Linking finite-element analysis and computer-aided drafting processes

  • Godfrey C. Onwubolu

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The aim of this research was to investigate the integration of computer-aided drafting and finite-element analysis in a linked computer-aided design procedure and to develop the necessary software.
The Be'zier surface patch for surface representation was used to bridge the gap between the rather separate fields of drafting and finite-element analysis because the surfaces are defined by analytical functions which allow systematic and controlled variation of the shape and provide continuous derivatives up to any required degree.
The objectives of this research were achieved by establishing :
(i) A package which interpretes the engineering drawings of plate and shell structures and prepares the Be'zier net necessary for surface representation.
(ii) A general purpose stand-alone meshed-surface modelling package for surface representation of plates and shells using the Be'zier surface patch technique.
(iii) A translator which adapts the geometric description of plate and shell structures as given by the meshed-surface modeller to the form needed by the finite-element analysis package. The translator was extended to suit fan impellers by taking advantage of their sectorial symmetry.
The linking processes were carried out for simple test structures, simplified and actual fan impellers to verify the flexibility and usefulness of the linking technique adopted.
Finite-element results for thin plate and shell structures showed excellent agreement with those obtained by other investigators while results for the simplified and actual fan impellers also showed good agreement with those obtained in an earlier investigation where finite-element analysis input data were
manually prepared.
Some extensions of this work have also been discussed.
Date of AwardFeb 1985
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorT.H. Richards (Supervisor)


  • computer-aided design
  • drafting
  • geometric modelling
  • F.E.M.
  • linking

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