Finite Element Analysis is a computational technique used to obtain approximate solutions of boundary value problems in engineering. Before reading this post, I would recommend you to view the previous post Finite Element Method : Introduction and steps of finite element analysis. The previous post gives you an introductory idea about boundary value problems and steps involved in finite element analysis. In this post, I am going to show you how finite element analysis is done using ANSYS.

Ansys 2019 R3

Before heading onto analysis, let us first know about what ANSYS really is. ANSYS, an acronym for Analysis Systems is a FEA (Finite Element Analysis) software developed by Ansys, Inc. Ansys, Inc. is a global public company based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. It develops and markets multi physics engineering simulation software for product design, testing and operation. Ansys was founded in 1970 by John Swanson. Swanson sold his interest within  company to venture capitalists in 1993.

Ansys went public on NASDAQ in 1996. in the 2000s, Ansys made numerous acquisitions of other engineering design companies, acquiring additional technology for fluid dynamics, electronics design, and other physics analysis. Ansys became a component of the NASDAQ-100 index on December 23, 2019. Thus, Ansys provides a great platform for finite element analysis. Click here to learn more about Ansys.

When you open Ansys Workbench you can find out that Ansys offers various kinds of analysis like Fluid Flow, Electric, Acoustics, Magneto Statics, Static Structural, Rigid Dynamics and the list goes on.

Ansys Workbench
Ansys Workbench

Here we are going to do static structural analysis of I-beam. This is quite simple and a really good example for beginners. Now, in the Ansys Workbench , you have to double click on the option static structural and you get the project schematic as shown below;


You can clearly see 7 steps of analysis there and Step 1 is already done. Step 2 is named Engineering data. You can double click there and you will find this in your screen;

Engineering data

You can see that structural steel is chosen here as the material and material properties are given. One can edit those properties and give their own desired values. Here, we use default engineering data.

Adding Geometry

Next we have to add geometry. Geometry can be added in two ways. One way is to double click on Geometry option and that opens Ansys Space Claim Geometry where you can design your geometry.

Space Claim Geometry

Now you have to design an I-beam of following dimension;

Dimensions of I-beam

Here I made an I-beam of length 4 meters.


Are you finding it difficult to make the design in Space Claim Geometry? Then it’s not a big deal. One can import stp or igs file of the design made using other CAD softwares like CATIA, Solidworks. For that go to Workbench, right click on Geometry, take your cursor to import geometry and browse your CAD geometry.

Importing geometry in Ansys

After adding geometry, you should proceed to next step. Double click on option Model and it will start Mechanical.

Analysis with Ansys

It does take some time to start and therefore you have to be patient and wait until the geometry is attached.


This is where things are going to be exciting. Now we have to generate mesh. Meshing is the soul of Finite Element Analysis and it is the most important procedure. You can right click on the option mesh and click on Generate Mesh. Then the software generates a default mesh as shown below;

Generating mesh in Ansys

Are you dissatisfied with the size of default mesh? Then how about inserting size of the mesh. Right click on Mesh, take the cursor to insert and select sizing. Select the geometry and click apply.

Sizing of mesh

Here the default element size is 0.2m and I changed it to 0.02m.

changing size of mesh

Now you need to update the mesh and see the change.

Updating mesh

There are smaller and larger number of meshes now and the solution will be more accurate. However, computing such smaller and larger mesh might take longer time. So, I am going with the default mesh.

Analysis Settings or Adding Boundary Conditions

It is now time to set up the analysis or in other words we now have to add boundary conditions. For I-beam, major boundary conditions are adding a fixed support and giving a force.

For that right click on Static Structural and take the cursor to Insert and select fixed support. Then you have to select one of the faces and click apply.

Adding a fixed support-boundary condition

Similarly, insert a force on the opposite face. Here you have to give magnitude and direction of the force. I added the force of magnitude 1000N in y-direction.

Adding Solution

What results do you want to analyze? Right click on Solution and insert the results and analysis you want to create. I added Total deformation and Equivalent stress as my solutions.

Adding a solution-total deformation
adding a solution-equivalent stress


Now you have to click Solve and wait till the results are computed.


Finally, all the steps are completed and now you can fiew the results by clicking on the added solutions. You can get the contour plot of deformation and stress and find out the points of maximum and minimum deformation as well as stresses.

Total deformation analysis-Ansys
Equivalent stress analysis-Ansys- Finite Element Analysis

You can add even more solutions and make analysis. You can also watch the animation by clicking on the Animation below as;

Animation in Ansys

There are so many things you can do here and I would like you to explore them yourselves. I just explained you basic steps and procedure of static structural analysis. I hope this post helps you and I am looking forward to your feedback and comments.

By Nishchal Poudel

Nishchal is currently studying Bachelor in Aerospace Engineering at IOE Pulchowk Campus, Nepal.

3 thoughts on “Finite Element Analysis Using ANSYS”
  1. Amazing post, this and your previous “introduction to finite elements methods” have helped me out a lot. However I had some problems centring the web of the beam in between the two flange(s), is there a simple way around this? (I used Space Clam for the geometry)
    Also have you ran Ansys on Piles, Embedded Retaining Walls and Tunnels using work bench and can you recommend references (or preferably step by step videos or posts on any of these).
    thanks once again 😀

    1. Centering the web of the beam in between the two flange(s) can be done by proper dimensioning of the 2D-sketch before extruding.I am also really not that good at space claim geometry. I use CATIA for modelling and then import stp file into Ansys. Since i am also still in the learning phase, stay tuned and there will be new posts soon.

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