3789. Efficient Algorithms for Computing Mass Properties of Finite Elements

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Paper

Mark Beyer: 3789. Efficient Algorithms for Computing Mass Properties of Finite Elements. In: 82nd Annual Conference, Cocoa Beach, Florida, pp. 14, Society of Allied Weight Engineers, Inc., Cocoa Beach, Florida, 2023.

 

Abstract

Support for finite element model (FEM) data and methods is an important enabler in next-generation weights management systems. Coordinated efforts between Weights Management and simulation teams using FEM data and methods can accelerate mass model maturity in conceptual and preliminary design before detailed CAD representations are available. Accelerated maturity of mass data can reduce engineering design cycles and rework.
Next-generation methods can also help automate the conformity of mass data from the Weights Management system of record into downstream simulation models saving structural engineers 1000s of hours of modeling effort. Substantiating conformity of mass properties in simulation models is a growing requirement as the industry shifts toward reliance of simulation to demonstrate regulatory compliance.
Incorporation of FEM into weights management methods also promotes greater cross-functional mobility and understanding between Weights Management and simulation engineering disciplines.
Finally, this paper documents the derivation of efficient computation of mass properties of finite elements including tetrahedron, pyramid, pentahedron, hexahedron, and plate elements. The approach uses the Divergence theorem to simplify integration of element volumes to computing mass terms from element faces. The algorithms are developed using Mathematica and presented in Modern Fortran. The author believes these algorithms to be an important contribution to our aerospace community knowledge base.