (3).
- Marcé-Nogué J, Fortuny J, Gil L, Galobart A (2011) Using Reverse Engineering to Reconstruct Tetrapod Skulls and Analyse its Feeding Behaviour, in Topping BHV, Tsompanakis Y, eds. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Computing. Civil-Comp Press, Stirlingshire, United Kingdom, Paper 237 (pp. 1-12).
- Bright JA, Rayfield EJ (2011) The response of cranial biomechanical finite element models to variations in mesh density. The Anatomical Record, 294: 610-620.
- Fortuny J, Marcé-Nogué J, De Esteban S, Gil LL, Galobart A (2011) Temnospondyli bite club: Ecomorphological patterns of the most diverse group of early tetrapods. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24 (9): 2040-2054.
- Fortuny J, Marcé-Nogué J, Gil LL, Galobart A (2012) Skull Mechanics and the Evolutionary Patterns of the Otic Notch Closure in Capitosaurs (Amphibia: Temnospondyli). The Anatomical Record, 295 (7): 1134-1146.
- Reddy JN, An Introduction to Continuum Mechanics, Texas A & M University.
- Morris A, A Practical Guide to Reliable Finite Element Modelling, John Wiley & Sons.
You will find below some testimonials from former participants to previous editions of this course:
- “The FEA courses give an elementary introduction to this complex and interdisciplinary research field, and offer the possibility to learn to use sophisticated software under instruction (in a very pleasant atmosphere), which is always much easier than doing it by oneself. The courses are also a good opportunity to meet students working on related topics, who often face similar problems – a perfect basis to find solutions together and get into contact with (future) colleagues from around the world. Furthermore, the attendance of the FEA courses was really helpful for me because I met experienced instructors and had the chance to discuss my projects and optimize my work flow.”
Janina Dynowski, Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart, Germany (1st Edition).
- “A really useful course! Everything explained by the instructors is also practiced during the classes so you can apply it afterwards for your own data. Moreover, the instructors are always willing to answer any question you have about the lessons and about how to build and process your models. The organisation of the course is also an additional point because you don’t need to be worried about anything (technically and personally).”
Marta Pina, Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP), Spain (1st Edition).
For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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