Dec 15, 2008

Siemens PLM Software’s NX NASTRAN Solves World’s Largest Structural Analysis Problem

Shattering its Own Previous Record, NX NASTRAN Solves FEA Problem with Half-Billion Equations “Virtually Overnight”

PLANO, Texas : Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Industry Automation Division and a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services, today announced a computational break-through in implicit finite element analysis (FEA) technology. Using commercially available hardware, the current production version of the company’s NX™ NASTRAN® software was able to solve a structural analysis problem with a half-billion equations “virtually overnight.”

The analysis was conducted to simulate the behavior of an entire airplane wing structure undergoing a bending test. The resulting problem size of 500 million equations was successfully completed in less than 18 hours of elapsed time and shattered Siemens PLM Software’s previous record – announced in February 2006 – which was also set by NX NASTRAN for a similar problem. To provide perspective, a structural analysis of an entire automobile body modeled with shell elements, could be solved with about 100 million equations.

“Our customers make some of the world’s most sophisticated products, requiring extremely detailed finite element models to achieve the solution fidelity necessary to ensure their quality and safety,” said Chuck Grindstaff, chief technology officer of Siemens PLM Software. “Simulating the destructive wing-bending test is an especially important component of virtual product development in airplane manufacturing and the 18-hour turnaround time provides a solution virtually overnight. As a result, our customers’ workflow process can proceed uninterrupted.”

“Such large problem sizes were considered impossible just a few years ago, both from a numerical accuracy and computational complexity point of view,” added Dr. Louis Komzsik, chief numerical analyst of Siemens PLM Software. “Today, we can confidently predict that solving a one billion equation problem will be feasible in the near future. And with the demonstrated ability of NX NASTRAN to solve these huge problems, imagine how fast it can solve the more typical analysis problems encountered everyday by our customers, across a wide variety of industries.”

Technology detail

The FEA model solved by NX NASTRAN consisted of one hundred million grids along with approximately 98 million shell and 49 million solid elements. The resulting finite element problem consisted of 500 million equations and had more than 600 million global degrees of freedom when a linear static analysis with a single load condition was executed.

The analysis required 1069 minutes, or 17.8 hours of elapsed time on an IBM Power 570 server. The computer contained eight POWER 6 cores at 4.7 GHz, 64 GB of memory and 24 striped disks of 148 GB capacity each. The analysis used 42.4 GB of memory, executed 30.3 Tera Bytes of I/O operations with a 2.26 Tera Byte disk footprint. For more information on NX NASTRAN, please visit www.siemens.com/plm/nxnastran.

Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Industry Automation Division, is a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services with 5.5 million licensed seats and 51,000 customers worldwide. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Siemens PLM Software’s open enterprise solutions enable a world where organizations and their partners collaborate through Global Innovation Networks to deliver world-class products and services. For more information on Siemens PLM Software products and services, visit www.siemens.com/plm.