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Finite element method in adhesives

The Finite Element Method, or FEM, is a technique of Numerical Analysis aimed at obtaining, approximate solutions for a multiplicity of problems, not only in Structural Engineering, but also in Physics, Bioengineering, and Astronomy. Although originally developed to study the tensional field in aircraft structures, it has since been extended and applied to the broad field of Mechanics of Continuums.

Because of its variety of uses and ductility as an analytical tool, it was developed and is currently used in Universities and Industry. In numerous physical and engineering problems it is sufficient to obtain solutions approximate numerical, rather than exact analytical solutions of difficult practical use. FEM was born quietly in the 1960s, but subsequent to the development of computer tools, it has an evolution and exponential development, attracting considerable interest because of the vast number of fields to which its principles.

The use of FEM emerges as one of the best tools for investigating those complex systems, for which investigations and experiments in the laboratory would involve excessive expense, logistical difficulties and difficulties related to the physical measurement of various quantities. If the first automatic approaches to solving the differential equations that govern physical phenomena, were established with finite differences, FEM evolves the solution possibilities by giving a possibility of application that is unparalleled because of its unobjectionable flexibility. The generality of the method, initially developed by engineers and later demonstrated by mathematicians as well, has enabled a great many studies and applications, paving the way for new strands of research that currently address problems of considerable interest of a theoretical and practical nature.

In recent times, FEM is also finding much interest in the analysis of bonded joints. This type of analysis, in order to be as truthful as possible, requires specific data regarding the parameters of the adhesives used, the type of analysis, the discretization of the elements, and the ability to correctly interpret the results. Some adhesive manufacturers have developed specific data cards based on the software used and the analysis to be performed, however, the ability to model properly and be able to read the results remains important.

In this regard, Henkel offers the possibility to have complete consulting starting from joint design and product selection, through modelling to the correct interpretation of the results.

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